Articles

Monday, May 07, 2012

Israel's Peace Disease

For the last twenty years Israel has been swept into an obsession with few parallels except to the Dutch Tulip economy. Except instead of tulips, its commodity of choice is an even more insubstantial thing, the faint promise of peace.

Peace fever is the disease consuming Israel as surely as the Black Death took Europe. If the Dutch traded fortunes for flowers, the Israelis have traded away most of their territory for worthless pieces of paper that last about as long as tulips do. Mostly, like Madoff's investments, after they wither and die it turns out that they were never worth anything to begin with.

Take the Camp David Accords, greeted with insane romantic fervor in Jerusalem and European capitals, but resented and despised by Egyptians because they were a reminder of how their army had failed to destroy Israel. It was a worthless accord that gave Egypt a vast amount of territory in exchange for maintaining a status quo that it had no choice but to maintain after losing multiple wars. With the fall of Mubarak, it was revealed that the Accords were never more than moonbeams and fairy dust. A puff of Arab Spring and they are gone.

Camp David was an illusion, but the Oslo Accords are a delusion. A tulip economy where Israel doles out fortunes in money, land and power in exchange for the promise of peace and an end to the violence... tomorrow, always tomorrow. The most devastating impact of the delusion isn't on the cemeteries where children lie side by side with soldiers, on the broken homes and synagogues of Gaza, or on the tightening circle of terror around Jerusalem. As with all delusions, its most devastating impact is on the mind.

The conflict has formed into two camps. The Muslims are pro-Palestine. The Jews are pro-Peace, which means they are both pro-Palestine and pro-Israel. They are for Israel and for the terrorists trying to destroy Israel. What does being pro-Peace actually mean? It means believing above all else that peace is possible and that it will come riding in on a white donkey in our time, if we just want it badly enough. 

The last twenty years have been hard on the illusion of peace. As the violence goes on year after year, it has become necessary to assign blame somewhere. There are the Dershowitzes who say that Israel wants peace; but that it lacks an amenable peace partner. There are the Friedmans who say that both sides lack leaders who want peace. Then there are the Beinarts who blame Israel for not seizing the opportunity to make peace.

Only one of those positions is logically supportable within the context of the peace delusion. If Israel lacks a peace partner, then why not abandon the whole peace process, reclaim the territory, expel the terrorists and restore order? If both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are hopeless, then what is there to negotiate when neither party wants peace? Blaming Israel is the only internally consistent position for a peace advocate because it avoids coming to grips with the futility of negotiating with terrorists.

The only way to sustain the peace delusion is by blaming Israel. And that very act concedes the hopelessness of the Palestinian Authority and the farce of negotiating with it. Why blame Israel? Because Israel is democratic, it has a vibrant opposition, it is peaceloving, it is capable of change. Israel is everything that the people it is trying to make peace with aren't.

Blaming the terrorists opens up a hopeless catalog of violence, corruption, incitement and madness. There is no way to catalog all that and still honestly go on believing that peace is possible. To browse MEMRI or PalWatch is to confront the tragedy of life and let the illusions and delusions die as all folly does when exposed to the light. The only way to keep the lie of peace alive is by blaming Israel.

The peace disease infects its victims with self-hatred as the only way to keep the pathogen alive. And the disease has no end. There was a time when Arafat was the guest of honor among peaceniks; now it's Hamas. Peter Beinart is busy explaining that Hamas really isn't that bad once you get to know them. Forget the genocidal Hamas charter, the wunderkind of the anti-Israel peace camp says, just pay attention to a few selected excerpts from their interviews with the foreign press.

And why not? It's what the peace camp did with Arafat and that worked out great. Why not do it with Hamas? What's the worst that could happen?

The internal logic of the disease is inescapably consistent. We had to  believe in Arafat in order to  believe in peace. Now that our peace partners have expressed a preference for Hamas over Fatah, we have to believe in Hamas, in order to believe in peace. To believe in peace we have to believe in a peace partner to have peace. We have to believe that there is hope for peace with every terrorist, that the lack of peace is our fault-- not theirs.

The one thing that sufferers of the peace disease have to believe above all else in order to remain consistent is that Israel is at fault. Any deviation from that is an inconsistency. That inconsistency is why the pro-Peace, pro-Israel side can always win on the facts, while still losing the debate. They can lay out their case against Fatah and Hamas in all its glorious detail, the incontestable facts, the quotes and the documentation, and then they finish with an absurdity that unmakes their position. Israel still wants peace. Yet, if half of what they say is true, then who is there to have peace with?

The other side is not bogged down by such contradictions. Their consistent narrative is that Israel has repeatedly avoided sincerely making peace. Whatever Israel has done, does or will do is not enough. It can never be enough, because if it were enough, there would be peace. And there is nothing that the terrorist populations can do that is too horrifying, too repugnant or too great a breach of faith. If they trade in Fatah for Hamas, then the Beinarts will dutifully pop up to introduce us to the newly peaceful Hamas and the same old intractable Israel.

Why then should the Palestinian Arabs make peace with the Jewish ogre and its checkpoints and walls, its bomb-sniffing dogs, law of return and settlements? They shouldn't is the implication. The terrorists have every right not to want peace with us; it is we who must prove our good faith and our humanity. It is we who must strive to prove ourselves worthy of even sitting across a negotiating table with them.

Sick? Demented? Twisted? All of the above, but also completely logical. If you are going to be delusional, then it is best to be consistently delusional. Why be neurotic, when you can be flat out insane? Why settle for a second rate phobia when you can go for full on schizophrenia? Hope and faith often dance close to the level of madness. Sustaining misdirected hope in the face of reality requires a great deal of faith or delusion.

Delusional does not mean stupid. Highly intelligent people are more likely to be deluded because they have a greater capacity for imagining and then rationalizing the delusion. A stupid person would assume that being shot at marks the end of peace negotiations. It takes a highly intelligent person to rationalize the shots as not an attack on him, but on the negotiations, which are the only way to stop the cycle of violence.

Some financial observers have hypothesized that the problem with our economy is that it is run by highly intelligent people. They may have a point. Stupid people can lose money, but they can't create imaginary money. And they are always waiting for the police to show up at their door with a warrant. Highly intelligent people though can create entire tiers of imaginary value and trade them back and forth in a glorious tulip economy, which everyone believes in, until unaccountably the whole thing evaporates because it was never there.

Israel's peace economy is the work of highly intelligent people trading real world items for an imaginary currency that they have turned into their national existence. Their burning conviction is that the only reason the imaginary currency has not realized its full value is because they have greedily not given up enough real world items to make the imaginary currency appreciate in value.

It's not a mental illness unique to Israel or to Jews. It is how cons work. Once you've been conned, you either wise up and move on, or you protect your sunk cost, your self-esteem and your credibility by throwing in more good money after bad. The only way to keep justifying this destructive behavior is by believing that the con artists are legitimate, that there is a system, and that you just need to put in more money to get back ten times what you put in.

I want peace. I also want to cure all diseases, and universal happiness and immortality for all. The difference between me and virtually every Jewish communal leader is that I know that I can't have those things because they don't exist. And if they did, I couldn't get them by giving money and land to a bunch of grubby socialist and Islamist militias.

In a time of war, modern people base their goodness on wanting peace, because doing so allows them to believe that they are good people, not bloodthirsty monsters cavorting on a throne of skulls. And to go on believing that, they cannot refuse any offer of peace; otherwise, they would be choosing war over peace. Then they would be bloodthirsty monsters resting their feet on a giant pile of corpses. Instead they show themselves to be idiots with no sales resistance and no common sense.

If a war is worth fighting, then it is worth fighting until the conditions that make that war necessary no longer exist. The minimal condition of any war is the willingness of the other side to stop fighting. If this condition is not met, then nothing else matters. Not peace doves or postmodern neurosis. It is not a matter of opinion at that stage, but a matter of fact, that the war will go on. It will go on regardless of what you do because you are not in control of the conflict.

To believe that you will have something because it is an absolute good and that to strive for it is so moral that the failure to do so is immoral regardless of its feasibility, is magical thinking. It is every bit as delusional as waiting for a magic fish to swim up and grant you three wishes. And once you base your identity on a commitment to an absolute good that cannot be achieved except through your own destruction, then you have committed suicide.

That is Israel's peace disease in a nutshell. It is not unique to Israel. It can be found in America and Europe. It can be found anywhere modern enlightened people fail to come to grip with the necessity of violence in the affairs of men and escape into illusion and delusion instead. It is a fatal disease. It does not kill quickly or cleanly, it is an agonizing fevered death filled with hallucinations, peace doves circling the ceiling, amputation after amputation, bloody limbs piled on the altar of peace that burns and burns until everything is consumed and only the ashes remain.





16 comments:

Kyra said...

you are a writing machine
please don't wear yourself out

Lemon said...

Very nicely said but sad very sad.

angie, Israel said...

but the final choice is still in our hands: do we jump off the cliff of our own free will, or wait to be pushed?

fsy said...


Camp David was an illusion, but the Oslo Accords are a delusion.


Wow! Do you just wake up with these phrases on your tongue?

Anonymous said...

One of the best pieces of writing that I have read on the 'net in the past year!

An element of the illusion/delusion that leftist Jews here and in much smaller numbers in Israel may have is the " something must then be wrong with me (us)" trigger, given the illogical and unswerving, unconditional hatred that Israel and Jews in general inspire in arab and other quarters. In some respects this may almost make their own willingness to throw Israel under the bus kind of understandable.

However if we look at Jewish history (Judenrat, Kapos, various Court Jews) we also see that a segment of the community has always been about cutting themselves off from the self-interests and welfare of their own people to pursue their own interests and feather their own nests with attenuated logic and self-serving thinking.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anon, both are too true unfortunately. And the latter group tends to be in charge of our communities.

Kyra, thank you

angie, yes it is which is why it's important to recognize how we got here and why

fsy, sadly they're not hard to dig up when surrounded by the reality of it

soovey said...

Very good indeed. Islam/Arabs are very very good at the psychological manipulation which brings about this head mess, and Israel's and the West's main fault is their expectation that if they are reasonable towards Islam then Islam will be reasonable towards them.

There's also the cognitive dissonance in the Israeli/Western psyche caused by Muslim manipulation which has Israel believing that if she goes full tilt towards stamping out the threats to her she has fallen from her own grace.

The only way to deal with Islam is in the identical terms that it deals with kufar, ie show it no mercy. Set out from the beginning to undermine it by shaming it at every opportunity and making it fail at whatever it attempts. Not to do so, taking refuge in the usual "we are better than that" bleating is foolish in the extreme when Islam is out to overrun us.

A good article about the head mess caused to the West by Islam can be found at

http://www.think-israel.org/barron.islamfascinates.html

Anonymous said...

It may be given demographic trends that liberal or " progressive" American Jews are going the way of the dodo bird, in that their children's children are unlikely to be Jews themselves. The remaining Jewish community is likely to be comprised of the Orthodox, who support Israel and give true Jewish values more centrality in their politics.

Perhaps these so-called "progressive" Jews should give more focus, time, and energy to perpetuating their ilk and less time to actively working on de-legitimizing the only Jewish nation in the world or acting as helpful cheerleaders for the anti-semites and arabs happily trying to do so.

Irwin Ruff said...

A main reason that the reaction of Jews seems to be so crazy is that we’re Jews. We’re told not to expect miracles, but how are we here except for miracles? How have we survived as a separate people for 3300 years except by a miracle. And is there any other people that have not had their own land for 2000 years, but have been scattered over the entire earth, and yet once again have their own country?

But also those who feel that the Jews are responsible for every misfortune are really being good Jews. “But because of our sins we have been exiled from our land and sent far from our soil.” (Yom Tov Mussaf) Our entire exile is due to ourselves, even while we are preserved by miracles.

And yet both aspects are true at the same time. The Jewish people are miraculously preserved, even while we are urged to do everything we can to preserve ourselves without Divine help. The main question left is: is it any wonder that Jews tend to be so neurotic?

Anonymous said...

Things are going to get a lot worse with the Obama shills that are nominally Jewish, the "tikkun olam" progressive dipsticks that misapply that concept,and the "boycott your fellow Jews if they live beyond the green line" idiots very soon. Why?

The national unity government just announced in Israel. A considered analysis is not just that Netanyahu has skillfully has skillfully defeated Shas, Labour, and the younger Lapid, and gotten Kadima to accede to his government at the cheapest possible price.

The key element is that this is a war government, like the national unity government in Israel in 1967. Mofaz will no doubt at some point be on TV explaining in Farsi to Iranians why Israel had to bomb their nuclear sites.

Of course the usual Jews, and in name only, will be going crazy because the Emperor, sorry President, must be re-elected, and the national security and future of Israel is a small price to pay if it means gay marriage and Roe v. Wade will be affected by the illusory bogeyman of an evangelical run republican administration! And of course we must re-distribute the wealth as well to make sure the have-nots do not get mad at Jews, as a high achieving, succesful ethnic group.
Clearly the so-called progressives are still liing in the shtetl with their great-grandparents, fearing the Czar and that the Cossacks will oome.

Emunah said...

Shalom Daniel,

I just read "The Universalist Holocaust" and after that, this amazing article. I have to say, your honesty is refreshing in a time where a lot of people follow the mainstream and try to be "political correct". It's in fashion to speak a lot and say nothing. Thank you for respecting the power of words and using them wisely!
Toda Raba
Emunah

Anonymous said...

One of your best analysis yet about Israel politics. Seems like the Jews never learn from their historical mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, your insight is invigorating, I am not alone in the world of educated,but untutored in reality large children posing as adults. Stupid people realize when they run out of money, they are broke, It takes really intelligent people to print up as much as you need.

Anonymous said...

You're a brilliant writer... stylistically. But substance is another thing. New to the intra-Israeli political battles, I'm wondering if there's an equally brilliant writer on the peacenik side. Probably. I'll be looking for him...

Meanwhile, I'm sending a link to your blog to my somewhat muddled Jewish American son who just flew to Israel to join the IDF. He has little idea how much danger he, and Israel, are currently in. But his kibbutz is a few miles from the terrorist tunnel just discovered.

Notwithstanding the fantasy of another commenter that a G-d of miracles is protecting Israel, it's not unlikely that the Middle East will explode soon. All the signs are there, in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. And given Israel's internal divisions, the loss of its American protector and the general mayhem of the Muslims, this may be the final battle.

Given your belief system, why are you not back in the homeland, picking up a gun? Or do you think you're slaying more enemies with your pen? And is Obamacare or post tribalism a worthy opponent?

Dark Horse said...

And now, we have entered the first phase of what will be, one way or the other, the Endgame.
Soon, like in the next 6 months, the Persian salafists will have atomic weapons. Between NKorea, Pakistan, and the FSU, all technical troubles can be answered. The only missing ingredient was a quotient of self-delusion in the west wing.
At that point Tehran can, and will, tell the non-Muslim world to piss up a rope. At that point they will also begin acting on whatever target they have already selected.
The game is called "city, city, who's losing a city", and Tehran has been perfectly open about its intention to play. The short list is going to be something like Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Berlin, DC, NYC. Not necessarily in order of priority. Between the networked ummah, missile tech, and Western delusionalism, any of these are achievable.
It would be tempting to assume that their first target would be Tel Aviv, but that's an easy target, or at least close. I would bet on DC, NYC, or London.

HR.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite pieces of writing yet. Just catching up as I have only recently heard about you from the Glazov Gang. So true, and you have answered in part my question regarding the delusion. Meggy8868 (won't let me sign on the "comment as."

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