“Arguments can always be found to turn desire into policy,” U.S. historian Barbara Tuchman once wrote. The vast majority of moderate Israelis confuse desire with reality.
They desire a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, so they adopt a policy of two states for two peoples.
They call themselves Zionists, or center-left, or moderate left, or even center-center. And they have found arguments to turn their desire into policy — for example, the preservation of the country’s Jewish and democratic character, or avoidance of the destruction that a binational state would produce.
As Emilie Moatti wrote in Haaretz Hebrew on August 30, “A binational state or one of all of its citizens would be a disaster from my perspective,” which is why she supports the approach in the Oslo Accords.
It’s nice that she thinks a binational state would be a disaster, but a de facto binational state already exists here. It’s a fait accompli. Of course it’s not a desirable fact, but it is the existing reality.
Ari Shavit is also so detached from reality that he believes it’s not too late “to effect political change in Israel ... to end the occupation or try to make peace” (“Israel’s radical left committed suicide,” Haaretz English, August 29). But that’s what he wants to happen. He doesn’t want the reality.
To his credit, it should be said he doesn’t want it because it includes the occupation, the settlements and “the threat to Israel’s democracy” (which is Shavit’s way of recognizing apartheid).
My heart is with Shavit. I have also yearned for political change in Israel, for the end of the occupation and for peace. But it’s over. The Israelis and Palestinians have chosen otherwise.
Each people in its own way has chosen in turn to perpetuate the occupation.
There is no longer any sense in Shavit hoping to convince what he calls “the Israelis” (meaning Jewish Israelis, who are only 79 percent of all Israelis) to end the occupation, evacuate the settlements and try to make peace.
There hasn’t been a single proposed compromise that a majority of Israelis would have been prepared to offer to the Palestinians, and that a majority of Palestinians would have been ready to accept.
Both sides in this march of folly have been afflicted with blindness and a desire for self-destruction.
There is no point in Shavit yearning for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
There is no point in his call demanding that the establishment of a Palestinian state be conditioned on Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
There won’t be a Palestinian state, and Israel will no longer be the state of the Jews. This violent, bloody, binational non-democracy — because democracy for Jews alone is apartheid — has already been launched. As Moatti writes, it is indeed a disaster. But it is the present disaster, not a future disaster that can be averted.
“Most Israelis are proud of their country,” Shavit writes, “and when the left says that everything is bad here, they don’t buy the goods.”
I am not proud of my country, because I know the reality. It is an apartheid state, and the two-state solution is dead. Because Israel is a binational, apartheid state, everything is bad here. Most Israelis, including Shavit, don’t recognize this reality. I don’t want it either, but I recognize it.
Shavit is still proud of Israel, because he believes it is still possible to save its Jewish-democratic character.
Those are the goods he is selling, and many moderate leftists buy them. Of course, these goods are more attractive than the reality, but they are an illusion and there’s nothing reasonable about them. They are totally divorced from reality.
I am merely the messenger when I yell “Apocalypse now!” Why are you mad at me instead of being angry at the reality?
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