Thursday, June 23, 2016

Was Leibowitz right?

In 1968 Yeshayah Leibowitz offered this dire prediction about the future of Israel and Zionism if the occupation was not lifted. Has it come to pass?

The Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police—mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Forces, which has been until now a people's army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations.
In the film The Gatekeepers (Israel Confidential), this exact quote was read to Yuval Diskin, a former head of the Shin Bet. His exact response was, כל מילה חקוק בסלע.

Is this blaming Israel? Not at all. No one is putting all the blame on Israel. No one is weighing blame at all. We're talking about our shortcomings, the things we've done wrong, the things we do that weaken and endanger us. What the other side has done, or will do is not relevant

And while I do think the problem that needs to fixed in the West Bank developed out of many factors, let's set that aside, and stipulate that it all developed in response to Palestinian actions and attitudes. So what? There was nothing inevitable about those responses. We might have responded in a thousand different ways. Now that we see that this particular response is weakening Israel, harming it, degrading it, let's pick another one.

Preemptive Response to those who will call me "biased" If we're aware of the same facts, yet have interpreted them differently, on what grounds do you suggest that my interpretation is any more or less biased then your own?

My assumption is that all of us are biased, just as every human being who has ever lived is biased. Only in this case, I would suggest that perhaps I am biased by my acute sense of justice, while those who disagree with me are biased by an acute sense of jingoism.

No comments: