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Contentions

Bleak Days for the Jewish Left

Naomi Chazan is a former leader of Israel’s far-left Meretz party who served in the Knesset for many years. Of course that places her far to the right of most of the people who write about Israel in the Nation. So her recitation of the woes of the Israeli left there  was actually a change of pace from the litany of anti-Israel material so typical of that publication.

Not that Chazan refrains from opposing Israel’s attempts to defend its citizens against Hamas rockets. She opposed the incursion but is honest enough to admit that her views are shared by a tiny minority of Israelis and that even most on the left thought it was high time for the government to try and do something to stop the rain of missiles on northern Negev communities.

Also interesting is her “plague on both your houses” reactions to Israel’s foreign defenders and critics. On the one hand, she can’t stand the way Americans stand up for Israel since it undermines the efforts of the far left to push for more concessions. But she’s also unhappy that the opposition to the Gaza operation was generally based on opposition to any form of self-defense by the Jews:

The viciousness of the criticism of Israel has all too often crossed the thin line between condemning its actions and questioning its existence. I, along with most Israelis, refuse to accede to the demand for my own demise.

That’s the sort of sentiment that passes for hard-line Zionism at forums like the Nation.

Of course Chazan, who currently serves as president of the New Israel Fund — a group that raises money from liberal Americans to support a wide variety of causes in Israel, including some Arab groups that themselves seek to demonize the Jewish state — still isn’t prepared to draw any sensible conclusions from either the behavior of the Palestinians or Hamas’s foreign cheerleaders.

Though the policies that she has spent her life promoting have failed time after time (the reason the left is about to lose Israel’s elections next week), Chazan still thinks all the peace process needs is one more good push by President Obama. Her belief that “the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for a decent life can treat each other with mutual respect and human dignity” is only half right. Even after all that has happened in the 15 1/2 disastrous years since the Oslo Accords, most Israelis would make far-reaching concessions to achieve real peace. But the Palestinians have proven time and again that they are more interested in irredentist jihad than peace.

Since most Israelis are also uninterested in acceding to demands for their “own demise,” Chazan has found herself on the margins of her country’s politics, where she belongs. Hopefully, Obama will take that into account when he ponders whether to take the advice of those who share her blind faith in a failed process.


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