I Have a Dream: Israeli Election Speech

My fellow Israelis – I’m seeking your votes in this week’s election, for a policy that both reflects our highest human values, and offers a sustainable path for our nation’s future.images-2

Some will call it utopian. I call it sanity.

Mr. Netanyahu and his allies offer a policy of unending conflict. As if all the land between the Jordan and the sea is ours and its Palestinian inhabitants are not human beings but a mere inconvenience whose rights and interests can be overridden with bouts of military brutality, crowded out of their homes by ever-expanding Jewish settlements. images-3As if the Palestinians – and the world community – will accept this dispos-session and apartheid forever. This is nuts.

Unfortunately many Palestinians do accept it, indeed embrace it, preferring the conflict to its solution, reveling in victimhood and “resistance.” As if that were a productive life. As if they could somehow someday drive the Jews out of Israel. This too, of course, is nuts.

Enough. I say to both our peoples: the land is big enough for us both. This doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game where one side’s gain is the other’s loss. The whole history of modernity shows this – nations (at least the grown-up ones) not tearing each other down with conflict, but building each other up with reciprocal trade and investment, making for the enrichment and flourishing of all. Why not Israel and Palestine?

images-1Some will say we have no partner for peace. Frankly our peace offers have heretofore been spurned because they were not believed. I understand that trust is sorely lacking. But now I am not merely offering an olive branch. I am offering the whole tree.

I want Palestinians to have a state, but not a state in name only; not a crappy state. I have a dream for a thriving, flourishing Palestinian state, with our two countries as good neighbors, helping each other live the best lives possible. UnknownIf Palestinians see the foundation for prosperity and fulfillment through cooperation, as an alternative to wasting their lives in futile conflict, I believe most will embrace the former.

To that end, I am proposing not only to give Palestinians the land on which to build their state, but also a Marshall Plan type program of massive economic assistance to help them build it. Israel can well afford this. Just think of all the money we’ll save on our military budget. Wouldn’t it be better spent on building up our neighbors than beating them down?

Some will call this blood money, atonement for alleged past sins. Maybe, but I am not looking backward; I am looking forward. I call it an investment in the future. What do we get in return? Peace, yes, but not just that. The ability to look at ourselves in the mirror and be proud of what we see.

images-4But will the Palestinians once more turn their backs? I rather think that, with real money on the table, we will find the partners for peace.

Many of my fellow Jews will no doubt be horrified by all this. We’ve grown up seeing Arabs as enemies. Which of course is mutual. And certainly plenty of actions on both sides have nourished this enmity. Yet it’s not something ordained by God. We are not hapless playthings of a destiny we don’t control. To the contrary, our destiny is in our own hands. We can make choices. Different and better choices.

To those Jews who believe they’re on a mission from God to occupy this entire land, I suggest to you that there is ample work for you to do to help build our nation within borders that also allow space for our neighbors to flourish as well next door. Or, if you wish to continue living among them, you will be free to remain there, as equal citizens of that nation – just as many Arab people reside in Israel today, as equal (well, almost equal) citizens of this nation.

Moses Brick Testament Destruction of Canaan Instructions for GenocideThe God of the Old Testament told Jews to occupy the land of Canaan by killing or enslaving all its original inhabitants. I think that book was written by people trying to justify those crimes; it was a libel upon God. That’s not the benevolent God we worship today. And the nation those ancient people built with the sword was ultimately destroyed, and they were cast into darkness for many centuries. Maybe that was God’s just punishment.

imagesLet us be better, and wiser, today.

God bless Israel – and Palestine.

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7 Responses to “I Have a Dream: Israeli Election Speech”

  1. Wolfgang Kurth Says:

    Very well expressed Frank!
    Wolfgang

  2. Lee Says:

    I agree 100%!

    But at the risk of generating some disagreement, I ask rhetorically does the concept have broader applicability? As we admonish others (Israelis and Palestinians) to adopt such an approach are we failing to take the advice ourselves? What is the comparable plan to resolve our problems with the likes of Al Qaeda, ISIL, Boko Haram, Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Russia/Putin? I see a start with Cuba.

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    No comparability. Palestinians have legitimate rights and interests. Russia, for example, has none in Ukraine. Yes, none.

  4. Lee Says:

    I am more interested in ISIL. Despite the many atrocities perpetrated by the Palestinians, we see value in engaging them. There is good reason to believe that by addressing their legitimate rights and interests, we can build sustainable peace and prosperity. The atrocities perpetrated by ISIL are worse — so much so that it is unfair to the Palestinians to even make the comparison. And yet I cannot help but think that there must be legitimate rights and interests to be addressed in this conflict as well. My evidence is ISIL’s ability to recruit supporters from even our own country. What is attracting these recruits? Even while we continue to do what we must militarily, I would like us also to talk with anyone who will talk with us, to discover and then address these legitimate rights and interests.

  5. rationaloptimist Says:

    Your willingness to entertain the idea of legitimate rights and interests appertaining even to the most repellent actors is charming. But some things are just wrong, and I don’t believe there is anything to talk about with ISIS. What attracts its recruits is a long (and sorry) story, but it is certainly not a matter for rational negotiation.

  6. Lee Says:

    I look forward to your analysis of ISIL’s recruiting strategy. It has been my experience that pretty much all evil leaders claim to address legitimate grievances, and thereby attract needed support from the aggrieved. I want to know what grievances are being exploited and I want to wipe out ISIL’s violence by addressing those grievances in a positive manner.

  7. rationaloptimist Says:

    ISIS does not fit the language of “legitimate grievance.” More the language of sociopathy.

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