Ron Rosenbaum

Second Holocaust Watch (2)

Call this entry the death of the false dream of a bi-national state in what is now Israel and Palestine. Those who follow these matters might recall the nonsensical essay written by Tony Judt, one of those Jews ashamed to be associated in any way with a Jewish state, who called Israel an “anachronism”, sneered at its nationalism and parochialism (factors aparently to be found in no other nations of the world) in the face of his his enlightened universalism, and told us the solution to the problems between Jews and Arabs was “a bi national state” with Jews and Arabs living side by side in what would soon be an Arab majority entity. Kumbaya!

One must concede to Professsor Judt a great feat of denial in refusing to admit into his consciousness or his prose the historical record of the treatment of Jewish minorities in Muslim majority states in the Middle East. He would allow nothing to enter his impervious intellect that would stand in the way of his vision of Jews and Arabs happily living side by side in his cloud-cuckoo-land utopia.

In proposing his “solution” (no need to add “final” here–“semi-final” is bad enough) to the Jewish problem (and of course the problem was only of the Jews’ own making, not of those who wanted to murder them) he managed to wish away or ignore the history of homicidal and suicidal hatred, the explcitly genocidal intentions towards Jews in the charter of Hamas, which was soon to become the ruling party in the Palestinian areas. Judt’s essay was so foolish even Leon Wieseltier who had once energetically published and promoted Professor Judt (and denounced those who dared to even think about a second Holocaust) found it necessary to hastily dissociate himself from Professor Judt and his simple-minded, ahistorical, pollyana views (and by characterizing them as such I’m paying them a compliment I’m not sure they deserve: that they’re sincerely held rather than disingenuously deliberate attempts to help de-legitimize and dematerialize the entity whose Jewishnes he evidently considers embarassing to be associated with at dinner parties–the state of Israel). In any case they are certainly views that gave those who sought to delegitimize the Jewish state and prepare the way for its destruction and that of its people a rationale to hide behind (see, the Jews don’t want to love their enemies) one that served to blame the victims. I certainly disagree with those who would deny Professor Judt any opportunity to speak. The more he speaks the more foolish and pernicious his views are exposed to be by events.

By events I mean, consider recent events in what are in effect two other “bi-national” states or their equivalent in the Middle East: Lebanon and Iraq. Can Hezbollah and non Hezbollah elements live together in comity in Lebanon without murdering each other? Can Sunni and Shia elements live together in comity in Iraq without slaughtering each other? Does Profesor Judt still ask us to believe things will go better in a bi-national Israel/Palestine? If so is he out of his mind? Does he believe that Jew and Muslim can live side by side in comity in a bi-national Palestine when Hamas has pledged itself to exterminate the Jews? Does Professor Judt still wish to defend his brilliant “plan”? Does he still stake his reputation as historian and scholar on it? Or have events proven that reputation to be as delusive as his plan?