This is a good article by Horovitz and a very important read. I just preordered the book which has now moved to the top of my ‘to read’ list. I’ve long identified and written about the Israeli ‘Right’ and ‘Non-Right’ since Israeli ‘Left’ is a long standing misnomer and significant mischaracterization. While the Second Intifada did become a seminal event in the history of modern Israel, the long political misrepresentation from within and across Israeli politics of ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ has its roots from long before.
With this, I found Halevi’s reference to Israel’s main political demarcations as ‘Religious/Ideological Right’ and ‘Pragmatic Right’ interesting and far more illuminating.
To take this further, I’d offer it would be not only be very possible but, likely, very important to identify the even sometimes more subtle distinctions between those of the ‘Religious’ and ‘Ideological’ Rights rather than seeing these as one monolithic category. That Netanyahu, for instance, is of the Ideological Right while being surrounded by the majority members of an overwhelming Religious Right coalition can help provide a better perspective of exactly where he went so askew. An approach based on this framework also has the potential to strongly assist in better organizing the eternally fragmented and disarrayed Israeli political opposition to the unstable but so far still unassailable Likud coalition.
I’d also argue that it’s time to stop using the term ‘Zionist’ in such a broad and consistently self-identifying manner for those who strongly support Israel since it really is no longer an accurate representation of Israel either historically or geopolitically. While Zionism (or ‘Revisionist Zionism’) is part of Israel’s roots, Israel is now a modern nation rather than ‘Zionist;’ a term which is often misused and abused as an epithet by those anti-Israel and/or anti-Semitic.
Halevi’s observations that ‘Zionism largely failed to save the Jews of Europe – but it did succeed in saving the Jews of the Middle East’ and his unique characterization of the Jewish ‘Zionism of Longing’ are uniquely important. It is, in fact, the continued pursuit by too many of the no longer applicable ‘Revisionist Zionism’ to which Halevi refers that allows ‘Zionist’ to remain such an all purpose epithet so many in their dramatic but persistent characterization of ‘Israel as a Western colonialist project.’ Reorganizing and better understanding our own narrative, as Halevi writes, will be key to Israel’s continued strength, security and – maybe – future stability.
A few additional relevant thoughts…
With regards to the Territories…Israel will only be able to truly stop ‘negotiating’ with and through Abbas and Hamas when it finds the clarity of vision to work directly with Palestinian citizens across the Territories. Despite the otherwise delusions by some of Israel’s and the Diaspora’s harder ‘Religious Right’ in particular, the Palestinians aren’t going anywhere and are people who most typically want the same socioeconomic stability and future for themselves and their families as the rest of us.
If Israel can provide medical support to fighters and citizens from all sides in Syria; if Israel can send support, medical and rescue teams around the globe, it certainly can organize a modified kind of ‘Marshall Plan’ that would give Palestinians something to do besides flying burning kites over the border fence. A disproportionate ‘power’ that keeps Abbas as the PA’s Holocaust denying neo-dictator; allows Hamas to continue brutalizing the citizens of Gaza while spending their money on death rather than Gaza’s future is the decided lack of coherent alternatives.
Palestinian ‘leaders’ across the Territories are their own citizens most immediate and deadly enemies and certainly no partner for any kind of peace with Israel or their own. With clear and authentic vision, Israel could be far more valued by a majority of Palestinian citizens while undermining the consistently self-destructive Palestinian leadership whose primary strategies remain largely limited to an ahistorical rhetoric of death while killing their own for international photo ops.
Abbas’ Delusions Focus in on Israel’s Lack of Vision