Friday, June 30, 2006

The real danger to Israel’s security

It seems that J. Bradford Delong would be better sticking to economics (his specialty) or at least spend a few minutes on Wikipedia before he starts making incendiary political comments:

Lieberman's "we criticize the commander-in-chief at our own peril line" is indeed despicable. More despicable, in my view, is his twenty years of anti-Israel rhetoric. It has been obvious since the late 1970s that for American politicians to coquette with the anexationist fantasies of Likud is to raise the chance that Tel Aviv will become a radioactive abattoir sometime in the next half century. Joe Lieberman surely knows this. But he keeps on coquetting. To curry favor and contributions from AIPAC by doing what you can to undermine the long-run security of Israel--that is truly beneath contempt.


Now, if I were a Connecticut resident, I, too would probably vote in the Democratic primary to send Senator Lieberman into a well-deserved retirement, and I’m even willing to concede that the program of the Likud may well turn Tel Aviv in to a “radioactive abattoir” sometime in the next 50 years. (Though I think that the greatest danger is that the program of the Israeli right will turn Tel Aviv into Mea Sha’aerim or B’nai Brak, which might even be worse.)

But De Long presents no evidence that Holy Joe is a tool of Netanyahu’s bible thumping cabal. Yes, people like Rabbi Michael Lerner aren’t exactly enamored of the man, but even Reb Tikkun admits that Joe was probably supportive of the evil Oslo Accords back in the ‘90s. In fact, Joe, like most American Jewish machers, was the type to (at least publicly) support whatever party line was emanating from Jerusalem. No wonder Joe started supporting the Likud in “the late 1970s.” Guess what happened in 1977? The Likud won its first election ever in over 2,000 years. Up to that point, all the machers supported Labor, but while they weren’t sure whether they liked the idea of supporting the “terrorist” Menachem Begin, they gulped, and decided that supporting Israel was more important than getting too involved in Israeli politics. And none of this had anything to do with kissing AIPAC’s ass.

(Another relevant point: In 1977, Joe was a state senator, not exactly a postion where his support for Likud would be relevant, even if it existed. He wasn't elected US Senator until 1988.)

And I hope Dr. DeLong doesn’t have some warm ‘n fuzzy fantasy about the Labor Party “peaceniks.” Sure, members of the “Peace camp” in Israel are almost all leftists, but not everybody in the Labor Party is a “peacenik.” The first West Bank settlements, after all, were set up under Labor governments who essentially caved to the messianic mishugass of the Gush Emunim. (Just as the great Ben Gurion caved to the demands of the hareidim to allow Orthodoxy to be the only state-sanctioned Judaism in the country.) I recommend an piece in the Washington Jewish Week : “Outpost showdown? Israel aims to take down renegade settlements” by Leslie Susser where it’s pointed out that out of 105 illegal (“illegal” by Israeli law) outposts, only 24 were set up after March 2001, on the watch of the evil warmonger Ariel Sharon. While some of these outposts were no doubt erected during the dubious tenure of Mr. Netanyahu, it’s an inescapable conclusion that a lot of these obstacles to peace were established under the administrations of Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Ehud Barak. And people wonder why Oslo failed.

So DeLong is wrong about Lieberman and his relationship with the Likud, and also wrong about the Likud being the only danger to Israel’s security. But he is right on the money when it comes to the real danger to Israel’s security: The annexationist fantasies.

So, too bad for the right wing: It’s not fair, but the religious rightists and their secular fellow travelers today don’t get the same free pass that the leftists got back in ’48. Yes, the leftists stole Arab land in 1948-9, but they were doing so for Jewish survival. .Today’s settlers, however, do it for a ridiculous messianic fantasy that, like all messianic fantasies in Jewish history, will lead the Jews to ruin.

No comments: