Response to an Assertion that Promoting a Two-State Solution isn't "Pro-Israel"
My response to some tweet questions from Yaakov Menken required more what I could do in Twitter. So here goes. Yaakov and others, please use the comments to respond.
The context: @nights_heart wrote in response to something the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote:
@RJCHQ Making pro-Israel advocacy a partisan issue weakens the pro-Israel lobby and weakens Israel
To which Yaakov Menken (@ymenken) responded:
Can't be worse for "Pro-Israel" than defining expansion of a Hamas terrorist base as "Pro-Israel"
To which I (@rabbishai) responded:
Where did you get the idea that J Street wants "expansion of a Hamas terrorist base?"
To which Yaakov made a coherent five tweet response which gracefully ended with "QED," which means something like, "thus signals the completion of the proof." (I had to look it up). My responses are interspersed between his tweets.
There's this place called Gaza, which Israel left, and which Hamas soon took over and operated as a terrorist base.
With the tired excuse of, "There is no-one to talk to," Israel left Gaza without a deal. Under the cover of angry settlers, and with the peace camp in Israel (and abroad for that matter) seduced, Sharon masterfully dealt a blow to Palestinian self-determination/statehood by unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza.
Israel remained in complete control of air, land, and sea, contributing to an environment that would end up with Hamas in power. I'm not blaming it all on Israel, either.
There is a prescient interview that the Jerusalem Post (Ruth Blum) did with Haifa University demographer Arnon Soffer back in May, 2004. Soffer is widely considered to be the architect of the disengagement. A critic of a two-state solution, Soffer understood the disengagement as a necessary step to defeat a Palestinian statehood and put coals on the fire of a war of attrition between Israel and the Palestinians. A war in which Israel has the better weapons and in which many more Palestinians will die than Israelis.
Though I disagree with Soffer's politics and world-view, I highly appreciate his honesty. The notion that disengagement was some kind of opportunity for the Palestinians to show off what they could do under self-governance was simply a set-up for the Palestinians to turn on each other and fail horribly. Again, Israel isn't all responsible for that, but rather shares in the responsibility.
When Israel (finally) took action against Hamas, JStreet called it collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza.
"Finally." Israel never stopped taking action against Hamas and other targets in Gaza. Cast Lead was on a whole different scale. According to the IDF over 1100 Gazans, human beings created b'tzelem elohim, died in that incursion. What, actually, was the urgency of that? We are talking about human lives, every bit as endowed with the divine as ourselves. Please explain the urgency.
The people of Sderot are victims as well, and others within southern Israel within the reach of Hamas' weapons. If the Palestinians were the only perpetrators one could attempt to justfy Israeli responses to Palestinian aggression that were not proportional.. However, given a history where israelis and Palestinians have violated each other and share blame, the issue of proportionality is very important in building trust to reach an ultimate settlement. Israel violated any sense of a proportional response with Cast Lead.
It seems that there are many in Israel who still deny Palestinian self-determination, placate the USA by saying they do, but then implement policies that almost guarantee the failure of a birthing of a Palestinian state.
JStreet did so despite Hamas using the populace as human shields and Israel avoiding civilians to an *unprecedented* degree.
Cast Lead was not unprecendented? Let's find out what happened with an Israeli independent investigation.
JStreet calls for the U.S. and Israel to negotiate with Hamas terrorists, who will be part of a two-state solution.
Picking one's own leaders is a key element in self-determination. I don't like Hamas. I also know Israel has played a role in radicalizing the Palestinian populace.
QED what JStreet is working for is an expanded Hamas terrorist base, whether they recognize it or not.
Yaakov, it took you four prior tweets to get there. I don't agree with your conclusion. But you might be right and I might be wrong. There is certainly an argument there. However, I found your initial tweet this afternoon inappropriate, saying JStreet is working for an expanded terrorist base. Separated from the context of your agreement, it is hugely defaming of JStreet and its people. In context, you are essentially saying that, despite JStreet's good intentions, you predict the result be otherwise. That's a fair argument to make. But you can't hear that in a 140 character tweet. I'm a big fan of tweeting. But the possibility to make damaging and falsely interpreted statements is much intensified in that medium.
Yaakov and I had a great Philly to NYC train ride together, probably six years ago? In 70 minutes we covered a lot of ground, l'shem sha'mayim; I hope that can be rekindled here.