In God, and the “Palestinians”…I trust
Our Palestinian peace partners never fail to show their true colors every time we waver and consider dangerous concessions.
To be a Jew is to have a long and accurate memory. While we hold that to forgive is a sacred obligation – a mitzva, even – it can be downright fatal to forget.
When Barack Obama was first running for president, a friend of mine called and urged me to support him, both in person and in print. Now, this friend knew that for some odd reason, I do not have that all-too-common American Jewish malady of automatically voting for every Democrat on the ticket, regardless of his policies or personality. He knew that I tended to side with the Republicans, whom I see as more sympathetic to my views on Israel’s security, the settlements and Jerusalem. But he tried to persuade me to change my vote with a potent argument.
“Do you see how isolated Israel is in the world today?” he argued. “Virtually no one takes our side anymore; not in the United Nations, the European Union, the world media or the universities. The name ‘Israel’ has become a pejorative curse-word across the globe. But Obama can change all of that. He has immense credibility in all the circles where Israel is defamed; he can promote Israel’s cause and change Israel’s negative image with his brilliant powers of persuasion. You can depend on him for that!”
I was almost convinced that Obama could be trusted to safeguard Israel. But today, almost three years later, when the Jewish state – by virtually all accounts – is infinitely more isolated and more maligned than ever before, I remember that conversation and realize just how foolish it would have been to place my faith in Obama. No, I cannot depend on the US president, for he is a failed Messiah – at least as far as Israel is concerned.
Nor can I depend on any country in Europe, that other bastion of “enlightened” civilization. Not Germany, which swears it will safeguard us from another Holocaust, yet is one of Iran’s largest trading partners. And not England, which sold us out in 1948 and which, despite having a large and active Jewish community, is the seat of rabid anti-Israelism on the continent.
I cannot even depend on my own government. For was it not members of our Knesset who violated Israeli policy and met “secretly” with PLO terrorists, paving the way for the disastrous Oslo debacle? And was it not our Knesset that cruelly threw thousands of proud and patriotic Jewish citizens out of their homes in Gaza, handing the settlements over to Hamas, which immediately turned them into terror bases from which to rain rockets down upon us? And was it not our duly elected former prime minister who was absolutely prepared to give away the farm, not to mention the Jordan Valley and even the Temple Mount? The fact is, there are only two parties on which I can depend. One is God; He is always in our corner, pulling invisible strings, orchestrating events behind the scenes and providing just enough “hidden miracles” for us to get by and maneuver through the Middle East mine-field. And the other is the Palestinians.
Yes, the Palestinians. Though they thoroughly, obsessively hate us – polls consistently show that a solid majority of Palestinians, at every level, want us violently thrown out of the region – they always come through and bail us out. Whenever we start to waver and seriously consider making far-ranging and dangerous concessions, whenever we wonder wistfully whether maybe just this once they really do want to make peace with us, they save us from disaster by showing their true colors. They hit us over the head with such blatant rejectionism that only the most gullible do-gooder would acknowledge them as serious partners.
When then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak was ready to make radical, dangerous concessions at Camp David in 2000, Arafat the intransigent saved us by refusing to take “yes” for an answer, shocking even Bill Clinton, who had hosted the PLO leader during his term of office more than any other foreign leader. And when, in 2008, the other Ehud, prime minister Olmert, unilaterally proposed sending Israel back to pre-’67 borders, it was the PA that got cold feet and backed away at the last moment.
And now, just at the moment when Obama has formulated his grandiose peace plan – based largely on still more Israeli concessions – the Palestinians shoot him down once more: by forging an unholy alliance with Hamas, partnering up with a Nazi-like ideology that makes crystal-clear its unending desire to wipe Israel off the face of the map; by the outrageous op-ed penned by Mahmoud Abbas in the New York Times – the “audacity of lies,” I call it – in which he attempts to rewrite the historical record in a fashion that would make even Paul Bunyan blush; and by utterly, completely rejecting [Binyamin] Netanyahu’s speech in Congress even before the applause had died down.
Is there any pie-in-the-sky, eternal optimist who would still enter into an agreement with liars and libelers such as these? Even Obama must have gnashed his teeth as the Palestinians screamed out loud and clear: No compromise, no conciliation, no concessions. “If only they could just keep their mouths shut and pretend to accept Israel,” he must have thought, “I could get the Israelis to buy into this fiasco.”
But, praise to God, the Palestinians rescued us once again. Like Pharaoh, who just couldn’t let our people go and so had that “sinking feeling” at the Red Sea, and like the Jordanians, who just couldn’t hold back from joining an already defeated Egyptian-Syrian axis in 1967 and so lost the Old City and the West Bank, the Palestinians simply cannot contain their deep-seated conviction that this land just ain’t big enough for the both of us. Thanks to you, Palestinians, for chasing away the illusions and letting us all see the truth.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana.