Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 11 August 2006

A healthy boil

I love the NY Times. It always keeps my blood at a healthy boil.

In an article curiously entitled, ‘Left or Right, Israelis Are Pro-War’, the other day Steven Erlanger wrote:

Even the bulk of the Israeli left feels that way. There is no real peace camp in Israel right now, says Yariv Oppenheimer, the secretary general of Peace Now, which has pressed hard for a deal with the Palestinians and on June 22, before this Lebanon war, called for a halt to air raids over the Gaza Strip. “We’re a left-wing Zionist movement, and we believe that Israel has the legitimate right to defend itself,” Mr. Oppenheimer said. “We’re not pacifists. Unlike in Gaza or the West Bank, Israel isn’t occupying Lebanese territory or trying to control the lives of Lebanese. The only occupier there is Hezbollah, and Israel is trying to defend itself.”

…The real debate, he said, “is whether this is the right time to stop the fighting and get a good agreement that accomplishes our goals, or do we have to keep hitting Hezbollah harder in order to get a good agreement.”

In this debate, too, he said, Peace Now “is together with the mainstream of Israelis.” On Wednesday, he said, Peace Now will publish an advertisement — not calling on the government to stop the war, but to “take seriously” the new Lebanese offer to deploy its army to the south.

I have no idea where Erlanger came by the idea that Peace Now is in any way associated with the left, as understood on Planet Earth, but even if he missed the oxymoronic ‘left-wing Zionist’ remark, surely he should have twigged from their position on the ruthless attack on Lebanon that there is no connection. In case his misrepresentation wasn't glaringly obvious, he points out later in the same article:

There have been weekly demonstrations against the war from smaller, more pacifist groups, but they have rarely drawn more than a few hundred supporters.

So at least there are a few Israelis who take being on the left a little more seriously than Peace Now. Oppenheimer makes it clear that Peace Now’s goals are the same ‘our goals’ as the Israeli warmongers’ – at a minimum, to render Lebanon a defenseless client state and consolidate Israel’s position as a perpetual threat to everyone in the neighbourhood.

Similarly, Yossi Beilin, the leader of the dovish Meretz Party, said the left must hold to the principle that the Jewish people have the right to “a democratic and secure state.” In an opinion column in Haaretz, he wrote that the war in both Gaza and Lebanon to secure the release of captured Israeli soldiers is legitimate, “but that is not reason enough to support all aspects of the war,” including the government’s falling “into the trap set by Hezbollah of an extended war of attrition.”

It’s a funny thing about those Israeli doves. They are indistinguishable from hawks, except they can’t tell left from right.

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