Spirited arguments in Israel’s right continue. Here are our latest rejoinders – to 9 points made in an op-ed by Professor Eugene Kontrovich (EK).
EK1: Applying Israeli law to Jerusalem didn’t mean Israel conceded a Palestinian state.
Exactly. Because revered premier Menachem Begin bolstered Jerusalem and simultaneously (like Rabin) opposed Palestinian state, his sovereignty move was resoundingly successful. Whereas, as Israel prepares to apply Israeli law from 1 July, some players are catastrophically blaring that Palestinian state might be a fine idea. Netanyahu has been pretty careful. But even he’s been dilatory in taking shadowy two-staters in his own Foreign Ministry to task. Ron Dermer has exposed himself as a two-stater. Saddest of all, a beacon of courage, President Trump, was infected by TSS (two-state-solutionism) earlier this year and has yet to announce his recovery. We Israelis pray for Trump’s speedy return to good health and stamina.
EK2: The most formidable reason for Israel’s sovereignty failures has been opposition of the international community.
The “international community” threat is less formidable than the military threat – which Israel does overcome, at great expense and sacrifice. So why has Israel failed, internationally, for decades? Simple: our diplomats. Many Israeli diplomats either became confused as to what team they are on while on the job, a problem foreseen by David Ben-Gurion, or, worse, were confused even before they stepped into office. One example is a senior Israeli diplomat, whose son is prominent in a raucous anti-Israel organization, funded by millions of shekels sent by European governments trying to legitimize Arab-bloc positions.
EK3: “A few misguided settler leaders” oppose the Kushner plan. Consequences will be “dire”. Their criticism is that partially applying Israeli law means everything else becomes a Palestinian state.
ALL the ideological settler leaders oppose the Palestinian state component of the Kushner plan. Also, no-one says partially applying Israeli law “means” Palestinian state everywhere else. The entire Land of Israel movement says the opposite: that the Israeli and American right can and should both activate sovereignty, AND denounce TSS (two-state syndrome).
EK4: Maps circulated by right-wing groups show an alarming picture – a photo-negative inversion of reality.
Our right-wing group simply uses the horrifying Palestinian State map published in Yediot, a large Israeli daily. No need for special maps. As Ambassador Friedman said about the official American maps, “Plenty of people, when they saw this map, gasped and asked, ‘What is that, that you put there in the middle of Israel?’ ”
EK5: Palestinians have repeatedly made clear they do not want a “state”.
Non-factual. “Palestinian” ring leaders agitate for “state” status daily, because such “statehood” provides international powers to threaten and isolate Israel. These ruthless, corrupt “Palestinian” leaders are NOT interested in responsibly providing for local Arabs (something that does NOT require state status). That’s far from their thoughts.
EK6: The mistake right-wing critics make is as if they searched the [Kushner] plan for the words “Palestinian state,” and, upon finding it, rejected the Vision without reading what it says.
Enough already with the stereotypes. Yes, decades ago the Israeli right was mainly supported by Israel’s poor, who lacked higher education. Today, many prominent Israelis opposing Palestinian state are as well-educated as Eugene Kontrovich. Fully able to read PDF documents.
EK7: The plan’s opponents on the right do not understand that [there could be] overwhelming international and domestic pressure on any Israeli government. Obama came close to allowing the Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state in all of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel needs to be prepared to face that again.
A critical mass of Democrats would/will rein in Obama/Biden, if they understand just how dangerous a Palestinian “state” – emphasis on the word “state” – is for Israel. The way to accomplish this is to explain, explain, explain and again explain, how crucial it is for Arab rights NOT to include having a “state” (as opposed to other arrangements), 21st in number, west of the Jordan. In other words, how crucial it is NOT to establish Iran 2, a bike-ride away from Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport. This is exactly what the Israeli right is explaining, and exactly what the Kushner plan lacks.
EK8: A rising tide of political activists views (Israel’s sovereign rights) as apartheid-like occupation.
This is a poor choice of words; those demonizing Israel as apartheid/ occupation should not be respectfully termed “activists” — while in the same article disparaging those horrified at the Palestinian state component as “loud”, “misguided” and “dire”. Prof. Daniel Kahneman once said that the word “occupation” is “almost a curse” in Europe — being reminiscent of the Nazis. Also, such Israel-bashers are loud — but few. Not a “rising tide”.
EK9: The Vision imposes detailed conditions before statehood, which won’t be easy for Palestinians to meet.
Palestinians never need to “meet” conditions, they just have to create that impression — in the press. How hard will it be to arrange for NYT’s Tom Friedman, or CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, to report, in prime time, that “Abbas has met all the conditions”? or that “Israel’s even worse”?
That’s why the Israeli right never relies on “conditions”. As Netanyahu puts it, “we are not stupid”. Conditions are better than nothing, but if only “conditions” stand between our kids and Iran 2 – we’re worried.
These heated arguments show how democratic the Israeli right really is. But on one thing we all agree: As Eugene says, many good things “would have been impossible had Israel not staked its claim in the face of opposition.” So friends of Israel, please rally to Israel’s side. We can do this together: Activating Israel’s legal sovereignty (chicken soup) – yes. Palestinian entity with “state” status (cyanide) – no.