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Thursday, December 7, 2006

The fault of the Left

The Guilt of the Left
Tzivia Greenfeld (Grinfeld)
Translated by Ami Isseroff for Zionism-Israel News
The lost moral compass of Israeli society is expressed in the corrupt behavior of the leadership, in the disintegration of government and social institutions, in the unabashed refusal of failed leaders to take responsibility, and in general in the amazing absence of leadership that results in the appontment of dangerous dangerous megalomaniacs as saviors. This loss of moral compass might be prevented or at least ameliorated, if there was a clear ideological alternative in Israel with which citizens could identify, and which could be used as the starting point for substantive change.
The problem is that even though the citizens of Israel understand that we are in a crisis that is perhaps unprecedented in the short history of the state, they cannot discern any reasonable alternatives for managing society and the state, which can earn their whole-hearted support. The blame, one must say with heavy heart, must be ascribed wholly to the left.
Since the disappointment with Stalin and the decolonization period of the 1960s, expecially in France, the left began to deal obsessively with justification of third world countries who are supposedly in rebellion against modern-western hegemony, and lost all interest in other poor people and people who lack rights anywhere else in the world.
 How typical it is of leftists like Yitzhak Laor or Meron Benvenisti to ignore the rights of the homo-lesbian minority (a typical western minority of course) in the name of the supposedly higher priority needs of the ultraorthox "Haredi" Jews or the Palestinians. How characteristic of the "Gallery" supplement of "Ha'aretz" newspaper to glory in radical leftist theoretical critique, and in precisely the same pages, to advertise reports that unabashedly nurture preoccupation with dizzying luxury products of the upper one thousandth income bracket.     
This process of focusing on non-modern minorities sucked in most of the Israeli left, that began to become confused between our essential, human and moral duty to end the occupation immediately, and to stop preventing the Palestinians from realizing their rights to an independent and prosperous life, and their immediate and almost unlimited advocacy and political and emotional empathy for all the [violent] doings of the Palestinians. True, the Palestinians are under occupation, and until the problem of the occupation is solved, we cannot expect them to stop hurding us. And we had better understand that basic principle before our supposedly mis-aimed shells exterminate the children of Gaza, and their Qassam rockets and cruel terror attacks kill our children. But  too many of the left have a childish need to portray the oppressed Palestinian side as absolutely perfect, and the oppressing Israeli side as the incarnation of evil. This has caused the left to fail to understand the tremendous complexity of the historical situation in which Israel finds itself today. The left has therefore completely lost the confidence of the broad masses of the Israeli public.  
It is not easy today to find Zionist leftists who really believe that the right of the Jews to their own country, here in the land of their forefathers, is completely equal to the right of the Palestinians. The Israeli left has become a factor that explicitly or implicitly no longer believes in the right of the Jewish state to exist. True, as opposed to the feverish approach that characterizes the nationalist right, there is no longer a need to set up the state. But that doesn't mean that it is no longer necessary to defend its legitimacy, and too many of today's Israeli left doubt the fundamental justice of the existence of the Jewish state.
If a responsible political approach were offered to the Israeli public, one that believes on the one hand absolutely in our human right to live here in liberty, and to be "a free people in our own land, in the land of Zion and Jerusalem," and that on the other hand declares - despite the recognition that returning all of the occupied territories will not materially change the basic hostility to Israel -- that there is no practical and moral way to live here without ending the occupation and securing the rights of all the citizens of the state, if such an approach were presented - it is likely that the public would finally discern an alternative ideological and polical solution  to the crisis, and would support it.

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