Thursday, July 20, 2006

Forward, Only!

Matthew Paris has two reasons why he cannot bring himself to write about the Israel problem.

This conflict has flickered and flared across the daily news through most of my adult life, and I have sometimes wondered whether it will be viewed by future historians rather as the ancient battles over the Corn Laws or Catholic Emancipation are now seen: intrinsically important issues of vast consequence for some, but where even the uninvolved took sides with a passion that succeeding ages have found hard to share...

...The second is a desperately tricky thing to express. I steer clear because I have too many friends who are Jews whose feelings I don’t want to hurt. You will wish to remind me that to be Jewish is not to be a supporter of everything (or anything) the state of Israel does, and of course that’s true. You will point out that among the harshest critics of Israeli policy are Israeli and Jewish voices, and of course that’s true too.

But it’s a personal observation which one cannot just brush aside that, on this, those who are Jewish tend to have much stronger feelings than others, and that they are overwhelmingly if not universally sympathetic to the Israeli cause, more inclined than most to justify the actions of Israel, and prone to feeling personally wounded if one disagrees. Such feelings inhabit some of the people I like and respect best in my life.

The problem is that I cannot agree with them. The past 40 years have been a catastrophe, gradual and incremental, for world Jewry. Seldom in history have the name and reputation of a human grouping lost so vast a store of support and sympathy so fast. My opinion — held not passionately but with little personal doubt — is that there is no point in arguing about whether the state of Israel should have been established where and when it was because it has become a fact. To try to remove it now would be at least as great an injustice as the one originally done to the Palestinians. But Israel’s best and perhaps only security for the future would be to rest upon a settlement that everyone the whole world over — everyone but the anti-Zionist fanatics — could see was reasonable...

...That settlement has to be a return to her pre-1967 boundaries. Precisely because Israel is by no means forced to make so generous a move, the international support (even love) this would generate would secure her future permanently. It would bring her back within the pale.

Sadly, nations and individuals tend, by moving only when forced and never quite far enough, to keep resentments burning which, by going the extra mile, it lies within their power to extinguish.

The British always did have a sneaky way with words.

But, hey, Paris, we were there, at the '67 borders, in 1967. And what happened?

Well, three years earlier, a certain Yassir Arafat decided to continue the 44-year old Arab terror campaign against Jews in their homeland and founded Fatah. And it all went on downhill from there and so I won't belabor you with all the details because, with your attitude, you'd get bored.

We don't intend to repeat this horror story for you pleasure, or otherwise, with all the hatred and violence and terror it entails. I am working that Israel does not go back. Forward, only!

No comments: