Monday, October 11, 2010

More Limits to My Comprehension

Mitchell Plitnik is another liberal American Jew with a blog and Twitter feed for his opinions on Israel. So far as I can make out, he's of the Btselem-J-Street-NIF coterie, so it's possible he doesn't represent a large political camp (but a loud one, surely). The other day he posted a long and rambling piece about how he realizes the Obama administration is useless, because their attempts to take all sides into account on the road to peace means they're not going to bludgeon Israel into positions Plitnik thinks it needs to take. Since Obama won't supply the goods, Plitnik looks around and seeks other options:
The Palestinians desperately need a new leadership that is not softened by privilege the way the Fatah old guard is. They need one which is pragmatic, and understands that pragmatism in terms that recognize Israel as the occupying power and the United States as the country that has a “special relationship” with that occupying power. They need to be visionary enough to realize that they have to work with the US and Israel, but also strong enough to bear in mind that they, as the Palestinian leadership, cannot agree to put Israeli or American interests ahead of their own. That’s where Fatah has failed.
Their pragmatism must also recognize that the Palestinians are never going to win their independence by force of arms, and that they need to build up sympathy not only for their people’s suffering but also for their own political agenda. Those are the places where Hamas failed.
If such a leadership coalesces, perhaps from the seeds of the current popular movement against the Security Barrier, a completely new dynamic would emerge. The response to such a new dynamic in Europe, the Arab world, the US and, perhaps most importantly, in Israel could well lead to the evolution of new, creative solutions that deal with the current realities on the ground, realities which include the Israeli consensus for a state of Jewish character, the Palestinian need for independence and a viable political entity, and the need to deal with the millions of Palestinian refugees...
We need to press the point that Palestinians are due their rights even if the conflict remains unresolved. Palestinians and Israelis must come to be seen as equally human, equally deserving of their opportunities at a better life, and this recognition must be practical, not just empty words.
In one sense, then, the failure of the Obama Administration’s efforts opens an opportunity. If we acknowledge that these talks cannot succeed, and the eventual solution, because of the massive expansion of settlements and ongoing split in the Palestinian polity, is going to necessarily be different from the one we have previously envisioned, then we have the time to change the political landscape here.
And, happily, that effort comes about by arguing, incrementally, consistently and continuously, for the rights of all people, Jewish, Arab and anyone else, living in the “Holy Land.” We can work to make things a little better in the short term, and that effort, if undertaken properly and with good strategy, can also be building a new political reality in the long term.
I've read the whole thing three or four times, and don't know what he's talking about, nor how he proposes getting there. Platitudes, he's good at them, but what is he advocating? How will it make things better? In the real world, I mean, the one the Israelis and Palestinians live in, not the one imagined in liberal talk shoppes in Washington. I get the feeling he sees himself superior, morally and diplomatically, to us benighted folks over here, blinded as we are by our parochial inability to see stuff, but what might give him that feeling I cannot say.

It's very puzzling.


Avigdor said...

It's incomprehensible. If you believe in the one state solution, you can find it there. If you believe in Netanyahu's "Economic Peace" with limited autonomy, you can find it there.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling he sees himself superior, morally and diplomatically

that's a feeling I get from all of them bad mannered ones (what it boils down to once you think about it) with NIF ranking top and Goldberg in the lower ranks. But the feeling of I am superior is palpably there (I admit that as a lifelong subaltern to German academics I may be a bit oversensitive in that field but even if I am that doesn't prove I am wrong)

I am so glad that neither Victor nor Yaacov can make sense of the guy. I am preaching this for decades now, it is important to give us in the "masses" the tools and the self-confidence to detect the BS-sers. (not everybody writing garbled stuff is deluded some are trying to express things they aren't up to yet - it is important to learn to trust one's gut - it is a good guide as to who tries genuinely and who just papperlapapps)


NormanF said...

This form of preaching, of smug superior self-righteous not only exists on the Western Left but on the Stupid Jews of Israel's ever-shrinking Left as well.

People have lost patience with it. Its an arrogant conceit that assumes the problem can be reduced to X solution and peace will magically happen. They won't. Israelis know this after the past 17 years and they know their Foreign Minister is right in dismissing deadlines and talk of fierce urgency.

Some things have to remain for another generation to tackle. Its time (pun intended) to give the current Middle East mess a time-out.

Anonymous said...


interesting point you make.

Joachim Fernau was always skeptical of the so called "Volksfreunde"( friends of the people). Some examples include some very early leftists, e.g. the brothers Gracchus of ancient Rome.

Throughout history there were a lot of people, who claimed to know the will of the masses and who pretetended to execute this will. Most of them were a truly selfish lot (Iulius Caesar e.g.), and not very concerned about their people.

I think the old saying "panem et circenses" (bread and games) to sedate the decadent "plebs" (people/mob) to buy the allegiance of the "dumb mass" contradicts your point.

On the other hand, perhaps the world we live in is not as much degenerated as the late Roman Empire was. Or at least I hope so.

Regards, André

Anonymous said...


I am so glad that neither Victor nor Yaacov can make sense of the guy. I am preaching this for decades now, it is important to give us in the "masses" the tools and the self-confidence to detect the BS-sers. (not everybody writing garbled stuff is deluded some are trying to express things they aren't up to yet - it is important to learn to trust one's gut - it is a good guide as to who tries genuinely and who just papperlapapps)

I think there is as much wisdom packed into the paragraph above as I have ever seen in so many words. Well done!

One question: What exactly does it mean "zu papperlapappen"? It looks pretty vulgar to my rudimentary German, but I am not easily offended and I would really like to know.

David E. Sigeti

Anonymous said...

thanks for the compliment - I keep harping on it because I lived in that village an hour from Frankfurt and if I'd talk to my neighbours like I talked at the office their eyes would go blank. No problem to adjust my language but what about the main German news TV at night, that was the same or even worse "level" of language so all they'd get would be the pictures? And they were shrewd intelligent independent thinkers albeit with a lot of respect and deference for everybody who had a title and/or a position. Those people would be taken seriously without a doubt. And it was the same when I had a chance to chat with non-paper-pushers at my work place. I am terribly afraid that with all that anger swirling around now that we will lose those people again to the first who speaks in a way easily comprehensible but not back patting patronising.

Papperlapapping is a verb that I have "created" myself because I couldn't think of an English equivalent at the time and it is quite satisfying to pronounce
- there is however a genuine German word Papperlapapp
which I seem to remember from folksy comedies which were written decades and decades ago. There when somebody told somebody else that he/she was talking gibberish he/she might cut it short by saying papperlapapp but now I got curious if Google knows some etymology to the thing. I didn't find anything but in Avignon around the Pope's Palace (Pope in German is Papst???) they have a play by the name. Could it be that I am in synch with the coming Zeitgeist? ;-)

As to Panem that will be the most dearest to the "masses" heart but here is a bit of amazing info as to Circus (forget Reza Aslan)

Telenovelas are a big hit in Iran

now is there no Latin American Telenovelas hit producer (our first came from Brazil - Sergio action is required) who could include stories making the two victims of the Pallywood-style assaults on cars in Jerusalem (the Elder of Ziyon has all the details) seem so very much in need of sympathy that the viewers' hearts bleed for them?

My personal guess is that this kind of (low-brow) TV-Sagas are a kind of substitute for village gossip If they are such a hit, why is it that Hollywood seems to have lost that part of the spectrum.


Gavin said...

Whenever I've dealt with the liberal left activist I got a headache. This guy is typical of his kind right around the world, we get the same nonsense too. What he wants sounds reasonable enough but it never occurs to these people that every normal person wants the same thing. We just know from life's travails that it's never that simple and that we can't always get what we want because we're competing against other peoples' wants. If the situation wasn't so tragic I'd find him amusing, his use of the term pragmatism is hugely ironic. A pragmatist is a realist and his is a flight of fancy. It's the absense of pragmatism which is a standout signature of the liberal left. They live in a dream world, completely removed from reality, and to see a dreamer talking about pragmatism is, well....

Yaacov they come across as smug & superior because they see life as a simplistic cause & effect vista. Israel is mean to the Palestinians so they respond in kind. If Israel was nice to them then they'd be nice too. How could we possibly not realise that, we must be all so stupid.


AKUS said...

The question I would ask is how many of these bloggers are actually read?

I have looked at statistics recorded for websites of this sort, and they are dismal.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, did it really fall?

If a blogger writes and no one reads the blog, does it really matter?

The Internet is littered with blogs that have dried up after a few articles, and others where someone with verbal diarrhea continues pushing his/her pet issue no matter how few read it.

Anonymous said...

each and every morning when I succumb once again to my blog addiction I ask myself this question: