Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So, Is Abbas Serious?

The way this blog seems to work, is that my very few readers find out about my postings via Facebook, and post their reactions and comments over there. I post a blog, write a tweet announcing the posting, which then is cross-listed to Facebook. There is no doubt that my audience uses Facebook far more than Twitter. In any event, whatever reactions I might get come to me by way of Facebook. It's a bit cumbersome.

So one of my few readers sent me an e-mail about my last post:

It isn't enough to state that other bloggers can dwell on the inadequacies of Palestinian leadership. They won't. And if you don't, boycott backers will cite your own words to advance their cause.

OK, but what's a guy to do? I don't follow the Arab press as closely as the Israeli press. My Arabic ain't nearly as good as my Hebrew. I've lived in Israel when Bibi was last PM of Israel in 1996; I've never lived in Palestine. I have a basic read of the situation that goes like this: Netanyahu doesn't want to deliver, and Abbas can't deliver, even if he wanted to. And I simply do not know if he wants to. One indication that Abbas isn't serious is the way he frittered away the possible opportunity that was provided during the 10-month Israeli settlement moratorium, particularly after the Arab League had given its imprimatur on direct talks in late July. But it wasn't until September that Abbas engaged in direct talks. Hardly indicative of a leader eager to negotiate.

I think thoughtful critics of the Abbas regime (and I don't mean the Ali Abunimahs of the world who simply label the Palestinian Authority "collaborationist" and wash their hands of it; or the Caroline Glicks of the world who believe that the PA is congenitally evil) ought to provide a reading of just what it is that Abbas is willing to do during this round of negotiations. 

As for the second point, my reader is wrong. I think that precisely because I am a severe critic of the Netanyahu approach, and that I regularly register my opinion in this blog that the entire settlement enterprise is wrong and must be undone, proves that my opposition to the BDS effort is impregnable. In any event, proponents of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and the USACBI (US Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel) campaign are not out to alter an Israeli policy here or there -- their goal is to deligitimize a Jewish state, and to make it (in its current form, or even in some "dovish" form) disappear into the dustbin of history along with the apartheid regime of South Africa, to which they now regularly compare Israel. Does anyone really believe that the proponents of BDS are simply trying to tactically alter Israel's politics, international relations, and society? Was the Arab League economic boycott merely a tactic to get Israel to change its policies? Of course it wasn't. To paraphrase Ben Gurion: I will oppose BDS as if there is no Netanyahu government, and oppose Netanyahu's rule as if there was no BDS.

That's the only way I can figure out how to move forward.

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