The real message

I’m not going to do an extended post here, but just to put up a few choice quotes.
Yesterday, I sat in on the Knesset roundtable on Israeli Politics and Policy in 2011. The six Knesset panelists from Kadima and Labor are Yoel Hasson (Kadima), Shlomo Molla (Kadima), Amir Peretz (Labor), Nachman Shai (Kadima), Daniel Ben Simon (Labor), Orit Zuaretz (Labor).
They all had a great deal to say worth hearing, including lots of ongoing praise for Tzipi Livni as a courageous leader. The message though, is really this: When we criticize Israeli policies, we are part of the Jewish conversation. Israelis are not afraid of criticism and many of them are aware that change must come.
Here’s a few quotes from one of the speakers – but they were all brave and funny and had lots of pithy things to say:
Daniel Ben Simon:

I don’t share this campaign about delegitimization – I am suspicious about its nature and motivations. I trend to not trust the honesty of politicians in Israel when they say that the main problem is that the world community does not accept us. The problem is Israeli policies. To hear Barak come to our party meeting and say don’t be naïve the problem is Israeli delegitimization – I am suspicious. Israeli government cannot continue with these policies – we must change course. We are back to the old rhetoric of the world is against us. -The world does not like us? What the hell are you talking about? We are a world power. We are not in the Warsaw ghetto, we are a world superpower…. Suddenly coming and saying the world hates us, the world does not accept us, we have to stop the peace process… This is not honest. This is from the paranoia of the right wing politics.

11 thoughts on “The real message

  1. For those who could not understand from the content of the post, and might be confused why other Israeli political parties were not represented, the “Forum” described here occurred at JStreet’s annual summit.

  2. Victor, would Lieberman have come if he had been invited?
    Anyway, the conversation is meant to be a conversation among the pro-Israel, pro-Peace crowd. J Street did include folks on panels at the conference who are of that crowd, but disagree with J Street on some policy issues. Given that, I don’t think J Street is obligated to include those who are completely outside of the pro-Israel, pro-Peace movement?
    Do you disagree?

  3. I think JStreet doesn’t need my permission to invite those who compliment its message and purpose, and to define itself however it chooses to. I wasn’t making a value judgment above; merely clarifying the context of the post, for those who might have missed it.
    As an aside, I’m terribly confused how Lieberman, who supports a Palestinian state and forcibly evacuating all Jews from settlements, could be considered anything but pro-Israel, pro-Peace, the way that the anti-occupation community define “pro-Israel, pro-Peace”. The guy is a boogieman for the left. I remember when they made him into a boogieman; it was just two or three years ago. It was so odd, to watch a person be purposefully mis-characterized. But that’s neither here nor there.

  4. That Israel is a superpower is hyperbole. That implies that it can offshore foreign policy and project significant military and economic power well beyond its borders. That’s a stretch for any nation under 10 million people. A regional power with the bomb, sure, though only kept so through generous US Aid.
    Its kinda like saying Switzerland is an international superpower. Or Puerto Rico. They have impressive production of coo-coo clocks and Rum and for the latter, its expats have a significant presence in major US cities and can influence domestic politics.

  5. I condemn the Israeli and Jewish right wing utterly. They have no value as partners in the building of any Israel I want to be part of. As far as I’m concerned, let’s cut them off and declare them to be some tribe we were once connected to. May their children forget to recite Kaddish over their graves, their treasure evaporate, their communities de-gentrified. They are illegitimate, they are servants of ethnic chauvinism, predatory capitalism, and might-makes-right militarists. When they go down, my house shall celebrate.
    Of course, if they rescind all that talk of delegitimizers as the enemy, then maybe I’ll move a bit in my views. Until then, in accordance with the Talmudic mandate ‘he who comes to slay you, get up early to slay him’ I’ll be returning fire with fire. Fuck ’em all, until they apologize for murdering Rabin and littering the West Bank with fugly red roof tiles.

  6. “They have no value as partners in the building of any Israel I want to be part of.”
    “May their children forget to recite Kaddish over their graves.”
    Forgetfullness tends to corelate with age and the Israeli and Jewish right tends to be younger than the corresponding left.
    “their treasure evaporate”
    Strange request from a lefty.
    “their communities de-gentrified”
    I thought lefties were in favor of de-gentrification.
    “They are illegitimate”
    No, their parents marry. The Jewish and Israeli left-not so sure.
    “They are servants of ethnic chuavinism”
    I thought lefties supported the servant class.
    “predatory capitalism”
    Do you know another type?
    “And might makes right militarism”
    Without which we would never have all those presents on Chanukah. I like presents.
    “When they go down my house will celebrate”
    Knowing the demographics of the Jewish left (sorry to mention numbers again), that house will be very empty.

  7. B”H
    You know Guevara you speak of all religious Jews as Rabin’s Murderers, yet you do not speak of Marx or the head of the Catholic Holy House as evil. The head of the Spanish Inquisition was an apostate. Marx and Trotsky along with the Haskalah in the Russian empire were reponsible for the deaths of millions of Jews in The U.S.S.R
    As for capitalism, what’s wrong with that? Capitalism puts food into the bellies of my brethren. Incidentally Israel was the first responder in Haiti. The team of doctors from Israel were the only ones on mainland Haiti 24/7 for the first week after the earthquake.
    As for Rabin, I do not in any way aprove of his policies but the murder was deplorable. The murderer does not represent the Orthodox community any more than you represent the
    Peace now movement.
    By the way Rav Shach was not wholly against some type of land for peace if Jewish lives could be saved and safety could be ensured.

  8. Boxthorn: Chanukah’s message isn’t “might makes right,” it’s “Not by might and not by power, but by [God’s] spirit alone” – I know that people seem to have forgotten that that’s something other than words that Debbie Friedman used in a song, but it actually came from neviim first.
    NunShin: I’m pretty sure JG isn’t talking about the Orthodox in general. He certainly doens’t say anything about the Orthodox in particular in his er, comment. Just about certain political positions. Key line: “Of course, if they rescind all that talk of delegitimizers as the enemy, then maybe I’ll move a bit in my views.” IMO, JG is making his language “match” what he sees (IMO reasonably) as the way people on the right talk about the peace movement.

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