A View from Israel: The naïveté of the Left

If every demand by the Palestinians is met, does anybody really believe there will be peace?

Left-wing protest in Tel Aviv 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Left-wing protest in Tel Aviv 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
I often receive e-mails from various organizations explaining how it is “not too late” to take action on this or that issue. Recently the question one organization asked was, “Will the United States do the right thing at the United Nations Security Council, this one time?”
No problem there – innocent question. But the next question posed was, “Will the US government stand up for basic fairness instead of vetoing yet another UN vote on behalf of Palestinian human rights?”
Wait a minute. Palestinian human rights? That’s not at all what the UN vote is about.
But this organization, in its e-mail, claimed, “Palestinians are bringing their case for recognition to the United Nations as soon as September – not because it will suddenly create a viable Palestinian state or end the occupation – but because it could provide leverage to help them press their case for freedom and equality.”
Freedom and equality? But gay Palestinians often flee to Israel from both Palestinian Authority- and Hamas-controlled areas to escape near-certain death. In 2007, Hamas banned music in Gaza, and in 2008 it banned women from smoking water pipes in cafes. Next, women were banned from riding motorcycles, and in 2010, Hamas banned men from working in women’s hair salons. In the same year, the PA banned the recitation of the Koran over mosque loudspeakers (in Israel, it is perfectly legal).
Israel also doesn’t shove Palestinians off rooftops, as both Hamas and Fatah members did in 2007.
This year, The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA had banned Palestinian journalists from reporting about the findings of the Independent Commission for Human Rights concerning abuse of human rights by the PA and Hamas.
In its most recent annual report, the commission said that Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuses by the two leaderships.
The same organization appears to center the September vote around two issues that are irrelevant. It asks, “Will the US government stand for Palestinian freedom and independence, or for more occupation?” But Palestinian freedom and independence has always been an option, one they themselves have chosen to reject numerous times. And the occupation, which is, at most, a gray area in terms of what it really is, has nothing to do with September. Israel will not leave the West Bank unless it can guarantee its own security, and it will never relinquish its historical claim to the land. Unilateral Palestinian moves will not change this.
The organization’s misunderstanding of even the most fundamental facts of the Arab-Israeli conflict is clear on its website, where it claims, “The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is, in essence, a conflict over territory.” But if that is the case, I have yet to hear a logical explanation as to what all the fuss was about before 1967, when Israel was not in control of the West Bank or Gaza.
It is more than obvious that the Palestinians have made the Arab-Israeli conflict an issue over Israel’s existence. In May, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rightfully acknowledged this when he declared that “the root of the conflict is, and always has been, their [the Palestinians’] refusal to recognize the Jewish state. It is not a conflict over 1967, but over 1948, over the very existence of the State of Israel.”
THE FAILURE here is the inability of the Left to come to terms with reality. Why does it ignore Palestinian incitement against Jews? What about the 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands in 1948? What about the countless lives that have no doubt been saved by the security barrier? What about the thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps in Syria fleeing now from Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown?
Contrary to the efforts of many organizations to paint Israel as an aggressor and the main problem in this region, Egyptian journalist Ashraf Abu al-Houl has insisted Gaza is not under siege, and it was Palestinian journalist Zainab Rashid who argued that it was the Syrian people who needed flotillas – not the Palestinians.
There are those who claim that they must save Israel from itself, as if they have all the answers and as though if only Israelis would see through the Left’s prism, everything would be resolved.
Many disillusioned organizations have fallen hook, line and sinker into the age-old trap of anti-Semites who today hide behind the mask of “anti-Zionism.” These same organizations completely ignore rampant and constant incitement against Jews among Palestinians. The Hamas charter still calls for Israel’s destruction. Why is this not an issue for these organizations?
Ruth Gavison, founder of the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought, has warned that these types of organizations need to be extra careful with their fact-finding and allegations, especially when human rights rhetoric is being used by Israel’s enemies in a cynical and manipulative way.
Recently the Post reported findings by American pollster Stanley Greenberg, in partnership with the Beit Sahour-based Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, that 72 percent of Palestinians backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem, 62% supported kidnapping IDF soldiers and holding them hostage, and 53% were in favor of teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools.
When given a quote from the Hamas Charter about the need for battalions from the Arab and Islamic world to defeat the Jews, 80% agreed. Seventy-three percent agreed with a quote from the charter about the need to kill Jews.
Gaza flotillas, the delegitimization of Israel, the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – all these are meant to isolate Israel and absolve the Palestinians of all responsibility for their role in the ongoing conflict. These threats are explained away by the Left as a result of Israel’s occupation and brutal treatment of innocent Palestinians.
If we combine all the possible “ifs” of the Arab-Israeli issue – if Israel leaves part or all of the West Bank, if Palestinian refugees are allowed into Israel, if final borders are determined – and every demand by the Palestinians is met, does anybody really believe there will be peace? Don’t be so naïve.