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Beyond protest: War and the Israeli Left

This article first appeared in Dissent Magazine.

Many Israelis who define themselves as “on the left” (about 20 percent of the population on a good day) support Operation Protective Edge. It’s a small and lonely subset that is both left wing and opposes the war. Over the last month, this little constituency has faithfully staged demonstrations of a few hundred—with last Saturday’s rally reaching somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000, by organizers’ estimates—and has written articles of protest. But the demonstrators tend to use such general slogans as “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” or “No, no, we won’t let fascism come to pass” (the latter chanted at right-wing counter-demonstrators). The anti-war left in Israel is clearly upset, but it has neither generated a coherent line of critique about the war nor formulated demands or proposals for alternate approaches other than calling for a ceasefire. Its influence, as a result, is severely limited.

There are three main reasons why it is so hard to create an effective opposition line, let alone gather supporters and momentum: the circumstances of this particular war (and the two previous rounds); the general climate of opinion in Israel; and the left’s own weaknesses, including baggage of the distant past.

Israelis protesting the Gaza war in Tel Aviv light candles to commemorate the victims. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israelis protesting the Gaza war in Tel Aviv light candles to commemorate the victims. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

First, the current circumstances make opposition very difficult, on the surface. Hamas is a miserable political regime that imposes religious fundamentalism on Gazans, stifles women, and kills collaborators. It has fired rockets at Israeli towns for over a decade and dragged Gaza into wars that were bound to kill its civilians. Not content with rockets, it has dug tunnels for terrorists targeting Israeli civilians. It is not hard to understand, in these conditions, the case for a forceful response on Israel’s part.

Unless, that is, one considers history before June 30, when the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teens were found. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was already outraged by a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal made in late April that created an interim technocratic government without Hamas and called for Palestinian elections. That would have meant a more unified Palestine, something Netanyahu has worked hard to destroy. Using the abducted teens as a pretext, without providing evidence of Hamas’ involvement—an Israeli police spokesperson allegedly admitted this weekend that it wasn’t directly responsible—the prime minister ordered a sweeping West Bank operation against the organization, just as much a provocation as Hamas’s later actions. Rockets fell on southern Israel like clockwork. Before that, Gaza was under various forms of blockade for seven years. Even moderate Palestinians in Gaza would rather die now, I have had some tell me, than suffer slow suffocation. This alternate reality is rarely discussed.

Second, the Israeli climate of opinion is hostile. There has been right-wing rage and violence before: in 1983, a Peace Now demonstrator was killed; in 1995, a prime minister was assassinated. For now, extremists on the right are content to express hatred of the left, call them traitors, and call for their death, along with Arabs. There have been violent scuffles. As unpleasant as this environment is, though, the recent larger demonstration shows that it probably don’t intimidate anyone still committed enough to oppose the war.

The deeper scourge is apathy;  Israelis on the whole show little interest in either peace or Palestinians. They didn’t pay attention to the peace negotiations and they aren’t paying attention to a few thousand demonstrators against a war they believe was forced upon them. “What is, is what will be,” goes a Hebrew saying. The counter-demonstrators may even be doing the antiwar camp a favor by getting them into the paper. Meanwhile, a Channel 10 poll shows that 87 percent of Israelis prefer to continue fighting rather than accept a ceasefire—a 14-point rise from a survey conducted before the ground operation began.

 Click here for +972′s full coverage of the war in Gaza

But the left itself also bears some responsibility for its weak impact. First, opposition to the war can easily appear as a knee-jerk reaction rooted in habit rather than reality. The lack of a coherent critical message feeds that image.

There are deeper problems, too. For most of its history, the left has argued that peace would bring security. In practice, that didn’t work. Israelis largely believe this conflict is symmetrical, but they reject equal Israeli and Palestinian responsibility for the failures of peace efforts. They instead blamed the aborted peace processes – Oslo and the Camp David negotiations of 2000 – for the security they never received. In recent years, they’ve ignored Palestinian Authority security cooperation and nonviolent Palestinian political tactics, and credit only the separation barrier for (relative) calm inside Israel.

The left needs to update its arguments. “Peace brings security” is inaccurate and unrealistic. Instead, the case needs to be made that a diplomatic solution is the only way to stop inevitable escalation by extremists and full-blown wars every few years. No country has eradicated violence. The question is how to contain it.

Justifiably losing patience, the left has searched for sticks, toying with boycott and international pressure—but those just reinforce the bitter accusation of betrayal among Israelis. Carrots—incentives—are a necessary alternative, but they are hard to find, since Israel has all the allies, alliances, and trade relations it wants.

Still, there are tactics that haven’t been tested: pressure from within—for example, in the form of civil disobedience—has not been widespread beyond a handful of draft refusers. Outside pressure from “our own”—imagine liberal American Jews appealing directly to their Israeli kin—is more likely to resonate with most Israelis than UN condemnations that make Israelis dig in and change nothing on the ground.

Different approaches must be found. Israel needs them—and Palestine, too.

Related:
‘No more deaths’: Thousands of Israelis protest the Gaza war
How can you possibly oppose this war?
Israel has alternatives to this war

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Pedro X

      The majority of the left has left the left and moved to the center. In 1982 400,000 leftists protested the Lebanon War. In 1996 500,000 leftists rallied for peace. In 2014 3,000 protesters from the fringe of the left came out. Where have all the leftists gone? They have matured and moved to the center.

      Reply to Comment
      • Amir BK

        You know, I’ve been reading this report it’s posted in a variety of publications and they all cite ‘palestinian sources’ yet I’ve been unable to find those sources, did you, perhaps, see a palestinian report on this incident?

        As far as I know the first time this was reported was by channel 10′s Alon Ben-David and he didn’t bother to provide a source himself.

        Reply to Comment
      • Phugues

        Has this Breitbart allegation been checked by any “independent” news agency? I can find no trace of it anywhere else …
        Thank you for information that could help discriminate truth from mere propaganda

        Reply to Comment
          • Chaisecat

            Gatestone Institute chair is freakin’ John Bolton! UN Ambassador under Dubya.

            Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Phugues I tried to post a link to an Algemeiner article on the subject. The story has also been reported on Elder of Zion and WND. The news story was broken by Aaron Klein of WND.

          I also saw a grainy video on youtube narrated in German showing Hamas police beating Palestinians who were trying to leave their homes to flee to other areas of Gaza. One Palestinian woman shouts at the Hamas policemen that they (Hamas) are worse than the Jews.

          Reply to Comment
          • JG

            Okay, no other source than hasbarah bull weekly. any fairytale else to spread?

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            WND is run by a Lebanese christian fundamentalist, and runs articles by people like Chuck Norris. Hardly a credible source.

            Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Bassam Tawil on gatestoneinstitute.org/4518/media-hamas

          reports executions by Hamas and links to an Al-Quds article in Arabic which purportly reports that the executions were “carried out in the most brutal manner, with torture that included severe beating and breaking arms and legs.”

          Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        Brietbart sourcing … Really ?

        Reply to Comment
    2. Craig Vale

      Any pretense to the risible claim that the IDF does not intentionally target civilians fell to the ground with an amplitude louder than the falling walls of the UN compound hit earlier today when Israeli artillery bombed a UN facility who’s GPS coordinates had been made known to the IDF on 17 previous occasions within the past four weeks. The last instance being but 7 hours before the attack. Israel’s aforementioned claim was bogus from the beginning as purposeful targeting of the civilian population was an acceptable policy not only condoned but tacitly approved in the false hope that somehow the citizens of Gaza would turn against Hamas.The quintessential fools errand on the part of Israel. Additionally we have a ” high ranking” Israeli official calling the State Departments’ John Kerry’s efforts to secure a ceasefire at the behest of Bibi himself, as being an ” Act of terrorism” An unprecedented and vile charge by a nation out of control. A nation who’s very existence has been predicated on US financial and more importantly, political support.
      Israel’s policies of late have been laid bare for the world to see and for at least a couple of decades now most of the world has seen the settlement activity for what it is. Lebensraum, the dream of a greater Israel as the bloody acquisition of more and more Palestinian territory is the paramount goal. Any other conclusion is laughable.
      This recent bombing of the UN compound coupled with the most insulting language in the history of their state risks having the US rethink its policy towards what has become a murderous regime that due to the misguided rhetoric of Bibi, has painted themselves into a corner from which there is no escape. Politically, Bibi has risked his career on this bloody incursion and should he give in now his political capital will have gone for naught. Hamas will rearm, tunnels rebuilt and the conflict along with the ethnic cleansing will begin anew in a few years.
      A nation without shame, A nation that apparently CAN”T be shamed either. Add a feckless and cowardly press within Israel that does the bidding for the government. Shameless acts of complicity by a press corp that is more than happy to carry not only the water for the present regime but would be more than willing to carry bombs to the front line as well. Thankfully +942 mag has the courage and the moral chutzpa to call these butchers to account. We’ll see how long they can holdup before the nation of Israel imposes press restrictions on the news coming out of Gaza under the guise of National Security.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce

      The Israeli left should stop beating itself up. Israel is what it is, enough American Jews will always be brought around to support it no matter how crazy, US politicians will be bought, and Europe will remain divided.

      Only the Palestinians and Arabs can change the facts on the ground.

      Time to exit. The only honorable choice left.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ellen

      Highly unlikely. Whenever liberal American Jews (like myself) express these views we are routinely dismissed and told “we don’t understand.” We are told “you don’t live here, your opinion is worthless.” Note that liberal groups like J Street have not spoken out against this war because they are terrified of being accused of disloyalty. I understand why liberal Jews in the US and elsewhere in the world are increasingly pushed to more extreme positions like supporting BDS — the “you are with us or you are against us” mentality has so pervaded the discourse that many people have concluded that if that is the only choice, they no longer support Israel as it now exists. It is nice to think that a significant change could come with pressure from the American Jewish community, but it is simply not going to happen.

      Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        How refreshing to read your post ! The ” Bushism” coined during the Iraqi war is indeed most apropos here as there currently is no room at all for a middle ground in the analysis of the current Gazan incursion. The Israeli press itself has become complicit in the sheer butchery taking place in the Gaza and with few exceptions ( This web site being one of them ) The Israeli press has rolled over for the likes of Bennet, Bibi and Avi, the war mongers who lust for Gazan blood. To see you tube videos of Israeli’s parking their behinds in lawn chairs on the hilltops overlooking the Gaza and cheer death that rains from the sky is repugnant yet let a Jew express disgust at these actions and they are labeled as self hating and or treasonous. There is no room for intelligent differences of opinion and the discourse is prostituted and censored by the Hasbaran hacks who make these spurious charges against any Jew who opposes or even questions the current policy. Good for you and thanks for your honesty !

        Reply to Comment
        • Erica

          Craig, sadly, you are correct –
          Morris totally changed his tune.
          and Ben Gurion…that’s exactly what it was all about. Then he got the Arab Jews – such as the Moroccans (who he didn’t even see as humans, because they were “primitive,” i.e. Arabs (Arabic was their native language), a culture that had to be destroyed/demonized, to build the Jewish State, b/c there were so little European Jews after WW 2 to do so — eee gads.

          the truth hurts, and every country’s history is ugly. it’s a damn shame

          Reply to Comment
          • Craig Vale

            Erica, an astute observation re: the Moroccan’s and strangely replicated this to very day by the multitudes of Palestinians brought in as a cheap labor source for the ongoing settlement activity taking place now.

            Reply to Comment
      • Dear Ellen,
        I know it seems like a radical, futile idea, but please don’t give up so easily. We who live here are saying these things. Well, I am – but I”m not the only one. We need you. You’ll be shouted down 1000 times, but eventually small drops will seep through. I hope. The main point is, I’m not talking only about the war, but about the bigger picture – primarily about that. Thanks for considering it. Dahlia

        Reply to Comment
    5. Whiplash

      Voices from the left are starting to understand the reality of the situation and have similar views to the center and right on Palestinians. Take for example this by Professor Shlomo Avineri, which could have been written by right wing Professor Mordechai Nisam:

      “We were mistaken.”

      “that we were talking about a dispute between two national movements, and that the other side felt the same way,”

      “The Palestinian side does not believe that we are talking about a dispute between two national movements: It believes that we are talking about a dispute between one national movement–the Palestinian–and a colonial imperialistic entity that will eventually die off.”

      “The Palestinian title for the two-state solution is different than the Israeli version, The Israeli stance talks about ‘two states for two peoples’ but in the Palestinian version the phrase ‘for two peoples’ does not appear. It only talks about ‘two states.’ If someone thinks that this is just poor phrasing, he should ask his Palestinian counterpart to express an opinion about the ‘two states for two peoples’ version and he will sooner or later get the answer that there is no Jewish people…in the Palestinian narrative, the Jews are not a people or a nation, but only a religious group, and therefore they are not entitled to a state.”

      “The source of the dispute is not borders, settlements or even Jerusalem…[T]o ignore these deep-seeded views constitutes a lack of intellectual honesty.”

      Leftist historian has been articulating the same thoughts for the better part of a decade now.

      Many people on the left have reluctantly come to the same conclusion. It is not a coincidence that one half a million people came out for a peace rally in Israel to support peace after Rabin was assassinated and only 3-5,000 come out now. The Oslo narrative has proven to be false, the Palestinians do not want two states for two people.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        The reference to leftist historian was to Benny Morris, who served time in goal for refusing to serve in the West Bank. He has said:

        “I’ve written enough about a conflict that has no solution, mainly due to the Palestinians’ consistent rejection of a solution of two states for two peoples.”
        “My aim is to open readers’ eyes to the truth. The objective is to expose the goals of the Palestinian national movement to extinguish Jewish national project and to inherit all of Palestine for the Arabs and Islam.”

        “It’s true there’s a difference between the extremists, who say directly that they want to wipe out the State of Israel, and the secular nationalists, who outwardly say they’re ready for a compromise accord. But actually, both of them, if you read their words very carefully, want all of Palestine. The secular leaders − if you can call them that − like Yasser Arafat and President Mahmoud Abbas, are not prepared to accept a formula of two states for two peoples. So as not to scare the goyim, they project a vagueness about it, but they think in terms of expulsion and elimination.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Reza Lustig

          Such “leftists” will be remembered the same way “leftists” like Irving Howe (who scorned the anti-Vietnam War movement) and the Shachtmanites (who backed American imperialism in the name of opposing Stalinism, and many of whom went on to found neoconservatism); as a pack of cringing traitors, who allowed vulgar nationalism to seduce them.

          Reply to Comment
        • Craig Vale

          In the oft’ cliched ” Fog of war” Rhetoric is confused with Reality as I doubt a single Palestinian thinks that Israel is going anywhere nor are the rhetorical laments about the right of return ever going to materialize either. It’s just not going to happen. In many ways one should fully expect to hear these things but they are to be understood in the context in which they are posited … Desperate wishful thinking. This happens on both sides of the green line and not exclusive to Arab or Palestinian thought. Many an Israeli want’s to see every last Gazan driven into the Mediterranean sea and beyond that wait for ” work” to begin on cleansing the West Bank” Pardon the bastardization of the language but ” It ain’t gonna’ happen.

          Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        While the remarks contained in your post were very eloquent the premise of them is to assume from the very beginning that there is an equivalence in the stated goals of the two sides of the argument. Palestinians have seen a century of a returning diaspora determined to disenfranchise them, Decades of violence by newly converted Nationalistic Zionists who hijacked Herzl’s dream and returned with a vengeance. Hundreds of villages destroyed in the 20s and 30s with thousands of Palestinian deaths. Post independence, the unspoken policy of Lebensraum moved forward with renewed vigor as evidenced by the maps enclosed in the link supplied. So to think that the two ” peoples” had started from the same place and somehow diverged is not correct as Palestinians see this issue in a totally different light. It may be useful to recall the words of Ben Gurion himself that illustrate that the two state philosophies were never on an equal footing.

        “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” ( Some dispute this attribution to Benny )
        These maps should be self explanatory but they will never convince the Israeli nationalists who to this day want to ethnically cleanse the whole of the Gaza and then turn their efforts to the West Bank.

        http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/4maps.html

        Reply to Comment
    6. Richard

      “First, the current circumstances make opposition very difficult, on the surface. ”

      I heartily concur.

      Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        nsttnocontentcomment

        Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        “First, the current circumstances make opposition very difficult, on the surface.”

        (Trying to post the comment again)

        Mainly because of the circumstances _under_ the surface. Literally speaking.

        For those who can’t get a hint: I’m talking about the Beslan tunnels Hamas has spent so much cement digging.

        Reply to Comment
        • Craig Vale

          Cigar, There is no doubt whatsoever as to the threat these tunnels pose and the need exists for Israel to destroy them . The larger issue is the siege that accounts for the tunneling in the first place. I don’t deny for a minute that nefarious things go on below the earths surface over their but so to the very needs for living under siege, food, medicine, the commodities needed for basic sustenance. The issue of the omnipresent IDF in every spectrum of Gazan daily life is what needs to be addressed and the hollow claim of Israel having abandoned the Gaza 7 years ago is a cruel misinterpretation of what actually goes on in day to day life. From toilet paper to bandaids to cooking oil. All of it is controlled by Israeli whims and moods. Not much different actions than those who held their own uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto back in the day. Gazan’s fight for survival while Israeli’s fight for more land.
          I do enjoy your posts and the lack of name calling that is tempting for those of us on both sides of the issue. I have learned a great many things on this site and several preconceived notions I once held have either changed or have been moderated. Discussion is a good thing and I appreciate your thoughtful contributions to the conversation.

          Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            “The larger issue is the siege that accounts for the tunneling in the first place.”

            Well, if we’re putting things in context, then the even larger issue is the terrorist aggression that accounts for the blockade on Gaza in the first place. The blockade would never have been put if Hamas hadn’t been firing rockets on pre-1967 Israel right from the get-go (late 2005).

            “All of it is controlled by Israeli whims and moods.”

            Yep, whims and moods, nothing to do with Israel’s security needs. /sarc

            “Not much different actions than those who held their own uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto back in the day.”

            Nice, but it’s the Arabs who are in the role of the Nazis. To give just one example: Do you realize how much housing could have been built with all that cement and steel that went into the Beslan tunnels? What anti-Zionists fail to understand about Israel’s recent right-wing shift is that it stems from the belief, corroborated by evidence each day, that the Arabs in the Land of Israel wish to take away our state rather than set up a[nother] state of their own.

            “Gazan’s fight for survival while Israeli’s fight for more land.”

            The other way round.

            “Discussion is a good thing…”

            I disagree on that point. As far as I’m concerned, the justice of Zionism, of the idea of the Jewish State, is no more up for grabs than the right of Jews to exist as living, breathing human beings. I stand with my nation above all, and against anti-Zionism; I want anti-Zionism stamped out. Anti-Zionism is illegitimate, and it is the purpose of my comments to show why this is so.

            Reply to Comment
    7. Craig Vale

      I don’t have much of an issue with Zionism but I do believe that Herzl’s version of it was hijacked by nationalist zealots shortly after his early death. Centuries of vile persecution of Jews throughout the whole of Europe with the crescendo of the sordid “Dreyfus Affair” brought decades long ruminations of a Jewish nation to the fore and as I suspect you have read ” Der Judenstat” the die was cast. Subsequent to WWI you had the Balfour Declaration, the Paris Peace Agreements and the treasonous Sykes -Picot agreement that betrayed the very Arabs who helped topple the Ottoman Empire. So if you want to use the historical narrative to frame the Palestinian violence you should be fair and go back to the turn of the century when a rabid group amongst the returning diaspora initiated it. Burning olive groves, killing livestock burning Palestinians out of their homes and then terrorizing and murdering them. Today’s violence does not occur in a vacuum but if you listen solely to the rightists you could easily conclude that Israel is ALWAYS the victim and never the victimizer. So the siege and more importantly , what led to it need to be part of the conversation too and cannot be ignored as a matter of convenience or for reasons of a quick study.You only need to view the enclosed maps objectively to understand the Palestinian position. Israel’s version of president Madison’s ” Manifest Destiny” perhaps ?
      There is just reason for Palestinian desperation wouldn’t you think?

      http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/4maps.html

      Reply to Comment
    8. Craig Vale

      To quote you ” Arabs in the land of Israel”
      You’d get an argument on that from a lot of people and I would be one of them as the very creation of the state was fraught with the disenfranchisement of Arabs and Palestinians alike. The old yarn being that “they” had a chance for a two state solution as far back as 48′. There was next to nothing in the UN Res 181 for the Palestinins-Arabs. It was they who were forced to give up territory for the creation of the state. Even Ben Gurion said the following;

      “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
      The very battle that roars today is in direct repudiation of what you claim to be ” The Land of Israel”

      Reply to Comment
    9. CigarButNoNice

      “…but if you listen solely to the rightists you could easily conclude that Israel is ALWAYS the victim and never the victimizer.”

      I’m a right-winger and I don’t care about victimology and the victim calculus (how many victims per each side, a frequent topic here). The discussion about victims is a smokescreen; the real topic at hand is whether setting up a Jewish state on the Land of Israel in the first place was a just thing to do, a discussion taking us all the way back to 1882. One’s view in that regard will color his opinion on every topic of the Jewish–Arab Conflict (including the very naming of the conflict).

      Anti-Zionists maintain that Israel can do no right because it was born in Original Sin™. It is this “sin” that the anti-Zionists say cannot be “washed” by showing how good and progressive Israel is (hence all manner of “-washing” terms such as “pinkwashing”), which is why I leave this futile game and play a new one: I hold Zionism to be inherently just, as it constitutes the return of the oldest surviving indigenes of the Land of Israel, the Jews, to it, and consequently, anti-Zionism as inherently unjust, being the imperialist aggression against an indigenous self-determination movement.

      I do not defend Israel and Zionism; I attack anti-Zionism. The Jewish State is not on trial—its opponents are.

      Reply to Comment
    10. CigarButNoNice

      Craig,

      The Arab nation is not poor in land. In fact, the whole reason why this conflict was recast as “Israelis against the Palestinian nation,” with a brand new nation cooked up from scratch, was to conceal the injustice of the land-rich Arab nation objecting to the Jews having their one and only nation-state on their one and only piece of land in the world.

      Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        Obfuscating a bit are we? You seem to be quite comfortable lumping all Arabs into a single pile here. And again you mention ” Their” land. By what accounting do you come to that conclusion? Did the diaspora post a sign when they left centuries earlier saying ” Back in 10 minutes” In the 3,000 years prior, Jews were there for about 460 of them. For various reasons having been dispersed to the four corners of the earth. The very Kingdom as founded by David was built upon the land of Canaan that he subsequently stole by murdering everything and anything that moved. At the turn of the 20th century there were only about 116K Jews in the whole of Palestine. True dat !

        Reply to Comment
    11. ish yehudi

      through long conversations about what will it take to bring the Israeli left (and right for that matter) to believe in co-existence withe the palestinians- there’s one thing that stands out. It will be the image and presence of a large Palestinian non-violence movement (not confronting the army/ wall- but calling for Peace). The rooted sense amongst Israelis that there is no partner, no matter what we will offer has overcome the average Israeli. To work for peace, means proving that wrong.
      No matter the convincing arguments you can give, pressures from abroad (Jewish and otherwise), the lack of any faith in the Palestinians is crucial to empowering the peace camp in Israel. This is a big task, demanding visionary Palestinians who can engage a people under occupation and holding a conception of their enemy that only inspires more mis-trust. We Israelis need to point out in stronger (and more nuanced ways- because most of the left is so sure of itself it turns me off too) terms the steps the PA takes on behalf of security, and to understand the difference in how a Palestinian voice of peace looks vis a vis their street, to an Israeli.
      For the average Israeli- who feels under siege and who clearly recognizes that a two state solution could very well mean those same rockets falling on Ben Gurion etc and all the scary pictures that power the security narrative- you cannot right off their fear as entirely delusional. What can possibly reassure them? their cousins in chicago telling them its gonna be okay when the occupation is over? ;)
      But seeing Palestinians standing up for an end to the violence- from both sides- declaring to their leaders that violence won’t bring them forward, and having that message carried on the media and into israeli hearts… that will be something

      Reply to Comment
    12. Tomer

      The Israeli left?
      A small groups of losers, communists and self-haters that everyone else ignores.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Goldmarx

      “It will be the image and presence of a large Palestinian non-violence movement (not confronting the army/ wall- but calling for Peace). The rooted sense amongst Israelis that there is no partner, no matter what we will offer has overcome the average Israeli. To work for peace, means proving that wrong.”

      –> So why isn’t Abbas and the West Bank leadership good enough? What is the mental block preventing the average Israeli from seeing the plain truth over there?

      “For the average Israeli- who feels under siege and who clearly recognizes that a two state solution could very well mean those same rockets falling on Ben Gurion etc.”

      –> Well, that has been happening for the past three weeks WITHOUT a two-state solution. So the status quo means rockets aimed at airports.

      “you cannot right off their fear as entirely delusional. What can possibly reassure them?”

      –> If the US cuts off all aid to Israel, just watch how dovish the Israeli government gets to get back that aid, and it won’t matter what the average Israeli fears.

      Reply to Comment
      • ish yehudi

        first- hopefully we’ll see pressure on the gov’t to recognize Abbas and to empower him more. Livni and the centerists can and hopefully will push this- and even Bibi may shift- worth praying/ lobbying for. But it will take an outspoken statement by Abbas to really put the ball back in Israels face on this- like what he said in Saudia after the kidnapping.
        About the missiles- shooting from Aza is not the same as shooting from Budrus…the status quo decidedly does not include rockets from the West Bank- G-d help the Palestinians there if it ever would.

        Reply to Comment
        • Goldmarx

          Interesting response. I appreciate your respectful tone; such a pleasant contrast to the murder-inducing Likud trolls like Arb, JohnW and AVdim.

          Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “such a pleasant contrast to the murder-inducing Likud trolls like Arb, JohnW and AVdim.”

            Poor Goldie do you feel disrespected by me?

            I am sorry but I won’t apologise. I never apologise to people who wish me to be dead. Call it a weakness …

            You specifically said that you wish me to be dead. I am sure it wasn’t vindictiveness that made you say it. It was sheer ignorance and bloody mindedness.

            Not that you worry me. You are just another stupid little anonymous man who is brave on the internet. In real life you are probably very unassuming and insignificant and you are just trying to compensate …

            I do pity you but sorry, I cannot respect you.

            Reply to Comment
    14. Goldmarx

      You earned death threats after launching unprovoked personal invective against me.

      I have never asked you to respect me, just to remove yourself from this planet forthwith.

      Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        “You earned death threats after launching unprovoked personal invective against me.”

        Even if true, which it isn’t, because you were the one who started the personal invective against me, even then, death threats?

        You need a head shrink, Goldo. You need serious medical help. They might also help you distinguish reality from fiction.

        Reply to Comment
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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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Illustrations: Eran Mendel