Friday, January 16, 2009

Neoconservatism and Israel

A reader writes Andrew Sullivan:

I have to take exception to your equation of what's happening in Gaza right now to neoconservatism. Of course today's bombing of the UN facility was a terrible and tragic mistake, and will do nothing to help move the peace process forward. Of course the entire situation, the deaths of Palestinian civilians, the international outrage, in essence all of the negative results of the Gaza offensive, are sad and unfortunate. Ultimately, what this comes back to, though, is the bottom-line question of what you would have Israel do? Hamas will simply never be a reasonable player in the move toward a two-state solution. Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and its stated attitude is that there is no need for a long-term truce, because it won't be terribly long before Israel is in fact destroyed.
No other country on earth would be asked to stand still while its neighbor, bent on its destruction, continuously fires rockets at populated areas. Removing Hamas from power is going to be ugly and cause tremendous collateral damage, but it's an absolute pre-requisite for any hope of a lasting peace.

I would have Israel negotiate a cease-fire with Hamas, only this time I would have Israel honor the terms of the cease-fire. I would also have Israel--provided I could go back in time--not collude with the US in helping bring Hamas to power. Hamas is a nefarious force, and everyone would be better served if Fatah ruled Palestine. Also, no other society on earth would be asked to stand still while its neighbor, bent on its destruction, continiously blockades the borders, bulldozes their houses, and fires into populated areas.

On the neoconservatism equation, Sullivan is right. Pace Christopher Hitchens, there is not a neoconservative on the planet who isn't a far right supporter of Israel's aggressive policies against the Palestinians. This isn't a coincidence. What binds the US and Israel together is their "shared culture", i.e., their copious contempt for Arabs and the belief that Arabs can be "helped" through massive amounts of violence. This mental disease has infected American public discourse since the 1950s, at which time, it began to mirror Israel's descriptions of its Arab neighbors. To say that neoconservates have an attachment to Israel misses the point. Lots of people have attachments to Israel who aren't neoconservatives. What makes neoconservatives different is that they fetishize Israel's military bombardment against the Palestinians as a model worth emulating. They saw Israel's destruction of a people and society and emulated in Iraq. They honed their talking points that apologized for torture and terrorism on the pages of US newspapers when Israel was demolishing Lebanon in 1982. They learned this skills then, and applied them to Iraq. The good news is that there is a chance that the shifting tide of world opinion will wash away the stain on neocons.

No comments:

Post a Comment