Israel's Radical Left Committed Suicide, and Now the Right Will Kill Us All

With the left's approach so unilateral, ahistoric and disconnected from reality, it will never be possible to effect political change in Israel.

Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil’in.
A demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil’in.Credit: Jini
Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit

It used to be fun to spar with the left. When the left was strong and serious, it was right to ask questions that would challenge some of the dogmas it sanctified. When the left controlled the government, the media, the legal system, academia and the army, it was important to make it face the truths it fled from and the facts it denied. But now, when the left is so pitiful, the heart retreats from such a step. When the left is so troubled and persecuted, there’s no point pouring salt on its wounds.

Leftists are my brothers and sisters. I share their values and ache over their downfall. Therefore, even when they spew nonsense at me, I usually restrain myself, bite my tongue and move on. But sometimes, there’s no choice and it’s necessary to once again explain what has gone wrong — when and how the left committed suicide.

The radical left committed suicide when it disconnected from reality. Its refusal to admit the failure of the Oslo Accords, the Camp David Summit and the Annapolis process caused the left to be viewed in Israel as untrustworthy. Its refusal to recognize that the (justified) withdrawal from the Gaza Strip led to rockets on Ashkelon, Ashdod and Tel Aviv caused the left to be viewed in Israel as delusional. Its refusal to deal with the fact that the Middle East is brutal and the Palestinian political entity dysfunctional caused the left to be viewed in Israel as daydreamers.

This disconnect from reality has resulted in most Israelis not even listening anymore to the accurate things the left says about the occupation, the settlements and the threat to Israel’s democracy.

The radical left committed suicide when it disconnected from Israeli pride. Most Israelis are proud of their country. Granted, it’s hard here, and expensive, and crowded, and there’s a conflict — but nevertheless, a nation has arisen here. And Israelis love it. Therefore, when the left tells them they’re ugly and repulsive and smelly, they aren’t enthused by the message. And when it says that everything is bad here, they don’t buy the goods. They get angry at the sour-faced people who won’t allow either themselves or others to celebrate Israel and its achievements.

The radical left committed suicide when it abnegated itself before the Palestinians. True, there’s no symmetry between the occupier and the occupied, and Israel bears primary responsibility for the occupation. But what about the Palestinian leadership? In 1937, and again in 1947, it would have been possible to create a Palestinian state and prevent the Nakba, but the Palestinians said no. In 2000, and again in 2008, it would also have been possible to create a Palestinian state and end the occupation, but the Palestinians said no. Time and again, they chose to perpetuate the occupation.

Did the radical left attack them with the same fury with which it attacks Israeli governments? Did it go to Ramallah, pound the table and tell Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the same things it writes about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? No. Its inability to look our neighbors in the eye has resulted in both Israelis and Palestinians ceasing to take the radical left seriously or to feel any respect for it.

And its disconnect from reality and Israeliness, and its self-abnegation before the Palestinians, are now causing the radical left to assault the very idea of a Jewish democratic state.

President Mahmoud Abbas, March 21, 2016.Credit: AP

Both U.S. President Barack Obama and his likely successor, Hillary Clinton, understand that it is impossible to sanctify the nation-state of the Palestinian people while scorning the nation-state of the Jewish people. But that isn’t true of radical leftists. For them, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began with the occupation and revolves solely around that. In their eyes, the demand that the Palestinians recognize that a Jewish people exists here is sadism. As far as they’re concerned, only non-Jews have declared national rights in this land.

With an approach so unilateral, ahistoric and disconnected from reality, it will never be possible to effect political change in Israel. Nor will it be possible to end the occupation or try to make peace. The radical left, having committed suicide, is now helping the right to kill us all.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

הקלטות מעוז

Jewish Law Above All: Recordings Reveal Far-right MK's Plan to Turn Israel Into Theocracy

איתמר בן גביר

Why I’m Turning My Back on My Jewish Identity

Travelers looking at the Departures board at Ben Gurion Airport. The number of olim who later become yordim is unknown.

Down and Out: Why These New Immigrants Ended Up Leaving Israel

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco as Mia and Lucia in "The White Lotus."

The Reality Behind ‘The White Lotus’ Sex Work Fantasy

The Mossad hit team in Dubai. Exposed by dozens of security cameras

This ‘Dystopian’ Cyber Firm Could Have Saved Mossad Assassins From Exposure

מליאת הכנסת 28.12.22

Comeback Kid: How Netanyahu Took Back Power After 18 Months in Exile