The patronizing politics of peace panderers

Left-wing assumptions that Arabs who choose to sell lands to KKL-JNF are incapable of knowing their own best interests is patronizing.Op-ed.

Tags: Peace Talks
Daniel Winston ,

Peace Now posters at a rally
Peace Now posters at a rally
Flash 90

It has recently been reported that the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) gave initial board approval to expand its historical mandate of land purchases in Eretz Yisrael to include Arab-held land in Judea and Samaria. While it is not surprising that the Left finds this upsetting, their public response is proving instructive.

Since its inception in 1901, one of KKL-JNF’s primary mandates was the fair and mutually agreed purchase of lands held by Arabs. There was never an Americanesque “Manifest Destiny” approach which would have greenlit seizing parcels of the Promised Land from locals - but rather a business proposal of an exchange of equal value in the eyes of both of the interested parties.

We indeed had and have a true manifest destiny in the Promised Land - but like Abraham in Hevron and King David in Jerusalem, KKL-JNF bought and paid for Arab-held plots in the Holy Land it acquired on behalf of global Jewry. In the very few instances where there were alleged land seizures by other parties over the years, our activist Supreme Court was more than eager to intervene. That’s a bit of the history, but as always there are political axes to be ground and in this case, the Left is eager to get grinding.

Peace Now announced that it will, “...work with our Israeli partners to do everything we can to stop this disastrous policy.” Benny Gantz is urging KKL-JNF to hold off until we can see if the new policy will adversely affect our relations with the Biden administration. The Union for Reform Judaism blasted the possibility that this might lead to “proliferation” of settlements - despite the published fact that the intended purchases will be limited to lands adjacent to existing communities. They also bewailed what they term the politicization of “...cherished Zionist institutions…” and the harm it will cause to Jewish unity.

Each of the above reactions from the Left is more patronizing and disingenuous than the next for two reasons:

1. They assume that they are axiomatically better champions of Arab land sellers’ interests than the sellers themselves, and

2. Leftist organizations and political parties that had no past qualms around using their long-held dominance in global and Israeli Jewish and Zionist institutions to further their radical agendas are suddenly appalled and outraged that the Right/Religious coalition would do the same in the wake of post-World Zionist Organization (WZO) election power shifts.

These two axes of the Left’s radical opposition to the KKL-JNF’s possible policy shift are illustrative of their long-held patronizing attitudes towards both the Arabs as well as their fellow Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Along the first axis, the Left regards the Arabs as benighted beneficiaries of their putatively ideologically superior perspective on the issue of a state for the Arabs in Palestine.

The assumption is that the Arabs who choose to sell the lands they hold do not and cannot know what is best for them and should be regarded either as the confused victims of Jewish manipulation, or worse, as traitors to their people.

The first is a modern twist on a very old antisemitic canard, the second a trigger for the seller’s likely imprisonment, torture, and possible death at the hands of his supposed brethren. Into such an equation the Left urgently and patronizingly feels it is obligated to insert itself and save the Arabs from themselves, not unlike their frequent calls to global actors to save the Jews in Israel from themselves by forcing upon us an enlightened peace process which would be in everyone’s “best interest”.

The same knee-jerk instinct to condition our true national interest on the approval of an unapproving world is seen, unsurprisingly, in Benny Gantz’s fretting over how exercising our sovereignty in our own land might irritate Joe Biden. Or perhaps he already knows that if he can stall long enough, Biden will intervene in the same political direction as Obama was so fond of doing.

Along the second axis, the Left’s arrogance and hypocrisy becomes even more rank, as well as more laughable. They proclaim from the heights of their self-assumed moral high ground that they will act to save Israel from this “disastrous policy”, that they will leap to the rescue of US-Israel relations from the hands of the clearly primitive majority, and that they will work (collude would be more accurate) with their noble partners around the world to make sure Israel doesn’t dare do anything to endanger the holy grail which the ‘Two State Solution’ has become in their imaginations. Amidst all this posturing and proclaiming, they forget the words of their patron saint, Obama, who famously - and pompously - stated the obvious: “Elections Have Consequences”.

That doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that the ruling coalition should never consider the position of the opposition, nor should it be a carte blanche to run roughshod over the minority just because you can - as we see the Left doing now that they control all branches of the US government, 95% of the media, Big Tech, and most major cultural nexuses. It does mean that when it comes to issues of major ideological significance, the elected majority has a democratic mandate and the prerogative to choose how to exercise it.

We know that the Left knows this as we have seen how they have handled themselves when past elections placed them in positions of power - whether in the Knesset or in the WZO. The question is whether they will have the integrity to behave as if they know that we know that they know that, and spare us their usual breathless and patronizing preaching. I suspect that many already know the answer - and that we will keep on hearing those axes grind.

Daniel Winston is a marital therapist and writer in Gush Etzion and can be reached at danielwinston.com.



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