The Livni Fallacy

Will the left-wing Israeli leader ever learn from the failure of her policies?

During its 2011 campaign, UJA of Greater Toronto honored Israeli Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) at a fundraiser event, where she pledged to “take account of the concerns…of Jews beyond [Israel’s] borders.” Naturally, the community welcomed her with a thunderous ovation, confirming that, we, the Jews of the Diaspora, support Tzipi’s “inclusive and pluralistic agenda,” her “articulat[ion of] a Zionist vision…that respects our traditions without denying the legitimacy of difference,” and that we share her commitment to “achieve peace with the Palestinians.”

The problem is that not everything is about “we.”

In fact, our shared values are irrelevant within the context of determining “what is best for Israel,” and the incessant focus on “we” is ethnocentric. The key question—which Diaspora Jewry often fails to consider—is whether these common principles, when translated into Israeli political action, always benefit Israel.

The answer, unfortunately, is no.

In an interview with Ha’aretz in 2009, Ms. Livni described her two greatest political achievements as her roles in the disengagement from Gaza (2005) and in the Second Lebanon War (2006). It is certain that Ms. Livni had Israel’s best interest at heart—so as to “leave [her] children a secure state in the land of Israel.” However, when examining the direct effects of her policies, we are forced to conclude that Ms. Livni has achieved the exact opposite.

Israel is less secure today because of Tzipi Livni.

It is highly unlikely that the Gaza disengagement proposal would have garnered enough ministerial support without Ms. Livni’s influence. Only by way of intricate political maneuvering, including the “reorganization” of various offices, was Ms. Livni able to conjure up the necessary votes from Israeli Cabinet members. Ms. Livni described her involvement in the 2009 Ha’aretz interview: “I led the disengagement, thanks to the Livni compromise [which reconciled rival parties to the plan].… I led the disengagement legislation and [subsequent] processes.…” Livni also explained her reasoning to the Washington Post: “We decided that we could take some risky steps…[to convey] that Israel is no longer the Palestinian excuse for not fighting terrorism. Our expectation now is that the Palestinians will implement their word.”

Accordingly, we have Ms. Livni declaring, on record, that she orchestrated the “risky” 2005 disengagement plan, in order to pave the way for the Palestinians to “rehabilitate” themselves.

Regrettably, the Palestinian answer to fighting terrorism was not rehabilitation, but to further terrorize, followed by the validation of terrorism through the “democratic” election of Hamas. Since then, Gaza has essentially become an Iranian military base—located 75 km from Jerusalem—committed to fighting the “struggle against the Zionist invaders…[by spreading] Allah over every inch of Palestine.” More specifically, Hamas has consolidated its power, enhanced the destructive capacity of its weaponry (with Iran’s help), and murdered an untold number of Israeli civilians.

And what does Ms. Livni have to say for herself during her speech in Toronto? “I can assure you that Hamas doesn’t fight for…any legitimate right of the Palestinians; they are fighting in order to deprive us of our right to live.… To these extremists…we need to fight, literally, with military forces.”

Why on earth then, Tzipi, did you devise and implement the Israeli military evacuation from Gaza all but assuring that Hamas would be emboldened?

Sadly, Ms. Livni did not learn her lesson from Gaza, but pursued a carbon-copy policy the very next year: the Israeli military withdrawal from Lebanon. Ms. Livni also boasted of this accomplishment to Ha’aretz: “I created the idea of a diplomatic exit [from Lebanon]…I formulated [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701.” In short, the resolution called for the immediate removal of all Israeli troops from Lebanon, leaving the task of overseeing a then-ailing Hezbollah to an ill-equipped Lebanese army and international peace-keeping force.

The result: Hezbollah is presently the most heavily armed terrorist organization in the world, and has amassed so much popular support that it now controls the Lebanese government, constituting a major threat to the country’s future sovereignty (if said sovereignty can still be claimed to exist), and to stability in the Middle East, in general. This reality, coupled with Hezbollah’s unwavering loyalty to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has effectively created a second Iranian proxy bordering Israel; which “see[s] in Israel…the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve.”

The greatest travesty is that we continue to support Ms. Livni even though she has still not learned her lesson. Ms. Livni continues to state that, if given the opportunity (again), her intent is to advance the same failed agenda by handing over the West Bank to the Palestinians.

Tzipi Livni rightfully shares many of our admirable “humanistic” principles. However, to Israel’s detriment, she also suffers from a common affliction: the delusion that these values apply to, and will be internalized by, fundamentalists devoted to Israel’s destruction. This “phenomenon,” ironically, manifests in its own form of radicalism: the steadfast commitment to “staying the course”—each time anticipating a different outcome—despite decades of concrete evidence confirming that such an approach is misguided.

Not surprisingly, this procedure—endlessly repeating the same dangerous, failed actions—constitutes the very definition of insanity.

Charles Bybelezer is Publications Chairman at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. He can be reached at [email protected].