Daniel Markind

Ukraine and Palestine – The False Equivalence

Kim Iversen is a young American independent journalist who has dared take on the mainstream media.  Together with such figures as Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibi, Bari Weiss, Ryan Grim, Robbie Soave, Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, they have produced some of the most provocative journalism of the last few years, daring to buck the seemingly scripted political viewpoints that characterize much of the media today.
Earlier this week, Ms. Iversen again dared tread where so many refuse to go, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In her monologue, she claimed that those who wrap themselves in the Ukrainian flag yet refuse to do the same for the Palestinians are hypocritical.  Both people, she claimed, are fighting off invaders and are subject to unjustified aggression.
Unfortunately, Ms. Iversen couldn’t have been more wrong.  In her false equivalence she sowed the seeds for why this conflict likely will continue.
Contrary to Ms. Iversen, the situations are exactly the opposite.  Ukrainians are fighting and dying for exactly the opportunity the Palestinians have rejected – the ability to live peacefully, side by side with a more powerful neighbor.  Unlike the Ukrainians, who don’t dream about conquering all of Russia, Palestinians chant constantly “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  In other words, they intend to wipe the State of Israel off the map.
Ms. Iversen certainly is not alone in her moral blindness There are innumerable people in the West, and certainly among the media and intelligentsia, who believe the same way.  They cannot conceive of how
anyone can support the right of the Ukrainians to fight the Russians yet not support the right of the Palestinians to fight the Israelis.
It’s worth pondering what their reaction will be if the Ukrainians actually defeat the Russians.  What would the Kim Iversens and so many others like her say should Russia be forced to withdraw from Ukraine?  She already has made it well known.  Should that happen, in her moral universe there would be no justification for not demanding that the international community engage in the same concerted international efforts against Israel that put so much pressure on Vladimir Putin and Russia.
It is exactly that sort of mindset that keeps the dreams of the Arab rejectionists alive and leads them always to refuse any compromise with Israel.  55 years after the Six Day War, they still dream of internationalizing the conflict.  They adamantly refuse any compromise that might confer legitimacy on the State of Israel.  Their hope, so well exhibited by Ms. Iversen, is that the international elite will gain sufficient power to force Israel back to the June 4, 1967 cease fire lines without the Palestinians having to give up anything.  Having gotten Israeli withdrawal, the Palestinians then can try to destroy the rest of Israel – from Tel Aviv to Haifa to West Jerusalem to Eilat.
Apparently, it never dawns on these opinion makers that just 22 years ago Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak practically begged Yasser Arafat to make peace, based almost entirely on the pre-June 4, 1967 lines.  So controversial was Barak’s proposal that it would have taken the votes of the Arab Members of the Knesset to pass it.  That’s right.  Israel was so desirous of peace and compromise with the Palestinians that it was going to allow the future of the Jewish State to be decided by Arab ministers, and possibly risk civil war in the process.
Barak needn’t  have bothered.  Arafat rejected even that, humiliating President Bill Clinton in the process.  Arafat clearly was banking on the pressure of the international intelligentsia to force Israel’s hand unilaterally.
Since that day in 2000 there has been almost no Israeli political left wing.  When you’ve made your maximum offer and the other side says no, what’s left to talk about?  But still the mindset of the intelligentsia remains – that Israel is the same as Russia and that the Israeli “occupation” is the same as the Russian invasion.
 Should Russia return to its borders, it would go back to a country that is 9 time zones wide.  Israel would retreat to a country that is 9 miles wide.  And in doing so Israel would retreat in the face of an enemy who remains sworn to its destruction.  But no matter for these great thinkers.  The situations are identical, and anyone who does not believe so is a hypocrite.
Call me hypocrite.  I hope Putin fails (although I think the Ukraine conflict is more complicated than just one evil man invading another country).  Should he fail, I will do everything at my disposal to prevent the simplistic explanation for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to become conventional wisdom, and then to be acted upon.  I will accept innumerable public lashings by Ms. Iversen and her like, so long as I never have to receive an apology from her along the likes of, “Gee, I never realized the Palestinians would keep trying to destroy Israel instead of living in peace.”
About the Author
Daniel B, Markind is an attorney based in Philadelphia specializing in real estate, commercial, energy and aviation law. He is the former Chair of the National Legal Committee of the Jewish National Fund of America as well as being a former member of the National Executive Board and the National Chair of the JNF National Future Leadership. He writes frequently on Middle Eastern and energy issues. Mr. Markind lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and children.
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