Battlepanda: The dangerous purist


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The dangerous purist

"One of the most difficult things in life is to draw the line between friend and foe," so quoth Caroline Glick in her column in the Jerusalem post. But one has a feeling that Ms. Glick have risen above this difficulty quite neatly by designating everyone who does not adopt a purely pro-Israel point of view as "foe."

Last week in Mecca, the Fatah terror group, which mixes the murder of Israelis with negotiations with Israelis, officially joined forces with the Hamas terror group, which murders Israelis while refusing to negotiate with us.

Although the agreement makes it clear that both are at war with Israel, on Sunday the Olmert government decided to reserve judgment on the terror unity deal. And Monday morning Vice Premier Shimon Peres warned that saying bad things about the Mecca deal would only weaken Fatah terror boss Mahmoud Abbas, whom we should strengthen because he likes to negotiate while killing.

Given how hard it is for Israel to identify its Arab foes, it is little wonder that identifying Jewish foes is a near-Herculean task.

Terrorism is everywhere to be deplored, but so is occupation. Trying to discredit your opponent for practicing the one is kind of rich when your side is practicing the other.

I found The Wind that Shakes the Barley a tad too didactic and simplistic a film for its own good, but it does present a vivid depiction of the dignity-wrecking misery of living under occupation. We are often reminded that the Israeli people are living under a constant threat of attack, that the cafe visits and bus rides we take for granted are life and death gambles for them. We are asked to empathize with them and understand how such constant fear and torment leads to extreme measures. To be honest, I've never felt the power of such appeals because it's always been so obvious to me that the prospect of living under a hostile authority is worse.

In response to Glick's column, Alon Levy had this to say:
The real danger here is of course not about relatively insignificant writers on partisan papers. Rather, it’s that governments will heed those writers’ requirements and stop negotiating. As Rabin and Peres emphasized time and time again in the wake of the Oslo Accords, peace is something you make with enemies. At the time, the Hamas bombings seemed to belie that saying; now that Palestinians are ready to move on and Fatah is no longer pro-terror, it makes perfect sense.

A pro-Palestinian purist would see Rabin as an oppressor. Why wouldn’t he? During the first Intifada, Rabin didn’t pledge support for the Palestinians, but rather said that the IDF should “Break their arms and legs” (variant quote: “break their bones”). He made peace not because of humanitarian concern with Palestinian suffering but because he realized it was in Israel’s best geopolitical interest.
The Glicks on both sides of the Israel/Palestinian conflict are not helping.