Australian-born Zionist Isi Leibler – a believer in ex-communicating ‘dissident” Jews – appears in the Melbourne Age to plead for poor, little Israel. The whole world hates her and it’s just not fair. We’re a thriving democracy, he claims. Oh sure, the Palestinians are “suffering” but it’s their own fault.
But the more spurious claim is about negotiating with Hamas:
Israel is admonished to negotiate with Hamas; would anyone seriously suggest that the US negotiate with al-Qaeda?
In fact, and Leibler knows this damn well, Israel is currently talking to Hamas to bring about a prisoner swap. Gideon Levy wrote this week:
Why is it permissible to talk to Hamas about the fate of one captive soldier and another several hundred prisoners, but forbidden to talk to them about the fate of two nations? Never has Israeli logic been so distorted. Now, when our hearts look forward to the deal’s implementation, when every human heart should look forward to Gilad Shalit’s release – and yes, to the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, some of them political prisoners for all intents and purposes, not just “terrorists with blood on their hands” – now is the time to finally rid ourselves of some of the foolish prohibitions we have imposed on ourselves and the entire international community.
It is now clear that there is someone to talk to. In Gaza and Damascus sit tough but reasonable statesmen. They are also concerned, in their own way, about the fate of their people, they too aspire to bring them freedom and justice. When the deal is implemented we will also discover that they can be taken at their word. Were it not for the fact that Israel is holding tens of thousands of prisoners – some who used base means to achieve a just objective – who are judged differently from Jewish murderers and criminals, perhaps Hamas would not have had to use the weapon of kidnapping.
If Leibler speaks for the mainstream Jewish community, it’s little wonder the world increasingly regards Israel as an irritant, at best.