11 February 2008

Reevaluating Success: A Zionist Reality Check

Daniel Gavron takes to the NYT opinion page to encourage fellow Zionists to wake up and smell the success:

If in the 1880s (the start of Zionist settlement in what is now Israel) or in 1948 (the War of Independence) or even in 1967 (the Six-Day War) somebody had said that one day virtually the entire world, including all the Arab nations, would accept the existence of the State of Israel in 78 percent of the land of Israel, he would have been regarded as either idiotically optimistic or clinically insane. That, however, is where we are today. We have won, but we are refusing to accept the result.

I think Gavron makes an effective case, though I disagree with his next statement, which will no doubt draw fire:
Wake up, fellow Israelis, it’s over, we’ve won! What is more we’ve won a lot: more than 8,000 square miles out of the 10,400 square miles of the British Mandate for Palestine. And most Palestinians have accepted this territorially lopsided resolution of the 100-year-old dispute.

Emphasis mine. That last seems a little over the top, if only because the word "accepted" is sure to provoke reactionary fervor, and understandably so. It's hard to see "acceptance" where isolation, embargo, and blunt force are the primary means of implementing geopolitical policy.

Gavron's whole piece is worth a read. He reminds Zionists and Israelis that building walls will never lead to peace, and that walls never work anyway.
What matters is that we are acting from a position of strength, and we ought to be investing our energy and creativity in working out a long-term solution with the Palestinians that will be acceptable to both of us.

What we should not be doing is what we are doing now: besieging and blacking out Gaza, killing and arresting dozens of Palestinians in the occupied territories every month, and constructing walls and fences between us and our neighbors.


To cower behind a wall is to demonstrate again our loser mentality at a time when we have, in fact, won.

Emphasis mine. The regular use of the word "won" rubs me the wrong way, in light of the ongoing human suffering among Palestinians, but I get it that this is, after all, a Zionist prerogative. In the end I like the sensibilities here, and wish more of this kind of thinking would go into the political rhetoric coming out of the Zionist camp.