Monday, December 29, 2008

Sane Voices from Israel

Lest my world readers think that all of Israel society is mad, I have decided to devote occasional posts to some voices of sanity. Today's turn is by Haaretz columnist and historian, Tom Segev. It was published yesterday (Sunday).

Trying to 'teach Hamas a lesson' is fundamentally wrong

Tom Segev

Channel 1 television broadcast an interesting mix on Saturday morning: Its correspondents reported from Sderot and Ashkelon, but the pictures on the screen were from the Gaza Strip. Thus the broadcast, albeit unintentionally, sent the right message: A child in Sderot is the same as a child in Gaza, and anyone who harms either is evil.

But the assault on Gaza does not first and foremost demand moral condemnation - it demands a few historical reminders. Both the justification given for it and the chosen targets are a replay of the same basic assumptions that have proven wrong time after time. Yet Israel still pulls them out of its hat again and again, in one war after another.

Israel is striking at the Palestinians to "teach them a lesson." That is a basic assumption that has accompanied the Zionist enterprise since its inception: We are the representatives of progress and enlightenment, sophisticated rationality and morality, while the Arabs are a primitive, violent rabble, ignorant children who must be educated and taught wisdom - via, of course, the carrot-and-stick method, just as the drover does with his donkey.

The bombing of Gaza is also supposed to "liquidate the Hamas regime," in line with another assumption that has accompanied the Zionist movement since its inception: that it is possible to impose a "moderate" leadership on the Palestinians, one that will abandon their national aspirations.

As a corollary, Israel has also always believed that causing suffering to Palestinian civilians would make them rebel against their national leaders. This assumption has proven wrong over and over.

All of Israel's wars have been based on yet another assumption that has been with us from the start: that we are only defending ourselves. "Half a million Israelis are under fire," screamed the banner headline of Sunday's Yedioth Ahronoth - just as if the Gaza Strip had not been subjected to a lengthy siege that destroyed an entire generation's chances of living lives worth living.

It is admittedly impossible to live with daily missile fire, even if virtually no place in the world today enjoys a situation of zero terror. But Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path. One can certainly attack it, and with Knesset elections in the offing, this attack might even produce some kind of cease-fire. But there is another historical truth worth recalling in this context: Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians.

Most dangerous of all is the cliche that there is no one to talk to. That has never been true. There are even ways to talk with Hamas, and Israel has something to offer the organization. Ending the siege of Gaza and allowing freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank could rehabilitate life in the Strip.

At the same time, it is worth dusting off the old plans prepared after the Six-Day War, under which thousands of families were to be relocated from Gaza to the West Bank. Those plans were never implemented because the West Bank was slated to be used for Jewish settlement. And that was the most damaging working assumption of all.    

1 comment:

Actuality, History said...

Tom Segev, unreliable, when his anti-Israel zeal overtakes his "facts"

When Netanyahu said in 2015, wrongly, that Hitler/Nazis didn't plan Jews extermination before Palestine's ex-mufti al-Husseini Hitler 1941 meeting, there was a barrage by leftysts going overboard.

Of course Hitler, Eichmann didn't need advice from Mufti. Of course, Nazis planned out extermination before and without the Mufti. Nevertheless, the Islamic Arab fascist leader tried to help, true too. Not to mention his bloody hands in 1941 Farhud massacre; preventing Bialystok children escaoe in 1943; leading Muslim SS divisions in Europe as well as Operation Atlas with the danger of poisoning hundreds of thousands, towards end of WW2.

One of those overboarders reactionists post Netanyahu's 2015 remark is/was Tom Segev (a new-historian "star"), who in his zeal to belittle Mufti's role went so far as adopting (holocaust denier) Issa Nakhleh's obsessive exaggeration of one single Zionist Mr. Y. Stern (seen even by early Zionisrs as most radical, most extremist) who tried to make an agreement, he mentioned him knowing fully well the Mufti was the undisputed leader of the Arab Muslim world and his anti Jewish motivation has never been disputed, yet, all throughout mentioning fringe guy Y. Stern in his article, Segev did not care to explain the 'saving Jews, via migration into Palestine' goal. So Sad.

Saving Jewish lives, (even by this one radical guy's plans) vs the Mufti's exact opposite. However you choose to present it.



Two Headaches In Search Of A Cure | The Jewish Press - | Jason Maoz | 4 Av 5767 – July 18, 2007 |
Tom Segev is one of Israel’s more distasteful post-Zionists, which is saying a lot, considering their generally unappetizing nature. His newest book, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East, is as one-sided and tendentious a work as one would expect from Segev, a columnist for Haaretz whose stock-in-trade is books blaming Israel and Zionism for every conceivable ill in the Middle East.

Will Israel Atone? - Israel National News
The Sulzbergers are the family that runs the New York Times. When covering Middle East events, they do so with such bias that one might think the victims of terror deserved their fate or that Israel carried out a military offensive without provocation. Meanwhile, Tom Segev is an Israeli historian who travels around the world defending Hamas and other Arab terrorists by comparing these murderers to Menachem Begin and Yitzchak Shamir, thus feeding into global anti-Semitism.