Post-Zionism Is So 1990s

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Israel’s return to its Zionist roots is the greatest cultural event of the past decade. It is also an event that occurred under the radar screen of the rest of the world. No one outside the country seems to have noticed at all.

The outside world’s failure to take note of Israel’s cultural shift owes to its failure to recognize the significance of the failure of the peace process with the Palestinians on the one hand and the failure of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza on the other hand. The demise of the peace process at Camp David in July 2000 and the terror war that followed launched the Israeli public on its path away from its radical post-Zionist rebellion and back to its Zionist roots. The failure of the withdrawal from Gaza, and the international community’s response to Operation Cast Lead, marked the conclusion of the journey.

The Oslo peace process was based on the radical belief that it is possible to make peace by empowering terrorists and giving them land, political legitimacy, money and guns. To embrace this nonsense, the public had to be willing to tolerate the notion that there was something unjust about the Zionist revolution. Because if Zionism and the cause of Jewish national liberation are just, then it is impossible to justify empowering the PLO, a terrorist movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the delegitimization of Zionism.

Most Israelis never adopted the post-Zionist narrative. But they did accept the doctrine of appeasement. And they shared the belief that if appeasement failed, the world would rally to Israel’s side.

Consequently, the beginning of society’s awakening to the lie of post-Zionism at the heart of the peace process was a function not only of the massive Palestinian terror onslaught that began after Yasser Arafat rejected peace and statehood at Camp David. It was also a function of the August 2000 UN Durban Conference and its aftermath in which the international community rallied to the Palestinians’ side. The latter demonstrated that just as Israel’s transfer of land and guns to the PLO had endangered the lives of its citizens, Israel’s conferral of political legitimacy on the PLO endangered the international standing of the country.

The lesson that Israelis took from the failure of the peace process was that Israel has no Palestinian partner for peace. And until the Palestinians change, Israel has no one to talk to.

While a slight majority of Israelis still support partitioning the land between Israel and a Palestinian state, the overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that Israel has no one to make peace with and therefore no possibility of successfully partitioning the land.

This is not the lesson that foreigners learned. From Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Tony Blair to Barack Obama to Nicolas Sarkozy, foreign leaders have insisted that the Oslo process had nearly succeeded and that its failure was a fluke.

The most the parts of the international community that are not completely anti-Israel have been willing to grant about the failure of the peace process is that it failed due to a lack of courage. By this telling, the problem isn’t the concept of appeasing terrorists with land, guns and legitimacy. Rather the problem is narrow-minded, cowardly leaders. And so the way forward for them is also clear: figure out a more attractive appeasement package for the Palestinians and put Israel’s feet to the fire to make it cough up the required concessions.

THEN THERE is the aftermath of the withdrawal from Gaza.

Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was a traumatic national event. The forced expulsion of thousands of Israelis from their homes led Israeli society to the brink of disintegration.

The move represented the last hope of the peace movement. If the Palestinians won’t sit down with Israel, so the thinking went, Israel can still appease them by simply giving them what they want without an agreement.

But not only did the withdrawal bring no peace. It brought Hamas to power. It brought tens of thousands of projectiles down on southern Israel.

Israelis expected the world to recognize the significance of this string of events. But that didn’t happen.

Instead of seeing the lengths Israel had gone to appease the Palestinians and side with it when its appeasement failed again, the international community refused to even acknowledge that Israel had withdrawn from Gaza. Condoleezza Rice forced Israel to continue supplying electricity and water to Gaza and providing medical care for Gazans in Israeli hospitals as if nothing had happened. No one accepted that Israel was no longer in charge.

As far as most Israelis were concerned, the final end of our vacation from reality came with the publication of the Goldstone Report in the aftermath of Cast Lead. Here was Israel, forced to defend itself from Hamas-ruled Gaza that was waging an illegal missile war against Israeli civilians. Rather than stand by Israel that had done everything for peace, the UN’s commission accused Israel of committing war crimes.

Undoubtedly one of the reasons so few outsiders have drawn the same lessons as the Israeli public from the failure of the peace process and the Gaza withdrawal is because the only Israelis they listen to are the few remaining holdouts from the 1990s. People like former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Ami Ayalon can expect to have every withdrawal-from-territory and destroy-the-settlements op-ed they write published in The New York Times, whereas Richard Goldstone wasn’t even able to get the Times to publish his admission that his eponymous commission’s conclusions were false.

This open door policy for Israeli radicals was defensible in the 1990s when a significant portion of the Israeli public supported them. Now it constitutes nothing more than an anti-Israel propaganda campaign.

From Obama to J Street to the EU, international actors interested in forcing Israel to make more concessions to the Palestinians cannot understand why their attempts continue to fail. How is it possible that despite their best efforts, Netanyahu remains in power and the Left can’t get any traction with the public? For the answer, they need to look no farther than Mosh Ben-Ari, his dreadlocks, and his rendition of Psalm 121. Israel’s adolescent rebellion is over.

Post-Zionism is so 1990s.

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  • Chezwick

    Five years into the new century, then Israeli PM Olmert tried to prepare the Israeli public for territorial concessions to the PA by saying: "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies." Like so many, I read those words with incredulity….for what is the alternative to winning for Israel? Unlike the Arabs, she doesn't have the luxury of losing a single war. Losing means annihilation….and a hand-shake of "peace" is far from a permanent state of grace, particularly when one's "partner" has a cultural ethos for perfidy and a theological mandate to commit genocide.

    Olmert's musings are the same mindset that compelled millions to voluntarily march into the gas chambers. It is naivety on an epic scale….an utter and total underestimation of the capacity of man for evil.

    Let's hope to God Israel has indeed grown up.

    • TALIA

      I think the public has grown up and is fed up. The problem is that the 90's generation is now in many posts of power-in the academia, in many government and administrative rolls and of course in the media- just like in the US where many radical hippies from the 60's are now "respectable" people .
      Thats the problem. The public is in a completely different place but all these people are in many positions of power

      • Chezwick

        I hear you….the ever-widening gulf in values and perception between the elite and the people. It's a pre-revolutionary dynamic.

        • intrcptr2

          In this vein, I think part of the problem is that the West, and pretty much every member of the UN, still sees Israel, and thus all Jews, as some sort of charity case who is incapable of ruling herself as an equal among the nations.
          Glick's imagery in this column reflects this conception of Israel as still, possibly eternally, endebted to the UN and Western nations in particular, for the grandly magnanimous favor of carving a state out of the desert.
          I don't think the revolt will not be an internal one in Israel but rather a political one wherein Israel finally asserts her equal sovereignty. She has been showing teases of this for nearly 40 years, but continues to blush and defer to the erstwhile USSR, the US, the UK et al. I can't tell for my own sake if a strike against Iran will make the final break or not.
          But it is coming, and the nations will be rather upset over it. But as Mosh Ben-Ari sings, "My help is from the Lord".


      Thankfully FORMER PM, Olmert speaks like a defeatist.

      Arabs/Muslims only respect strength.

      Islamofascists and their socialist allies are over playing their hand in Europe. The tide IS TURNING against the Islamofascists and socialists in Europe.

      Socialism (leftist and nationalist/fascist socialism) is failing badly in Europe.

  • Shaldag

    From the valley of the "shadow of death" to "a table set for me" and the truths of Psalm 121, Am Israel is in very good hands. As the PM mourns the passing of his father, the vision of Jabotinski, Bentsion Netanyahu and all lovers of Zion lives on in him and so many others.Baruch Hashem.

    A light unto the nations; as Israel goes so does the state of the world. That canary in the mine is alerting societies to the incoming dangers to whom all are deaf and blind, yet Israel will survive and prosper in due time: the promise of G-d though the agency of His people.

  • H&R_ Barack

    ~ REAL HEROS :

    Benzion Netanyahu, father of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dies at 102

    The elder Netanyahu was a prominent Israeli historian and a leader in the Revisionist Zionism movement, under its founder Ze'ev Jabotinsky

  • Ghostwriter

    Anytime now,I expect to see those like Schlockmotion make their usual nasty comments about Jews here. It's only a matter of time.

  • YetWave

    Another hard hitting, honest appraisal from one of the most cogent obesrvers of Israel.
    Now if the holdouts would only get the message…

  • Ronald Johnston

    I was privileged to be invited to Israel in the late 1980's on a tour of the irrigation suppliers who furnished us most of our drip irrigation materials. They gave us a tour of the factories, but the most impressive tours were to the historical and biblical sites as well as the well-run farms. I never felt so safe in my life as walking the streets among Arabs and Jews who obviously appreciated each other. Most of the Arabs were Israeli citizens and had all the rights and freedoms that the Jewish people had. I saw no policemen, but could not get out of sight of the young soldiers, male and female with an Uzi on their shoulder. Maybe that is what it takes to keep the peace! I would hate to think what will happen if war breaks out again over there. The Israeli people are the bravest in this world and will prevail in any conflict.