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The Israeli Left's Divorce With the Fence By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 19, 2004


There have been few more dramatic self-betrayals in history than the about face of the communist movement the day that Stalin signed a pact with Hitler -- the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The evening before, the communists were ferociously anti-fascist. The day after, they were pacifists declaring the fight against Hitler to be an imperialist attempt to divide the world and none of their business. It was Stalin’s Russia, however, that quickly became a victim of its betrayal of humanity.  Hitler was not simply going to war against the capitalist West, but had been planning all along to destroy the Soviet Union and annex its lands.  In June 1941, Hitler’s armies attacked the Soviet Union. Within hours, the Left had reversed positions, was demanding arming of the Western capitalist countries and war against Germany in solidarity with Soviet Russia.

There is an ominous parallel to these events in the totalitarian turnabout of the Israeli Left regarding the Security Fence.

The idea of building a Security Fence, composed of segments of walls, fences, and electronic gimmicks, was long the official banner of Israel’s Oslo Left. The Left originally wanted the Wall built for several reasons.  Mainly they believed that such a Wall would create de facto separation of Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and behind the Wall the Palestinians could exercise sovereignty or semi-sovereignty as a major step towards statehood.  In addition, the Left presumed that once Israel had erected the barrier, all Jewish settlers on the wrong side of it would be forced to leave, handing Arafat an ethnically-cleansed (of Jews) set of lands.   The Left presumed that once the fence was up, they would be able to block Israeli military incursions into what they regarded as “Palestinian lands”.  Finally, the Left probably hoped that reductions in Palestinian atrocities as a result of the Wall would boost support for the Left in Israel and its agenda of appeasement.

For years, the banner slogan of the Oslo Left in Israel was “Us over Here and Them over There.”  The Wall they proposed to erect in the West Bank would reduce terrorist infiltrations, much as did the existing fence around most of the Gaza Strip and the existing security fence along the Lebanese border.  All we need is some electronic wonder gadgets and terrorism from our Oslo peace partners will end, the Left assured the nation.  And once the carnage drops, it should be possible once again for the Radical Left to stampede the country into pursuing the Left’s agenda, or so it hoped.   The Wall was the Left’s Master Strategy, a program to impose withdrawal by Israel from most of the West Bank under the guise of protecting Israeli civilians from terrorist barbarism. 

It was at first the Right who criticized the Wall. The main criticism was that it would not effectively end the terror.  The PLO was already firing mortars and rockets over the Gaza Wall into Jewish civilian homes.  What would stop it from doing so with the new walls?   And what exactly did the Left think the Palestinians would be doing behind the Wall, once Israel abandoned the territory back there?  Take up quilting?   In addition, walls may be scaled, dug under, run around, and have holed blown in them.  Remember that even the Great Wall of China and the Roman walls in Europe failed to keep out the barbarians! 

The only real way to suppress the terrorist carnage would be to maintain full Israeli military control of the West Bank and Gaza, no matter how shrilly the rest of the world moaned.  The Right also feared the idea that the Wall would be construed as a stage in Israeli complete withdrawal and abandonment of the West Bank to PLO control, which was precisely the same reason the Left WANTED the Wall.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the man who offered the PLO at Camp David II virtually its entire wish list of concessions, responded to the rejection of his offer by the PLO and its launching of the misnamed “Al-Aqsa Intifada” atrocities by endorsing the Wall as an interim solution. (See, for example, US-Israel.org and PR Newswire, April 27, 2002). Numerous leftist politicians from the Israeli Labor Party, especially Haim Ramon who saw himself as a contender for party chief, endorsed the idea.  Amram Mitzna, from the Labor Party’s Radical Left, won the nomination and endorsed a Security Wall and unilateral withdrawal by Israel from the West Bank and Gaza.  He was clobbered in the election by Ariel Sharon in a landslide.   Numerous members from Meretz, a party even further to the Left and containing Marxist components, also chimed in to support the Wall.

The Left’s endorsement of a Security Wall for Israel, fencing out most of the Palestinians, was so enthusiastic and near-universal that there was only one possible development that could have turned the Left against the idea – namely, its adoption by Ariel Sharon and the Likud.  While at first highly skeptical of the practicality of the Wall and its ability to keep the Palestinian savages from murdering Israelis, Sharon and his people were under enormous pressure to do SOMETHING, as the terrorist violence escalated. Sharon became convinced that it was worth giving the Wall a try. Better partial prevention of terrorist infiltration than none at all, the Likud leaders believed. The targeted assassinations by Israel of Palestinian terrorist leaders escalated at the same time, resulting in reduced incidence of terrorist attacks in Israel and creating the impression that the partially-completed Wall was somehow responsible.

Oslo godfather Shimon Peres was the lone vote against the security fence when the Sharon cabinet approved it officially in June 2002.  He did not oppose it in principle, but disliked the specific lines for it.  Peres and the Left wanted the fence to trace the old pre-1967 “Green Line”, signaling that Israel planned to turn over the entire area in full to the PLO. The rest of the Israeli Left then carried out a 180 degree reversal of direction of the sort that has not been seen since the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact collapsed under the German invasion of Russia.

Within weeks, the entire Israeli Left, which had been united for years in favor of the Wall as their consensus position, “Us over Here and Them over There”, was suddenly as equally united and displaying totalitarian uniformity in OPPOSITION to the Wall, to the delight of the anti-Israel forces.  Some even compared it to the walls around the Warsaw Ghetto, denouncing it as a racist way to “victimize” the Palestinians.  The Left (and Justin Raimondo's ridiculous Right) labeled it an “Apartheid Wall.”

You see, the PLO did not like the Wall because it made it harder for terrorists from the PLO and its affiliates to enter Israeli cities and murder Israeli civilians.  And the Wall encompassed somewhat less than the entire 100% of the West Bank the PLO hoped to control as its launching base for destroying the rump Israel, roughly the same way the rump Czechoslovakia was destroyed after being stripped of the Sudetenland.

The Israeli Left today takes its cues from the PLO the same way that the communists in the late 1930s and 1940s took their cues from the Comintern.  No sooner had Sharon and the Likud begun construction of the Security Wall than the Israeli Left and its amen choruses from around the world started a coordinated totalitarian campaign AGAINST it!  In recent days, the pro-terror Western radical anti-Semites from the International Solidarity Movement joined Israeli leftists and Palestinian fascists in joint physical attacks on the fence, trying to vandalize it and cut it with wirecutters. The ISM is openly pro-terror and opposed to Israel's attempts to protect itself from terrorists. ISM of course is the pro-terror group to which Rachel Corrie belonged.

Just a few months after it was the preferred recipe for peace endorsed by nearly the entire Israeli Left, the Wall is today a colonial aggression, denounced by all progressive leftists and people for peace, people so opposed to it that they are willing to risk prison, tear gas, and getting shot in the legs top tear it down and rip holes in it.  Israel must be prevented from erecting obstacles to mass murderers and must be prevented from protecting its children at all costs.

And Uncle Joe Stalin would be SO proud of them!!

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.


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