The very people the Left categorically rejects — Mizrahim and settlers — are exactly whom they need to make peace.
By Avi Dabush
Three weeks ago, I attended the Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, standing among the “peace camp” and meeting many people whom I love and value. They are committed, devoted, and get out of the house to actually protest and work toward peace.
As I was listening to the speeches, I thought of a poem by Roy Hasan that ends in the line “They’ll never make peace, because if there’ll be peace, all the arsim will come.” And I thought to myself that the reverse is also true — that all the arsim need to be here in order for there to be peace.
I don’t doubt that all those who filled Rabin Square that night want peace. But the rally, and all the other actions taken by the white-liberal camp, aren’t exactly bringing an end to the occupation and a solution to the conflict. They don’t amount to an effective political plan. It’s been 50 years, and they still haven’t generated enough political energy to significantly alter the status quo. On the contrary — among certain groups, the current discourse around peace simply reaffirms the longstanding hegemony and position of the elite. People talk about peace in order to feel superior, which is the exact opposite of effective political action.
Fixing this has to start with Mizrahim. It’s precisely the boogeymen of the Left who represent the sole chance for peace, and there will be no success without the full participation of the very people the Left categorically rejects. And that begins with Mizrahim and Arabs, without whom the Oslo process would not have taken place. Whenever I’m asked who has inspired my political outlook, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is one of the first people I mention. His ruling backing peace with Egypt, and nudging the ultra-Orthodox Shas party to allow the Oslo peace process to proceed, was critical to building a political alliance that could bring about change.
As for Arab citizens of Israel — talk to them, in depth, about the frustration of being caught between their national commitments as Palestinians and their Israeli civic commitments. They are neither an annex nor a bridge. They have their own voice, which is renewed with each generation....Read More