Monday, June 04, 2007

Painted Into The Colonialist Corner

By Moshe Feiglin

painted in cornerWhen Israel lost its sense of justice and adopted the justice of its Arab enemies instead, it painted itself into a corner. It lost its legitimacy to react to acts of war or terror in any way other than mere colonialistic policing necessary to "keep the peace." According to the Amnesty report released this week, even the missiles that exploded last summer in Haifa did not lend legitimacy to the IDF's sterile reaction.
Paradoxically, it is specifically the Disengagement from Gush Katif and Northern Shomron that transformed Israel into a colonialist state, whose actions are measured by the yardstick of "occupation." As long as Jewish settlements flourished in the Gaza Strip, Israel could claim ownership over the very part of the Land of Israel that the Arabs used as a bridgehead to stake their own ownership claims. But when Israel expelled itself from the bridgehead, the enemy forces immediately traversed it, and brought the battlefield to Sderot, Haifa and Ashkelon. Israel's right to exist in the remaining parts of the Land of Israel was lost; its claim to Jewish ownership of Sderot is not essentially different from its claim over the destroyed Gush Katif. The homeowner who surrenders a few rooms of his house to the bully does not establish his ownership on the rest of the home. Just the opposite. If the bully perseveres, he will have a much stronger claim. The police groups of the world -- Amnesty and the like -- will justifiably stand by his side.
Today, after the Expulsion, we are nothing more than foreign occupiers in the remaining parts of our Land. The more that we "disengage," the more we will be transformed into foreign -- illegitimate -- colonialists in the small amount of territory that will remain in our hands.
"The Jews are simply white colonialists who came from Europe and disinherited the Palestinian children from their land. The Germans should pay the price of the horrors that they inflicted on the Jews -- not the Palestinians. Let the Germans find a place for the Jews somewhere between Germany and Austria -- not in our neighborhood," explains Achmadinijad. And what do the Jews answer as they shake hands with the leader of the Palestinian Liberation (from Jews) Organization? "You are right. But as long as we are already here, take a few rooms and just let us stay in Sderot."
That is how Israel painted itself into a corner. For now, the residents of Sderot are paying the price. But they will not be alone for long. Ultimately, the government's fear of the public will override its fear of Winograd, and it will be forced to enter Gaza. Clearly, the Hizbollah will join in the fray. The IDF, though, can no longer fight to win. Twenty years of anti-riot equipment, concrete reinforcements, armored jeeps, understanding the enemy and sensitive but determined war against its brothers have turned the IDF into the world's largest police force. It is a large, expensive and effective police force. But it is not an army.
To our sorrow, the IDF buried its soul in the sands of Gush Katif, leaving Israel's citizens defenseless. Ultimately, we will have no choice but to rebuild the IDF -- without the commanders of the Expulsion and without women in the tank turrets. But as long as the enlightened defeatist consciousness continues to rule in Israel, there is no chance to effectively change the army. After all, the IDF is the people's army. That is why the next round of fighting will drag us into a defeat worse than in the previous round.
The person who most inherently exemplifies this enlightened defeatist consciousness is none other than the man running for the chairmanship of the Labor party -- former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. There is no other person who is more responsible for Israel's defeat in Lebanon last summer. The man who ordered the IDF to flee Southern Lebanon and ushered Hadera into Katyusha range is much more dangerous to Israel's security than Amir Peretz.
Any healthy society would relate to Barak according to the historic model that France set after it was defeated 67 years ago. But Israeli society accepts Barak's candidacy and his goal to be Israel's next Defense Minister without raising an eyebrow. The enlightened defeatist consciousness has conquered our entire society. Israel has no Charles de Gaulle with a consciousness of victory. We are all Petain. All we are looking for is a Defense Minister who will best flee the country that does not belong to us.
To extricate us from our solution-less corner, we need much more than another futile victory of the Right. Like de Gaulle after World War II, we, too, must establish the Second Republic of the State of Israel. The revolution in consciousness needed to accomplish this will not come from another routine exchange of our Right sock for our Left sock. We must redefine our founding ethos, our national goals, the values that will guide us and the constitution that will protect them.

Likud or National Union Party?

debateTraditional Right Winger (TR): You belong to the Likud? Aren't you embarrassed? The Likud drove the Jews out of Gush Katif! You voted for Sharon? You will vote for Bibi? Bibi surrendered Hebron and shook Arafat's hand! He voted in favor of the Expulsion!
Manhigut Yehudit Member (MY): And what do you intend to do?
TR: I am going to become a member of the Ichud Le'umi (National Union Party). They are staging a major membership drive. Then they will unite all the Right wing parties. Together, the Right will be a serious force and will make its voice heard.
MY: And who will be Prime Minister?
TR: Whoever is elected.
MY: But you know who will be Prime Minister. Whoever will head the Likud. Effie Eitam, for example, thinks that Netanyahu will head the Likud. That is why he is already working with him hand in hand.
TR: Don't you think that Effie Eitam as Defense Minister in the Netanyahu government is a positive development?
MY: Now it is my turn to ask questions. Do you really think that another round of Bibi as Prime Minister is what will solve Israel's problems? Do you understand that when you become a member of the National Union Party you have effectively voted for Netanyahu to be Prime Minister? Do you understand that you are simply recycling the same method used by all the Right wing parties of the past and present? You leave yourself with no options. As soon as Netanyahu veers Left, you will become irrelevant --even if you have 15 Knesset seats!
TR: So what is your solution?
MY: I suggest that we stop trying to influence the Prime Minister, and instead work on becoming the Prime Minister. I suggest that we all become members of the Likud. We will be one large party that includes a strong Jewish National camp. That's right. Silvan Shalom, Netanyahu, and you and I. In the Likud, we will fight for the top spot. We will fight for leadership and not mere influence. Leadership means taking responsibility for the Nation of Israel and implementing a revolutionary, Jewish solution to Israel's problems.
TR: Feiglin doesn't have a chance to win the Likud primaries or to influence the Likud.
MY: Many members of the Likud agree with Feiglin and want to see him leading the Likud. They just need to be convinced that he can actually succeed. When you join the Likud, the numbers convince them. Not only will you be electing the head of the Likud, you will also be able to choose its list of Knesset candidates. This time, all members of the Likud -- and not just Central Committee members -- will vote in the primaries for the Knesset members.
TR: But if the entire Right unites under the Ichud Leumi, it will be a formidable force in politics, and will not have to be identified with the party that expelled the Jews from their Land.
MY: Let's face it. The potential voters for the Ichud Leumi, even if it unites all the Right wing parties, basically come from the religious Right sector. The average Israeli, who identifies as a Jew but does not see himself as a sector, will not vote for it. But if the entire National Camp joins the Likud, it will authentically represent the Jewish majority. The Likud can then elect a leader who represents its constituency. It will appeal to the largely traditional Jewish majority in Israel and will have excellent chances of winning the national elections.
In other words, the major membership drive has been going on for years. Whoever has not yet joined the Likud has surrendered from the outset. He has already come to terms with our hopeless situation and perpetuates it. But those who have joined the Likud stand a fighting chance to bring about the revolution that will save Israel from disaster.
TR: And what if Netanyahu manages to expel Feiglin from the Likud?
MY: Both Netanyahu and Sharon tried to expel him from the Likud, but did not succeed. Feiglin has a lot of grass roots support in the Likud, and it is most unlikely that he will be expelled.
TR: And what if Feiglin doesn't win the primaries? Does that mean that I have to vote Likud anyway?
MY: Of course not. If the newly elected leader of the Likud and its Knesset list do not reflect your beliefs, you can vote as you please.
TR: O.K. You have given me some food for thought. I'll consider joining, but I'm in no rush.
MY: According to Likud rules, a new member must wait 16 months before voting. So the sooner you sign up, the better your chances of helping Israel now!
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