I have been fulminating for several weeks about the betrayal by the Israeli mainstream left (Labor, Meretz, Peace Now) of its anti-war values in fulsomely supporting the Lebanon war. That is, until they didn’t support it (to paraphrase John Kerry). Until Olmert announced the expanded ground war in the last week or so of the conflict, the Israeli peace camp fully endorsed the war and Olmert’s avowed aims of crushing Hezbollah.
It is as if the entire failed Israeli invasion of Gaza which raged for weeks before the Lebanon conflict began, had never happened. The senseless mayhem, the overwhelming devastation wrought on Palestinian civilians, the disproportionate use of force–all of it didn’t teach the so-called progressives that what couldn’t be done in Gaza also couldn’t be done in Lebanon. It’s shameful really. It’s as if you train your entire life to save lives by fighting fires and when the first alarm bell rings you drop a match on the conflagration.
For those who aren’t schooled enough on who or what I’m talking about–I’m talking about the Amir Peretzes and Yossi Beilins, the Amos Ozes and A.B. Yehoshuas, the Meretz and Labor of the Israeli political scene. Those who cut their eye teeth on Peace Now demonstrations lo these many years ago. The ones who sounded all the grand themes of negotiation, brotherhood and peace in their speeches and op-ed columns. The ones who should’ve known better.
It just makes me sick. Lebanon was a disaster from the get go. Why did it take them five entire weeks to realize this? Why did they leave the entire anti-war opposition to Israeli Arabs and Hadash? Not that I disparage their courage and conviction in the face of such tremendous silence from the progressive Jews in Israel. On the contrary. I give them much credit. But the truth is that this group does not hold much sway over mainstream Israeli opinion. And in order for an anti-war movement to have developed it would’ve required support from some of the culprits I excoriate here.
A Ynetnews correspondent has written a scathing indictment of what she calls the Doves of Prey. She wrote this on August 12th, when the war raged at its worst, and her bitterness turned out to be justified:
One hundred dead Israelis – undoubtedly a horrendous figure – and a flock of local and noisy doves have turned into a flock of angry battle doves.
Almost overnight, the calls for peace and moderation have been abandoned, replaced by loud and angry preaching calling for the pounding, crippling and destruction of the enemy.
One hundred dead, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, dozens of shelled homes – and the doves have become falcons…
Israel’s belligerent doves should pause to ponder one small question: if they – the famous peace lovers – have become doves of prey after the death of 100 Israelis, then what do they suppose is going through the minds of those doves and hawks alike who have suffered 1,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, and scores of villages almost wiped off the face of the earth.
But how dare I compare? We are the chosen people, and they are just Arabs.
B. Michael, the correspondent, presents a powerful rebuttal of the Israeli argument that Hamas was to blame for Lebanese civilian casualties because it used “human shields” or hid itself in civilian areas:
We say they “hide among civilians,” that they “use them as human shields, those lowly cowards.” We say, “Those who allow them to do so should pay the price.”
This is a somewhat hollow argument coming from the mouths of officers and leaders whose headquarters are located in the heart of Tel Aviv. And not far from there in the midst of a prestigious neighborhood, there’s a type of military airport. And in a handsome building in the capital, in the heart of the city, there’s a large military base, where cannons are reportedly, often positioned so close to the settlements that schoolchildren wander over there during their breaks.
But these arguments sound all the more hollow coming from a country that invented the “settlement undertaking.” An undertaking whose sole purpose was to send civilians, including women and children, to perform a military assignment par excellence: gaining control over territory, the expulsion of the residents and annexation of the spoils to the mother country. A classical assignment by a conquering power.
This is all being carried out under a contrite and sanctimonious civilian pretext. I would, therefore, like to make myself heard loud and clear: No one asked for my permission before building the Kiriya (Tel Aviv military headquarters), I didn’t give my consent for building the Schneller Camp, and as far as I am concerned, let all the settlements be abandoned as of now.
And even though I am being used as a human shield, many leaders and sacred weapons are hiding behind me, and I am paying the taxes for the curse of the settlements and the evil of the occupation, I insist: my blood is no different from the blood of Lebanese citizens, and cannot be shed. And hopefully, all those who dare harm us, will find themselves paying the cost. Either before a local adjudicator or an international one, whatever comes first.
I’m often excoriated for my criticisms of Israel and my contentions that Israeli generals will eventually (along with Hezbollah and Palestinians terrorists) face an international tribunal if their own respective judiciaries refuse to try them for war crimes. It’s nice to read an Israeli thinking along the same lines; though it is sad to think that things have sunk so low that we speak seriously of such an eventuality.
Hat tip to Common Ground News Service.