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Sunday, February 11, 2007

There are no solutions in dangerous slogans

There are no solutions in dangerous slogans
The way of Zionism and of the Jewish people has long been the way of peace, and must remain the way of peace. This is so, despite the best attempts of our enemies to demonize Israel and Zionism as militant warmonger expansionist entities.
In 1909, Meir Dizengoff wrote:
We shall never possess cannons, even if the goyim shall bear arms against one another for ever. Therefore, we cannot but settle in our land fairly and justly, to live and let live. "
That view and that philosophy proved to be impractical and did not prevail. Never say "never." In the real world, it is sometimes necessary to enforce justice with cannon; without cannon, Jews never got much justice. However, it is a long way from there to militarism for the sake of militarism.
The much maligned Iron Wall of the "extremist" Jabotinsky was about as militant as Zionism got. It called for a Jewish police force armed with rifles that would defend the Jews of the Palestine mandate from Arab riots.
Therefore it is disturbing to me, as a Zionist, to see the slogan "There is only a military solution" as the title of a Israpundit article, and emblazoned on the main page of Israpundit, which purports to represent "Zionism."
The fine print of Ted Belman's article reads:
"In my view Israel should first destroy the "resistance" and then negotiate. "
He is not talking about a "military solution," but rather about self defense and eliminating an immediate threat. But nobody will read the fine print, just as nobody is interested in the fine print explanations that Jimmy Carter's "Palestine Peace not Apartheid" is not really about apartheid. The slogan stands by itself. It brands Zionists as warmongers and provides aid and comfort to the enemies of Israel.
Of course, Israel "destroyed the resistance" quite a few times. It did not bring peace.
Taking to arms is rarely a complete solution in itself. World War I did not solve the problem of German militarism. It left the fundamental issues untouched. World War II solved the immediate problem of Nazi aggression, but without intelligent management after the war, it would not have solved the problem of Germany in Europe, or of Japanese nationalism. Hitler and Tojo are examples of people who believed "there is only a military solution."
Sometimes there is a military solution, though it may not be the only one. The US Civil War saved the union. It would have been far better had it been possible to accomplish the same end by negotiations.
Mr. Belman's example, however, is the defeat of the Milosevic regime by the Nato allies, principally the U.S. Anyone who has studied the history of the Balkans and of Yugoslavia must be skeptical that the current status represents the "solution;" it is more than likely that many more such military "solutions" may be required. Inevitably, as before in history, the tiny quarrels of the Balkans will ignite confrontations between larger powers. At most, the war in Yugoslavia was a stop-gap measure that prevented genocide in Kossovo. War is the result of the failure of diplomacy.
The Israeli-Arab conflict is an egregious example of a case in which both common sense and the lessons of experience prove that there is no military "solution." As far as Israel is concerned, the problem of the Palestinians and the Arabs should have been solved by the War of Independence in 1948 or the 1967 Six Day War.  Problems don't get much more "solved" than that by military means. The Palestinians lost their land - first part of it, and then all of it, and were scattered to the wind. Three Arab states were decisively defeated.
It is the same "solution" as the Romans adopted in Judea. It worked for Hadrian, but it wasn't a good solution. Here and now it was tried, but it did not work. It cannot work. Israel faces the combined might of all the Arab peoples and of most of the 1.3 billion Muslims of the world. By diligence and courage, diplomacy that has been skilfull by fits and starts, and amazing feats of military valor, we have overcome incredible odds, and have about reached the stage where a formerly implacable enemy may be willing to live in peace. It is feasible that Israel will be able, with the help of its allies, to defend itself in any war. It is absurd to believe that Israel alone could vanquish 1.3 billion Muslims, or even defeat and occupy a country like Iran or Syria, as the allies did to Germany and Japan after World War II.
If it is necessary to go to war, then we must do so. However, the less than satisfactory results of the recent Lebanon war should point out to those who forget, that the chances of war are always uncertain.
What is the point of adopting this slogan, and advertising that Zionists are war mongers? Leave that for the other side. It is their stock in trade.
Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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