1st part of 2
January 1, 2009 - Yesterday Brit Tzedek v'Shalom held a "Town Hall Conference Call" on "The Crisis in
Gopin observed that the current Israeli action in
Gopin is squarely against the Israeli action in
Gopin says that using force as "a way to bring the Palestinians to the table" is futile. To eliminate the rocket fire from
He also advocates "serious negotiation" to eliminate the tunnels and the smuggling of missiles so as to prevent another
In response to a question about whether some amount of force might be necessary since Hamas has stated that its goal is
There are different factions within the opposition, and even Hamas and
We made a mistake in
After 10 years of ceasefire, the Palestinians will want peace and not want to go back to suicide bombing.
Gopin concluded with the following points:
There are elements within Hamas that want peace with
Israelis see the qassam rockets as the beginning of history, but the qassams must not be decoupled from the blockade that has made Gazans' lives miserable and must be understood within the context of Palestinian suffering.
One side of the Jewish community acutely feels the effects of centuries of humiliation and believes that Jews must strongly assert themselves and exact "two eyes for one eye." Another side - Gopin's side - realizes that Jews now have power and must learn to use it with restraint.
Finally, we need to model for Congress a new relationship between Arabs and Jews. This will be difficult because AIPAC has Congress so intimidated that it can't hear any criticism of
I have tried to summarize Gopin's position fairly. Here are the problems that I see with it:
1. Gopin's most serious flaw is that like most of the Jewish left, he misreads Hamas and the Palestinian extremists and projects his own values onto them. He actually came close to saying - in fact what he said really does amount to this - that Hamas really wants peace, it just has its own different way of letting people know it. Yes, Hamas does want peace, conditioned on an end to
2. Gopin thinks the answer is agreeing to a series of limited ceasefires with Hamas. That has already been tried. He seems unable to appreciate what "hudna" (ceasefire) has meant to jihad fighters since the time of Muhammad - a tactical move to allow them to build their forces for the next attack. Once again, this is a projection of his own values onto people who do not share them. It is the left's version of ethnocentrism.
3. George Santayana said that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Gopin proposes "serious negotiations" to eliminate missiles from
4. Gopin tends to make bad analogies. Whether or not is it wise for
5. If Hamas or even a significant faction within Hamas really wants peaceful coexistence with
6. Gopin is right that the qassam rockets and the blockade must not be decoupled, but his interpretation is wrong. He puts the cart before the horse. With no aggression from
7. Gopin exaggerates the power of AIPAC, bringing back echoes of the supposedly formidable "Jewish lobby" that Israel-haters claim controls
8. How long are the residents of southern
9. Gopin says that Jews are now the ones with the power. This is shortsighted.
10. The question of ceasefires must be understood strategically. In game theory, this is a classic "Prisoner's Dilemma." The two sides have the best mutual outcome if they cooperate - but as soon as they do, the more aggressive side realizes it can gain an advantage if it attacks. And so it will, until forced once again to come to the table and strike a "hudna." After that the cycle only repeats: the side that wants it all will once again try to get it all, and bye-bye hudna. Hamas wants it all. Not just
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