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Do the World’s Double Standards Absolve Israel?

Zionism and the coming age of isolation

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An Israeli settler walks in the E1 settlement area of the West Bank.(Getty)

Over the weekend, Israeli police and troops evacuated 100 Palestinian protesters from a warren of tents that had amassed in the E-1 section of the West Bank. The act, sanctioned by the High Court of Israel, was done in a tidy hour with no arrests made and no major injuries reported (other than by sources that would have reported injuries had the IDF and protestors played shesh-besh together).

The evacuation of non-violent protestors from privately owned Palestinian land will probably not go down in the annals of model democratic behavior, but the alternative–having a symbolic center of (potentially volatile) protest burgeon in a highly controversial area–was understandably better.

Meanwhile, consider that yesterday in Aleppo, the first day of exams at a university was interrupted by either a shelling or bombing, presumably by the Assad regime, an act that killed about 90 people and garnered not even a hint of notice. Or that last week the greatest hits of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi surfaced in translation without hardly a peep of condemnation–though had Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Muslims or Arabs the “descendant of apes and pigs,” which is what Morsi called the Jews, violent, earth-rattling protests would have erupted across the globe.

Put all this in a cauldron with criticism of the Israeli candidates in the upcoming election: Apparently not only does an illiberal democracy no longer qualify as a democracy, but many people have misplaced the memo about the parliaments of Europe not exactly being stocked with tolerant leaders with reasonable ideas. (And some forget the huge portion of the world without ballots to cast.)

Nevertheless, with the tent city now cleared of protestors, the E-1 plan still looms, contentious as ever. Is it more of a stumbling block to peace than Palestinian rejectionism or the Second Intifada or two Gaza wars prompted by Hamas rocket fire? Of course not.

The rub is that we still have to pay attention to it. It’s too easy to obsess over the double standard that Israel faces at the expense of valid criticism; it’s too easy to say that a Palestinian state is still contiguous even if Israel settles that particular stretch of land. It’s also too easy to say that the demographic problem really isn’t a problem when the present and future cost of hanging onto the West Bank is eroding (and will continue to erode) Israel internally and externally.

The stakes are starting to seem higher than ever. The United Nations has basically stamped a colophon on a Palestinian state. The European Union–of all good arbiters–may put forth a peace proposal, which a decade ago might not have seemed a bad thing, but given the climate today, seems like a bad augur. Palestinian leaders have all but said that their next aim to isolate Israel. Even President Obama, who (I’m still pretty convinced) is highly supportive of and committed to Israel, is reported to have said, in light of the E-1 plan, that Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.

This is about more than one clumsy settlement plan. While the successful isolation of Israel would enfeeble the country economically and lessen the military advantage necessary to its survival, Israel needs to be twice as good–not because of European eyes–but for Jewish eyes and the future of Zionism, which was born out of the desire to live and lead independently in a Jewish nation. The alternative is to lessen our aspirations, which is a symptom of the powerlessness that Zionism sought to eradicate.

Israeli Police Evict Palestinian Protestors from E1 [NYT]
Syrian Army on Offensive in Aleppo After University Blast [Reuters]
Morsi: No Peace With Descendants of Apes and Pigs [JPost]
EU ‘to propose’ peace plan after Israel vote [AFP]
Palestinians Aim to Isolate Israel With New Steps [YNet]

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julis123 says:

You might have had a case but the evacuation from Gaza contradicts all your points. We were reassured that it would make us much more popular in the world and that it would improve our security. We were told that if the unimaginable happened and the Gazans fired rockets at us we could react militarily and the world would understand. All that has happened since the withdrawal is the opposite of all the above reassurances and predictions. It doesn’t matter what we do, the Pals and the world will never be satisfied. We have to do what is good for us.

As for hypocrisy, the lack of reaction to French invasion of Mali to stop the Jihadi’s at “Europe’s doorstep” (hundreds of miles from Europe) while we are are condemned for fighting Jihadis on our border is my current favorite.

ginzy1 says:

For a far less delusional analysis of Goldberg’s report of the Obamanoids’ ignorant and condescending attitude toward the Israeli electorate see here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/01/16/from-obamas-lips-no-respect-for-israel/

Memo to AC: Your blind worship of Obama is pitiful. Lee Smith demonstrably (here: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/121659/a-far-right-israeli-electorate) has a far better grasp of the Israeli electorate and what are Israeli interests than Obama or his familiars or his fawning and servile mouthpiece to the American Jewish community Jeffrey Goldberg.

I suggest that you read Daniel Gordis’ recent piece in the Jeruslaem Post on why the Israeli electorate has rejected the stand progressobabbelian pap on the “peace” process: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=299130

Also, can we demand that YOU be twice as good as anyone else, as WE define what constitutes twice as good?

hg

J’lem / Efrata

genelevit says:

Despite of the fact that over the years we did something good for the world “the world” saw only the bad things (commerce – we were too greedy and made a lot of people poor; international trade – we were the major contributors to the trafficking of black slaves; civil liberties – we promoted pornography and took control over the media, science – we spread out liberalism, zionism, communism … – it depends on the preferences of the specific part of “the world” which at the moment blames us, but together they all always blame us for something). Over thousands of years we should finally realize that “the world” does not care about us, it cares only about itself and if we are on its way because we are different we always will be blamed. To be good to the world we must stop care about ourselves and start to care only about “the world”. And even then we still will be blamed because “the world” is not a homogeneous body, it consists of many different “worlds” each one with its own preferences.

msieger says:

Mr. Chandler,

Maybe I’m misreading your second paragraph, but did you mean to say that the alternative (which you state may have led to violence), was “understandably better?” Or did you mean to say that the alternative would have been a lot worse?

pkbrandon says:

Israel continues to demonstrate to the Palestinians that peaceful action on their part has no future. One way or another, and sooner or later, Israel will be swamped.

Dave4321 says:

“privately owned Palestinian land” Do you have any proof of this?

abunudnik says:

Eminent domain law authorizes the expropriation of land to build subways and highways, for God’s sake. In New London, it authorized it to build a mall to rise the tax base. How these issues aren’t necessary in the national interest is head-scratching for me. OK, maybe we should have voted for Jesus and not Barabbas but that’s blood under the bridge. It’s bad enough Anti-Semites used this against us, please, let’s not cut our own throats, ok?

gornisht says:

Look, even if Israel did not exist, Jews still would have a bull’s eye on their back! Case in point, the 2nd world war, lest we forget. The image that most nations have of the Jew, is, being a whimp. Since the new Israel was born, the Jew has a new image which most cannot comprehend. No longer do we have to turn the other cheek.

Israel has to do what is good for Israel. if this bothers other nations, so be it.
If your wearing spurs, do not squat!

brynababy says:

What peaceful action have we ever seen from the Pals…. this brief occupation of E1m with rocks and stones thrown at Israeli authorities? Puleeeeze!

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Do the World’s Double Standards Absolve Israel?

Zionism and the coming age of isolation

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