The Fall of the Left

The left in Israel is falling. No, not the politicians. They understand that if they admit they are wrong, they will lose their reason to exist and so they continue spouting the lies hoping no one will notice. Where the left is falling is at the grassroots level.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

I work regularly in the heart of left-hood, in a company where only one other religious person works; no one from Jerusalem, and if anyone is right wing here, they very smartly keep it to themselves. The two that were religious and/or right wing, didn’t last long, just as almost all of the few (perhaps 4) religious people who have worked at this company in the last 14 years while I’ve been a consultant here, also left relatively quickly.

Nice, wonderful people. Very left wing. For the most part, we don’t discuss politics and all get along very well. I’m something of a novelty for them – religious, Jerusalem, American, right wing.

I worked here during the Gaza “Disengagement.” One person happily told me he was taking vacation days so he could watch it on TV, that he couldn’t wait to see it happen. We talked about what Israel would look like afterwards. He said there would be peace.

I laughed and said, no, there will be more rockets — on Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, even Jerusalem. He said, “no way.” And I laughed again.

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

“If that happens,” he told me, “we will crush them.”

He’d been in the army. And he promised, if they dared…dared…to shoot rockets at Israel after we gave them Gaza, that we had earned the right to flatten them. He spoke in terms more militant than I would have voiced.

“We’ll treat them like a normal nation once we leave and they have their land,” he said. “If they attack us, we will demolish them.”

That was before he watched the expulsion of 9,000 Jews, before he accepted it was all for nothing. He stayed home to celebrate; I stayed home to cry. We both watched from different parts of the country – physically and metaphorically. I delayed going to work for three weeks. Couldn’t stand the though of the discussion I knew he would start. Finally, several weeks later when I had to go in, I decided not to discuss politics with him and determined to leave the company after four years, rather than suffer his glee.

Late in the afternoon, he started the discussion I was dreading. On that day, he told me, he’d watched…and cried. Once many months before he told me he had nothing in common with “the settlers.” I told him that for the first time in my life, I was disconnected from some Jews, that I had nothing in common with a Jew who could watch those scenes and not cry.

Rockets were fired from what was once Gush Katif and there have been three wars since we left Gaza. Israel never “flattened” Gaza as he promised; never did more than disable their ability to make war on us for a year or two.

And yesterday, as I came to work and sat here through the day, I found angry people in shock over the terror attacks. I heard voices all day, “two stabbed” and “another one” and “he’s in critical condition” and “they got that one.”

And one person came to me and told me we should give up the Temple Mount, that it is only real estate and causing all the problems. I told him we gave up Gaza and his answer was yes, but if we give up the Temple Mount and they attack us, “we’ll erase them…house by house…we’ll kill them all.”

There is no gray he told me, only black and white.We’ll kick them all out of this country. All of them. “You think the ‘Israeli’ Arabs are any different?” has asked me and then continued in his rage as I stood there in silence, “they’re all the same. They want to kill us.”

I ignored most of what he said, but decided to address one main point. They had the Temple Mount in 1966, I told him. They had all the so-called settlements. They created the Palestine Liberation Organization (the vile father of the bastard Palestinian Authority) in 1964. Why? I asked this friend. Why did they create the PLO in 1964 if all they want is the Temple Mount or the Judea and Samaria…which they already had? He didn’t answer. The left never has an answer to that question.

They want to destroy us, he repeated and I looked at him. Yes, they do, I finally agreed. “So why do you want to give them the Temple Mount?”

The left doesn’t understand how to deal with this situation because it defies logic. But more, they don’t realize that the logic they are attempting to apply is western logic, not eastern, not Middle Eastern, not Islamic.

“Even if you give them Jerusalem,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali (former Muslim born in Somalia), “EVEN if you give them Jerusalem, there will be no peace,” she said at the President’s Conference in Jerusalem a few years ago.

“Would you give them Jerusalem?” I asked my left-leaning friend as I felt the anger and pain pour from him.

“No,” he answered in anger raising his voice so that others noticed, “Why should we give them Jerusalem?”

And so the left is falling because ultimately they are faced with the unimaginable – a thirteen year old terrorist stabbing a thirteen year old boy riding his bicycle; a sixteen year old terrorist stabbing two people before she was neutralized.

The news is calling this the “knife terrorism” wave; or the “youth” wave. We sit here and try to work as we listen to our phones beep. We check the news and hear of another attack.

The right wing sits back – this is what we expected. There was never any attempt to change the status quo on the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit)- that is a lie born from the Palestinian need to produce a reason for their violence. The status quo was never one which allowed Palestinians to store weapons (rocks, firebombs, fireworks, etc.) in the mosques and to use them on Jewish visitors and security forces).

Beyond the reality that legally Jews are allowed to visit, the Arabs have nothing to protest. We have not attempted to take over the area – though perhaps, in all honesty we should. In 1967, Moshe Dayan did something no Arab country would have done. He took the “victory” of “Har HaBayit is in our hands” – and handed it to the Muslims. So stupid that move – no Arab leader would have expected it because no Arab leader would have done the same.

Those who want to act as Europeans and Americans in this land will not survive. We are not fighting a western enemy, but a Middle Eastern one. Honor killings are a symbol of honor in that society; weakness, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali tried to tell the audience, cannot be allowed. No compromise, she said. No surrender.

To negotiate is to show you are willing to compromise. The Palestinian leadership (I will not attempt to speak for the people) have consistently praised the murderers and demanded that the world condemn Israel for killing the terrorists who have been stabbing unarmed people in the backs.

The world, perhaps realizing the absurdity of that request (or more likely because they would rather just ignore the whole situation), remains amazingly silent and when they do speak, it is ridiculously neutral terms such as condemning violence on all sides.

As for the left, hope is dying before their eyes. Stabbed in the back, bleeding and in pain. The partner they were so sure they had is dancing in the streets with joy at the thought of the orphans they have created, the blood that is flowing in Israel.

We have no peace partner. We have no peace and if the left does not wake up and realize that we are left with no choice but to fight the enemy – the enemy within our borders as much as the enemies on the other side, we will have no land.

There never was a possibility to live together. That is the reality that the Arabs have consistently recognized – in 1947 when they turned down the Partition Plan that would have given them a state on more land than they are supposedly willing to accept now; in 1948 when five Arab armies attempted to push the Jews into the sea, and in every war and in every terror attack since then.

For the last 67 years, their message has been consistent and unwavering. Get out, they tell us, or we will destroy you. This was never about the Temple Mount; this was never about Jerusalem; and this was never about the “occupation.”

Like that moment in Man of La Mancha, the mirror is being held up high and the left is being forced to look at itself. You cannot defeat the unbeatable foe…if you could, he wouldn’t be unbeatable, would he?

All you can do, all we can do, is what we’ve been doing – fight for our right to be in our land. What the Arabs have consistently shown respect for is strength…we need to be strong, we need to show them that terrorism will not defeat us.

Every time we have offered gestures for peace, we’ve ended up with another Intifada, another wave of terror. The left will fall because it keeps believing if we give just one more inch, just one more area, just one more prisoner release, this time, suddenly, Don Quixote will see a gallant knight in the mirror and not an old man fighting with a shaving bowl on his head.

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

¬†Your quest is doomed to failure. Stop following that thing you think is a star. It’s probably just a satellite.

About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.