Friday, September 08, 2017

Gadi Taub and Israel's Left

Gadi Taub has been quite critical of left-wing opinions and policies, especially regarding the future of Judea and Samaria.  He is not an advocate of resettling these regions of the historic Jewish national home but rather he takes delight in pointing out and highlighting the lack of logic in the thinking of the Left here. The Jewish communities were considered dangerous to his brand of Zionism (see below*) but he realizes that the Left is even more muddled in its thinking on the issue as they don't make sense.

When Haaretz called on Israelis to listen to Abbas, he suggested they do

"to every word...[for] while the Palestinian leader's words of peace are not sharp or precise, his remarks about the holy right of return and the martyrs are surprisingly clear...[what] is not clear, sharp or precise is what Mahmoud Abbas means by “two states." For indeed, he is very careful to use the term “two states” but not “for two peoples.” Thus, he has no problem recognizing the “right of people to self-determination and freedom,” but not to recognize Israel as the state in which the Jewish people realizes its right to self-determination...Because the Jews are not a people in his eyes, the two states that Abbas refers to are a national Palestinian state and another state called Israel, to which “the refugees” will eventually "return.” There will thus be two states west of the Jordan river: one theirs and the other – also theirs...Britain should apologize to the Palestinians for the Balfour Declaration, Abbas said, and we all must recognize the “right of return” of (the descendants of) the refugees. “Our people will not leave behind the issue of the Nakba until all their legitimate national rights are recognized, without exception – and first and foremost, the right of return,” he declared.

Because we translate so little of the Palestinians' remarks, and so selectively, Hebrew readers are liable to mistakenly think that recognizing the “right of return” is a symbolic matter that can be solved after we agree to accept a limited number of “refugees.” However, this is definitely not what Abbas means. Indeed, he thinks he is not authorized to give up the “right” in the name of the “refugees.”

If we indeed begin to listen to Abbas, methodically and over time, we will discover that he is not preparing himself for any compromise. 

He's attacked 'Breaking the Silence' and 'B'tselem'.

Take a more recent example, these excerpts from an op-ed of his in Haaretz on August 24 which drew ire and anger:

As far as those making the human rights argument are concerned, the Palestinians can burn in hell as long as our hands remain spotless

You might think that the human rights argument would long ago have settled the debate about the occupation. The occupation is a human rights violation, a human rights violation is a grave injustice, and therefore Israel must leave the territories immediately, with or without an agreement, to put an end to this injustice. What could be simpler?

...[but] ending the occupation cannot be expected to lead to any improvement in the area of human rights. Just the opposite. The probable alternative – Hamas, or even the Palestinian Authority – would evidently be even worse for the Palestinians than Israeli military rule. So whoever wishes to make the case solely on the basis of human rights could easily end up substantiating the idea of perpetuating the occupation rather than ending it. 

...I’m familiar with the next step in the debate. But, they say to me, what the Palestinians do to the Palestinians is their business. If others end up committing even greater injustices, that doesn’t sanction the injustices we’re committing. We are responsible for our own actions, not for the actions of others, they say.

That’s all well and good. But if that’s their real motive, those who profess to care so much about human rights ought to stop selling us the lie that they care about the Palestinians, and cease propagating descriptions of suffering dripping with piety. They ought to just tell the truth straight out: They could care less how much the Palestinians suffer, and they have no qualms about letting Arabs be brutalized...The cleanliness of our hands and our consciences is all that matters, not what happens to the Palestinians...the concerns of these people are limited to themselves and their consciences. For them, politics is basically a form of therapy. It’s all about the self and not others, about the self-portrait reflected in the mirror, not about responsibility toward other human beings, not about reality. It’s a decorative ornament bestowed by a “clear” conscience...

...People who seek to cleanse their consciences at the expense of others’ suffering do not inspire respect. Especially when they adopt a pose of feeling sorry for those whom they’re quite prepared to sacrifice.

* From his New York Times op-ed in 2010:

The secular Zionist dream was fundamentally democratic...This dream is now seriously threatened by the religious settlers’ movement..their actions could spell the end of the Israel we have known.

Although religious settlers often describe themselves as heirs of the early Zionist pioneers, they are anything but. Herzl’s vision was about liberating people, while theirs is about achieving a mystical reunion between the people of Israel and the land of Israel...If the settlers achieve their manifest goal — making Israel’s hold on the territories permanent — it will mean the de facto annexation of a huge Arab population and will force a decision about their status...This would void the very idea of a Jewish democratic state.

Israel would have to choose between remaining democratic but not Jewish, or remaining Jewish by becoming non-democratic. 

...the status quo cannot last — and Israelis and their supporters need to confront this fact. The most pressing problem with the settlements is not that they are obstacles to a final peace accord, which is how settlement critics have often framed the issue. The danger is that they will doom Zionism itself.
...Terrorism is a hazard, but it cannot destroy Herzl’s Zionist vision. More settlements and continued occupation can.

Of course, if his numbers are off, his own theory falls apart.

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