Friday, December 5, 2003

Here is a letter I sent in response to a front-page article in the dead-tree edition of Boston's Jewish Advocate newspaper. Only a portion of the article is available at The Advocate's site. The article laid out the case and asked for positive consideration to be given to the Geneva Accord. It was written by Alan D. Solomont, "chair of the board of directors of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston," and Geoffrey Lewis, "past president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston." Both attended the ceremonies in Geneva.

In lieu of fisking the whole thing here, here's what I sent:

Once when pressed by American discontent with Israeli decisions, Menachem Begin famously quipped, “Are we a Banana Republic?” Indeed, they were not then, and they are not now. Instead, Israel represents a shining example of pluralistic democracy in a teaming sea of totalitarian thuggery, maintaining the rule of law and respect for individual freedom while simultaneously staring down an existential threat on a daily basis.

As Americans and supporters of Israel, we ought to be mindful of the dangers Israel faces and the support she needs. The “world community” has been no friend of the Jewish State. Instead, the words “democracy” and “Israel” are sneered at. She faces charges of being an “apartheid state,” even “nazi-like” or fascist. A proposal for a Resolution calling for the protection of Israeli children which mirrored one already passed for the protection of Palestinian children was virtually laughed out of the UN. She faces constant efforts in international forums to handcuff her ability to defend herself and her citizens in the face of an almost unprecedented campaign of murder and indoctrination to murder.

And these efforts are not the province of some politically extreme, anti-Semitic fringe. Sadly, they have become all too mainstream. That is the reality we face.

So it was with some dismay that I read Alan D. Solomont and Geoffrey H. Lewis’s piece in the December 5-11th edition of The Jewish Advocate entitled, “Report from the ‘peace’ front” – a plea for us to give positive consideration to the “Geneva Accord.”

The last I had heard, Israel had a duly elected government who’s job it was to negotiate treaties and decide the nation’s course. There is a very good reason that so many former Israeli politicians and MK’s with no standing to negotiate are involved in this plan. It is because they were roundly trounced in the last Israeli elections in favor of the current government. Yes, the Israeli people know what they want, they have the means to express it and they have spoken. As supporters, that is the word we should be lining up behind.

Instead, much to their shame, so-called peace makers and Israel-supporters sat silently as Palestinian speakers took the stage and denounced the lawful Israeli leader as a “fascist,” heard Israel denounced as an Apartheid state and its Security Fence, a response to years of Palestinian Arab murder, labeled “shameful.” Instead of first going to their electorate for support, these men (who would face the possibility of sanctions under the Logan Act if they were Americans) have gone first to the international community for help in forcing their own country into an agreement they must not believe they can convince them to support on their own, as if to say, “Help us, help us save us from ourselves.”

Unfortunately, can anyone say with a straight face that the international community has any credibility in dealing with Israel in a fair manner?

In what I can only describe as a turn of rhetorical sophistry, Messrs. Solomont and Lewis quote a statistic that polling found that 53 percent of Israelis would support a peace plan based on “the same principals as are found in the Geneva Accord.” Presumably, this is meant to project the impression that the plan is popular, and that only the government stands in the way. The fact is, that polling on this specific initiative shows that only a minority of Israelis supports it so far, and their elected government supports it not at all – a government who’s job is difficult enough without a band of freelance diplomats and international do-gooders complicating their efforts.

Israelis are understandably skeptical. It has been many years and much bitter experience since they followed the will o’ the whisp of Oslo into danger, violence and despair. Predictably, they want more than words, paper and unreciprocated concessions this time. We who will pay but little price for failure should be supporting them and their choices, not foisting our own upon them.

Update: Damn, couldn't help a little edit after reading that back.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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