Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
When I come across an online article that I like and/or find interesting, I often save a link to it under Bookmarks. Since I haven't posted any real posting for quite a while, my list of 'articles to refer to and write about' has grown very long. Many of the articles are about topics that may still be relevant but are not very interesting anymore ( e.g. Israel's absurd efforts to prevent a brilliant linguist who happens to be Jewish and anti-Zionist from entering the Westbank, or Wallander's creator who wants to punish a language for the deeds of those who speak and write that language ), but some of them appear to have a slightly longer shelf life. A number of those articles was written and published several months ago. Here is a personal selection, in random order ( only when more than one article by one author is mentioned, I ordered those articles chronologically ). From each article I quote one or more lines.
- Carlo Strenger: "Israel will have to decide: it cannot rebrand itself as a liberal, creative and progressive country without being one. Our business sector, our artists and academics are mostly progressive, liberal and creative. But their impact on how Israel is perceived will remain negligible as long as Israel’s politicians and emissaries keep harping on victimhood and survival and as long as its policies are repressive".
- Eldad Yaniv: "Zionists are not settlers. Zionists are not racists. Let the Zionists return to their own borders".
- Ari Shavit (1): "Israel was established because its founders created facts on the ground with one hand and won diplomatic recognition of those facts with the other. Israel was established because its founders recognized when time is on the side of Zionism and when time is working against it. But over the last few decades, that insight into time has gotten lost, as has the wisdom of equilibrium. The illusion has sprung up that military might and economic prosperity are enough to assure our future. A dangerous dissonance has developed between visible reality and its invisible counterpart. The relative quiet that the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service and high tech have granted us has become a toxic quiet. It has allowed us to celebrate our lives without seeing the circumstances of our lives. It has allowed us to ignore the threats that are closing in on us. The argument about time is an argument about life and death. On the eve of the Yom Kippur War, the right thought there was still time. On the eve of the intifada, the right thought there was still time. Today, too, when the threat of rocket fire and the threat of the occupation are tangible and immediate, the right thinks there is still time. But the truth is that there is no time. If we don't act in time, time will beat us".
- Ari Shavit (2): "Obama and Netanyahu must wake up. The deal is a familiar one: determined American action vis-a-vis Iran in exchange for a determined Israeli initiative vis-a-vis Syria and Palestine. This deal can be closed only by these two leaders, who will look each other in the eye next Tuesday in the Oval Office. If they don't change their ways and learn how to work with each other, Obama and Netanyahu will bear personal responsibility for the results of the third Lebanon war".
- Akiva Eldar (1) (on Independence Day, about the Saudi peace plan as a basis for peace negotiations, and about Israel's constant and ongoing refusal to take it seriously): "It is true that we are entitled to replace the hand extended in peace and neighborliness with a hand that digs the foundations for more outposts and more graves. After all, we are independent". Israel Harel, Haaretz' pet-settler, claims that the Saudis have never been serious about their peace-plan, that it was nothing more than a PR stunt. After all, "even Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted the formula of two states for two peoples". Yeah, right, that is why the latter is working so hard towards a one-state solution, and why he fails so miserably in convincing the whole world of his good intentions.
- Gadi Baltiansky (about Avigdor Lieberman and his influence): "For now, his face has become the nation's face, and everyone will have to decide for themselves whether this is an ugly or an attractive face. The world sees Lieberman in us, and when Israel looks in the mirror it sees Lieberman. Perhaps Israel is losing, but Lieberman's victory is so great thus far that even if he does eventually disappear from the public stage, the Liebermans will remain".
- Amnon Abramovich: "Israel can exist another 50 years without peace. Yet it would have trouble surviving another decade, with the occupation intact, as a Jewish nation-state that is democratic and legitimate.[...] The next disengagement would have to be wiser, more secure, and marketed differently in the region and in the world – yet it is inevitable."
- Shlomo Avineri: "Identity is a matter of self-definition, not external definition. Just as Jews are not the ones who will determine whether the Palestinians are a people or not (there are more than a few of us who have yet to be reconciled with the existence of the Palestinian people ), Salman Masalha cannot determine whether the Jews are a people or not. It is a question of self-determination."
- Ha'Aretz: "A government that behaves this way cannot be fixed. Israel's helm is not in good hands."
- The Minister of Defense has started to interview possible candidates for the post of Chief of Staff of the Israeli army. This process has already become tainted because of a real or forged document aimed at building a positive image of one of the candidates, and a negative image of another. Whether the document is genuine or not does not matter, the mere fact that it was created and plays a role in the decision process says much about the dangerous mix of politics and the military, a mix that has always existed but seems to play a more central role than ever before. I heard one analyst explain that Ehud Barak, who supposedly favors an attack against Iran, wants to find a Chief of Staff who - unlike Gabi Ashkenazi, the current CoS, whose term was not extended for a fifth year - will support him in that approach. I really hope that any decision about such an attack will be taken solely on the basis of professional, i.e. military, arguments and considerations. But of course I know that that hope is quite vain.
- Big Ultra-Orthodox Brother is watching you, or The ayatollahs are right here among us.
- An example of quality journalism, paid for by Israeli taxpayers ( I will not shed a tear on the day when the IBA ceases to exist; not that I have too much sympathy for UNRWA, or that this particular news report is representative for the level of professionalism at the IBA, it would be unfair to claim that ).
- Two examples of the respect for democracy in what still is the only democracy in the Middle East ( or: In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king ). Of course, the fact that I am able to write this without having to truly fear for my safety or for that of any of my loved ones, is proof that in spite of all its flaws Israel remains a democracy. But still...
- I believe that the situation of the Israeli Arabs - and consequently, of the Jewish Israelis, and of the Palestinians - would be better if they had better leaders. I'm not sure if the claims against MK Zuabi are based on reality, but I don't think that - to use just one example of problematic choices by Israeli-Arab leaders - her participation in the Turkish anti-Israeli flotilla contributed in any positive way to the position of Israel's Arab citizens.