The Australian Jewish Establishment: Political Truth vs Political Correctness – a Sequel
History shows no exact and necessary correlation between the quality of motives and the quality of foreign policy. This is true in both moral and political terms. We cannot conclude from the good intentions of a statesman that his foreign policies will be either morally praiseworthy or politically successful….How often have statesmen been motivated by the desire to improve the world, and ended by making it worse….Neville Chamberlain’s politics of appeasement were, as far as we can judge, inspired by good motives…he sought to preserve peace and to assure the happiness of all concerned. Yet his policies helped to make the Second World War inevitable, and to bring untold miseries to millions of men
– Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace
AIJAC has consistently argued that a negotiated two-state settlement is the only path to genuine peace in the narrow strip of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean – thus fulfilling the desire of all parents there to give their children a secure and fulfilling future free from terrorism and war
– Executive director Colin Rubenstein, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), The Australian, March 12, 2014
One of the false presumptions of our time is that people on the political Left are motivated by good intentions even when they do bad things, while people on the political Right are motivated by bad intentions even when they do good things.
– Douglas Murray, May 7, 2015
(Apologies for reusing the Douglas Murray quote, which appeared in the opening excerpts of my previous column, but it is even more relevant this week than last week – M.S.)
In last week’s column I took a critical look at the intolerant manner in which the Australian Jewish establishment ostracized several well-known Israeli visitors, whose views diverged from the politically correct positions championed by the dominant Jewish organizations.
This week, I wish to pick up where I left off, but focus on substance (the “what”) rather than form (the “how”). Accordingly, I will concentrate attention more on the substantive content of the views the Australian Jewish establishment adheres to, rather than on the way it responds to those who expound views divergent from its own.
Digression & clarification
Judging from the brisk traffic on my Facebook and email accounts, the column generated considerable reader reaction, most of which, including responses from pro-Israel activists in Australian Jewish communities, seems to be supportive.
I did, however, receive an irate rebuke from a rather well-known former Aussie, now resident in Israel, an erstwhile political analyst for AIJAC. He complained that my column “neglect[s the] fact… that [the] Australian Jewish community is one of the most Zionist/pro-Israel in the world [and] its incredible work in support of Israel.”
I readily agree with his assessment of the robust support that Australian Jewry provides Israel – including the organizations/individuals mentioned in my both my previous and present columns.
But, however appreciative one might be of these sterling efforts, it does not give the Jewish establishment justification to stifle debate on issues crucial to the welfare/security of both the Jewish community in Australia and the Jewish state in Israel – merely because some might hold views sharply divergent from their politically correct positions. This is particularly true given the fact that most prevailing politically correct conventional wisdom, and the policies derived from it, have hardly been spectacularly vindicated. Accordingly, discussion of divergent alternatives – especially if they are well-argued and fact-based – should be encouraged, not denigrated, dismissed and debarred from debate.
Dangerous, detrimental and deceptive
I ended last week’s column lamenting the fact that “Australia’s Jewish establishment has wedded itself, and its public prestige, to the dangerous delusion of the two-state principle,” as reflected clearly in the introductory citation from AIJAC’s executive director, Colin Rubenstein.
Indeed although somewhat chastened by recalcitrant realities as to the immediate prospects of the idea, AIJAC’s commitment to it seems to be undiminished today, if to judge by a prominent post on the organization’s website this week in which Rubenstein declared: “Ultimately, a two state resolution remains the only realistic route to a lasting peace…”
Sadly, as I noted last week, nothing could be more dangerously divergent from the truth.
It is an idea that is demonstrably detrimental and deceptive – the less charitable might say, malignant and misleading.
Indeed, the two-state endeavor is immoral, irrational and incompatible with the longterm existence of Israel as the Jewish nationstate.
It is immoral because it will create realties that are the absolute negation of the lofty values invoked for its implementation.
It is irrational because it will produce precisely the perils it was designed to prevent.
It is incompatible with Israel’s long-term existence as the Jewish nation-state because it will almost inevitably culminate in a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv.
Why the two-state endeavor is immoral
Almost invariably, two-state proponents lay claim to the moral high ground, invoking lofty liberal values for their political credo, while impugning their ideological opponents’ ethical credentials for opposing it.
Yet unless one assumes wildly implausible circumstances, the implementation of the two-state principle – and the establishment of a Palestinian state – will culminate in realities that are the diametric antitheses of the very values for which it was purportedly supported.
Given the socio-cultural conditions in virtually all Arab countries, and the precedents set in Palestinian-administered territories evacuated by Israel, the inevitable outcome of the two-state notion is not difficult to foresee. There is little reason to believe – and certainly two-state proponents have never provided anything approaching a persuasive one – that any Palestinian state, established on any territory Israel evacuated, will quickly become anything but yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, that discriminates against its women, persecutes its homosexuals and pursues its political dissidents.
Why on Earth then would anyone – including the Australian Jewish establishment – that subscribes to values of gender equality, tolerance of sexual preferences and political pluralism endorse any policy that would almost certainly obviate the ethical tenets they purport to cherish? On what basis could advocating the establishment of such an entity be made a claim for the moral high ground – or indeed for any moral merit whatsoever?
Why the two-state endeavor is irrational
But it is not only in terms of moral outcomes that the two-state paradigm is a perversely self-obstructive endeavor. The same is true for the practical outcomes that it will almost certainly precipitate.
It is difficult to know what has to happen until it is recognized that the land-for-peace doctrine, on which the two-state concept is based, is a perilously counter-productive endeavor that will produce precisely what it was supposed to avoid – as it has in every instance it was tried, not only in the Arab-Israel context, but whenever an attempt was made to appease tyranny with political concessions and territorial withdrawals.
For whenever that unfortunate formula has been applied, rather than result in peace, it has produced increased violence and bloodshed.
Every time territory has been relinquished to Arab control, that territory has – usually sooner than later – become a platform from which to launch lethal attacks against Israel, almost immediately in Gaza, within months in Judea-Samaria, within years in south Lebanon and after several decades in Sinai, now descending into the depths of depravity and unspeakable brutality, with no good options on the horizon.
In light of the grim precedents provided by previous land-for-peace experiments, together with the no less grim trends in Arab society in general, and in the Palestinian society in particular, continued insistence on this fatally failed formula is gravely irrational and grossly irresponsible.
Why the two-state endeavor is incompatible with Israel’s existence
Thus, apart from wishful thinking, dangerously detached from any prevailing (or foreseeable) reality, stubborn adherence to the two-state dogma has no value, neither in terms of its moral merits nor its political pragmatism.
Worse, its further pursuit is incompatible with Israel’s long-term existence.
To grasp the fundamental validity of this seemingly far-reaching statement, it is necessary to recognize that, today, with the changing nature of Arab enmity, the major existential challenge to Israel’s existence as the Jewish nation-state is no longer repulsing invasion, but resisting attrition.
Nowhere was this more starkly evident than in the 2014 Protective Edge campaign in Gaza, where continued bombardment resulted in entire settlements in the South being evacuated by their Jewish residents.
Without compelling evidence to the contrary, there is little reason to believe and to adopt as a working assumption that the realities in the South will not be repeated on Israel’s eastern border – with several chilling differences.
The most plausible outcome of an Israeli evacuation of Judea-Samaria is the emergence of a mega-Gaza on the very fringes of Greater Tel Aviv and other major urban centers in the heavily populated Coastal Plain. But unlike Gaza, which has a border of about 50 km.
and no topographical command of adjacent territory inside the pre-1967 frontiers, the situation in Judea-Samaria would be alarmingly different.
‘Depraved indifference’ of the two-state paradigm
Any Arab entity set up there would have a front abutting Israel’s most populous area of about 500 km. and total topographical superiority over 80 percent of the country’s civilian population and vital infrastructure systems/ installations and 80 percent of its commercial activity.
All of these will be in range of weapons now being used against Israel from territory evacuated and transferred to Arab control. Accordingly, this grim caveat cannot be dismissed as “right-wing scaremongering,” for it is merely the empirical precedent.
Any force deployed in these areas – whether regular or renegade – could, with cheap readily available weapons, disrupt at will, any socioeconomic routine in Israel’s coastal megalopolis, turning the popular tourist city Netanya into Sderot-by-the-sea, and making the attrition in daily life increasing onerous…
There is, of course, little dispute over the assessment that if Israel were to evacuate Judea-Samaria, it would almost certainly fall into the hands of Hamas-like elements, or worse. The only way to ensure that what happened in Gaza does not happen in Judea-Samaria is for Israel to retain control of this territory – thereby obviating implementation of the two-state formula and the emergence of a Palestinian state.
Surely then, given the existential risks entailed in the two-state paradigm, considerably heightened by the precarious position of the current regime in neighboring Jordan, threatened, as it is, by ever-ascendant Islamist elements, would it not be eminently reasonable to consider continued advocacy of this perilous prescription as “reckless endangerment” – even “depraved indifference”?
The way to hell…
In view of the catastrophic consequences, for both Jew and Arab, that are likely to be the product of a two-state policy, should not the Australian Jewish establishment act to stimulate, rather than stifle, debate on possible plausible alternatives.
One such alternative is that of financially incentivized Arab emigration from Judea-Samaria.
Yet last year, former deputy Knesset speaker Moshe Feiglin was ostracized and excoriated by numerous Jewish organizations for proposing such a policy, very similar to one I myself (thankfully as yet un-ostracized) have repeatedly raised in this series.
Such behavior raises some trenchant questions.
For example, why, as Douglas Murry suggests, when “people on the political Left” do “bad things,” like endorse the establishment of a homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, they are deemed to be acceptable and their intentions are assumed to be benevolent? But when “people on the political Right” do “good things” like advocate providing non-belligerent Palestinians with the opportunity of building a better life for themselves elsewhere, out of harm’s way, free from the recurring cycles of death, destruction and destitution wrought on them by the cruel corrupt cliques that led them astray for decades, they are considered beyond the pale and their intentions deemed unacceptably malevolent? Could the way to hell really be paved with good intentions?
Even more to the point:
If there is no moral blemish in offering financial inducements to Jews in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes to facilitate the establishment of said homophobic, misogynistic tyranny, which, almost certainly, will become a bastion for Islamist terrorism, why is the very thought of offering financial inducements to Arabs in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes, to prevent the establishment of such an entity, considered morally reprehensible?
I hope the Australian Jewish community will muster the intellectual integrity to confront these and other questions my columns have raised, rigorously and forthrightly. Israel, Australian Jewry and its constituent pro-Zionist organizations will all be well served by such a debate.