Sunday, March 20, 2011
as the latest manifestation of the success of the Oslo Peace Process
and the continuing Peres-ization of Bibi Netanyahu.
It should now obvious even to Bibi that eventually Israel will have
no choice but to re-impose Israeli control over the Gaza Strip, or
what I call R&D or Re-Occupation and Denazification. Everything else
is self-delusion. Accordingly, I though the time might be apt to
LESSONS OF GAZA
By: Steven Plaut
Date: Wednesday, January 28 2009
The great untold story of Operation Cast Lead was the level of
euphoria and national unity that gripped Israel. Those who think the
era of miracles is over will have to explain this sudden wall-to-wall
political consensus in Israel.
In what is arguably the most contentious society on earth, public
opinion polls were showing a 94% approval rating among Israeli Jews
for the military action against Hamas. Almost the same percentage
opposed any cease-fire that did not include the release of kidnapped
soldier Gilad Shalit.
The emergence of this sudden national consensus came against a
backdrop of an international wave of naked anti-Semitism on a level
not seen in decades, and of Israeli Arabs almost uniformly expressing
both opposition to the operation and outright hatred of Jews and the
The really amazing thing, however, was that the man responsible for
the surge of good feelings and patriotism among Israelis was the most
unpopular and probably the most corrupt politician in modern Israeli
Ehud Olmert already had one foot out the door of the Prime Minister's
Office before the shooting started, and many believed his other foot
was headed straight for prison. Olmert's approval ratings before the
Gaza war were not significantly above zero. Yet within moments of his
ordering the commencement of operations, Israelis were closing ranks
behind him in a way that caught nearly everyone by surprise.
The rest of the world may be united in denouncing Israeli "brutality"
and the supposedly disproportionate level of Palestinian casualties.
But Israel was just as united, at least for the moment, in celebrating
the beginning of the end of its era of national self-debasement and
Israeli television stations and newspapers reported in great detail on
the countless anti-Israel demonstrations all over the world, down to
and including the swastikas and the chants that Hitler had been right.
This only seemed to augment the sense of national unity and
determination among Israelis.
The devotees of Hamas could march on Western campuses all they wanted,
Israelis seemed to be saying, but we will deal with the savages in our
The new Israeli national unity manifested itself even in the face of
the distorted and maniacal denunciations of Israel for its alleged
insensitivity to the plight of Palestinian civilians.
Of course, the same world media that failed to challenge the lies
surrounding the infamous "death" of the Gaza boy Muhammad al-Dura back
in 2000 kept repeating the Hamas "estimate" as if it were a scientific
finding from an unimpeachable source.
In any case, clearly the bulk of the Palestinian dead were armed
genocidal terrorists. The usual "human rights" organizations, which
have never acknowledged that Jewish civilians in the Negev are
entitled to their human rights, kept claiming that a quarter of the
dead were "children." Of course, they count any 17 year old killed
while firing a bazooka at Jews as a "child."
My youngest son spent most of the war dodging rockets in Netivot, a
town of 26,000 in the Negev near the Gaza Strip best known for serving
as the spiritual center for Moroccan Jewry, with its shrines of
leading Moroccan rabbis. Netivot was hit by more than its fair share
of Hamas rockets.
Home for a weekend, my son watched the televised images of a
Palestinian man sitting on a pile of rubble that had once been his
home and sobbing about how there is no justice.
"You do not like having your house blown up?" my son responded to the
TV screen. "So who told you to start firing rockets at me?" He speaks
for nearly all Israelis.
And then of course there was all the whining by the media about how
Israel was preventing convoys of supplies from entering Gaza, as if
the Allies in World War II had sent convoys of supplies to Berlin when
it was under siege. A caller to an Israeli radio program put it rather
succinctly: "So release Gilad Shalit and stop shooting rockets at us
and you can have all the supplies you want; in fact you can shop in
Israel and use our hospitals and beaches."
Even some - though certainly not all - members of the country's
dwindling far left came out in support of the operation. (I say
"dwindling far left" because half have woken up to the fallacies of
leftist thinking while the other half have morphed into outright
Consider the following developments, which would have been unthinkable
a month ago and which are a very small sampling of the changed mindset
The novelist A.B. Yehoshua, leader of Israel's leftist literary
soviet, wrote a scathing article telling off an anti-Israel columnist
at the far left anti-Zionist daily Haaretz.
The popular singer Arik Sinai, long associated with Tel Aviv bohemian
leftism, suddenly went on a Zionist crusade, complete with bashing of
Street protests in Israel against the war consisted almost exclusively
of Arab students and Jewish members of the pro-terror HADASH communist
The Israeli national consensus opposing the declaration of a
cease-fire by the Olmert team was almost as broad as the consensus in
support of the actual fighting.
* * *
Within days of the new cease-fire, however, it was becoming clear that
Olmert had blown the whistle before the team had finished its work.
The abandonment of Gilad Shalit was just part of it. The new
cease-fire would allow Hamas to re-stock its armories and replenish
its rocket warehouses.
Hours after the cease-fire went into effect, Hamas's smuggling tunnels
were being repaired and returned to operations. Worst of all, most of
the Hamas leadership remained alive.
Even more worrisome, the Olmert people were reverting to the approach
that had produced the rocket blitz on Israel in the first place. After
eight years of a policy of restraint that had achieved absolutely
nothing, turning the other cheek was being restored as the national
Olmert and Livni were back to offering land for peace, reaffirming
that two decades of giving up land and getting war in return had
taught them nothing. For decades Israeli leaders had agreed to one
unilateral cease-fire after the next. These bought Israel nothing but
demonization in the world media.
After their brief incarnation as fierce Zionist warriors, Olmert and
his pals were once again pretending that Mahmoud Abbas and the PA were
something different from the Hamas; that they were reasonable people
who yearned for peaceful coexistence with Israel and with whom deals
could be struck. And Israel was again offering to release hundreds of
terrorists from captivity.
If there was one lesson Israel should have learned over the past eight
years, it was that Israeli restraint buys neither goodwill for the
country nor moderate behavior on the part of Palestinians. For eight
years Hamas and its affiliates in Gaza fired rockets at Jewish
civilians, while the Israeli government's main response was to turn
the other cheek and order the country just to wait passively for Hamas
to run out of ammunition.
Israeli leaders had deluded themselves into thinking that if only the
world would clearly see unprovoked Palestinian aggression and terror,
Israel would enjoy a public relations Xanadu. Especially after the
Israeli government, for the sake of peace, drove all Jews out of Gaza.
The expectation that restraint would boost Israel's image was among
the stupidest of the delusions of Israel's Osloid leadership. The
world not only ignored the thousands of rockets fired at Jewish
civilians, it went to contorted moral lengths to justify them.
For decades Israel's leaders misunderstood and misjudged anti-Semitism
and they continue to do so now.
Anti-Semites and those with totalitarian ideologies always reverse
cause and effect. For them, every atrocity against Jews is a righteous
protest against Jewish wrongdoing and Israeli misbehavior. Every
retaliation by Israel is an unprovoked criminal act of malice and
Nazi-like aggression. It is exactly like claiming the Japanese were
the victims of American aggression at Pearl Harbor.
The real problem is that the Anti-Israel Lobby does not consider Jews
to be human. Therefore Jewish deaths never matter and Jewish lives are
expendable. Because Jews are not quite human, they can never be
entitled to the right of self-defense or permitted to engage in it.
Anti-Zionism has now been thoroughly Nazified. There can be no other
word for people who insist that Jewish life is worthless and that
Jewish deaths never count.
If Olmert had responded to the firing of thousands of rockets at
Israel by merely sneezing in the general direction of the terrorists,
thousands of protesters would have take to the streets and the
campuses in Europe and America to denounce this as a disproportionate
response and a war crime; many would no doubt describe it as an act of
Absolutely nothing can ever be gained by Israeli restraint, except to
demonstrate weakness and fan terrorism. But that insight, clear to any
reasonably intelligent seven year old, was too complicated for Israeli
officials who for eight years ordered residents of Sderot and the
other towns of the Negev to sit and take it. Sderot had been turned by
the Israeli government into an undefended Guernica, its children
traumatized, its families reduced to paupers.
* * *
Another delusion that fell victim to Operation Cast Lead was the
notion that Israel's far left, while perhaps dangerously naïve, is not
at all anti-Semitic or self-hating.
Over the past two decades a malignant plague of anti-Semitism has
swept the left, including the Jewish left. It affects Jews in the
United States, in Europe, and even in Israel. While 94 percent of the
Israeli public was solidly behind the soldiers and the attack on the
Hamas infrastructure, the Jewish left was out at the forefront of the
pro-jihad Nuremberg marches, waving Hamas and PLO flags, demanding
international boycotts of Israel, calling for a Hamas victory.
The Jewish-born British Member of Parliament ranting about how Israel
is a Nazi regime was just the tip of the iceberg. While the Arab
regimes themselves were letting everyone know the contempt they felt
for Hamas, Jewish leftists were out displaying their contempt for
Jews, from the members of J Street to the Reconstructionist "rabbi"
leading a pro-Hamas rally in Philadelphia,.
Those who thought that "Jewish anti-Semite" was an oxymoron will have
to think again. Increasingly, the left, and especially the campus
left, produces a mass of Jewish collaborators with the enemy, the
Jewish equivalents of Taliban John. Just about every Israel-bashing
newspaper and Internet site now features anti-Jewish columnists and
writers, many of them Israeli faculty members.
But the rudest awakening of all at the end of Cast Lead came with
regard to the Israeli far left, led by the academic fifth column. For
years, the pursuit of leftist silliness has been just as fashionable
on Israeli campuses as it's been on campuses in the U.S. and Europe.
As Orwell wrote, some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals can
believe them. As the guns in Gaza began to fall silent, a number of
Israeli leftists emerged from their bunkers with a vengeance,
sabotaging the consensus of patriotism that had filled Israel during
Ben-Gurion University, the campus with arguably the largest number of
anti-Israel extremist faculty members, was shut down for weeks as
Hamas rockets bathed Beersheba. Several rockets landed close to the
campus. Public-school buildings in Beersheba were destroyed by
rockets. Yet leftist faculty members at BGU went on the warpath
against Israel and in support of Hamas. In an article titled "Black
January," BGU sociologist Lev Grinberg proclaimed Hamas terrorists to
be the true Maccabees, struggling against the evil empire:
I admit that I find the name "Cast Lead" in bad taste because of its
allusion to Chanukah and the Maccabees who fought against a mighty
conqueror. If indeed there is a struggle here of the weak against an
occupying empire, it is the struggle of Hamas against Israel, not the
other way around. Our self-image as the weak victim is utterly surreal
and trapped in the mythology of the Jews as the ultimate victims,
regardless of reality.... The firing of missiles by the prisoners in
protest against their starvation was interpreted as aggression, while
their oppression by their jailers was interpreted as self-defense.
Grinberg had earlier denounced Israel's targeting of terrorist leaders
as "symbolic genocide."
Neve Gordon, a BGU lecturer now serving as the chairman of political
science at the university, turned out one pro-terror anti-Israel
article after the next for anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites,
denouncing Israel as a criminal entity. In one, he excoriated Israel
for bombing the Islamic "university" in Gaza that was serving as the
storage warehouse for the very same rockets being fired at his own
Oren Yiftachel, a professor of geography at Ben Gurion University who
has made a career out of denouncing Israel for being an "apartheid"
regime, cheered the firing of rockets at the children of Sderot and
Netivot as the moral and just response of Palestinians "imprisoned" by
Israel firing at their "jailers."
At my own University of Haifa, left-wing faculty members exploded in a
wave of outraged protests when the campus heads decided to fly Israeli
flags as a gesture of solidarity with the embattled residents of the
Negev towns. The leftists claimed this would be insensitive because it
would offend the pro-jihad Arab students who fill the campus.
The most important lesson of the past eight years, at this late stage
understood by everyone except university leftists and most Israeli
politicians, is that nothing will really put an end to the terror and
rockets other than some good old-fashioned R&D - Reoccupation and
Everything else is a delusion.
See also this:
2. I have been trying to think of some appropriate Purim gag
headlines to post. This year's reality is so absurd – I posted that
item a few days ago about Ilan Pappe being nominated as Hero of
Humanity by the "Raelian" UFO cult - it is not easy coming up with
things that people will understand as gags or spoofs.
Anyway, here are a few pathetic attempts at decent Purim gag headlines:
A. The fashion designer John Galliano, who was recently fired by the
Dior fashion house for proclaiming that he loves Hitler and thinks the
Jews deserve to be murdered has been appointed the new president of
Ben Gurion University. Rivka Carmi has stepped down so that Galliano
can take over. "He is much more appropriate a leader of Ben Gurion
University than I am," she confessed. The politics department at BGU
is still debating over whether Galliano is anti-Zionist enough to be
allowed to teach there.
B. One of the Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at Libya has gone off
course and struck the editorial offices building of Haaretz!
C. Muammar Kaddafi gets an official letter from Tel Aviv University
offering him a tenured position teaching philosophy.
D. The Hebrew University has ordered that the sexual harassment of
students in the sociology department be ended once and for all by
requiring that all sociology professors undergo reparative therapy to
turn them into homosexuals.
E. Barry Chamish has gotten a job!
F. The Reconstructionist Yom Kippur prayer book has been published
and all prayers in it are in ebonics.
G. Michael Lerner did not smoke any pot yesterday. He had a stomach flu.
H. Gideon Levy from Haaretz has published a love poem to Muammar
Kaddafi based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and begins, "Muammar
Muammar whereforth art thou Muammar!"
I. The court has issued its sentencing for ex-President Moshe Katsav
and it is that he has to move into the bedroom at Shulamit Aloni's
J. The Reform synagogue movement disowns the "Religious Action
Center," and the Center immediately merges with the Raelians.
K. Alexander Cockburn will be starring as Tevya in the Broadway
revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
L. Norman Finkelstein turns 58 without ever having been out on a date
so Dana International agrees to go out on a mercy date with him.
M. After being offered their own state by the UN, the Palestinian
announce that they all want to move to southern Libya, since there was
never any such thing as a Palestinian people.