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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Clinton: 'Russian Jews and 'settlers' are obstacles to Middle East 'peace'

When the Obama administration brought Hillary Clinton on board as Secretary of State, it meant that we could get up to four more years of Bill Clinton's wit and wisdom. Until now, at least, Slick Willy stayed out of the Middle East - where the 'Palestinians' snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for him ten years ago. But on Tuesday, at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Clinton let it fly on the Middle East. It's clear from what Clinton said that this time the orders are to blame Israel for the 'peace process' inevitable failure.

In a bizarre conversation with reporters (which unfortunately does not appear to be on video), Clinton 'rated' Israelis on a scale from most to least in favor of the creation of a 'Palestinian state.' In Clinton's world, it is now the Russian Jewish immigrants and the 'settlers' (who are often depicted in the American media as all haling from Brooklyn) as being the 'obstacles to peace.'
"An increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem," Clinton said. "It's a different Israel. 16 percent of Israelis speak Russian."

According to Clinton, the Russian immigrant population in Israel is the group least interested in striking a peace deal with the Palestinians. "They've just got there, it's their country, they've made a commitment to the future there," Clinton said. "They can't imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it."

To illustrate his view on the Russian immigrant community, Clinton related a conversation he had with Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident turned Israeli parliamentarian, who he said was the only Israeli minister to reject the comprehensive peace agreement Clinton proposed at the Camp David Summit in 2000. The proposal was eventually rejected by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

"I said, ‘Natan, what is the deal [about not supporting the peace deal],'" Clinton recalled. "He said, ‘I can't vote for this, I'm Russian... I come from one of the biggest countries in the world to one of the smallest. You want me to cut it in half. No, thank you.'"

Clinton responded, "Don't give me this, you came here from a jail cell. It's a lot bigger than your jail cell."

Clinton used the anecdote to explain the Russian immigrant population's attitude toward a land-for- peace deal with the Palestinians. "[Sharansky] was nice about it, a lot of them aren't," Clinton said.

Clinton then ranked the Israeli sub-national groups in order of his perception of their willingness to accept a peace deal. The "most pro-peace Jewish Israelis" are the Sabras, who he described as native-born Israelis whose roots there date back millennia, because they have the benefit of historical context. "They can imagine sharing a future."

Ashkenazi Jews who emigrated from Europe and have been in Israel for one or more generations are the next most supportive of a peace deal, Clinton said.

The "swing voters" are what Clinton called the "Moroccans": North African Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. He described them as right-of-center citizens who nevertheless want normal, stable lives.

"When they think peace is possible, they vote peace. When they think it's not, they vote for the toughest guys on the block," Clinton said.

Regarding the settlers, Clinton said that their numbers had grown so much since 2000 that their longstanding opposition to giving up their homes in exchange for peace might be more entrenched and therefore a bigger challenge than before.

"In 2000, you could get 97 percent of the settlers on 3 percent of the land. Today, you have to give almost 6 percent of the land to get 80 percent of the settlers," said Clinton. "There were 7,000 settlers in Gaza and it took 55,000 Israeli forces people to move. Somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 settlers will have to be moved out of the West Bank."
There are not enough Russian immigrants or 'settlers' to explain to Clinton that nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews voted for parties on the Right of the political spectrum (67 out of 110 Knesset seats held by Jewish parties if you back out the ten seats that went to Arab parties, and then back out the 28, 12 and 3 Knesset seats that went to Kadima, Labor and Meretz, respectively in the last election).

Israel has changed in the last ten years. But the Russian immigrants were already here ten years ago. And the increase in the number of 'settlers' (we prefer to call them revenants) is the result of high birth rate and virtually no emigration. But it's not just the Russian immigrants and the revenants who oppose the notion of establishing a 'Palestinian state.'

Thanks to Clinton and Ehud Barak most of us finally understand that our conflict with the 'Palestinians' is existential and not just about borders. Unfortunately, that lesson cost us more than 1,000 people who are no longer with us.

Read the whole thing. By the way, as I've noted many times before, most of us don't buy Clinton's fatalistic notion that Jews will be a minority here in 30 years either.

UPDATE 11:15 AM

Found the embed code. I don't have time to watch this right now, but you can all go ahead and watch.

Let's go to the videotape.

Watch live streaming video from cgi_plenary at livestream.com

4 Comments:

At 9:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Two points:

Bill Clinton did not address the fact the Palestinians reject a true two state solution. When Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Ami Ayalon tried to get wording to specify that two states would mean an Arab State and a Jewish State, the putative Palestinian moderate Salam Fayyad angrily walked out.

Then there's the reality as point one illustrated the real heart of the conflict is existential. There is really no compromise possible. No - its not Israel that is blocking a peace accord.

If the Palestinians were prepared all along to accept Israel as a Jewish State, there would have been peace and a Palestinian state a decade ago. They rejected it then and they reject it now.

Most Israeli Jews therefore don't see any real point to the current talks. There will be no peace in our lifetime and the the talks will fail and not because Israel doesn't want peace but because the Palestinians will not accept the legitimacy of Jewish nationhood.

That is the point lost on an uncomprehending former President Clinton.

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

"It's bigger than your jail cell!"

That is typical of his vicious, contemptuous anti-Jewish attitude:

That Jews deserve nothing more than a large jail cell!

I hope the Jews of America have their ears open but I am not holding my breath!

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger sgi said...

Can anyone explain to me why so many Jewish Canadians and Americans are progressives as compared to the majority of Israeli Jews who are center right?

And it is impossible not to notice that a lot of Jewish progressives are the also the leaders and the drivers of far left, progressive organizations in North America who are the most vociferous opponents of center right classic liberals and conservatives. Jewish progressives are also among the most critical of Israel and supportive of the "rights" of "Palestinians". The idea of a majority Jewish nation is abhorrent to them but 57 majority Muslim or Arab nations, some ruled by Sharia law, seems to be irrelevant. It is a disconnect of major proportions in North America and frankly disturbing.

Progressives in general are really out of sync with the majority in North America and a better example can not be found than the proposed Islamic Community Center and mosque two blocks/minutes from the former World Trade Center. Progressive Christians, Jews and Muslims think it's a great idea as opposed to at least two thirds of Americans who don't. Jimmy Carter, interviewed by Larry King the other night, agrees it should be built, and expressed contempt for the former site where the bodies of 1,000 people were evaporated by referring to it as "so-called hallowed ground". This is the opinion of a "so-called Christian" man, a former president, but a man immersed in progressive politics. And there's the rub.

 
At 1:45 AM, Blogger Yair said...

It's also pretty wrong. "Sabras" refer to the local-born Israelis, while "old Yishuv" refers to those who have been here pre-Zionist movement. The latter seem evenly split AFAIK, while the former are the swing-voters. Morrocans lean right and rarely vote for leftists. Ashkenazis vote center-left/left, while Russians usually vote right.

 

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