The Demobilisation of the Israeli Left

8 Apr 2010

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In this, part two of an interview, Paul Jay of the Real News Network, reports from Jerusalem, Israel. 

Jay interviews Israeli journalist and peace activist, Michel Warschawski, a critic of the Israeli government's Zionist policies. 

Warschawski is the founder of the Alternative Information Center in Jersalem and author of the book 'On the Border'. Jay speaks with him about the demobilization of the Israeli peace movement.

Warschawski contends that the Israeli peace movement vanished within a week after the Camp David summit of 2000 when Ehud Barak returned from talks with Yasser Arafat and issued the dishonest statement that the Palestinian leader had had rejected his generous offers. Moreover, Barak returned to the discourse of the 1960's and 70's stating that the ultimate goal of the Palestinians was to destroy the state of Israel and eject the Jews.

According to Warschawski, the Israeli peace movement bought into Barak's statements, which caused it to dissolve within a week. And even though Barak's statements were eventually exposed as lies, this was simply not enough to re-invigorate the peace movement, as shortly thereafter, the 9/11 attacks took place, which proved 'post factum' that Barak was, to some degree, right. 

In other word, perhaps Barak had lied about Arafat turning his back on negotiations, but broadly speaking, as a result of the 9/11 attack, Israelis felt exposed to a threat that was bigger than the Palestinians and Arafat. That threat was Islam itself.

This, says Warschawski, led to a clash of civilizations discourse that has been deeply internalized by the Israeli public and has neutralized the Israeli peace movement.

Thus, with the exception of a handful of committed peace activists, most mainstream moderate Israelis simply close their eyes to the atrocities committed against the Palestinians in their name, says Warschawski.

For part one of the interview, please click here.

You can find this page online at http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/222.19.

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