HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

November 26, 2007
Two Small Pieces

James Adler


The Jerusalem Post
4 Cheshvan 5768, Tuesday, October 16, 2007 23:43 IST

Sir, - Let me express a wish before the Annapolis negotiations begin. It is that some of us wouldn't, with almost proud and joyful cynicism, castigate the negotiations as doomed to failure before they even start.

Yes, cynics may always more easily be proved correct, since pessimists are more often right and less often disappointed than optimists. But the pessimism about the Annapolis negotiations is one that necessarily applies to Israel's own prospects of continuance, if negotiations with its neighbors never succeed.

Pessimists need to consider realistically Israel's long-term prospects in a world of forever failed negotiations ("Putting Tzipi in the hot seat," Calev Ben-David, October 15).

James Adler
Cambridge, Massachusetts


*******

Ha'aretz Online
Fri., November 02, 2007 Cheshvan 21, 5768

Sometimes the pundits claim that the difference between the liberals and moderates, and conservatives, is that the first see negotiations such as at Annapolis as potentially -- even if only at best -- one small step toward peace and security, and conservatives don't see anything constructive about them.

But if conservatives are correct, that Israel is at war with the Palestinians and seventeen Arab states and a world of a billion Muslims, and that these are implacable enemies who will be determined sooner or later to acquire Iranian and also Arab nuclear weapons and never rest until Israel ceases to exist, then according to the conservatives' own logic, it becomes inevitable that sooner or later Israel will -- horrifyingly -- cease to exist.

If conservative anti-Annapolis pessimists and cynics are right that peace plans will never work, because there are only two alternatives, a "Palestinian Terror State" or Israel's absorption the Occupied Territories (with its demographic consequences), then how again is Israel not ultimately doomed?

The irony is that conservatives raise alarms so fatalistic and terrifying that they box Israel into this long-term self-destructive cage

Moderates and liberals would ask Israel supporters of all political views this: Before hopelessness radicalizes, and turns to Islamism, all the Palestinians and Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan -- makes them implacable and also ultimately nuclear-armed enemies, why would we not want instead to put aside our differences and negotiate for Israel's peace and security?

Efforts like at Annapolis, although, at the very most, if at all, they may advance us -- at best -- just one small step, would seem grounded not on some empty vapid idealism, but on the most tough-minded of concrete necessities for the long-term future of Israel.

James Adler
Boston, Massachusetts


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