I am not one who thinks that only Israelis have the right to comment about Israel. After all, I’m an American and I write about it all the time. But I do think that foreigners should at least pay attention to what Israelis think when forming their opinions, and even more so when proposing ‘solutions’. After all, Israelis are the ones who suffer the consequences of outside meddling.
Can there be a worse example than Thomas L. Friedman of the NY Times? Recently he wrote,
Israel’s friends need to understand that the center-left in Israel is dying. The Israeli election in January will bring to power Israeli rightists who never spoke at your local Israel Bonds dinner. These are people who want to annex the West Bank. Bibi Netanyahu is a dove in this crowd. The only thing standing between Israel and national suicide any more is America and its willingness to tell Israel the truth. [emphasis in original]
It’s hard to imagine a more arrogant attitude! For Friedman’s information, Israel is a democracy, and if right-wing politicians are elected, it is — gasp — because Israelis voted for them. And probably the single most important issue driving votes today — not the only issue, by any means, but the most important — is security.
Israelis have finally realized what a bill of goods they were sold in 1993, when they were suckered into the Oslo agreements. They experienced the Second Intifada, and the results of the ill-advised withdrawal from Gaza. Most of them now understand that security does not lie in surrendering territory near Israel’s population centers to those who want to kill them.
They also are coming to understand that they don’t have to allow antisemitic Europe and Saudi-influenced America to to define the borders of the Jewish state and its capital. Some even believe that the 19-year Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem, did not magically render these areas forbidden to Jews. And the fact that “Palestinians want these areas for their future state,” as we constantly read in news reports, is not an argument for giving them up.
Friedman and other ‘friends’ of Israel believe that they know better, recycling the ideology of the Israeli Left that Israelis themselves have rejected out of harsh experience. They are either ignorant of reality, or their objective is not that Israel should survive and thrive — but something else.