Monday, February 28, 2011

The peace fallacy fallacy

The loquacious Martin Peretz is intent to show that the Arab upheaval now has nothing to do with Israel's actions or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Like many of Washington's self-appointed debunkers of "linkage" he persists in denying the obvious.

When demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square chanted, "irhal, irhal, ya 'amil (leave, leave, oh agent)" or depicted Mubarak surrounded by Israeli and U.S. flags, what would Mr. Peretz imagine was the meaning? Certainly, the momentous demonstrations we are witnessing are about casting out dictators, gaining freedom and, especially, recovering dignity that has long been trampled by autocrats.  However, part of the critique of the autocrats rule was precisely that they were intent on preserving their privileges and power rather than serving their people or acting against injustice, whether at home or elsewhere in the Arab world.  Mr. Peretz is only fooling himself if he thinks that that the fate of Gazans, the Israeli colonization of the West Bank, or America's vigilance to protect Israel, even when by doing so it contradicts its own policies, passes unnoticed among the young people who have led the uprisings.

What earned Mubarak the agent label was precisely the perception that he heeled to US and Israeli interests.  As new governments emerge in the Arab world, one likely reality is that the emerging leaders will be far less likely to risk being accused of collaboration with Israel, or even the U.S.  If anything, the popular pressure to achieve a just solution in Palestine will find wider expression.

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