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December 11, 2014 12:24 pm

Israel and the Betrayal of the Intellectuals

avatar by Abraham H. Miller / JNS.org

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Jimmy Carter in conversation at the LBJ Library on February 15, 2011. Photo: U.S. National Archives.

JNS.orgThe problem with being an intellectual is that you rarely have your ideas tested in the real world. But sitting on the sidelines enables you to use extreme rhetoric to advance crackpot notions that, when embraced all too frequently, end up heaping tragedy upon humanity.

It is not surprising, then, that 800 Israelis—with prominent intellectuals leading the charge—have “discovered” the road to peace between the Arabs and Israelis. They alone have found the path to peace that has eluded so many for so long.

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They are asking the European parliaments to pass a resolution that would call for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with “Israeli recognition of Palestine and Palestinian recognition of Israel.” The letter went on to denounce the “political deadlock and ongoing occupation and settlement, which leads to conflict with the Palestinians and torpedoes any possibility of an agreement.”

This is all too reminiscent of the American intellectuals’ movement to bring about unilateral disarmament in the early 1960s. Harold Brown, President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of Defense, revealed where such policy would have ended up. As Brown, himself a strong advocate of arms control and disarmament, stated after three years in office: he finally understood the Soviets. When we build missiles, they build missiles. When we stop building missiles, they build missiles.

If the Israelis have learned anything over the years, it is that when they make concessions, the Arabs up the ante. More Arab and Israeli blood has been spilled since the 1993 Oslo Accords than beforehand. Israel’s unilateral 2005 withdrawal from Gaza has only led to the creation of a terror state on its borders and death raining from the sky on its southern cities.

The Palestinian Intifadas and the random violence of terrorism incited by both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have decimated the Israeli peace movement. So, these intellectuals, holding to an ideal devoid of current experience, can no longer appeal to their countrymen. Taking formidable strategic risks for peace no longer makes any sense in the face of the grim reality of day-to-day incitement followed by daily acts of brutality.

Moreover, these intellectuals are faced with a political climate that the Arab terror has moved to the right, a climate that also increasingly sustains the religious Zionism of the settler movement, which is buttressed by its growing population rate.

Unable to convince their countrymen that strategic risks for peace are worth it, the intellectuals have appealed to the international community in what should be considered an act of treachery, because it bypasses Israel’s democratic process and seeks to influence the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Intellectuals imbibe the elixir of their own lofty hubris. They believe they know what is best.

But they actually know little, because they have refused to learn from experience. The very idea that recognition of a Palestinian state by the members of the European community will advance the peace process is an embrace of the absurd. The idea that even a return to the 1967 armistice line, what Abba Eban called the “Auschwitz borders,” would result in peace is wishful thinking.

What will come of this? It will push Israel deeper into a corner, harden the resolve of the far right, and give incentive to Palestinian intransigence and incitement. All these intellectuals have done is to attempt to enhance their own status in the international community at the price of the real, complicated, and pragmatic quest for peace.

Harold Brown was an idealist, but as Secretary of Defense, he eventually learned and accepted that idealism needs to be tempered by the reality of experience. The 800 Israelis who are demanding European recognition of a Palestinian state have learned nothing except that their fame will garner them attention, and most likely, it is the need to be seen as part of the process that motivates this egotistical exercise that will result not in peace, but in more violence.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government and Political Integrity.

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  • charlie johnson

    These guys go hang around in school most of their lives where they get their heads pumped up by a fantasy pump.Their world is desk full of papers and four walls.Most ride the taxpayers because they can’t seem to be useful doing productive things ,Like inventing useful devices or opening a factory to provide jobs.They are the lowest form of welfare cheats in history. As for common sense I doubt if one in ten can replace the crank rope on a lawn mower.But these deadbeats can talk and write on many subjects.They are designated as smart people by the media talking heads. Put one at the controls of a 737 passenger jet and tell the news clerks to go for a ride. As long as it is only words they can fool many people. But in practice you can be sure these smart guys are the biggest fools on the planet.

  • Prime Minister Olmert and Prime Minister Barak offered Arafat about 98% of what he wanted, yet the more they offered the more he demanded. In the end the PA leaders were upset that Arafat refused decent offers. A Saudi prince involved called Arafat’s rejection a ‘crime against the Palestinian people.’ Even today the PA demands that 4,000,000 Arabs have the ‘right to return’ to Israel, knowing fully this will never be agreed. To the PA the right of return means the demolition of Israel and its replacement with the 25th Arab state.

  • Monty Pogoda

    Making peace with Islamists? Impossible. These so called “intellectuals” are dreaming.

  • Well said Professor, thank you.

    How about posting the list of these 800 brainiacs

  • Fred

    These “intellectuals “are edifying their personal intellect into the lofty regions of the never never. After all they, not having feet on the ground do not have to suffer the ignominy of the mere ordinary mortal
    who gets the blows. Some intellectuals like to fan the fires but are incapable to put them out. Jimmy Carter an intellectual ????????

  • THAT’s CLEAR !
    When we stop building missiles….
    They….THEY BUILD more & more MISSILES

    Perhaps 800 PROMINENTS CLEVER JEWS are TO Clever
    to understand that ?
    Don’t they have CHILDEREN ?

    Hans Waksbojm BRUSSELS

  • ted weiss

    self hating jews will stoop tp caniving underhanded tacticts .
    lets not forget Josi Beilin andPeretz back in Oslo days , asking the europeans to ask the isaeli governememt to label the goods made in the west bank and thus boycoting them .This duplicious
    traitors have their own naive peace agaend and are very militant

  • ted weiss

    self hating jews

  • Isabella1709

    These “intellectuals” have shockingly simplistic minds. They cling to practices like Oslo that did not work and has done nothing to bring peace to Israel. They do not learn from history with their rigid thinking.

  • Lynne T

    Doesn’t the author mean the ’49 armistice line aka “pre-67” borders rather than the ’67 armistice line? (There was no armistice following the 6 day war that I am aware of.)

  • Reform School

    Until Leftist idiologue (sic) professors and journalists are held civilly and criminally liable for brainwashing functional imbeciles like Rachel Corrie (whose fatal double-dare to a bulldozer she thought was a fire-breathing dragon caused her death), their influence will sooner or later find additional victims on all sides of the age-old war to exterminate the Jews. http://youtu.be/2KUcv452KbU

  • Islam is Evil. What part of Evil do people not understand? Islam enslaves your mind, your body and your soul. It must be destroyed.

    They use “Takiah” the Islamic law to lie in order to advance Islam.

    The 1400-year Islam Cultural War is taking over Europe for the Third Time and Now Threatening America.

    Only knowledge and working together will win this battle.
    They use “Takiah” the Islamic law to lie in order to advance Islam.

    The Third Choice by Mark Durie: One choice become Islamic, second a slave, third death. Add one choice if you act now, Freedom.

    Culture and Conflict, by P. Salzman: Shows we are in an Islamic Cultural war.

    The Arab Mind by R. Patai: US military uses this book training their soldiers and officers.

    Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali: good for young women.

    Lifting the Veil by I.Q. Ali Rassooli: a translation of the major religious books. On the web at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Idiots+Guide+to+Islam&oq=Idiots+Guide+to+Islam&aq=f&aqi&aql&gs_sm=3&gs_upl=1605l1605l0l1848l1l1l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0

    The Prince by Machiavelli; the methods use by Feudalistic kings are the same methods Islam uses today.

    Books of Islam Culture War Against Israel

    BattleGround, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine by S. Katz

    From Time Immemorial J. Peters, Commissioned by Arafat to show Palestinians were in Israel from the beginning of time but ended up showing Jews were in Israel from the beginning of time. Source MI6 secret documents.

  • What is sorely needed are wise statesmen who truly understand the times.

  • Efram

    Amen

  • A letter written to Jordan leaders
    A State that was established by the British in violation of the Mandate for Jewish Palestine based on the San Remo Treaty of 1920/ Jordan has never existed prior to WW1.
    Jordan is Palestine
    To His Majesty
    The King of Jordan
    King Abdullah the Second
    & The Government and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
    Presented this Date, the 25th of May 2011
    The 65th Independence Day of the Kingdom of Jordan
    As the cries for democracy reach us from Tunis, Egypt, and all around the Arab world, we call upon the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to declare itself the democratic nation state of the Palestinian people.
    80% of the population of Jordan are disenfranchised Palestinians. This declarative step would correct that injustice and provide the foundation for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between the Jewish and Arab peoples.
    The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin wrote: “A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”.
    That needn’t be the case. That shouldn’t be the case.
    Let Jordan be democratic and free, and let the Palestinian people accept upon themselves the full mantle and responsibility of democratic statehood in Jordan – without the destruction or diminishment of the state of Israel and without the physical transfer of any population, neither Jew nor Arab.
    We the undersigned, citizens of the world, representatives of hundreds of thousands around the world, ask the Government of Jordan and King Abdullah the Second, to proclaim the Hashemite Kingdom the democratic nation state of the Palestinians, and with this symbolic and declarative step, make a decisive contribution to Middle East and world peace.
    We remind you of the brave words of your father:
    “I wish democracy and peace to be my legacy to my people and the shield of generations to come.” – King Hussein I of Jordan

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