Sunday, July 5, 2015

What to look for from the candidates (cont.)

Sar Shalom

In my previous post about the presidential race, I wrote about what messages the presidential candidates should promote irrespective of what policies they would implement if elected. This post will look at what we can expect in the way of policy from whoever get elected. However, looking directly at what any candidate would do if elected is unlikely to be feasible because the candidates are unlikely to say anything more than that they would support Israel and may or may not include work towards a two-state solution. This type of pledge is so banal in checking off key constituencies that it tells us nothing about what any candidate would do if elected.

Yet, even without specifying exact policies or how hard they would push for a peace process, there is something which would provide a clue to the parameters bounding their potential policy: their narrative. For instance, if a candidate's justification for Israel's existence starts at Wannsee and ends at V-E Day, that candidate's sympathy for Jewish connection to any part of Jordan's 1949-conquest would probably be different than if the justification stems from 13 centuries of the Islamic equivalent of Jim Crow. Similarly, if the plight of the Palestinians is compared to that of the Kurds today or of the Jews until 1948, it would create more justification to push for their maximalist aims than if their plight is compared to that of the Hutus in post-genocide Rwanda.

While the candidates are unlikely to address the issue in such terms on their own, they would also have less reason to evade questions about the narrative than they would questions like, "Under what circumstances would you withhold your Security Council veto in protection of Israel?" Any chance of the Jewish media prodding in that direction?

1 comment:

  1. "13 centuries of the Islamic equivalent of Jim Crow..."

    That is precisely the history within which we need to ground our arguments.

    Perhaps the biggest mistake that diaspora Jewry, as a whole, has made was in legitimizing the "Palestinian narrative" of quintessential victimhood.

    The fact of the matter - as you guys well know - is that the Jews represent a long-standing abused minority in the Middle East that was subject to "13 centuries of the Islamic equivalent of Jim Crow."

    People think that Arab kids stone Jews because of the State of Israel. This is false. Arab kids have been stoning Jews since at least the 7th century and they outnumber us in the region by a factor of 60 or 70 to 1.

    We need to replace the "Palestinian narrative" with something that resembles historical truth.