The peace process redux

The Oslo Syndrome by Kenneth Levin has some of the best perspectives of Israeli-Arab political relations,  delusions of Peace Now groups, and insights for the current peace process manoevers.

Here on p282

“There was, and is, more than sufficient reason behind the desire of some Israelis to be cautious: to seek to facilitate the two people’s pursuing separate political lives, but to proceed in a way that maximally allows Isarel to defend itself against potential, even likely, revanchist agendas.  The dismissal of such caution, and of the reasoning behind it, as racist and bigoted is, at the very least, intellectually dishonest.

Again, many in the Peace movement chose to construe their impatience with concerns about secure borders, their faith that Israeli withdrawal woudl lead to a peace that would make security concerns passe, as a product of their education and sophistication, which supposedly enabled them to appeciate the “other” and see his hopes and dreams as no different from one’s own.  This pose was bogus in several ways.  Not only was their seeing teh “other” in his manner, as a mirror of oneself, a product not of sophistication but of a narcissism born of wishful thinking, but the correlation of their concent of “liberal” thinking with education was also a distortion.

A key facet of this argument was that their Arab interlocutors were also well-educated and cultured, like they, and so must think the same liberal way and want the same liberal things.  But in fact, when aggressive policies are ideology driven, it is very often those with the most extensive formal education who have been most schooled in the ideology adn who therefore must subscribe to its aggressive tenets.  In Egypt, for example, even decades after the peace treaty with Israel, the most educated sectors of the population have been the ones that have spawned the most vehement hostility to Israel and have led the opposition to normalisation of relations.  In fact, the Israeli peace movement itself in some ways reflected this phenomenon.  Many in its ranks were indeed drawn from the most educated, and their education had in no small part been education in the ideology of self-indictment, the ideology of comprehending the war against Israel as a war than be ended only by embracing the enemy’s claims and answering them with self-reform.”


nb meaning of the word “revanchist”   Revanchism (from French: revanche, “revenge”) is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement.

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