I’ve been watching some of the live and recorded videos from the J Street conference occurring currently in Washington DC.
So far, I’m disappointed. I watched an Israeli electoral panel which spoke only in terms of internal Israeli irritations, and only about the need for someone to speak boldly for reconciliation, but none of the individuals present were that person.
There seemed still an air of defensiveness, that they were protecting themselves even from J Street. And, the common theme (unstated overtly), seemed to be that what happens in Israel is still entirely their business, entirely internal. There seemed a deep fatalism, that the Israeli populace really did not care about peace, that they were buoyed by their current relatively comfortable life.
There was little talk of fairness, considered a turn-off to Israeli populace. And, there is only grudging talk of benefits of peace even, that it is a secondary desirable condition, but not particularly urgent, certainly not worth any political let alone security risk.
There didn’t seem to be an urgency stated to “throw ahead of the receiver”, attempting to reach a goal. All damage control, stability as a goal. It reminded me of stock market analysts in 2007 declaring that the then status of the market was permanent. (Even as informed insiders were anticipating and watching intently for the marking short period of volatility, followed by an anticipated and experienced predictable great loss.)
That contrasted with the universal recognition that ultimately the current state of incremental expansion of settlements and expropriation of Palestinians from homes (even if only tens, thankfully not hundreds or thousands) will reach a stress point, a period of volatility. That the foundations of reform required to stabilize that volatility, were not even fully contemplated, let alone articulated.
When will that stress point occur. This year. When following ample notice to form an agreement, due to likud/Israel beitanhu negligence, they will wait until August or September to deflect and likely condemn the planned PA assertion of statehood.
I hope I’m wrong, and that there is a dynamic surprise coming. I don’t see it in the agenda of J Street. It seems like holding pattern, emphasizing their moderateness, their insider role.
Peace requires leadership to articulate, and then persuasion to realize consent and ratification. Consent of the two parties (state and semi-state), and then consent of the legislatures, then consent of the population.
Netanyahu is not thinking, definitely not meeting with the PA. There is no effective liberal party or coalition forming, creating either an interventionary vote of no confidence (aborting the length of his term), nor any possibility of change of government in a regular election.
The devolution of relations with Turkey, Egypt, Jordan have not made an impact on the electorate, even though they constitute the difference between Israel as potentially accepted Levant citizen, and Israel surrounded, delegitimized, hated.
No acknowledgement that the Palestinian community thinks in terms of the Nakba continuing, indicated by the continuing settlement expansion (and US veto vote), and that the formation of even a proposal would change the tenor on the Palestinian street radically, and positively.
The J Street electoral panels speak in terms of center-right emphasis, rather than liberal. The “erring on the side of caution” of Kadima, rather than the “erring on the side of leadership towards a constructable and benign goal.”
Is there noone else there? We hunger. We’ve not eaten for decades. We need more than emotional/political survival rations, straining our loyalty.