Previewing a History of Israel’s Generals’ Politics Offers Little Comfort

“Deal of the century” or a plan doomed to failure? The Americans are working on a ‘peace plan’ based on the way Americans, not Middle Eastern people, think.” [Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz 7, 3/1/2019]

In referencing former IDF Chiefs of Staff [Gantz, Yaalon and Aashkenazi], “—there is great doubts—just how much political acumen they display once elected” [Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz 7, 22/02/2019]

Movie – The Gatekeepers
by Alex Rose

There is no doubt that Dror Moreh’s film has earned rich reviews and has been universally applauded. As a film director, Moreh has demonstrated exceptional skills. However, in the realm of morality, there is much to be questioned and in particular motives and human behavior. These will be examined through his speech and remarks of his participants.

At the outset, the lack of balance, the omission of historical context and questionable morality, is no credit to Israel as suggested by David Horowitz of The Times of Israel. The film is also clouded in reverse causality, a consequence of Arab cunning. The movie is nothing but a one sided propaganda pitch whereby identifying with the enemy is trendy. Yet another leftist polemic, illustrating how Jewish guilt is both cheap and devoid of responsibility.

In short form a recall of Abba Eban’s UN November 17, 1958 speech clearly identifies who initiated the modern day Arab-Israel conflict and a fuller understanding of the situation can be found in the works of Winston Churchill.

“The Arab refugee problem was caused by a war of aggression, launched by the Arab states against Israel in 1947 & 1948. Let there be no mistake. If there had been no war against Israel, with its consequent harvest of bloodshed, misery, panic and flight, there would be no problem of Arab refugees today.

Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem. Nothing in the history of our generation is clearer or less controversial than the initiative of Arab governments for the conflict out of which out of which the refugee tragedy emerged.”

David Lloyd George [Paris Peace Conference] – “No race has done better out of the fidelity with which the Allies redeemed their promises to the oppressed races than the Arabs —- although most of the Arab races fought for Turkey”.

Arthur Balfour [July 1920], expressed the hope that Arabs – “a great, an interesting, an attractive race “will remember that it was the British who freed them from Turkish tyranny” and “remembering that they will not grudge that small notch in what are now Arab territories being given to the people who for all these hundreds of years have been separated from it.”

On July 4 1922, Churchill argued:

I am told the Arabs would have done it themselves [Rutenberg concession]. Who is going to believe that? Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine.

They would have been quite content to dwell – a handful of philosophic people – in the wasted sun-scorched plains, letting the waters of the Jordan flow unbridled and unharnessed int the Dead Sea”.

The origins of the conflict are clearly announced by the confessions of Arab governments themselves: “This will be a war of extermination” declared the secretary-general of the Arab League speaking for the governments of six Arab states, “it will be a momentous massacre to be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and Crusades”.

Disingenuously, Moreh , while advertising the film as “the first time ever” conveniently omits a 2 hour joint interview with the Shin Bet chiefs back in 2003 as reported by The Guardian titled, “Israel on Road to Ruin, warn former Shin Bet Chiefs”. A few comments from the interview:

“If we go on living by the sword, we will continue to wallow in the mud and destroy ourselves” [Yaacov Perry].

R. He needs to be reminded that at the end of WW2 occurred when Germany, Japan and the rest of the Axis were totally defeated.

“[The government] is dealing solely with the question of how to prevent the next terrorist attack.——-It is clear to me that we are heading towards a crash” [Carmi Gillon].

R. The theme throughout the movie is one of “the absence of any coherent strategy behind the country’s anti-terror campaigns”. It is then suggested that Yitzhak Rabin broke the cycle of “no strategy, just tactics” by authorizing secret talks with Yasser Arafat’s PLO in Oslo. At the joint 2003 interview, the spymasters warned that there would be a “catastrophe” if the country did not opt quickly for a two-state solution. Ten years later this prophecy has shown itself to be somewhat bankrupt.

Avraham Shalon called the government’s policies “contrary to the desire for peace”.

R. He seems to be suffering from a memory loss in consideration of Menachem Begin’s contribution to the shopworn “land-for peace” formula which did result in a “cold peace”. Forgotten too, Israel has offered the Palestinians a state on 3 occasions on most of the West Bank with a capital in Jerusalem, only to have the offer rejected.

In 2003, the Security Chiefs all agreed on a need to take swift steps towards ending the “occupation” by dismantling some Jewish “settlements” in the West Bank & Gaza. President Weizmann accused them of undermining the government, calling them the “four musketeers”. On the other hand, the interview had a profound effect on Sharon to the extent that less than a month thereafter he initiated the Gaza disengagement plans. So much for the government not heeding the wisdom of the advocates of a 2 state “solution”!

Apparently, the “musketeers” either are not too well versed in history or they suffer from amnesia. The only illegitimate occupiers of Gaza & the West Bank were Egypt and Jordan respectively. UN Resolution 242 clearly states that Israel may remain in the subject territories until a formal peace agreement is in place.

Avraham Shalom: “We have become— cruel”.

R. Really, fighting terrorism against those who subscribe to the not –yet- completed revision to the PA Covenant & the Hamas Covenant is cruel? There is a piece of Jewish sagely advice which informs us that “Whoever is kind to the cruel, will end up being cruel to the kind”. Destroying evil is perhaps the greatest act of kindness possible.

Avi Dichter: “You can’t make peace using military means”.

R. This surely does not square with history. Many examples come to mind, from the wars with Germany & Japan, the Six Day War, WW1 etc.

Ami Ayalon: “We’re winning all the battles, but losing the war”; “Victory is the creation of a better political reality” [Karl von Clausewitz].

R. Von Clausewitz also stated that “The best form of defense is attack”, “A conqueror is always a lover of peace”, “To secure peace is to prepare for war”, “War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst”, “Public opinion is won through great victories and the occupation of the enemy’s capital”, “Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory”, and “There is only one decisive victory – the last”.

Avraham Shalom: “Forget about morality when you are dealing with terrorists”.

R. This seems reasonable enough given that they were not dealing with “innocents abroad”. However, when entrusted with the security of a state, one expects utmost moral behavior in the public arena.

Dror Moreh: “When you see the racism that is throughout, all over, the Israeli society, racism against anything that moves almost, you understand that this is what they [Shin Bet chiefs] mean”. “This is a sick society, a very sick society”

R. With the loss of dignity, one must surely wonder who is sick. Identifying with one’s enemies always give rise to questions on motivation. Dr. Kenneth Levin, a Harvard psychiatrist has not only investigated this subject and authored, “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege” which does appear to match rather closely the behavior pattern of Moreh & his spymasters. He has also generated an exhaustive review of “The Jewish Divide over Israel: Accusers and Defenders” edited by Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor, yet another credible expose on this phenomena.

Dr. Levin posits this question. “Why did Israel persist in the Oslo process when following Arafat’s arrival in the territories in July of 1994 and Israel experienced the worst terror attacks in its history?” He answers, “To understand the why of this situation we must look at the psychology of chronically besieged populations. Almost invariably there are parts of the population that accept the indictments of the besiegers in the hope that they can win relief and peace.”

In all this one should not lose sight of Professor Eisenstein’s observation, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

From the movie, viewers are presented with an exercise in self-abasement accompanied by a complete loss of morality. Moreh informs us that he “believes in psychology – always drawn into the motivation of people —“. In the field of psychology, it is a well known fact that “prejudices arise in the minds of men”. When firmly established facts oppose political dogma, the reaction of the politician almost invariably is to deny the fact, rather than to change the dogma. It is the certainty which Moreh and his “actors” pursue their beliefs which is inclined to make them suspect, given that they can be totally wrong. The danger therein was stated in an Op-Ed piece by a well known psychologist, Professor Phyllis Chesler, “To the extent to which it [the film] is false, defamatory, biased, exaggerated – I consider it suicidal and traitorous.” Writing on the Jewish psyche in the NY Sun of July 20, 2006, Warren Kozak notes, “By now this penchant for self-denigration among Jewish people should not surprise me, but it still does.” How much more so should it apply in the case of those who had served the Shin Bet whose motto is “Defends and shall not be seen”?

The “Gatekeepers” suffering from amnesia, lapses in memory and engaging in revisionist history, while entitled to their political views should never have hung them out like “dirty washing”, given the responsibility they once had. They have demonstrated a denial of ethics, a disregard for modesty, and exhibited a lack of dignity in the public place.

Too bad that their “awakening” did not reach the same conclusions as revisionist historian Benny Morris had realized. “My turning point began after 2000 ———-when the Palestinians rejected the proposal of [prime minister Ehud] Baraq in July 2000 and the Clinton proposal in December 2000, I understood that they are unwilling to accept the two-state solution—–They want it all——Lod and Acre and Jaffa——-The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb [2004]—–They are a potential fifth column—–There is a deep problem in Islam——-It’s a world whose values are different.” Indeed, even Marco Polo had observed, “The militant Muslim is the person who beheads the infidel, while the moderate Muslim holds the feet of the victim”.

In conclusion, the ever-present wisdom of Winston Churchill, “The acts we engage in for appeasement today, we will have to remedy at far greater cost and remorse tomorrow.”

/March 14, 2013

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.