Two important voices for peace have come out openly in support of an imposed solution to the conflict: Uri Avnery and Professor Ze’ev Shternhal. Their logic is that such a development, an imposed peace, is preferable to another war. However, this kind of argumentation has a number of serious drawbacks.
Firstly, the fact that peace must be imposed enables the diehard warmongers to claim that they are acting on the basis of democratic principles and that they enjoy the support of the people.
Secondly, public opinion in Israel may be faced in the wrong direction, but this is in large part due to the fact that the United States has been in the past and is still locked into an unholy alliance with the leaders of Israel. Public opinion forms its “rational mistakes” on the basis of the assumption that Obama and Washington are really not serious about changing their policies.
There is no reason to impose peace – to force Israel to adopt policies unacceptable to the majority of its citizens. The shoe is really on the other foot. It is incumbent on Obama to announce and put into action US policies for peace and against war in the region. He and the US administration remain responsible to this very day for the disorientation of the Israel public and the various addictions developed by the Israeli body politic. Instead of demanding the imposition of peace, let us suggest with all due respect that Washington impose on itself policies for peace. There is no cause for the use of force. If Obama and the U.S. conduct a clear, unequivocal policy on behalf of peace, the majority of the people of Israel will shed their illusions at record speed. In those circumstances, there will be know need to bypass democratic process and only a small minority of Israelis would opt for a Wissotzky tea party. All this is a bit academic, but in fact and in theory if peace is given a fair chance, peace will be the option of choice.
How Will We Know if Obama is Serious?
The hot political topic at social meetings over the Passover holiday is whether or not Obama is really going to wean Israel away from its addictions to annexation and aggression. I would not bet on it, but for assistance to friends I have worked out a few criteria to help them follow events. Not in order of their importance,
(1)Something will be really happening when Hilary Clinton calls in Dennis Ross and suggest that, instead of being on at least two payrolls, Dennis Ross starts getting his salary paid openly and directly from AIPAC.
(2) Something will be really happening when Barack Obama mentions the danger of Iranian and Israeli nuclear weapons in one sentence.
(3) Something will be really happening when the US Ambassador in Israel will enquire regarding Marwan Bargouti’s conditions of imprisonment and request a meeting with him.
(4) Something will be happening when Mitchell refuses to come to Israel without a guarantee that he will not receive the Biden treatment for the nth time.
(5) When Obama speaks to an “AAPAC – Arab-American Palestinian Action Committee” and promises that his commitment to Palestinian rights and security is eternal and rock solid.
(6) When the shipments of the “you know what thigamajigs” start falling behind schedule.
(7) When the four members of the Quartet ask each other if any one knows exactly what Tony Blair has been doing in the ME.
(8) When the settlements are classified as terrorist bases and Lieberman is classified as a terrorist agent by the US State Department.
(9) When the US State Department orders its people at the UN to at least read the draft proposals before vetoing them.
Local Boy Makes Good?
We should be able to congratulate Avishai Margalit as a perfect example of a local boy who made good in the tough competition of the academic world. Presently holding a chair at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, Margalit is slated to receive an Israeli Prize within the approaching Independence Day festivities. He seems to have earned this prize by a slavish conformism to the mainstream of Israeli policies of aggression and annexation.
He has known better days and at one stage of his career was involved in an attempt to create a left-wing substitute for MAPAM, the then major force in Left Zionism. In and around Peace Now, Margalit would raise his voice now and then in the eighties against some of the most nauseating events in Israel’s descent to legalized barbarism.
Margalit was too busy gathering academic laurels to come out either against the Second Lebanon War or Operation Cast Lead. He was involved together Michel Walzer in a strange and obscure exchange of letters (New York Review of Books) in which he criticized the position of the IDF official philosopher, Asa Kasher, on some peripheral matter. Margalit and Walzer both “forgot” to take a position against the war. But they saw it important to challenge the IDF practice of totally disregarding the lives of Palestinian civilians in circumstances which may lead to IDF casualties. Interesting, but what about the character of the war? Margalit, in close association with Walzer, a presumed “expert” on “Just Wars” never came out against the Israeli operation.
Another sad aspect of the Israel establishment laureate’s role is the fact that his field is Moral Philosophy and he specializes, of all things, in Political Philosophy. There is no reason to spend too much time and effort to relate to Margalit’s work. My impression is that it is a repetition of barely warmed up liberal gruel, being specially re-cooked this time to ride the recent wave of Fascism = Communism and Hitler =Stalin school of historical distortion