Yaba Yaba

what? another blog? you must be joking.

three voices

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These three articles appeared in Ha’aretz today, Israel’s equivalent of the Guardian. Nadim Shehadi repeats some of the arguments I’ve  heard from him, though thankfully without most of the unnecessary provocations. He does repeat ‘If this is what it takes to sustain Israel, then better do without it’, but in this context it sounds more like a call for rethinking about the premise rather than a conclusion. If Israel does not want to make itself scarce, it should re-conceptualise its relationship with its neighbors.

Just as Nadim turns a harsh mirror in Israel’s face, so does Riad Ali turns the same mirror towards the Arab world. Aren’t we bored from always blaming Israel? Having Israel as the perpetual rag doll to kick around is a recipe for stagnation. It precludes critical debate about the direction the middle east should take. Poverty? get rid of Israel, then we’ll talk. Intolerance? ditto. Abuse of civil rights? you got it.

In fact, these two views complement more than they collide. If there’s any hope of a positive outcome from this war, it’s the realization that the old ways don’t work. No one wins a war. Any war. There’s only those that loose and those that loose more. I can’t recall a better demonstration of this principle. However, those who see themselves as winners rarely reflect. Japan and Germany rebuilt their national identity and values from the ground up after loosing WW-II, the USA is still stuck in the cowboy era. The Palestinians (and I’m quoting Nadim here) modelled their national institutes after the Zionist pre-state. Why? Because they lost, so they imitated the winners. Unfortunately for all, they missed a few critical details, but they’re catching up. Have you noticed that the Palestinian authority is the only Arab state but Israel where the ruling party LOST an election?

In this war, both sides will claim victory – but both know deep inside they lost. Israel was unable to disarm the Hezbollah by force, or to stop its rockets. Hezbollah  was unable to force Israel to negotiate on its terms, or to legitimise its military presence in the south.

Insha’alla, both sides will now ask the hard questions and find the right answers. The third article, by Yoel Marcus, looks like the first drop of rain on the Israeli side. Inter alia, Amir Peretz said today that its time to talk to Syria.


Israel should pack up and go
By Nadim Shehadi

What is the logic that will emerge from this war? If Israel can exist only by destroying the neighborhood, then it’s time to declare it a failed state. The Zionist dream has turned into a nightmare and is not viable. If the future holds more of the same, then the time has come to reconsider the whole project. Every state has a duty to defend its citizens, but also it has a duty to provide them with security and the two are different. The prospects are for more destruction, fanaticism, violence and hatred. No unilateral separation can isolate Israel from this, nor can the region or the world live with the consequences. This seems to be the only choice, and Israel must do itself and others a favor and go away.


It’s time to open your eyes
By Riad Ali

I know that many people in the Arab and Muslim world, including Arab citizens of Israel, believe with every fiber of their being in the conspiracy theory. According to them, the hand of Israel and the West is everywhere. Israel is the mother of all evil and the root of all the problems in our region. I am not among those who say that Israel and the West are as pure as the driven snow, but I ask “the blind by choice” in the Muslim world: Who had an interest in destroying Hariri’s vision? Who was threatened by the rays of light that came from Lebanon? Who did not want Lebanon to be an oasis in the heart of the dictatorships, most of which had begun to be moldy and malodorous? Israel, the United States, France, Britain? Or rather Syria, Iran and Hezbollah?


We simply blew it
By Yoel Marcus

The cease-fire has caught us in the worst possible position: We didn’t win and we didn’t lose. We simply blew it. It was a war with too many people being led and no one leading; a war with too much bluff and bluster at the top; a war with too many Churchillian speeches and not enough thinking about what we were trying to achieve and where we were heading.

What makes an army – or its chief of staff, to be exact – get up one fine morning and persuade a semi-rookie government to launch an all-out war at the drop of a hat because two of our soldiers were kidnapped? How did a whole country get sucked into this thing, without an organized plan, without a defined objective, without calculating how it would end, without giving thought to the costs and the damage that would be inflicted, without knowing how long it would last and what constituted a victory?


Written by yishaym

August 16, 2006 at 1:56 am

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  1. This is from http://www.opendemocracy.net

    Isaac Deutscher, the son of a rabbi in Poland and a committed socialist political activist there in the late 1930s, survived Nazism and Stalinism to write pathbreaking biographies of Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Soon after the 1967 war, Deutscher gave an interview to three editors of the London-based Marxist intellectual journal New Left Review: Tom Wengraf, Peter Wollen and Alexander Cockburn. In it, Deutscher struck a note that has diminished to near-invisibility in more recent debates, where claims of identity prevail over universal principle, where identification with one side or the other predominates, and where the atrocities and callous political blunders of each combatant readily find their intellectual defenders.

    Deutscher’s approach rested on three clear and courageous premises:

    that both leaderships, Arab and Israeli, were guilty of demagogy and misleading their own people, above all by promising a victory that was unattainable and by stoking hatred of other peoples and religions
    that the antecedent histories of both peoples (genocide in Europe for the Jews, and denial of national rights for the Palestinians) could not be deployed to legitimate the maximal current claims of either side
    that – a principle Deutscher resolutely adhered to – the Israelis and Palestinians were peoples with legitimate claims, which should be recognised on a sensible, and lasting, territorial and political basis.
    Deutscher built on these premises an argument – couched in tones of anti-clerical, universalist disdain, something all too lacking in these days of grovelling before “identity”, “tradition” and “faith communities” – that was clear in its rejection of the invocation of the sacred, the God-given, in political debate. Deutscher rejected Talmudic obscurantism and bloodthirsty Arab calls for vengeance alike.

    Renegade Eye

    August 16, 2006 at 9:00 am

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