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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 18, 2003

letter to a friend

Left v. Right

"I was thinking about some of our differences and I have some thoughts that I wish to share.

First of all, the more passionate we are about issues, the more we are ruled by our gut and not by our brain. Freud said "Intelligence is the maid servant of the emotions". So we should understand why our guts tell us different things, rather than why our minds do. Why do people "feel" different. I won't get into that now.

One of the reasons you were against the war with Iraq is that innocent people would be killed. For my part I couldn't care less. Sounds brutal doesn't it. I think that other issues are more important. Deaths should be minimized but shouldn't be the deciding factor. I can understand how I come to my position and you to yours. You probably think me callous and I think you naive.

My guess is you worry about the poor Palestinians and I couldn't care less. I know that it is the Jewish way, from the Haggadah on, to "remember we were strangers in the land of Egypt", with all that implies. For my part, I stay in my own shoes and want to get the best deal for Israel that I can. I want to concede nothing as the Arabs concede nothing. This is an adversarial proceeding. It is not a conciliation. They have enough people fighting for them. Israel is beleaguered and needs our support.

You rail against the notion of "might is right". That's natural for the weak and self righteous to do so. But if I have the might I want it to help me get a better deal. In all negotiations even with unions, the stronger you are, the better your chances. In the real world might always weighs in. You want the messianic era to be upon us where the lion can lie with the lamb. Nice thought, but not in the cards. The Palestinians agreed to negotiate all issues. The requirement is for a negotiated solution not a "just" one, what ever that is. They are not entitled to "justice". They are only entitled to get what Israel agrees to give them

They turned to violence because they realized that in negotiations between the strong and the weak, the weak comes up short. In an atmosphere of give and take and compromise both sides should compromise and be generous. In this adversarial relationship where they want us dead, there is nothing to negotiate.

I accept that the Arabs won't stop until they destroy Israel. This governs my thinking.

Do you think that peace is available? If so, why so, and how do we achieve it."

Ted Belman