Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Failed Attempts To Undermine Netanyahu's Speech

Criticisms of Netanyahu's excellent - and brutally honest - speech at Congress were varied, from the Palestinians, to the Liberal Intellectual Journalist, to the 'As A Jew' Jew:

Abbas' "moderate" Fatah interpreted Netanyahu's outline for peace as a "declaration of war", by which they actually meant "we're bored, we want to start a war". They would've had this reaction whatever Netanyahu said in his speech. Except, perhaps, if he said that all the Jews are just going to curl up and die to solve all the world's problems.

The AP's Josef Federman wrote a "Fact check", attempting to contradict Netanyahu's speech with "facts". To Netanyahu's statement "You don't need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves", Federman says that Israel receives military aid from America every year. Whilst America's assistance is undoubtedly helpful, Israel is painfully aware that we can't rely fully on others to defend us. A mere two years after the Jews were nearly wiped out in the Holocaust, the Arabs tried to do it again to the Jews in Israel, but our collective army succeeded in defending the Jews and Israel. The other point, which Honest Reporting makes, is that Federman is deliberately taking Netanyahu's statements out of context to fit his own agenda. In this case, Netanyahu's followed that statement by saying "You've been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own."

At Netanyahu referring to Israel as a democracy, Federman objects that the Palestinians in the West Bank can't vote in Israeli elections. Well, why would they? They're ruled by a Palestinian government. I'm not allowed to vote in Israel either.

When Netanyahu called Hamas the Palestinian equivalent of Al Qaida, Federman protests that Al Qaida criticises Hamas as being too moderate. Oh, well if Al Qaida says it, it must be true! Federman also says that whilst Al Qaida preaches global jihad, "Hamas says its struggle is solely against Israel". First, even if that was true, does that mean Hamas can be excused for murdering Jews, as long as they're Israeli Jews? Second, it's not true; Hamas' charter calls for the murder of all Jews. Silly question for Federman: whose side are you on?! Obviously, he chooses Hamas; which is fine, each to their own. But don't pretend to care about the accuracy of the statements Netanyahu made in his speech ; Hamas certainly aren't bothered by that sort of thing, they have bigger issues, like the fact that Israel exists.

Predictably, the Guardian ran an article today criticising Obama by a token 'As A Jew' Jew, Jane Eisner. I think they have a cycle of whose turn it is to bash Israel. First it's a white person, then an Arab, then a terrorist (usually from Hamas), and then a self-hating Jew, and then it starts again. You can't say they aren't diverse!

Eisner starts off by making sure everyone knows she speaks for all American Jews: Netanyahu's "third audience was the American Jewish community. People like me."

She then, with admirable honesty, explains why she's writing this article in the first place: "whether the prime minister's spirited defence of the status quo and his reluctance to offer a way back to the negotiating table will be received well by the White House is an open question. And that puts American Jews in a difficult, uncomfortable situation." It's very rare for these type of Jews to admit that their criticism is because of fear of world opinion on Israel and Israel's supporters.

She states the obvious, that Jews want there to be harmony between the leaders of the US and Israel, but I give American Jews more credit than Eisner does. I think American Jews (and most Jews in outside of Israel)  don't take the easy way out when they find themselves in the "difficult, uncomfortable situation" where there is friction between the leaders. They stand up for what they believe is true and right - and like all of Israel's supporters, we'd rather be alive and hated than dead and loved.

Eisner doesn't seem to be in that camp though: The leaders' relationship "got awfully bumpy at times. I fear the impasse is only growing. It need not be this way". Her main concern is Israel's relationship with America; never mind the consequences for Israel if America's ideas don't turn out to be very good ones, never mind all the lessons we've learnt from the Holocaust and after, like how only we are able to ensure our own survival. As long as Obama likes us!

She then revels her own ignorance when she claims that many, like Obama have acknowledged that "the borders of Israel before the 1967 war, before the 43 year occupation, are the starting point for negotiations with Palestinians". They weren't borders, they were ceasefire lines. The land is disputed, not occupied. And it makes more sense that the starting point for negotiations would be for the Palestinian leaders to demonstrate an interest in peace, rather than continuous incitement to terrorism and rejection of Israel's legitimacy. As Netanyahu has explained, the 1967 lines are indefensible*, and "were not the boundaries of peace, they were the boundaries of repeated wars".

Eisner complains:
"Netanyahu's defiant stance puts us in a heart-wrenching conundrum. We can choose to support his view of the world, in which an aggrieved Israel bears no responsibility for the occupation and for the impasse in negotiations... But most of us don't want further procrastination but an end to the conflict, which has stained Israel's moral standing in the way that occupation and continued violence does to anyone". 
Well if that's how she sees the conflict, then it really shouldn't be a "heart-wrenching conundrum" for her. She claims "Most of us, I bet, hoped that Netanyahu would have issued a bold, creative speech that would have moved the process forward." Speak for yourself, Jane Eisner. Most of us just wanted Netanyahu's assurance of his commitment to the security of Israel's citizens. If the Palestinians want to talk about peace, we're waiting.

*That video is not a solution to the conflict, it is just to show how Israel would be most secure.

No comments:

Post a Comment