Sunday, September 15, 2013

  • Sunday, September 15, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Science fiction does not only deal with fantasies about the future. It also sometimes includes alternate history, describing how events would have unfolded had something different happened years ago.

Ian Lustick in the New York Times shows his anti-Israel bias by writing both alternate history and a fantasy future in his article against the two-state solution. Not to mention some old-fashioned fiction:

Israeli governments cling to the two-state notion because it seems to reflect the sentiments of the Jewish Israeli majority and it shields the country from international opprobrium, even as it camouflages relentless efforts to expand Israel’s territory into the West Bank.
No, the Israeli government supports a two state solution because of a combination of worries about a mostly mythical demographic time-bomb and because of relentless pressure from the US. These are pretty basic facts. Does Lustick really think, after so many years, that Israel would make decisions like this only to shield itself from criticism? He must have been asleep during 1967, Entebbe, Osirak, and a couple of times in Gaza.

American politicians need the two-state slogan to show they are working toward a diplomatic solution, to keep the pro-Israel lobby from turning against them and to disguise their humiliating inability to allow any daylight between Washington and the Israeli government.
Ah, it's all because of the Jewish Lobby. It isn't the Us driving the current peace talks, but AIPAC controlling, um, the State Department.

I'm sorry. I shouldn't make fun of an "expert."

It is true that the Oslo process is a sham. It is true that the current conventional wisdom that "everyone knows" what an eventual solution will look like has been dead wrong for at least 12 years, ever since the PLO rejected the Clinton parameters and chose to start a terror war instead.

Oh, I'm sorry again. Lustick seems, throughout this entire 2200 word essay, to have ignored the intifada as being something that might be blamed on Palestinian Arabs. Instead, he obliquely blames Israel, starting his alternate history segment with:
Had America blown the whistle on destructive Israeli policies back then it might have greatly enhanced prospects for peace under a different leader. It could have prevented Mr. Begin’s narrow electoral victory in 1981 and brought a government to power that was ready to negotiate seriously with the Palestinians before the first or second intifada and before the construction of massive settlement complexes in the West Bank. We could have had an Oslo process a crucial decade earlier.
He speaks about a "peace process" in 1980 which didn't exist.

Indeed, Lustick seems to be peculiarly one-sided in assigning blame for the failure of Oslo. Terror, incitement, intransigence on the part of the PLO simply is not worth mentioning. Only Jews wanting to live in the homeland of their ancestors is the obstacle.

Lustick then turns to more traditional science fiction, as he describes his hopes and dreams of how shuttering the peace process today will ultimately bring about a better Middle East:

With a status but no role, what remains of the Palestinian Authority will disappear. Israel will face the stark challenge of controlling economic and political activity and all land and water resources from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The stage will be set for ruthless oppression, mass mobilization, riots, brutality, terror, Jewish and Arab emigration and rising tides of international condemnation of Israel. And faced with growing outrage, America will no longer be able to offer unconditional support for Israel. Once the illusion of a neat and palatable solution to the conflict disappears, Israeli leaders may then begin to see, as South Africa’s white leaders saw in the late 1980s, that their behavior is producing isolation, emigration and hopelessness.

Fresh thinking could then begin about Israel’s place in a rapidly changing region. There could be generous compensation for lost property. Negotiating with Arabs and Palestinians based on satisfying their key political requirements, rather than on maximizing Israeli prerogatives, might yield more security and legitimacy. Perhaps publicly acknowledging Israeli mistakes and responsibility for the suffering of Palestinians would enable the Arab side to accept less than what it imagines as full justice. And perhaps Israel’s potent but essentially unusable nuclear weapons arsenal could be sacrificed for a verified and strictly enforced W.M.D.-free zone in the Middle East.
You see? If we just abandon Oslo, then the ugly face of Jewish Israelis can be revealed to the world! Right now, articles like Lustick's in small papers like The New York Times aren't enough to demonize Israel - we need to set the stage for Israel to start killing lots and lots of Arabs, who will naturally and nobly start terrorizing Jews as is their right under oppression.  The international pressure can properly blame Israel for its awful apartheid-like policies of trying to defend its civilian population and we can get rid of this ridiculous idea of a Jewish state once and for all.

Palestinian Arab insistence on a capital in Jerusalem, on the 1949 armistice lines and on the "return" of millions of Arabs into Israel are  "key political requirements." Israeli insistence on an undivided Jerusalem, defensible borders and a Jewish state are "maximizing Israeli prerogatives."

Lustick's foray into science fiction moves more towards fantasy in his next paragraph:
In such a radically new environment, secular Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank could ally with Tel Aviv’s post-Zionists, non-Jewish Russian-speaking immigrants, foreign workers and global-village Israeli entrepreneurs. Anti-nationalist ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists. Untethered to statist Zionism in a rapidly changing Middle East, Israelis whose families came from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of themselves not as “Eastern,” but as Arab. Masses of downtrodden and exploited Muslim and Arab refugees, in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself could see democracy, not Islam, as the solution for translating what they have (numbers) into what they want (rights and resources). Israeli Jews committed above all to settling throughout the greater Land of Israel may find arrangements based on a confederation, or a regional formula more attractive than narrow Israeli nationalism.
Every one of Lustick's  scenarios betrays either a remarkable ability to write speculative fiction or a remarkable blindness to the Arab, Muslim, Zionist and Jewish psyches, all at once.

And so it goes. An extremist position to dismantle Israel and eventually replace it with another Arab state (albeit with a large Jewish minority), spiced up with wishful thinking of a bizarre utopian fantasy where Jew-hatred is not an inherent part of the Arab and Muslim mindset so the resultant state will treat Jews as honored citizens with equal rights, is published in the New York Times.

The fantasy fiction of Ian Lustick will be discussed over brunch this morning in New York and Washington as if it makes all the sense in the world.

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