Most Israeli leftists are hardly hostile anti-Zionists. They are just a lot like Irving Fisher, the self-confident star-economist.
By SARAH HONIGPublished: FEBRUARY 26, 2010 16:25Advertisement
Israel’s left-wing elite, cliquey opinion-makers, self-serving trend-setters and bon-ton groupies glory in posturing as anti-establishment nonconformists.Their premise that Jews must always pay is perhaps the root symptom of the Jewish nation’s abnormality and inability to behave like other sovereign nations. Nowhere is there another country whose citizens ponder daily what more to offer their foes, what they can cede to appease and how to curry a little favor abroad.The need to pay for our right to live is a uniquely Jewish syndrome. We alone bear an onus to justify what’s a self-evident, inalienable right to any other people. Our obsession to analyze things from our enemies’ perspective and understand them is simply unparalleled.That said, most Israeli leftists are hardly hostile anti-Zionists. They are just a lot like Irving Fisher – among the forerunners of the modern breed of celebrity gurus. The self-confident star-economist’s most famous prediction – in October 1929 – was that “stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” But literally several days later, alas, reality confoundedly interfered with his rosy forecast and financial markets uncooperatively crashed.Was the oracle of Wall Street a smidge contrite? Heck no. For long months Fisher (non-Jewish despite his name) clung to his optimistic orientation. The Great Depression’s misery notwithstanding, he assured despairing investors that recovery was just around the corner.Today, when psychologists discuss the cognitive malfunctions and logical fallacies collectively known as wishful thinking, Fisher is almost inevitably cited as a prime example of one whose deductions weren’t based on evidence or sound analysis but on what he desired.AN EXAMPLE closer to home is the alacrity of Israel’s more progressive souls to cede strategic assets to ever-implacable enemies, in the hope of thereby mitigating Arab fanatical fervor to obliterate the Jewish state.Sweet delusion allures in whichever direction they look – not just vis-à-vis increasingly ferocious foes outside our insecure state, but also inside it. Israeli Arabs, Fisher-clones contend, are loyal citizens whose peeves are essentially socioeconomic. Unstinting appeasement, cash outlays and solicitous ego-massages will satisfy them. Anyhow local left-wingers assert that Israeli Arab disaffection is Israel’s fault.They perceive nothing untoward in providing financial underpinning for outfits like Adalah, whose purported purpose is upholding the rights of Israel’s Arab citizens. A few years back, Adalah drafted a proposed constitution for this country. The central theme promulgated by this notable grantee of Jewish generosity was redefining the state not as Jewish but as “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” – all euphemisms cherished by liberal opinion worldwide, thus rendering them simultaneously seductive and deceptive.The Adalah outline remarkably resembled what the supposedly suspended PLO Charter touted for decades – replacing Israel with a so-called democratic state. The PLO Charter too employed seemingly “democratic” enticements, while in effect demanding Israel’s destruction. The only difference is that the PLO professed intent to spread its “democracy” throughout “western Palestine” (including all of Israel), while Adalah takes the establishment of a Palestinian state for granted and therefore exclusively targets Israeli jurisdiction inside the pre-1967 borders. Adalah pointedly demands that the puny within-the-Green-Line residue no longer constitute a Jewish state.Adalah wants Israel’s (Jewish) Law of Return abolished; Israel’s national anthem, flag and emblem changed; all land claimed to have been confiscated from Arabs “fully restored”; ratification of (Arab) refugees’ “right of return”; reinstating “uprooted” Israeli Arabs in “their” villages; recognition of Beduin property rights over all they insist they own; and “reverse discrimination” to compensate Israeli Arabs “for the systematic discrimination against them.”Moreover, Adalah’s constitution obliges Israel to officially apologize for “the injustice which Israel’s creation had caused the Palestinian nation.” There’s no hint of the rejection by Palestinians of every single compromise ever proposed to them, including the 1947 UN Partition Plan – regardless of how adverse the conditions of those compromises were for Jews. There’s no mention of the genocidal war Palestinians launched to prevent the Partition Plan’s implementation, as well as of the concerted 1948 Arab invasion of newborn Israel.AS THE “constitution” authors maintain, it represents “the broad mainstream Arab-Israeli position.” Similar motifs were promoted by the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel and The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee. Their much-hyped manifestos demand a return to villages abandoned in 1948, administrative Arab-sector autonomy, separate representation for Israeli Arabs in international forums, Arab veto power on major Israeli legislative/executive decisions, the elimination of Jewish state symbols and an end to Jewish immigration.There are barely any discernible differences between Adalah’s “constitution” and the “Haifa Covenant,” mostly composed by the Mada al-Carmel Arab Center for Applied Social Research. As Adalah openly admits, many of its members participated in compiling the Haifa Covenant, which Adalah endorses as an “expression of the political and social empowerment of Arabs in Israel.”The affinity shouldn’t surprise anyone. Adalah, Mada al-Carmel, Mossawa and The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee’s subcommittees all feed in the same trough – the New Israel Fund.Its oft-repeated rationale is that we don’t need to support every single thing these organizations say, but we should support their right to say it.A tad disingenuous? Duh!It’s one thing to tolerate provocation – even sedition – but it’s quite another to bankroll agitation for the eradication of Israel’s Jewish character via a binational concoction. The subtext goal of too many beneficiaries of left-wing largesse is to end Jewish independence and turn the clock back to pre-1948.Worse yet, these are the Arab sector’s relatively temperate voices. What they don’t proclaim explicitly is spelled out by the leader of Israel’s Islamic Movement (Northern Branch), Raed Salah, who hectored on more than one occasion that “the Zionist existence is in itself an act of war against Arabs.”Adalah, incidentally, has consistently defended Salah for years. Its bottom line is unmistakable: The Jewish state is illegitimate and hence subversion against it is inherently legitimate.In rare circumstances Adalah doctrines actually managed to scare Jewish peacenik intellectuals. In 2006, for instance, these peaceniks belatedly admitted the failure of years of Israel Democracy Institute-sponsored dialogues with presumed fellow moderates from the Israeli Arab community. The latter wouldn’t countenance the most minimal recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state. The published protocols of the prolonged futile deliberations – entitled Whose Land Is It? – make disheartening if not chilling reading.Jewish left-wing participants were disconcerted when their goodwill was ungraciously rebuffed, but their shock expectedly dissipated. Our inveterate doves quickly resumed willful misrepresentation of existential threats as civil rights issues, as per politically correct etiquette.The guardians of our collective conscience – our enlightened Fisher-clones – prefer to perch themselves on the “permanently high plateau.”Fisher did eventually fall from his prosperous upland, but he lost onlyhis personal fortune and academic reputation. His postmortems of whatwent wrong exuded hindsight wisdom. The collapse that threatens Israel,however, is horrendously more final than insolvency, with no comebacksor meaningful retrospection likely.The writer is The Jerusalem Post’s long-time political correspondent (as well as for years of the now-defunct Davar). She headed the Post’s Tel Aviv bureau, and wrote daily analyses of the political scene as well as in-depth features.
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