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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bibi Comes Out of the Closet

Bibi came out of the closet as an extreme chauvinist nationalist the other day. In a way it settles things. The pretense is gone that Israel is committed to a "Two State Solution." This means that Israel as it is known now is fated to be gone, one way or another. But in the short time it's great for Bibi's political career. He no longer needs to pretend to be dealing with Arab leaders in the West Bank. And now they can join forces with Hamas and launch even more rockets! Win/win for the arms manufacturers who fund both sides!

I admit I was rooting for Herzog. I've never been a Bibi Fan. I spotted him as a hypocritical, two faced Poseur years ago, back when he was still one of Ariel Sharon's deputies and Ariel Sharon was doing the same two faced provocative tricky things.

My wife, however, was a Bibi fan, though we had some nice discussions on the subject and we were able to disagree nicely. But I think even she would be angered by what he did this past week, were she still around, because what dominated her life was a sense of fairness and a concomitant commitment to multiculturalism and fairness. She worked with the USA Kulanu groups which sought justice for ancient and excluded minority groups around the world like the Ethiopian Jews, the Lemba, and crypto Jews scattered and oppressed by the Inquisition and both Christian and Muslim repression for centuries. She could see parallels between the Jewish Diaspora, the Irish, Black and yes the Palestinian diaspora. She was even more able to understand the people in the Palestinian diaspora than I was. My wife was for people working together to understand one another. I know she understood what is happening. But I also know she wouldn't have approved.

Injustice and Diaspora

When injustice is done, grudges can last for centuries. There are still people whose ancestors lived in Spain whose descendents have a grudge against Ferdinand and Isabella. It's not that they didn't move on. It's that what occurred was a massive injustice. And injustice is like a psychic wound that never heals until it is either rectified, or time buries it under other injustices. Yesterday's post involved a song that expressed the longing of people who'd lost their homes 500 years ago. To expect people to just "forget" and move on is callous. Adio Kerida []

This is true whether one is talking about Slavery, Jewish Diaspora, Armenian Diaspora, or yes, the Palestinian Diaspora. Yes, with opportunity and access to resources people will move on. But that doesn't mitigate the injustice of neighbors and former friends who tried to kill them or said "just go." Israel has a right to exist because Jews have a right to live somewhere where authorities can't tell them to "just pack up and go." Sadly, Bibi has just made that future harder to attain.

Many Jews like my wife understand this because their relatives experienced it in Europe. My late friend Malvina Burstein experienced this twice. Once when the Nazis came. A second time when she tried to return to her home in Slovakia and the family that had occupied it refused her a return to the neighborhood her family had lived in for centuries. My other holocaust survivor friends all experienced the anti-semitism of local people who, even if they didn't approve of Hitler's "final solution" only wished it had been more final.

The conflict between the principles of civitas and tribal identity can only be resolved with a strong legal and social sense of fair play. Our world is suffering with the consequences of many injustices, and if we want this world to be a better place we have to set them right -- and also stop rewarding the unjust authoritarian predators among us. Until we wake up to the injustices of the past and set them right, the wheel of injustice will just keep turning. The aggrieved feel justified in committing their own crimes. As we've seen with Al Qaeda and ISIL, they will do their best to get revenge. We don't need revenge, we need justice.

Ending the Palestinian Diaspora

The Chauvinistic, prejudiced extreme nationalism that is emerging right now is bad for Israel and threatens Israel's future. With the deliberate help of the Arab nations, Israel and the Arabs decided to create a diaspora of the (more or less) indigenous people of Palestine, and to oppress others of them as prisoners in their own enclaves. To expect them to "just move on" without help is callous and barbarous. And the world is moving on to where a country can't get away, long term, with the sorts of things that my Holocaust survivor friends experienced in Europe before migrating to the USA or Israel.

Israel is going to have to change. When they claimed they supported a "two state solution" that reflected their knowledge that eventually they'd have to admit that most of them were the immigrants and that the people already there had a right to be there too.

Bibi disavowing a two state solution means that Israel as a Jewish State is going to have to end. One way or another. It can't keep fencing out families that used to live there while begging Jews from around the world to move in. Israel can't keep doing that forever. Bibi's decision means open Apartheid. It also means that the "West Bank" can no longer be labeled as "occupied territory" and it's people treated as prisoners there under that fiction. They are going to have to be admitted as Citizens of an actual State. Same with Gaza. Fences only last so long. One can never kill everybody. And Apartheid is a waste of time. Sooner or later Israelis are going to have to mend fences with Arab speaking Palestinians, or the country will collapse and all those weapons be scattered among fighting warlords, and maybe even used against Jews. Worse, one mistake and huge swaths of Israel will be unlive-able. Netanyahu may think that Iran with the bomb is bad. But events at Chernobyl and Fukushima have demonstrated that reactor complexes are possible bombs too. Dimona is more dangerous to Israel than her neighbors. Heaven Forbid anything happens there!

Guaranteeing the Collapse of Israel as a Jewish State

A two state solution wasn't going to work anyway, so maybe Bibi is just doing the world a favor. An Israel with it's capital in Jerusalem is Israel. Calling the capital after the Roman name is a continuing affront to historical justice. But now that capital is going to have to admit that the people of the West Bank and Gaza have rights too. Conflict is expensive. Those walls cost money. Wealth going to guns, gunships, helicopters and drones is wealth not spent on food and water. People see what is being done to fellow human beings and they stop trading with, buying from, selling to people. It looks bad. It smells bad. It hurts. Apartheid will collapse the Israeli State before they could ever be defeated by Palestinians or bombed by Iranians. If they started engaging in actual genocide that would just lead to their own genocide. So one way or another Palestinians will have to be accorded the same rights as Jews. And one way or another rule of law will have to replace rule of Jihadi nutcases and angry young men. And for that to happen justice will have to be dispensed. Some Folks will have to be helped "move on" and folks will have to apologize and let other folks move in. But it has to be through a Just practice or the death toll will be unconscionable.

One Voice versus Apartheid

I think the movement "One Voice" and Obama will have the last word. I'm not optimistic anymore, but I am certain that one way or another there will be peace. If It were me, I'd redivide Israel into Cantons subdivided into departments and municipalities and give each considerable self government, but that's just me with my principles of subsidiarity and bottom up legislation and independent courts. Israel needs enforceable constitutional protections for both Jews, Christians and Muslims. And Israel owes people it's hurt some restitution for taking their property and some kind of earned amnesty for the two sides atrocities. The Palestinians haven't been exactly saints either. All that is going to take a younger generation and folks a little more immune to false propaganda. But my Wife's spirit would make the difference. She was proud of her uncle who fought against the Egyptian Army and died defending a Kibbutz in the Negev in '48. But she also was someone who wanted justice for everyone.

The last time we visited Israel we visited the Cemetery next to the Israeli Holocaust Museum. There was a marker for her Uncle. We can have two kinds of peace. One is the Cemetery.

Further Reading:
One Voice:
Miko Peleg:
J Street:
"J Street said that the manner in which the Prime Minister secured his victory – shredding the broad bipartisanship that underpins American political support for Israel and preying on fear and racism at home – demonstrated that he willingly put his own political interests before his concern for Israel’s relationship with the United States and his commitment to Israel’s democratic character. Moving forward, J Street will be unwavering in making the case that Israel’s security and survival as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people require a change in course."
Marwan Bishara, Moderate Arab reaction:
Centrist and Palestinian reaction:
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also took aim at Netanyahu’s pre-election rhetoric, saying the prime minister’s reversal of his previous support for the creation of a Palestinian state was 'very worrisome.'” []

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