Crazies and Lunatics in the Middle East

M. J. Rosenberg of the ‘Israel Policy Forum’ is rightly unhappy that some Israelis treat Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, as a hero.

Unless one of the conspiracy theories is true, Amir shot and killed the Prime Minister. For this, he should remain in prison for life.

But Rosenberg uses our horror at the fact that a Jew killed the Prime Minister of the Jewish state to tar anyone who opposes the coming debacle at Annapolis with the brush of extremism.

He starts with harmless foolishness:

The killing of Rabin was the worst disaster in the history of the Jewish State. Its repercussions are felt every day. I believe that had Rabin lived, Oslo would have ended with an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty and a resolution of the conflict.

The killing of Rabin was certainly a disaster. But possibly the worst disaster in the history of the state was that handshake on the White House lawn which resulted in the return of Yasser Arafat to Ramallah, where, for the rest of his life he pursued his single-minded goal to destroy any possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Counterfactual conditionals in history are notoriously hard to prove or refute, but the rhetorical job of this one is to introduce the red herring of Jewish extremism into the risk/reward analysis of the Annapolis conference.

Then the rhetoric gets out of control. Rosenberg writes,

Olmert linked the obnoxious [football fans who booed a moment of silence for Rabin] with the people who virulently oppose any agreement with the Palestinians. This is not to say that all peace opponents admire Rabin’s assassin but rather that the Amir admirers (and those who prayed publicly for the death of Sharon for giving up Gaza or attack random Palestinians) come from the extreme right. That is a fact. [my emphasis]

So much innuendo in such a short passage! So first of all, Olmert did criticize the booing fans as well as expressions from the extreme right wing such as pictures of President Peres in a kaffiyeh, etc. But Rosenberg proceeds to connect the booing fans, those who oppose any agreement, ‘peace opponents’, Amir admirers, those who prayed for the death of Sharon, and the extreme right.

Of course, not all ‘peace opponents’ admire Yigal Amir! Thank you Mr. Rosenberg. Actually, some of them are not even opponents of peace, but merely opponents of sham peace conferences which — by providing a venue in which Israel can be forced to make concessions that seriously damage her security in return for empty words — really make war more, rather than less, likely.

So if one can accept that there is a legitimate reason to oppose the Annapolis conference, based on such things as the precedent of Oslo, the precedent of the withdrawals from Gaza and southern Lebanon, the weakness of Abbas, the probability of a Hamas takeover, the US State Department’s perception of American interests, etc., etc. — even if one does not admire Yigal Amir and did not pray for the death of Ariel Sharon — then one may ask why Rosenberg has the ill grace to write,

Now the crazies on both sides are determined to see Annapolis fail. Israel’s security agencies are on alert, with Olmert under even more protection than usual. Hopefully, the same precautions are being taken by the Palestinian Authority which needs to guard against both attacks on the Fatah leadership and an increase in attacks on Israeli targets.

All this adds urgency to Annapolis. Without movement toward peace and an end to occupation, the lunatics on both sides are going to triumph in both Israel and Palestine.

Many opponents of Annapolis are not crazies and lunatics, and Rosenberg knows it. It is remarkable that the Left pretends to be entirely unable to see the real dangers of the ‘peace’ plan du jour, preferring to obsess over the horrors of occupation and the need to end it.

Annapolis is not urgent. If it ‘fails’, then nothing will have changed. But if it ‘succeeds’ — then the IDF will have to get out of the West Bank so that Hamas and its rocket scientists can march in. Can Rosenberg explain why this is not so?

I would venture to suggest that there is something worse than the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and that is the Palestinian occupation of Israel. It is not unthinkable. And any Jew that doesn’t see this can rightly be called a crazy or a lunatic.

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