The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Friday, May 21, 2004


              The Lonely Crowd
The Left in Israel, the putative "peace" crowd, turned out again last week in Rabin Square. This time it was to demand withdrawal from Gaza, even as the battle there was raging and the deaths of 13 soldiers was still hung over the country. Martin Peretz, in this essay on The New Republic (link is actually from IsraPundit) discusses the meaninglessness of these demonstrations - all nice words, with no ideas behind them.
Which brings us to the question of whether Israel really has, among the Palestinians, a true partner for peace. "Yes," proclaimed some of the posters. "Yes, yes," assured Peres, who spoke, yet again, of "the new Middle East" of his imagination. But who is this partner, whose first task must be to confront the terrorists and, as Rabin once put it, "break [their] arms"? Certainly not the nameless man who succeeded Abdel Aziz Rantisi as head of Hamas. Where is the groundswell of Palestinian public sentiment for accommodation with the Jews? Yes, there are Professor Sari Nusseibeh and his friends--people who are both brave and afraid--who have signed Ayalon's open letter. But where are the 150,000--or even 1,500--ordinary Palestinians who want "Peace Now"? Have you ever seen them interviewed on television? Why do the Palestinians rush to the streets only to demand blood?

If pushed, Peres would probably admit that the leadership he imagines for Gaza is that old default: Arafat. After all, Arafat holds, with the martyred Rabin and with Peres himself, the Nobel Peace Prize, by now a badge of shame. Will Arafat finally lead his people toward peace? Speaking on Palestinian radio on the very day the Israelis rallied, Arafat said, "If they want peace, then let's have peace." He also added, quoting from the Koran, "Find what strength you have to terrorize your enemy and the enemy of God." Sacred words, sacred work. And so the protesters in Rabin Square, yet again, received their answer.


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