Thursday, August 24, 2006

Israeli Pacifists

No, there probably aren't enough to count, at least sane ones, going by the dictionary definition. But Michael J. Totten finds the closest thing to a Berkeley peace movement they've got. And they're a sober, pragmatic, and committed bunch. You don't have to agree with them to admire their core of realism.

“I think what’s different from our peace movement,” Amichai said, “from the peace movements in the United States, in other countries, and in Europe is the question of serving in the army. Peace movements are usually pacifists and they don’t encourage their members to serve in the army. The Israeli peace movement believes that Israel would not exist if we didn’t defend it. There is a slogan that’s going around: If the Arabs put down their arms, there will be peace. If the Jews put down their arms there won’t be any Jews left. And I think there’s a basic truth to that.”

“Amichai is speaking in the context of Israel,” Yehuda said, “and I can understand that. My feeling goes beyond the spirit of Israeli society only. I see organizations like Hezbollah as a threat to humanity in the same manner, for me, as the settler movement is also a threat. Where you have a nationalism that hooks up with a religious idea, I see only trouble. I’m not willing to discriminate between Jews and Arabs on this score. Not at all.”

They have no illusions about Hamas, either:

“They actually believe they are going to destroy this country,” Amichai said. “They look at the Crusades as their historical comparison. It took 200 years to kick the Crusaders out. And the Jews have been here for 100 years. Wait another 100 years. If it doesn’t take 200 years, it will take 400. But eventually they think they will succeed.”

When it comes to anti-war opposition, I'd trade ours for theirs. But then, like they said, there wouldn't be any Israel left.