Phyllis Chesler Interviews Carol Gould

carol gould

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Mourning the Death of Peace
Last uploaded : Sunday 27th Jan 2002 at 01:44
Contributed by : Various Contributors



"Jewish theology requires small acts of goodness. These in turn can save lives - and each life is considered as an entire world." *


"The worst examples of oppression, aside from the Holocaust itself, were the Crusades, the Spanish inquisition, Czarist and Stalin's terrors, and the forced Arab expulsion of 850,000 Jews from Muslim lands. However, through history Jews have been the target of malicious rumors and even theology." [Lappen]

"In 1947, Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha promised "a war of extermination," "a momentous massacre" to be remembered "like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." ["The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust" - Collins, Larry and Lapierre, Dominique, O Jerusalem]

Jerusalem Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini - who had spent World War II in Nazi Germany and was indicted for war crimes by Yugoslavia, though never prosecuted - declared a holy war. "Murder the Jews, murder them all," he cried. [The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust; Collins & Lapierre, O Jerusalem, p. 400]

"Under Oslo, Israel negotiated in good faith to exchange recognition of a new Palestinian state for peace--despite the fact that Arabs already have
22 nations, including the de facto Palestinian state of Jordan, and 5.25 million square miles, roughly half again as large as the U.S. ....Israel's offer of peace at Camp David II was so generous that most world leaders warmly congratulated Ehud Barak at the UN conference in September.....Barak's largesse afterwards grew--expanding under fire to include sovereignty over the most-cherished Jewish holy site--the Temple Mount. Several Israeli ministers resigned in protest and Barak's government collapsed. Still, Arafat said "no. Still, bombers and gunmen took Israeli lives - adding to more than 3,500 Arab attacks on Israelis, averaging more than 30 a day since September and more than 438 murders of Israelis since the Oslo accords were signed. Arab terrorism and intransigence alone account for Ariel Sharon's landslide victory on February 6." [Lappen]

"Contrary to press reports, even Sharon supports peace: He served as a key negotiator at the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords with Egypt and as Defense Minister in 1982, dismantled two Israeli settlements - the first in Israel's history, against a backdrop of sharp criticism. Sharon supported peace with Jordan and negotiated increased water transfers to her. In
1998, Sharon was Israel's chief negotiator at Wye River. The result was the transfer, to full Palestinian Authority control, of 13 percent of Israeli controlled territories in Area C and 14.2 percent of joint Israeli and Arab lands in Area B. Shortly thereafter, Israel offered accelerated timetables to conclude negotiations within nine months. Then as now, the Palestinian Authority rejected the plan." [Lappen]


"There has been no change in the language or contents of the material published in the Arab countries about Israel or the Jews in the wake of the political process hailed by the Israeli and Western media as a "peace process". The newspapers and journals are as full as ever of venomous articles against Israel, usually accompanied by anti-Semitic cartoons.
There is a spirit of hatred for Israel and the Jews which manifests itself in various ways in the Arab world. The "peace" agreements, including the
15 year old agreement with Egypt, have not changed anything in the attitude of the writers, the intellectuals, the educators and the journalists. There has not been even the slightest attempt to get the Arab public used to what is seen in the West as a "new era" and a hopeful chance for the Middle East. The Arab governments have done nothing to introduce the subject of peace into the schools, and to educate the new generation not to hate the Jews, and create a real foundation for understanding between Arab and Jew." [Moshe Sharon-"TALKING "PEACE", PREPARING FOR WAR"-Moshe Sharon- Policy Paper No. 13-From the book "ISRAEL AT THE CROSSROADS", 1997]

"The peace agreement between Israel and Egypt stipulated the cessation of all anti-Israeli propaganda in the media. This has never been implemented.
Rather attacks in the media have intensified. The Arab teachers, university lecturers, writers, and other intellectuals responsible for educating the children and young people are the most outspoken in the rejection of the normalization of relations with Israel, and the most active opposition to any act that could resemble the recognition of the Jewish state." [Sharon]

"In the Western world the intellectuals are the leaders of the liberal movement. On the whole, this is also the attitude of the intellectual community in Israel; it is liberal and guided by universal humanistic ideals. Since the fall of the ghetto walls in the 19th century, Jews were at the forefront of the liberal movements in Europe and America. When the State of Israel was established these same humanistic and liberal ideas governed its political, cultural and social life. Against the permanent call for war and constant expressions of hatred which came from the Arabs, in spite of three major wars aimed at the destruction of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants, in spite of thousands of acts of terror, Israel spoke of peace. Israeli and Jewish intellectuals placed themselves in the forefront of the camp that advocated the Palestinian cause, and represented the Palestinians, sometimes more efficiently than the Palestinians themselves." [Sharon]

"Peace has always been the expressed policy of the government of Israel also translated into a program of education. In Israeli schools peace is a subject taught as part of the ordinary curriculum. With a long history of yearning for peace, today, there is one straight line of thinkers, educators, artists, writers virtually begging the Arabs for Peace. The Arab side responded favorably only when the Jewish side blamed itself, but were never ready to acknowledge any truth or right in the Jewish side.
Moreover, when the time came for the Arab intellectuals to respond to the friendship extended to them all the years by their Israeli counterpart, they publicly disowned them. In many cases Jewish self-hatred has brought Jews, in Israel and in the Diaspora, to side with the Arabs, quick to condemn their own people, their government and the Israel Defense Forces."

This is an interesting phenomenon. Jewish liberalism is sometimes better at presenting the Arab cause than Arabs themselves. I remember years ago reading about the Jewish Council which was very anti-Zionist and very vocal about it. Many in the Jewish Bund and Jews in the Soviet Communist Party were also anti-Israel. Interestingly many in the Bund changed their views with the Holocaust and went from being anti-Zionist to very supportive of the new Jewish state and many Communists also changed their minds about Israel after the purges, especially when so many of those purged were Jewish.


There is also confusion in Israel over the uprising and Palestinian refusal to accept an offer which to many, even in the Israeli peace movement seemed too good to refuse and many in the peace movement are angered by their refusal. Many on the Left in Israel are switching sides and even New Historians like Bennie Morris are now recanting on some of their previous damning accusations against Israel. It is not an understatement to say that the process appears to be in turmoil. Sharon on the right won the elections overwhelmingly with many former leftists voting for him and now Israeli society is sharply divided over territorial concessions for peace. As a matter of fact Israel society is divided on almost everything.

"The public is divided between left and right, secular and religious, concerning the extent of territorial withdrawal, the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the very definitions of peace and of democratic norms." [Sasson Sofer, "Israel in the World Order: Social and International Perspectives", from the book: "Peacemaking in a Divided Society: Israel after Rabin", Frank Cass Publishers, London, 2001]

"Significantly, whereas an overwhelming majority wants the government to make all efforts to achieve peace, and a surprisingly solid majority wants Israel to be an integral part of the New Middle East, Israeli society is sharply divided on the question of whetehr territorial compromises will lead to peace. The same inconsistency is apparent in the tendency to support idealistic worldwide goals, such as univeral human rights and arms control, whereas the same norms are not applied in regard to the Palestinians and Arab countries." (Substantiating surveys were taken by Leonard Davis Institute - 1996 and are available in the book) [Sofer]

Interestingly according to Soffer, the Israeli public regards the Likud Party better at "safeguarding the territories and fighting terror,"
whereas it also finds the "Labor Party as better at security democracy and achieving a true peace", however the elections would indicate they prefer security to peace at this point in time - a choice obviously made for them by the Palestinian Intifada.


"What Osama did is not a war. It can't be a war because Osama is not a nation. He is a gang. It is like being hit by the Mafia. You don't declare war on Sicily because the Mafia happen to live in Sicily. You don't bomb Palermo. You get the international police and you track him [them] down."
---Gore Vidal

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