August 6, 2006

Worse Than a Crime, a Mistake

Marc Cooper touts a piece published at the website of Ha'aretz (the Land), an Israeli paper, written by one Daniel Levy, apparently a lefty involved with both Oslo and the recent private Geneva initiative.

Levy wants Israel to break with US policy, which he sees dominated by "neoconservatives" and the Christian right:
It is admittedly difficult for Israel to have a regional strategy that is out-of-step with the U.S. administration-of-the-day. However, the neocon approach is not unchallenged, and Israel should not be providing its ticket back to the ascendancy. A U.S. return to proactive diplomacy, realism and multilateralism, with sustained and hard engagement that delivers concrete progress, would best serve its own, Israeli and regional interests. Israel should encourage this. Israel may even have to lead, for instance, in rethinking policy on Hamas or Syria, and should certainly work intensely with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in encouraging his efforts to reach a Palestinian national understanding as a basis for stable governance, security quiet and future peace negotiations. A policy that comes with a Jerusalem kosher stamp of approval might be viewed as less of an abomination in Washington.

Beyond that, Israel and its friends in the United States should seriously reconsider their alliances not only with the neocons, but also with the Christian Right. The largest "pro-Israel" lobby day during this crisis was mobilized by Pastor John Hagee and his Christians United For Israel, a believer in Armageddon with all its implications for a rather particular end to the Jewish story. This is just asking to become the mother of all dumb, self-defeating and morally abhorrent alliances.

Internationalist Republicans, Democrats and mainstream Israelis must construct an alternative narrative to the neocon nightmare, identifying shared interests in a policy that reestablishes American leadership, respect and credibility in the region by facilitating security and stability, pursuing conflict resolution and promoting the conditions for more open societies (as opposed to narrow election-worship).
My reaction is that the Levy piece seems a hash of wishful thinking and clichés, the sad residue left after Israel’s early social democracy has undergone several half-lives of decay.

Although it's true that successive Israeli governments have been doing their best to undermine the Palestinian interlocutor, but it's doubtful that since Oslo there ever was one to begin with who had both the power and the inclination to carry out a settlement.

Israel’s recent policy is worse than a crime, it’s a mistake. To sacrifice so much in lives and treasure (on both sides) and reputation without changing the equation, is truly terrible. Mobilizing only 5% of the army, relying upon air power against guerrillas out of fear of casualities, speaking loudly and carrying a twig, and then signing on to an international force, shows astonishing ineptitude.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
The region, I fear, will for a time be “bound in shallows and in miseries.” And then the millenialist Ahmadinejad, who unlike John Hagee, is armed, gets the Bomb . . .

No comments: