The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, August 02, 2004
Beilin, Left and Right
In his recent Q&A session with Haaretz, Yossi Beilin stated:
I do believe that in every normal political system you have left and right and you will always have it in Israel. The left is the movement which is never happy with the reality and which wants always to improve it. The right is the movement that justifies the current situation.
I disagree with (and sometimes even abhor) Beilin's political positions, but am surprised that he would make such a narrow-minded statement.
In pre-state Israel, it was the right that started the revolt against the British, which the Haganah later joined. While settlement of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza started under Labor, it was the right-wing Likud that tried to change the status of those territories via large scale settlement. Obviously the right was not "happy with the reality" and tried "to improve it."
Similarly, in the United States, it was the right that decided to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Whether or not one agrees with that decision, it again was a decision that the reality was not acceptable and should be improved.
In today's Israel, Beilin's point has a ring of accuracy. Most Likud members and supporters want to avoid a return to the 1967 borders, but don't have a coherent strategy to do that. Ariel Sharon recognizes that it is necessary to sacrifice the weakest parts of the settlement enterprise to save the major settlement blocs, but despite that recognition, he isn't doing much to protect the major blocs. As a result, in addition to giving up Gaza and northern Samaria, Sharon is weakening the major settlements.
At the same time, on the left, even as Sharon moves close to leftist positions, instead of supporting him, people like Beilin are still "never happy with the reality and want always to improve it." So if Sharon accepts a Palestinian state, builds the fence in a manner that would include 12 percent of Judea and Samaria, and calls for unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, Beilin and his peers demand that the fence be built only on the '67 borders, call for unilateral withdrawal from almost all of the territories and undermine Sharon with a mock peace agreement that sends Israel back to the '67 borders.
Ehud Barak put it well in his own recent Haaretz Q&A session, saying:
The real malaise in Labor, as well as other leftist parties in the world, is that sometimes they develop a fixation with differentiating themselves from right-wing parties.