Israel's Real Friends

It's one of those classic ironies that the fiercest battles over Israeli policies take place between those who both consider themselves friends of Israel. These camps might roughly be described as the liberal and conservative camps. The liberal camp thinks that the current Israeli government is pursuing policies that are likely to be suicidal in the long run. The conservatives seem to think that any criticism of Israeli actions is treason to the cause, and Jew hating anti-semitism.

Of course Israel has plenty of real enemies, and many of these would not be placated by anything less than the disappearance of Israel as a state. But, argue the liberals, there are lots of people in the middle, who are not deeply hostile to Israel, but are increasingly offended by the images on television. Of course that is point of the Hamas provocations - say the conservatives, truthfully enough.

No issue between the liberals and conservatives is as divisive as the settlements in the West Bank. The logic behind them is the logic of a "Greater Israel", but that's an Israel that has no room for the Palestinians.

My vote is with the liberals, partly because I think they have a clearer-eyed view of history, but mostly because I still think there may be hope for a peace that doesn't depend on apartheid or ethnic cleansing.


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