... I know several Israeli expatriates or would-be expatriates and their feelings are consistent. They are troubled by the illiberal drift of Israeli politics, the growth of a harsh nationalism, the increasing influence of the ultrareligious, the endlessness of the “situation,” and the tension inherent in a status quo that will one day threaten either Israel’s Jewishness or its democracy.
They have left or seek to leave because they don’t want all that and no longer believe there is going to be significant change. The ads play to Israeli patriotism, but it’s not patriotism that expatriates lack. It’s hope that their Israel can be salvaged and a two-state peace achieved.
My second reaction is that if Netanyahu could show a fraction of the nimbleness evident when American Jews are offended in instances where Turks are offended (by the killing of their citizens in international waters), or where President Barack Obama is offended (by ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank against his express request), or where Egyptians are offended (by Israel’s dismissal of their democratic aspirations), then Israel would be in a better, less isolated place today.That's Roger Cohen, expiating on a recently nixed Israeli ad campaign to try to entice Israeli expatriates back to Israel. ("Come Home to Israel", NYT, December 6).
My feeling about Cohen's comments is this: that he must be either a Fool or a Knave.
He's a Fool if he believes that "reaching out" to surrounding countries is going to save Israel's Jewishness of its Democracy. All of history since 1948 indicates otherwise [*]. Acceptance of UN Resolution 181 in 1947 and its two states led to war on the new Israel by surrounding Arab countries; acceptance of Resolution 242 by Israel was countered by non-acceptance by Arab countries; Camp David 2000 gave the Palestinians 97% of what they demanded, but led to the Second Infifada. Handing back Gaza led to intensified rocket attacks on Israel, indiscriminate in their aim. What on earth is there to suggest -- in a much more violently inclined region -- that being "nimble" in dealing with these states, reaching out, to them, would be met with warm huggie-feelies? Answer: nothing.
He's a Knave if he knows all this, but suggests what he does above, anyway. If he knows and still promotes reaching out by Israel, he's advocating suicide by Israel. And maybe that's his real agenda, in common with many left-leaning "pro-Palestinians" in the West, including many Jews in America, and increasingly much of the MSM.
Perhaps the status quo is dangerous -- indeed, it certainly is. But "reaching out", being "nimble", with no acceptance on the other side of Israel's right to exist in security (per Res 242) is more than dangerous. It's suicide.
Why, oh why, don't critics of Israel, if they're genuine in seeking a "two-state" solution, put the heat on where it needs to be: on the feet of the Palestinians, for having failed over sixty years, to offer any genuine security for a recognised Israel, all that's required for peace.
The old saw is true: "If Palestinians lay down their arms there will be peace; if Israel lays down its arms, it will be annihilated".
[*] See also: "31 Opportunities Squandered in Favor of Genocide. Part I", David Meir-Levi, FrontPage Magazine, July 15, 2011. Part II here.