The Doublespeak of Shimon Peres
Because the wave of stabbing attacks committed by Palestinian terrorists against innocent Israeli soldiers and civilians is coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Rabin assassination, a tired old meme about the “murder of the peace process” has been revitalized.
Yes — liberals love to parrot — it was not only Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was killed by an extreme right-winger; the heinous act constituted a metaphor for the death blow dealt to Israel’s aspirations for genuine coexistence with the Palestinians.
This “truism” is so false that even its punctuation marks wouldn’t pass a lie-detector test. But it serves a purpose beyond national breast-beating. Indeed, it is used as a political weapon against a specific perpetrator. Not the actual assassin, Yigal Amir, mind you, who was arrested at the scene of his crime in 1995, then tried, convicted and imprisoned for life.
No, the person with the bull’s-eye on his chest is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to urban legend, Netanyahu may as well have fired the shots that killed Rabin, because — as leader of the opposition — he was “inciting” his fanatical followers to commit atrocities. And this is why Israel is still under fire from the Palestinians and isolated in the international arena.
It’s a neat little package of revisionism that is hard to refute for many reasons, chief among them the desire on the part of average people not to be confused by contradictory views. And when faced with a bunch of what sound like conflicting facts, “peace” sounds so much more appealing than “war.”
But what about those who should know better?
Take elder Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, for example. By virtue of his age alone (he turned 92 in August), he ought to be providing the kind of perspective that life experience and an illustrious political career afford. Instead, however, he opts to do the opposite.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, the former president — who has held a slew of high-ranking positions, including prime minister — reiterated the empty slogans he has been spouting for decades, with nary a nuance related to reality.
This is not new for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Peres Peace Center, an NGO whose biggest claim to fame is its fund-raising prowess. He’s got what has come to be called a “narrative,” and — like a battery-operated talking doll — he repeats the few catchphrases programmed in the mechanism whenever his string is pulled.
What is slightly different about this particular exchange with AP’s Aron Heller is Peres’ proud dismissal of history. Indeed, he calls thinking about the past a “waste of time.”
Now, it would be one thing if Peres were a spiritual guide, imparting the wisdom Israelis pay lots of hard-earned shekels to hear from monks in ashrams and healers in Tel Aviv of “living in the present moment.”
Yet Peres is someone who handled affairs of state, and should have learned by now that history tends not only to be repeated when ignored, but outdoes itself in the most dangerous of ways. In addition, if — as Peres told Heller — Netanyahu’s peace overtures have never “escaped the domain of talking,” and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the best “peace partner” Israel has ever had, why doesn’t he explain how no other Israeli leader, himself included, has been able to negotiate a genuine deal without being rewarded by bombs, missiles, Molotov cocktails, slingshots and knives?
Oh wait, we know the answer. Yesterday’s stabbing attacks in the center of what even Peres considers to be “legitimate Israel” are already in the past, and it’s a “waste of time” to dwell on them.
It is lucky that nobody really cares what Peres has to say any more, other than journalists who consider it a coup to land him as an interviewee, particularly when he gives them trite one-liners about peace and another opportunity to hold Netanyahu accountable for Palestinian violence. Even former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who oversaw the Oslo Accords, which granted the Palestinians self-rule on the way to full-fledged statehood, had to be paid a few hundred thousand dollars to attend the elder statesman’s 90th birthday party two years ago.
Peres calls himself an “eternal optimist.” In fact, the stance that Israel cannot sustain the status quo and is headed for both military and demographic annihilation if it doesn’t commit suicide first rings more like pessimism to me. But then, Orwellian doublespeak is what the Left is all about. And Shimon Peres is masterful at it.
Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner (algemeiner.com). This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.