Israel is a democracy with a large Jewish majority. Since 1967, and the three ‘Nos’ at the Arab Summit in Khartoum, Israel has been trying to navigate a geo-political nightmare. On the one hand, it would very much like to build bridges with all its neighbours, on the other it faces a hostile Arab population that is unable to come to terms with Israel’s existence. Several of Israel’s leaders have tried, and failed, to find a peaceful solution. Every time there appeared to be a serious opportunity, violence erupted from the Arab side to close the imaginary window.
The truth remains that the population in Gaza and Ramallah are only a united people in the context of an anti-Zionist conflict. Outside of this paradigm, they are warring factions with little connecting them beyond a fable of a once prosperous nation, a picture of Yasser Arafat, a national history that is little more than a web of lies and conspiracy, and finally, a roll call of heroes who were nothing but terrorists. This should not be misunderstood. It is not to say that underneath the mess that those calling themselves Palestinians have become, there aren’t human beings who have gone through tragedy, but simply to highlight that the choices that Arab nations and local leaders have made for them, the education that they have been given, has rendered them incapable of providing a unified coherent argument for anything but a conflict with Zionism.
It can be deceptive. Walk through the streets of Ramallah and you will meet the friendliest, most hospitable people you would ever hope to meet. Lend them your ear, and you will hear little but a rendition of the web of lies and conspiracy. Hold their hand and they will lead you through the carefully selected hotspots such as a tiny corner of Hebron, pointing out as they go, why it shows that their version of events is true. They will talk of justice, suggesting that if they can receive it, then everyone will live in peace. This tale, coming as it does from the underdog, spins a story that is swallowed wholesale throughout the west.
Truths, lies and demographics
It is this disparity, that creates two incompatible narratives. The true tale – of an Israel that cannot find a partner for peace because one does not exist, and the falsehood – that if Israel were just nicer, then peace would come. Inside this stalemate, Israel has struggled to come to terms with the geo-political consequences. How can Israel finalise its borders without anyone to finalise those borders with?
Complicating this further is the changing demographic in the west. Once upon a time only the Arab states had to worry about popular uprising if Israel made a unilateral move. This is no longer the case. Throughout Europe, politicians become nervous whenever Israel takes any action, however justified. European leaders are scared of their own streets. It does not even matter if they understand Israel’s position, they want Israel to refrain from doing anything that will unsettle their own European Muslim and Arab populations.
The Trump Peace plan and the ‘annexation’
Like it or not, unlike the Oslo peace process, Trump’s plan was born inside reality. At its heart is an acknowledgement that unilateral action may be the only way to move things forward. Outside of corrupt Palestinian leaders, violent terrorist factions and the regional despotic states, nobody wants the current stalemate to continue . Israel certainly does not want to be perpetually caught in this trap and if the Arabs will not negotiate for peace, then Israel should logically seek to move forward as far as it can without them.
Attention turns to those areas that were always going to remain in Israel in any given peace deal, the key settlement blocks. And as an additional means of bringing permanence to its own borders, the area of the Jordan Valley. It may be true that for a short while Israel had contemplated a more power-sharing arrangement along the Jordanian border, but that was only in the desperate atmosphere of the failing Oslo process. Once Israel finally realised that the Palestinians were not capable of bringing peace at all – at least not in this generation, then security demands meant Israel needed to control the border for itself. No sane nation would have it any other way.
Making this even less of a news story, the specific lands Israel may assert its sovereignty over, are lands that were included in the internationally sanctioned maps of the Jewish homeland a hundred years ago. That is, shortly before Britain cut off more than half of it to create Trans-Jordan from the lands of mandatory ‘Palestine’. These lands are Jewish lands and whether it is politically incorrect to point it out or not, there is already an independent Arab state that was created from the Palestine Mandate. Jordan is factually a state with a Palestinian majority built from ‘the lands of the Palestine Mandate’. This does not mean those in Ramallah and Gaza can or should be discounted but let us not dismiss the truth of the Palestinian state of Jordan simply because it is awkward. A statement of fact is not in itself an extremist position.
Israel is both aware of the necessity of its own actions and the potential fall-out. No doubt it is receiving calls from worried politicians in the west every day telling it not to do anything that will create unrest. Right and wrong does not enter the equation. This is a case of western leaders simply denying the truth and willing to let Israel suffer in perpetual conflict, just so they themselves are not placed in political discomfort. An act of white privilege and cowardice. What has made this even more frustrating in the UK is the naive and yellow-bellied response from some quarters of British Jewry.
The British Jewish naivety
Parts of British Jewry seems to be lost. In their minds Israel acting as a sovereign state apparently threatens ‘British Zionism’ but yet somehow their own children saying Kaddish prayers for Hamas terrorists apparently does not.
These people want to be able to show off Israel to their friends and talk about how innovative the Jewish state is. This is real Jewish supremacy – the notion that Israel cannot be a real state like any other, but rather a fictional Narnia that is better than everyone else. The Oslo paradigm was perfect for these groups. A negotiated settlement between Jews and Arabs that would allow them to hold their heads up high and they remain loathe to relinquish this comfort however unreal it may be. For them, they would rather Israel would continue to take risks and even more risks. Stagnation becomes a better alternative than unilateralism because it permits them to continue to live with a personal sense of pride that is nothing but foolish self-indulgence based on false naivety.
It is not that they do not care, of course they do, but they are lost in the post-modern, European, politically correct atmosphere. A paradigm that equates cultures and goes on to reason that everyone has the same inherent values as they do. To make peace with the Palestinians, you just have to reach them by treating them as equals. If peace is not happening, it is therefore because Israel is not trying hard enough to make it happen.
There is also guilt. These people have swallowed the anti-Israel propaganda. Their position on the political spectrum highlights how much of that propaganda has been swallowed. Groups on the hard-left have fallen off the Zionist spectrum completely, but those on the soft-left are ‘Zionist conditional’. For decades their wishy-washy Jewish education has failed to hold onto their children. A tragedy for Jewish families that have put their trust in these institutions. The soft-left willingly hold the hand of the Palestinians in Ramallah and allow themselves to be taken on those tours to show how nasty Israel is. Many of these people have far more sympathy for Palestinian terrorists, than they do the Jewish orthodox.
They have painted themselves into a corner. Israel can only be a Zionist state if it is perfect and as they have so totally purchased the fable of the Palestinian ‘Nakba’, they believe Israel should act as if it is in a permanent state of apologetic generosity. Whilst they can sleep soundly as Israel’s children sit in bomb shelters, it is the possibility of having Israel embarrass them in front of their friends that keeps them up at night. Whatever this is, it isn’t Zionism.
The Diaspora response to annexation
The result has been a stream of indignant public letters, that the Jewish press have happily published, that all talk about doomsday – this thing they call annexation. Anyone reading the letters and taking the content seriously may as well be reading anti-Israel propaganda rags such as ‘Electronic Intifada’. They are full of untruths, exaggerations and misinformation.
The starting point is this. If Israel does assert sovereignty over some of the areas it was going to receive had a peace deal been negotiated, it clearly does not stop the possibility of a Palestinian state one day being created. It therefore does not in itself end the two-state solution. As nobody yet knows what, if any action will be taken, everything else in the letters is hysterical bunkum.
Much of the noise is just internal political posturing. The Board of Deputies is under attack from the noisy left and these events provide groups such as Yachad, a chance to recruit on the back of anti-Israel hysteria. Marie Van der Zyl, President of the BOD, has taken the brave and correct decision to stand up to the bullies. It is clearly not in the interests of the BOD to crumble before a bunch of spoilt children throwing their toys out of their pram. If Kaddish for Hamas didn’t bother these kids – in fact some of them participated in it – I think Israel can do without their ethical guidance.
The silence of the Board of Deputies
The BOD, whatever you personally think of Israel’s political activity, should not have their voice taken over by a group of agitators. These people claim majority status on lies and distortion. We are wise to how the left operate these days and they are not the majority. They put forward deceptive statements such as ‘opposition to settlements’ – which includes many Jerusalem suburbs – and then pretend they are talking about extremists.
These people are an active few. They clearly discount the opinion of the orthodox for example, but we have already established that they have more sympathy for Palestinian terrorists than they do Jewish orthodoxy. Interestingly, they also dismiss the British Israelis, staunch Zionists who have made Aliyah, (which means an ever weaker pot is left behind) – does their opinion not count? If not – and we maintain that British Jews who have not made aliyah can interfere in Israeli politics – then hypocrisy doesn’t even begin to cover it.
For decades these leftist groups and Israel have been on diverging paths. Israel is a nation of the Middle East, in the Middle East, whilst they are residents of places such as Hendon or Finchley. Israel is a real state – they want a utopian one. Israelis go to the army, they go on misguided interfaith exercises.
They demand everyone do what they want them to do. If not, then they won’t love Israel anymore. Oh please. I wish they’d just grow up or shut up.
This simple fact remains. Israel is a democracy. If you want to influence its future. Make aliyah.
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