Was there ever a left wing in Israel? Yes, between 1967 and 2000 there was a dovish and courageous Zionist left. It took shape on the seventh day of the Six-Day War, when a small but farsighted group quickly grasped the moral significance of what had been conquered. At a time when the public was swept away by triumphal euphoria, that small avant-garde saw clearly that there was calamity bound up with the victory.
Although it was castigated, the Zionist left was not deterred. It foresaw the Yom Kippur War, warned against the repercussions of the settlements and tried to block the center-right's march of folly. Gradually, reality proved that it was right, and the narrow circle expanded. In 1992 the party of the Zionist left, Meretz, won 12 seats and in 1993, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin adopted its stance in Oslo. From an inspiring but inconsequential group of bohemians, the Zionist left fostered a mainstream movement that shaped the national agenda.
In the 1990s, problems arose. Just when the left's program was broadly accepted it turned out there was a wide gap between its beliefs and reality. Against expectations, Yasser Arafat wasn't Nelson Mandela. Against hopes, the Palestinian national movement's conduct was not patterned on the deeds of Mahatma Gandhi. However, the Zionist left stood firm and did not allow the facts to get in its way. With admirable resolve, it refused to distinguish between its justified view of the occupation and its mistaken view of the prospects for peace. It continued to presume - and to promise - that because occupation was doomed, peace was inevitable.
The truth struck home in the summer of 2000. Ehud Barak proposed the establishment of a Palestinian state and the partition of Jerusalem, but the Palestinians rejected the offer out of hand. [...]
Shavit continúa enumerando otras tres ocaciones en las que los palestinos rechazaron las ofertas de un estado palestino entre el 2000 y el 2008. Luego ridiculiza las diferentes explicaciones del comite de investigación interno de Meretz para justificar la derrota electoral y propone su propia explicación:
The left has not done any soul-searching, has not confessed its historical errors, has not drawn bold conclusions. In contrast to its courage in the 1970s, it has been faint-hearted in the 2000s. Its inability to acknowledge that it led Israel into a dead end has caused it to end up in a dead end itself. [...]
Y concluye apuntando a lo que, en mi opinión, deberían ser las bases para un nuevo programa:
It is the left that must lead the way to the end of the occupation while ensuring Israel's existence as a Jewish, democratic and enlightened state. To do so, the left must go back to being Zionist and realistic. It has to suggest a practical way of getting out of the territories without endangering our national existence.
It has to represent the essence of Israel and not condemn it. It has to come up with a positive, constructive ethos and not a negative, hate-ridden one. If it dares to do this, it will be possible to say that not only was there a left in the past, but there will also be a left in the future. With or without Meretz, the Israeli left has to create itself anew.
Nota: Sólo dos pequeñas discrepancias. 1. Shavit subestima el peso de los otros factores que también contribuyeron a la derrota electoral de Meretz, como la falta de carisma del líder Jaim Oron, y a la influencia de la operación Plomo Fundido ni se refiere. 2. Cambiaría la palabra "enlighted" por la palabra libre. En Israel la izquierda suele usar el término para resaltar los valores laicos, liberales y humanistas del iluminismo, en contraste con los valores religiosos, conservadores y teocéntricos. Pero las cosas son más complicadas, no se puede dividir al mundo en dos polos opuestos de luz-oscuridad, buenos-malos. No hay que olvidarse que la "iluminación" europea también sirvió como apología para los crimenes colonialistas.
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