Sunday, May 24, 2009

When Doves Can’t Flock Together

From The Forward, issue of May 29, 2009, by Ephraim Sneh, former Israel minister of health, minister of transportation and deputy minister of defense:

...In 1988, after I had retired from military service, Rabin and then-foreign minister Shimon Peres asked me to lead the first secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Since then, I have dedicated most of my energies to promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In this effort, I have enjoyed the cooperation of American Jewish groups that shared my commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians. I considered the stances of these organizations to be in line with the positions of the Zionist peace camp in Israel.

Recently, however, I have come to feel that we no longer share the same convictions, that our paths have diverged. Some American Jewish organizations that are at the forefront of pushing for peace have begun adopting positions that contradict Israel’s most basic security needs and that ultimately are at odds with the goal of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

We have seen dovish Jewish organizations advocate including Hamas in a Palestinian unity government (and support the idea of offering American aid to such a government), fight against the swift enactment of tough sanctions against Iran and vehemently oppose military action against the Islamic Republic — action that may eventually prove to be necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Certainly, I do not consider a military operation to be the preferred option. It is the very last resort. But we cannot afford to be complacent about the nature of the threat we face.
Iran is ruled by a despotic theocracy, with a horrendous record of human rights abuses. This regime is fueled by a fanatical ideology of hatred: Hatred of the West, of its culture, of democratic values. Hatred of Jews and their state. Hatred of Muslims who believe in peace and democracy.

...The Islamist-fascist regime in Tehran must be stopped, not hugged. Effective economic sanctions are the best way to make it impossible for the regime to govern, and to create a revolutionary situation in Iran.

Wasting time with futile talks, with gestures to the ayatollahs, will pull the rug out from under the feet of moderates in the Middle East. Policies that postpone confronting the danger that a nuclear Iran poses to Israel and other American allies in the region will bring about a nuclear arms race or make a military operation against Iran unavoidable.

I remain firm in my belief in the necessity of Israeli-Palestinian peace. But I also believe that achieving peace requires a willingness to stand up to the enemies of peace.
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