Cutting through the bullshit.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

A special kind of denial

In rather a good article on The Electronic Intifada, today, 'Taken for a Ride by the Israeli Left', Steven Friedman and Virginia Tilley take on the Uri Avnery article I mentioned in 'Three little syllables' the other day.

Here's an extract:

The result of this conundrum is moral chaos. While bald ravings about ethnic cleansing by racists like Avigdor Lieberman are considered repellent, the earlier ethnic cleansing that gave birth to Israel is considered acceptable -- a convulsion of war violence that has (it is never explained how) been morally transcended. The solution, in this view, is not to redress that founding sin but simply to stabilize Jewish statehood, which is understood mostly as relieving Jewish-Israeli fear of attack or annihilation. Recognizing that some modicum of justice is required to achieve this "peace", the liberal-Zionist goal is to create a Palestinian state next door (safely demilitarized, of course, and not necessarily within the 1948 green line).

It takes a special kind of denial to hold onto this worldview, especially in light of fresh histories like Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, which demolish the soothing fantasy that Israel's history of ethnic cleansing was an accident of war. This isn't surprising in itself: nationalist myths everywhere dismantle slowly. But Mr. Avnery does not fall into the classic category. He exposed Zionist crimes before anyone else. Yet he has never lost his affection for Jewish statehood or his dedication to preserving Israel's Jewish majority in Israel. He knows that, in 1948, Zionist troops ruthlessly terrorized and expelled hundreds of thousands of defenceless Palestinians from their villages and threw them out of the country. But he believes that the agenda of preserving the Jewish-Israeli society that he treasures not only mandates but grants moral authority to not allowing them back.

And here’s a link to Jonathan Cook’s latest, ‘Turmoil in Tel-Aviv’.

The danger is that Olmert may hope to find a way out of his loss of credibility in other ways, not least by encouraging ever greater Israeli and US belligerence towards Iran.

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