Blowin' in the Washington Wind

September 02, 2010 19:45

So, the peace talks are under way. But don’t hold your breath . . .

No one in Israel – not even his inner cabinet, by all accounts – has a clue what Benjamin Netanyahu will offer the Palestinians. Nor about his red lines.

Mahmoud Abbas, on the other hand, has a mandate from his family and herd of goats (there is, it is alleged, some overlap). One thing is for sure, however: nothing he agrees with “Bibi” will be accepted by his delightful Islamofascist brethren in Gaza.

And under the ground rest four more innocents . . . though, such is the demonization of the settler, these days, that Israel’s supposed “cultural elite” probably don’t even regard them as such.

On Monday, the day before the drive-by shooting, 150 left-wing academics, artists and writers – including A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, and David Grossman – signed a petition in support of actors who are refusing to appear in a new cultural centre in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

Now, I am not a supporter of the settlements and believe that all but the largest (of which Ariel is one) of them should – and, eventually, will – be evacuated (following, unlike in Gaza, a formal agreement). And I understand the reluctance, on ideological grounds, of left-wing artists to appear in them.

What unites the signatories to this petition, however, is the familiar arrogance of Israel’s left-wing intelligentsia, who consider their opinions of supreme importance in and to the Israeli body politic. This “cultural elite” – the large majority of which populates the swankiest suburbs of north Tel Aviv and believes, no less than the most fanatic of settlers, that it defines what makes a good and moral Zionist/Israeli – thoroughly repulses me. Most of its members, it seems to me, would sell this country and even their own mothers in the name of their perverse, potentially suicidal notions of liberalism. Indeed, for an honest, intuitive and untainted sense of right and wrong, I would sooner turn to the stallholders in the Carmel Market.

Moreover, I cannot help but wonder whether this self-righteous collection of luvvies, professors and general ponces is not responsible for, or has not at least contributed to, making the settler – through said constant demonization – a legitimate target in the eyes of our enemies.

Driving to the settlement of Efrat (in the Etzion bloc, 15 minutes from the scene of Tuesday’s murders) last Friday – on winding, hilly, unlit roads, past Palestinian villages whose donkeys would emerge, without warning, from out of the night – was a most unnerving experience. Indeed, my heart seemed to be racing as fast as the occasional vehicle, with green-on-white (Palestinian) plates, that sped past.

“There have been no drive-by shootings here for years,” my friend’s son attempted to reassure me upon my arrival, as I tried to regain my cool.

A mere four days later, however, that period of quiet was over.

And, regrettably, I hold out little hope for Washington.

September 02, 2010 19:45

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