Daniel Levy vs. David Frum

Only on Bloggingheads.tv.

This one on the recent Annapolis Conference and the larger question of the Israeli-Arab world. And watch the sparks fly.

Levy was a negotiator for the Israelis at the Taba Conference under then Prime Minister Ehud Barak (current Minister of Defense); David Frum was a speechwriter for President Bush, author of the famous “Axis of Evil” phrase. Levy’s blog Prospects for Peace is here. Frum writes a column in the National Review.

I’m skeptical about the process (Levy=more optimistic, Frum=totally pessimistic), particularly given that Hamas and Iran are not involved.

Nevertheless it is amazing that Frum (Canadian by birth, American by immigration) has absorbed the central fallacy of the American right on the issue: there is no occupation. Levy hits him repeatedly on this point. The Arab nations, I believe, should have accepted the 1947 deal. AND the Israelis are illegally occupying now for 40 years. Generations raised as occupiers with the militarization of Israeli society and generations raised under immoral, illegal occupation, check points, humiliation, and rage.

The current deal is Israel back to the pre-1967 War borders not the 1947 ones.

I agree with Frum on the causes of the 1967 War (the Israelis of course did launch a pre-emptive strike but the Arab states were out to annihilate them). I agree with Levy on the causes of the Second Intifadah: Ariel Sharon’s brazen and destructive act of going to pray on the Temple Mount. Knowing full well what the consequences would be and seeking them out. Seeking a Palestinian over-reaction in order to launch a massive counter-strike/invasion.

Levy’s larger point I think is correct. The Israeli state can not exist into the future perpetually militarized and continuing an illegal occupation. If, as Frum suggests, Israeli just waits around until the “Arabs learn their lesson” it will NEVER happen will the Israelis are occupying. Period. Frum’s view is one of perpetual war. The reason he does not see it that way is that he will not recognize (imo) the horrors of the occupation. That the occupation is a form of constant warfare.

The American populace does not hear the stories of those who live under the occupation. If they did, US policy I think would have to shift.

The long arc of the universe bends towards justice. A US President (Bush) has announced that US policy is a Palestinian State. An Israeli PM (Olmert) has said that the Palestinian State is necessary for the future survival of Israel.

So there is a bend. But it is a long arc.

[Update I:  There is this piece in the “left-wing” NyTimes examining the lives (under Multimedia) which examines the lives of 4 Gaza residents living “under the economic quarantine that came with Hamas’s rise to power.”  i.e. It was Hamas’ fault that conditions are as such.]

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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