Cal Tzedek: Moral Clearasil

Monday, September 13, 2004

Moral Clearasil

Here is a very interesting editorial from Sunday's Haaretz. The Oslo process was incredibly flawed from its outset, but an interesting point that Akiva Eldar brings up here is that the tendency of successive Israeli governments to exploit the Palestinian Authority's interim governmental structure in order to scapegoat Arafat for the process's failure has served mostly to pacify the left. The right never supported the process anyway, accusing the government of collaborating with, then importing and arming terrorists. When the process broke down (and I'd argue that Israel's unwillingness to fully withdraw from the territories was the main cause), it became convenient for Barak to parrot a modified version of the propaganda which the right had peddled for years: in this version, Arafat, the brilliant mastermind, was so thoroughly convincing in his "act" of moderation that the Labor party could in no way be blamed for his failed leadership. After six years in which to consolidate his power, however, he revealed himself for who he was, singlehandedly setting the peace process back ten years and masterminding the intifada, including its terrorism. Thus, armed with what Eldar calls "the conspiracy theory that was cultivated with extreme success in Israel and all over the world," Israel's government conveniently absolved itself in the eyes of both the left and the right.

I think it's important that we as Jews, Israelis, Americans, or whatever, be wary of such conveniently instantaneous self-absolutions by any leader of any body.


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