Unsettling Israel

Gadi Taub – In Israel, Settling For Less – NYTimes.com:

The religious settlement movement is not just secular Zionism’s ideological adversary, it is a danger to its very existence. Terrorism is a hazard, but it cannot destroy Herzl’s Zionist vision. More settlements and continued occupation can.

If Taub is right, then it becomes reasonable to suggest that some Israeli anxieties about Iran’s nuclear program and other threats, as well as perplexing conduct on the part of successive Israeli governments and Israelier-than-the-Israelis friends of Israel, may reflect psychological displacement:  Unable to confront the internal problem, which grows inexorably worse, the “patient” externalizes the threat, yet its attempts to lash out, to shield itself, to head off real and imagined dangers, can never be fully successful.  They will and must tend to make matters worse, and increasingly risk total self-destruction, in a spiral of futility, frustration, self-punishment.

This diagnosis is only partial, however.  It’s easy to point to the settlers, and they may even serve adequately as scapegoats, but they may also be mere symptoms.  Taub dismisses “all one-state solutions” – whether binational/majority Arab/democratic, or binational/Jewish-dominated/apartheid  – as leading to civil war, in the latter case also including advancing international isolation.  Yet Israel’s secular right under Netanyahu is unwilling to accept a truly sovereign and independent Palestinian state, meaning that any terms of “settlement” will remain unacceptable to the Palestinians over the long term even if the negotiating partner can be pressured into signing up for peace in our time. What Israel believes it requires for security becomes, according to Taub as well to the increasingly vocal analysts who believe a bi-national future is both inevitable and desirable, the greatest real threat to its security.

The implication would be that the Israeli state as we know it is fundamentally unstable.  That doesn’t mean that it is likely to disappear at any moment or on any particular schedule, but the prognosis remains unsettling, in the extreme.

53 comments on “Unsettling Israel

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  1. The big picture is that there is a worldwide conflict,in words and deads,between the True Believers of Religion,and the Secular,Big City dwellers,with the religious and secular moderates stuck between. This may very well be the “Real”underbelly of what is destabilizing America,which appears to be a political,social debate It would like to call it Renaissance/Reformation 2,with this huge exception. During RR1,we had as a side product of the Conflict,one of the great outpouring of the ARTS in history. Alas,RR2 is producing one of the greatest generations of public idiocy on record.

  2. You have one world leader, who denies the Holocaust, yet certainly thought it was a good first step, who is closer every day to having a nuclear weapon, you have Mosques from Burayda toBirmingham (both ones) preaching Wahhabism. You have an academic establishment in the UK and other places, that is practically proscribing Jews in any capacity. There are enough ‘Elephants in the Room” here to stock
    Barnum and Bailey. And the settlers are the problem

  3. And the settlers are THE problem

    No,they are A problem,they are a microcasm of the irrational forces that believe what they believe is Truth/Fact without evidence. The Islamists,Ayn Rand,Jennifer Rubin,Sarah Palin,BHO,W43,NPOD are all in this camp of Utopian True believers,see Eric Hoffer’s book on the subject.

  4. For those of you who are not true believers,here’s some excellent analysis on our fiscal health;our economic woes being at the core of a lot of systemic irrationalism around the world.

    In order to fix our economic system,we have to make a decision,this is a decision no one in the world political /economic system wants to make:
    (1)We make a LONG TERM COMMITTMENT to restore the economy by buttressing the currency with assets in order to restore stability. Like all long term investments,this choice will have some very unpleasant intended/unintended consequences,with the upside being a very robust economy.
    (2)We make a SHORT TERM COMMITTMENT by keeping our current system while eliminating the “Debt OverHang/Trillions in Debt Forgiveness”. This would free up Trillions in short term borrowing/spending,but we eventually would end up where we are today,having chosen #2,see #1

  5. CK/Not to damn him with faint praise, but why do you put BHO on the list? He seems to be odd man out for his lack of fierce commitment to any particular utopianism.

    I put him on there because of his beliefs that have no basis in fact,mainly about War and our Economy.

    Here’s an example on the Economy:
    “The fact remains, however, that the kleptocratic rulers in the US, EU, and other debt-burdened countries know exactly what they are doing: to let the recession drag on, to take advantage of the crushing recession in order to extract “enough” concessions from the working people until welfare states are dismantled and labor costs in the more developed capitalist countries are made competitive with those of the less-developed countries. This explains why despite new signs of further global economic contraction, the reigning governments in these countries (whether they are nominally headed by Socialist, Social-Democratic, Labor, Democratic, Conservative or other parties) are maintaining their coordinated abstention from expansive or stimulating fiscal policies while continuing their brutal spending cuts on health, education, wages, pensions, and the like.
    This is not to say that these governments do not want to have economic growth or job-creation—they do—but that they want them on their own (Neoliberal) terms, that is, through Neoliberal policies that would create jobs that would pay wages on a par with those of workers in less-developed countries. In other words, they prefer the kind of lopsided economic growth whose fruits would be reaped mostly by the wealthy—the so-called trickle-down or supply-side economic growth. As writer/reporter Patrick O’Connor points out, “In the US, Europe and other advanced capitalist economies, the aim is permanently reducing the living standards of working people.”

  6. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Not sure you have that diagnosis right, not that I or anyone else does.

    As I’ve suggested before, and may post on soon, perhaps in response to the Black article – but it’s a complex subject – one view of the current era is the exhaustion of the paradoxical American national concept.

  7. All faith is destructive, and that includes faith in Judaism. But Jews, even strictly observant Jews, are heirs to the Talmudic tradition of questioning, and are descendants, at least spiritually, of Jacob–renamed Israel because he wrestled with God.
    If one visits Israel, it feels like visiting a country, not like going to a war zone. The security check at the airport is quick and efficient. Women in headscarves stroll past the sidewalk cafes in Jerusalem, where the hotel managers are likely enough to be Arabs, just as in A.B. Yehoshua’s novel THE LIBERATED BRIDE.
    The increasing influence of religious Jewish extremists is certainly due to the endless rejectionism of the Arab world, which prefers to destroy Israel rather than to achieve an independent Palestine. Most Israelis agree that Palestinian independence would be good for Israel. Even hawks like Ariel Sharon have done things like bestow independence on Gaza and announce they would leave the West Bank. Had there not been rockets fired from newly liberated Gaza, the West Bank would have been given to the Palestinians and its Jewish residents removed by force, just as happened in Gaza.
    Unfortunately, the continuing rejection of Palestinian independence, accompanied by suicide bombing and international isolation, has given great strength to those Israeli Jews who have blind faith.
    On a somewhat different subject–we all have been reading about the floods in Pakistan. Israel has an unbroken history of quick and effective response to natural disasters. Has Pakistan refused aid from Israel? Or has Pakistan agreed to accept the aid as long as it is kept a secret?

  8. OT, Against my better judgement I clicked on that Soros link, Beck was pointing out the uniquely iconoclastic black liberation, whereas
    the other side, put up phantoms on a Huckabeian nature. I haven’t heard Beck speak of the Book of Mormoni, or Brigham Young or even
    really tithing, very dissapointing, but typical

  9. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    Has Pakistan refused aid from Israel? Or has Pakistan agreed to accept the aid as long as it is kept a secret?

    Pakistan will accept the aid, as it did after the earthquakes in 2005 & 2008 and will accept it with little grace and have it be forwarded guised as gifts from private charities, I would guess.

    It’s quite remarkable that they’ve accepted aid from India and are having US soldiers and helicopters flitting freely about the place.

  10. No, Stan he asked if they had accepted aid, which you would think they would have after all this time, but mostly likely they haven’t.

    Ah Yousafsai and Moreau, they take wonderful dictation from the Taliban, and of course they wouldn’ actually bother to correct the
    record, that Imam Rauf isn’t the misunderstood moderate, but then
    again neither was Aulaqi although ti took some time to bear that out

  11. Back to Gadi Taub. He’s an Israeli. He is a very familiar Israeli. Israel is a country where everybody is critical of the country’s policies, although their criticism may come from many different directions.
    Where is his analog in the Arab world? I haven’t read any op-eds by Arabs who are willing to settle for less.
    And could one have imagined an American analog during World War II? Once the war started, the Henry Fords and Prescott Bushes all shut up, and the country was unanimously for the unconditional surrender of its enemies..

    15 Posts/11 by JRUB(same opinions on the same topics as yesterday,last Friday,last Thursday—-)
    TG for Saturdays

  13. GJ/and the country was unanimously for the unconditional surrender of its enemies

    Not a good policy for those Jews in Concentration Camps.

  14. Maybe had the July 20 coup, succeeded, although many of those plotters, had not a little blood on their hands, you did miss the point
    of the Wansee Conference, did you

  15. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Had Germany been allowed to sign a peace pact and end the war without being occupied by the Allies, the killing in the concentration camps would most certainly have continued. Killing Jews was Hitler’s #1 priority, higher than winning the war.
    The Allies bombed the chemical factories at Auschwitz during the war. They did not bomb the gas chambers and crematoria. They did not bomb the rail lines leading to Auschwitz–which were used not only for transporting Jews but for supplying soldiers.
    Primo Levi, in the chapter entitled “Cerium” of his THE PERIODIC TABLE, writes about how the prisoners at Auschwitz were delighted when the Allied bombers came. Why didn’t the Allies bomb more than they did? One can’t know, but the excuse they probably gave themselves was that bombing chemical plants had strategic value and bombing gas chambers didn’t. True enough. But it is also possible that the Allies were afraid that too many Jews might survive the war and would want to emigrate to America and Britain.
    Be that as it may, any surrender agreement would not have mentioned the extermination camps.

  16. Be that as it may, any surrender agreement would not have mentioned the extermination camps.

    It would have mentioned whatever we wanted it to mention. The German General Staff was ready to dump Hitler in 1943 according to Speer,as long as the Germans had been able to retain control of their country/protection against the Russians,they would have made the deal.
    Hitler,and all his SS pals would have been thrown under the Bus.Millions of Jews could have been saved,

  17. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Yes, any surrender agreement would have mentioned whatever we wanted it to mention. But we were apparently afraid that millions of Jews would suddenly descend upon the US and change our way of life.
    FDR never talked about the death camps in his speeches. They were among the charges during the Nuremberg trials but they didn’t become a big issue in the world’s consciousness until the Eichmann trial.

  18. But we were apparently afraid that millions of Jews would suddenly descend upon the US and change our way of life.

    So we preferred that they be slaughtered? Rather than inconvenience us? What are you saying?

  19. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    But we were apparently afraid that millions of Jews would suddenly descend upon the US and change our way of life.

    There may be a kind of underlying or moral truth to this statement, but, as phrased, it’s a scandalous charge based on thin speculation. “We” were not consulted on that issue. I’ve never in a lifetime of reading about WW2 seen anyone mention the prospect of millions of Jews emigrating to the U.S. mentioned by anyone as a concern or even a notion.
    “Why didn’t they interdict the Holocaust?” is an old argument. Gaps in general intelligence, understanding, and willingness to believe in what was going on may all have played a role, but, as I understand it, for most of the war, the main death camps and transportation networks would have been at or beyond the extreme limits of the operational range of allied air forces, and well beyond their effective range, since successful disruption of rail lines was not an easy feat. I believe we even discussed this matter at Contentions. I may also be able to find some relevant discussion in Max Hastings’ book on the final years of the European war.

  20. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    Where is his analog in the Arab world? I haven’t read any op-eds by Arabs who are willing to settle for less.
    And could one have imagined an American analog during World War II? Once the war started, the Henry Fords and Prescott Bushes all shut up, and the country was unanimously for the unconditional surrender of its enemies..

    Doing a lot of reading in the Arab language press these days? Do you have any idea, really, what you might run across in a Jordanian, Moroccan, Iraqi, or Lebanese newspaper, not to mention in the Arab language papers printed outside the ME? And what do you mean by “settle for less”? Aside from the countries with peace treaties with Israel,the official position of the Arab League is still the “Arab Piece Initiative of 2002” (aka the Saudi Plan).

    It seems to me that you have a very idealized notion of the world and its history in which Israel and/or the Jews always end up the subjects of irrational and all-encompassing and uncompromising hatred and rejection. Obviously, there’s too much historical justification to call this view purely paranoid, but “not purely paranoid” is not the same as a “wise” or “reasonable.”

  21. Rex and Colin,
    Yes. I am making a grave charge that I cannot back up, but which I believe. We really were able to bomb Auschwitz, as is shown by the fact that we did. Once we were doing that, we could have bombed the rail lines, at least those right next to the camps. How much of a difference would that have made? Maybe a little; maybe a lot. We could have done it and we didn’t. Would it had mattered if we had also bombed the gas chamgers and crematoria? Probably.
    We never relaxed our immigration policies. Think of the story of the St. Louis, whose refugees couldn’t land here and had to go back to Europe. We never used the death camps as part of our anti-Nazi propaganda.
    Among the worst offenders was the New York Times, which was terrified that people would think it was Jewish. Here is my review of Laurel Leff’s book:

  22. Mr. Taub could have published this in Haaretz, but it would have been
    redundant. To focus on the settlers as anything close to the main issue is comical. Reality has turned much more hard edged like what
    Jabotinsky offered, some the Beilin bunch has yet to come terms with

  23. The day is only HALF over,and here is the score at CONTENTIONS’
    Total Posts 21/13 by JRUB,and still not a single new thought/concept.

    I’m probably the only one here that finds this fascinating,but her pay plan might be the key to her productivity.

  24. Compared to most of the commentariat, Applebaum, Lithwick, Miller,
    Parker, Noonan, et al, she’s a breath of fresh air, now our own JE Dyer,
    and Caroline Glick, provide the more geostrategic and other angles

  25. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Maybe we should put up a “JRub monitor” – though I’d like to see it broken down into number of words as well as posts. With a little more effort, you could sort out it according to topic areas or key words.

    She reminds me of the LA Lakers great motormouth basketball announcer Chick Hearn, who died a few years ago. He gave the impression that he never stopped announcing at high speed: It was just a question of someone happening to turn on a microphone in his vicinity, and picking up the stream of consciousness.

    It seems that she’s gone automatic – and out of her mind with ideology, like many of her comrades, though in her case the condition may have already crossed over into fanaticism.

  26. I noticed even prefessional Wahhabi loathers like Baer, in his afterward to his memoir, seem to dwell inordinately with the settlement question. Which ignores the concept that any settlement whether in 1920,29, 36, or 47 is illregarded by the local populace,

  27. Maybe we should put up a “JRub monitor” – though I’d like to see it broken down into number of words as well as posts. With a little more effort, you could sort out it according to topic areas or key words.

    Key Words:
    Israel Good most important ally very important friend
    Bush Good
    Iraq War-worth it,surge,we won
    Iran Bomb bomb
    Obama Bad
    Against Obama Good
    Liberals Bad
    Conservatives Good
    Neo-Cons Best

  28. @ George Jochnowitz: get your eyes checked George.
    Your paranoia isn’t any prettier than that of anyone else.

    Settlements built exclusively for Israeli Jews, in land outside of Israel and held under belligerent occupation, are not regarded in the same way as are small communities built inside of Israel.

  29. @ fuster:
    One thing at a time. After Israel gives up the West Bank settlements, the world’s attention will shift to all the other settlements that Israel made on Palestinian territory since the 1880s.
    As for Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, etc., they have never for a second made a distinction between the West Bank and the area within the Green Line. Remember, nobody accepted the Green Line in the days when it was a de facto border.
    Do you believe that there is an agreement that Israel could make that would end the greatest hatred on earth today?
    Paranoids have enemies too.

  30. @ George Jochnowitz:No, George. You don’t get to hide behind “one thing at a time.”
    That’s an obnoxious and ill-concieved argument.
    You can’t say that ending Israeli injustice is a step on the road to destroying Israel unless you’re as screwed up as Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, etc.

    Unless you accept that Israel has no free pass to commit crimes you’re an ally of the Iranians, George and a danger to israel.

    I doubt that you’re being serious, but as you’ve pointed out to me, every now and then, seriousness is necessary.
    So I’m asking you to admit that Israel must proceed in a morally sane manner despite Iran and her little monsters.

  31. @ George Jochnowitz:
    Legitimizing the illegitimate de-legitimizes the legitimate.

    To the extent your argument – all settlements are equal – becomes Israel’s argument, it becomes an argument against Israel, or, to be precise, a nullification of all arguments in favor of Israel. All that’s left over is brute force, which happens to support Israel’s existence currently, but provides no long term security, and no moral basis for anyone else to support Israel over its enemies.

  32. and no moral basis for anyone else to support Israel over its enemies.

    The policy of ambiguity is also a big pain in the ass for Israeli supporters. It’s time to get past that BS.

  33. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    The policy of ambiguity is also a big pain in the ass for Israeli supporters

    the policy was adopted by Israel for it’s supporters, Rex.

    Israel did not acquire the material for the nukes on their own and the origin of the material wouldn’t be questioned as long as its existence wasn’t acknowledged.

  34. That has being the rallying cry of the nationalist clique since 1920, typified by Haj Amin Husseini, (who was Circassian, but why quibble)
    he rallied the forces by that call, eventually enlisting Fritz Grobba,
    the leading Arabist in the German Foreign Office, Is the distinctions
    those settlements after ’67, this is a point Goldberg can’t wrap himself
    around. The point that British Academia is proscribing Jews, that the Arabs demanded a boycott since ’73, that is unequivocal. None of that
    seems to matter

  35. Israel has been consistently moral. It accepted the 50-50 division mandated by the Security Council in 1947. It agreed to a cease-fire line a year later, expecting there would be negotiations–but it takes two to tango. It accepted the UN votes in 1967, to which the Arab states responded by voting for the Three Noes of Khartoum. It welcomed Sadat when he visited Israel, and ceded all of Sinai. Sadat was murdered for his accomplishment. It accepted the agreements Clinton tried to negotiate in 2000 and 2001. Israelis today overwhelmingly want to cede most of the West Bank. Maybe they’ll succeed, but it won’t help.
    The Arabs hate Israel just as much as leftists do. Whenever Israel has made a concession, anti-Israel hatred has zoomed up.
    In the meantime, Israeli Arabs have the highest life expectencies anywhere in the Arab world. They are followed by West Bank Palestinians. The Gulf states, despite their obscene wealth, are not as healthy. Sick Arabs cross into Israel and are treated in Israeli hospitals. Darfurians escape into Israel so that they can live. Gay Palestinians cross the line and are granted a lousy type of asylum, but at least they can live.
    Nevertheless, Israel is the most hated country on earth. Everybody is willing to jump on the bandwagon.

  36. @ George Jochnowitz:

    Yes, Israel was pretty moral and 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have much disagreement. But Israel has changed, and while I can understand why it’s changed, I can’t think that the change has been for good and I also can’t think that having enemies who are bent on evil exempts Israel from adhering to the moral law.

    Sadat was murdered for his accomplishment.

    and Rabin, George?

  37. the policy was adopted by Israel for it’s supporters, Rex.
    Israel did not acquire the material for the nukes on their own and the origin of the material wouldn’t be questioned as long as its existence wasn’t acknowledged.

    Fuster,it’s garbage,your explanation doesn’t give it any credibility. In other words,the policy is vestigal. We know the origin,France. Therfore,it’s past time to dump it.

  38. @ CK MacLeod:
    Israel does not have a Nasser leading it. It never did. Israel under Netanyahu left Hebron almost immediately after he first took power. He has announced he is willing to withdraw from areas agreed to in a peace agreement if ever it occurs.
    It is terribly easy to look upon Israel and its enemies as symmetrical. They aren’t and never have been. There is no Israeli analog to the Hamas Charter or to the utterly counter-productive, sanction-inducing policies Iran is following. There certainly is no analog to the bombs in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere that blow up mosques or passers-by in market places.

  39. Why is it so hard to get that basic acknowledgement here, which I didn’t think would need to be, clarified here, and in other places. Rabin
    and Sharon, only Peres and the other envoy to the US, name escapes
    is remaining from that founding generation. Goldberg does a little too much psychoanalysis of Bibi, in that last piece, he was Sayaret, his brother did die at Entebbe, he knows the solemn responsibilty he shoulders.

  40. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    Israel does not have a Nasser leading it.

    Never suggested it did – though it depends upon how you define “a Nasser”: You might say Israel couldn’t afford one – or couldn’t afford to elevate its would-be Nassers to positions of responsibility. I meant mainly to suggest that, though Sadat was assassinated, his protege took over, and the peace with Egypt has lasted for more than a generation, and was followed by the peace with Jordan, whose monarch died in bed, and passed his throne to his son.

    On 8 February the flag-draped coffin carrying the body of the King left his home which he called the “Door of Peace” Palace after the peace he forged with Israel. All five of his sons were in close attendance and an honor guard of Bedouin troops accompanied the casket of the monarch on a 90-minute procession through the streets of the capital city of Amman. An estimated 800,000 Jordanians (an estimated 20% of the country’s population at the time), many of them weeping, braved icy winds to say farewell to their leader.[15] The funeral was attended by many dignitaries and statesmen from around the world.[16] That same day the UN General Assembly held an Emergency Special Session in “Tribute to the Memory of His Majesty the King of Jordan”.[17]

    Multiple asymmetries are built into the Arab-Israeli conflict, and are reflected in the different tactics, outlooks, goals of both sides. That may be the major reason why you find it so difficult to establish one set of rules of legitimacy and morality that applies equally to Jew and Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian, Westerner and Arab.

    As for Rabin and his legacy, that’s a matter for discussion. It’s hard for me to put any of his successors in the same league, and we’ll of course never know what might have happened if he had survived longer.

  41. @ CK MacLeod:
    Peace has lasted with Egypt and Jordan because Israel has not rocked the boat by pointing to little but repeated violations of the agreements, in particular, the shows on government-controlled television showing how Jews kill children to use their blood for making matzos.
    What will happen if Egypt and Jordan ever have real popular elections? In the meantime, Mubarak has written a lovely essay:
    Tony Blair, I believe, is talking to you when he talks about his second form of delegitimization:

  42. I know Mubarak and transparency and justice, words that don’t compute. Blair is closer to the point, he’s still a little naive, but he understands the sentiment.

    If Palestinian society had been steered by those unlike Haj Amin Husseini, and the choices he made, from 1920 on,there might very well have been an accomodation, in ’36 when he sought the assistance of Nazi Germany, when he recruited the Hanschar SS division, when he aided the Rashid Ali coup, his role in ’47 war. They have spectacularly ill served with the succession of Arafat, his relative, and Mahmud Abbas has not been much of an improvement.

    As an exile from my land of birth, due to the maneuvers of another
    Third World leader, I recognize that the Palestinians are due justice, but not on the path they have chosen

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