Thursday, July 28, 2011

Duke It Out

Marc Tracy is scoring the Twitter war between Atlantic (soon to be Tablet) columnist Jeffrey Goldberg and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. He's got Goldberg up 78-73 after eight rounds (including a seventh round knockdown). Incidentally, I agree with Goldberg that the most newsworthy thing about their exchange might be Ayalon furiously denying he wants Israel to maintain control over the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Hussein Ibish recaps his debate with far-right settler activist David Ha'ivri. Ibish accurately characterized the debate as not between "Israelis" and "Palestinians" per se, but rather between "modernists" and "medievalists" on both sides:
Modern thinking, I explained, recognizes both the inherent rights of individuals as human beings and the rights of self-defined peoples to national self-determination. Medieval thinking, on the other hand, relies on holy texts and symbols, and conceives of people not as individuals and groups of individuals, but as fixed categories in a divinely ordained hierarchy.

Extreme revanchist settlers like Ha'ivri have far, far more in common with Hamas supporters than they do with mainstream liberal Zionists. And Ibish has far more in common with the average Kadima voter than he does with Islamic Jihad. One can recognize that there needs to be considerably more work in building a political constituency for the modernist perspective (at least as applied to Jews) amongst Palestinians, without deluding ourselves into thinking that folks like Ha'ivri even remotely resemble a friend of the Israel most Jews wish to support.

No comments: