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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/5/11

Wrong Side

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Message Uri Avnery
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OF ALL the memorable phrases uttered by Barack Obama in the last two years, the one that stuck in my mind more than any other appeared in his historic speech in Cairo in the early days of his term. He warned the nations not to place themselves "on the wrong side of history."

It seems that the Arab nations took heed of this advice more than he might have anticipated. In the last few weeks they jumped from the wrong to the right side of history. And what a jump it was!

Our government, however, is moving in the opposite direction. It is determined, so it seems, to get as far away from the right side as possible.

We are in a cul-de-sac. And it lies in the nature of culs-de-sac that the deeper in you get, the further you have to go back when the time comes.

THIS WEEK, a fascinating telephone conversation took place. On the one end was Binyamin Netanyahu, on the other the German Chancellor.

In time gone by, the world's leaders did not generally talk to each other directly. Bismarck did not pick up the phone to talk with Napoleon III. He sent seasoned diplomats, who knew how to smooth the edges and deliver an ultimatum in a soft voice.

Netanyahu called to rebuke Angela Merkel for Germany's vote in favor of the Security Council resolution condemning the settlements -- the resolution blocked by the scandalous US veto. I don't know if our Prime Minister mentioned the Holocaust, but he certainly expressed his annoyance about Germany daring to vote against the "Jewish State."

He was shocked by the answer. Instead of a contrite Frau Merkel apologizing abjectly, his ear was filled by a schoolmistress scolding him in no uncertain terms. She told him that he had broken all his promises, that no one of the world's leaders believes a single word of his any more. She demanded that he make peace with the Palestinians.

If a person like Netanyahu could be rendered "speechless," it would have happened at that moment. Fortunately for Netanyahu, it just cannot happen to him.

THIS CONVERSATION is a symptom of an ongoing process -- the slow but steady deterioration in Israel's international standing.

In Israel, this is called "delegitimatsia." It is conceived as a sinister world-wide conspiracy, rather on the lines of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Clearly, it has no connection with anything we do -- since all our deeds are pure as gold. The obvious conclusion: the enemies of Israel all over the world -- including their fifth column in Israel itself -- are plotting the destruction of Israel by all kinds of boycotts.

Our leaders know how to obstruct this plot -- by enacting laws. Anyone who supplies the enemies of Israel with lists of enterprises located in the settlements will be punished. Anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel or of the settlements -- in the eyes of the lawmakers, they are one and the same -- will have to pay astronomical fines and indemnities, millions of dollars. And if all this doesn't help, the enemies of the regime will be sent to prison, as has happened already to the serial peace demonstrator Jonathan Pollak.

But it appears that our leaders do not rely on these measures alone. Therefore, our deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon (remember? the genius who sought to humiliate the Turkish ambassador by sitting him on a low stool?) decided to reach for even more radical remedies: all Israeli ambassadors will now be sent to the Machpela Cave in Hebron for a historic meeting with our forefather Abraham, who, according to Jewish belief, is buried there (archeologists think that it is a Muslim Sheikh who lies there in troubled rest.)

Seriously, our leaders now look like the boy in the legend who thrust his finger in the dyke to stop the water, though in our case the whole of the dyke is crumbling.

YES, ISRAEL'S standing in the world is indeed sinking continuously, but not because of a world-wide plot uniting "anti-Semites" and "Self-hating Jews."

We are sinking, because we are on the wrong side of history.

Israel has maintained for decades a regime of occupation. It continues to control and humiliate another people. Ideologically and practically, it lives in the mental world of the 19th century, while the rest of the world is starting to live in the 21st. Israeli policy is simply anachronistic.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)

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