Less than a decade ago, the Israel Peace Now movement was alive and supported by a large segment of the population, but recent events indicate a dramatic shift in attitude toward extremism and hatred of Palestinians. Years ago, there was a comic strip named Pogo in which a character(expressing a metaphor for supposed anti-Communist Senator Joseph McCarthy) “we have met the enemy and he is us.” Israel political leaders constantly decry the extreme hate attitudes of Hamas, but the only group that currently would understand the attitude and behavior of Israeli political leaders is Hamas. Avigdor Lieberman, the racist pseudo-Fascist Israeli politician, will probably secure about 16 seats in Parliament based on his program of non-stop hatred toward Palestinians, wherever they are. He even wants to institute “loyalty tests” for Israel Arabs.
Events over the past few years increasingly have moved many decent people in Israel into a defensive and hating stance toward Palestinians. What is one to make of support for Lieberman who in 2002 urged blanket bombing of Palestinian areas. “At 8:00 a.m. we’ll bomb all the commerce centers,… at noon we’ll bomb the gas stations…… at 2:00 p.m. we’ll bomb the banks while keeping the bridges open.” Tragically, many liberal Israelis are buying into this hate program, probably out of fatigue or being disheartened by events.
Nelson Mandela spent years in prison and emerged with love in his heart, not hate. Jewish leaders like Helen Sussman who recently died struggled for years to end apartheid, and never slipped into the mode of hate. Israel has become lost nation and one which will sell its soul for the pretense of “security.” The only security for Israel is peace. The Arab League has an offer on the table for peace and recognition of Israel. Grab it.
President Obama can not allow feelings for Israel to get in the way of working for peace. He must make clear to Benjamin Netanyahu who will most probably take over the Israel government that American policy can not support inclusion of Lieberman in a Cabinet.