Another Tack: Optimism was compulsory

Israeli babies born this month 18 years ago are now old enough for the draft. Some are already in uniform while others soon will be. They were born under the Oslo sign. It seemed a great time to come into the world.

They took their first breaths as the Oslo accords were inaugurated with whoops of rapture. Niggling doubt was politically incorrect and accordingly drowned out with heaps of scorn and wrath in the name of goodwill and broad-minded tolerance. Optimism was compulsory.

But, looking back, was optimism vindicated? Had the Oslo dreams panned out and even partially justified the hype, there would be no more need to train any more 18-year-olds in the arts of war – especially this very symbolic batch of 1993-vintage recruits.

But alas, OC Home Front Command has just imparted to us the glad tidings that “the possibility for a multi-front war has increased including the potential use of weapons of mass destruction.” As to Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg assesses our situation, our perils are acute, if not unprecedented.

Among the dangers, he noted that during recent confrontations on the Gaza front, “we discovered a new weapon. We therefore instructed the public to take extra precautions and seek cover under two roofs and not just one.”

Whoa, hold on! What’s that?


We won’t get into the defense-tactic technicalities of recommending a double- roof protection. Suffice it to point out that Oslo was supposed to make us secure, luxuriant in blissful peace. No one was supposed to fire on us from anywhere in proto-Palestine. Oslo was to usher in a rosy new dawn in the image of The New Middle East, as scripted by its visionary starry-eyed author Shimon Peres.

The glowing sales pitch on the White House lawn by Oslo’s first sucker, Yitzhak Rabin, comes to mind: “In the alleys of Khan Yunis and the streets of Ramat Gan, in Gaza, Hadera, Rafah and Afula, a new reality is born. The hundred-year-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict is ending.”

How Peres’s dupes roared with derision when warned that their concessions would result in Katyushas raining down on Ashkelon. We were pronounced unadulterated anathema and denigrated as Hamas collaborators.

“Where are those Katyushas?” Rabin sardonically teased. As more and more political fortunes were sunk into the Osloite pit and as more and more intoxicating fumes were inhaled by more and more gullible and/or opportunistic junkies, so it became harder to kick the addiction. How unremitting were their efforts to hook others. No ploy was too objectionable.

To be fair, we need to stress that pro forma, Rabin is still – strictly speaking – right. Not a single Katyusha had shattered Ashkelon’s calm. Adept at Newspeak linguistic manipulation to a degree that would floor George Orwell, our media resorts to the improved Katyusha’s alternative nickname – Grad. Same thing. Nevertheless, a different moniker facilitates deception and denial.

For the sake of restraint we won’t even dwell on the fact that dire predictions that Ashkelon would come under fire were painted as unbelievably insane and outrightly malicious scaremongering in 1993. Yet reality has proven yesteryear’s worst worrywarts as not pessimistic enough. Even they didn’t dare conjure up scenarios of Ashdod, Kiryat Gat and Beersheba being in Gaza’s rocket range.

It shouldn’t take a mastermind to work out that something in the grand Oslo design didn’t quite go to plan – not that this would be remotely admitted by Peres, his agenda-pushing sidekicks and the whole weird gamut of farsighted creative omniscients who gravitate to the left wing of our political arena.

Even less than a confession of egregious error would do in lieu of an apology. Mild soul-searching and an acknowledgment that Oslo is dead would suffice. But it’s unrealistic – even now – to expect moral stocktaking and intellectual honesty from the bumbling bamboozlers who inflicted Oslo upon us.

The Oslo high-rollers imported Arafat from Tunis, along with his lieutenants and 40,000 henchmen, whom they armed. They imparted to the citizenry a sense of a nothing-to-lose emergency. Peres waived no opportunity to remind Israelis that time works against them. “What’s the alternative?” he ceaselessly inquired whenever challenged, insisting repeatedly that at worst Oslo is the least of the evils menacing us.

That was patent misrepresentation, not only in the light of hindsight wisdom. Israel wasn’t beset by mortal existential perils in 1993. Nothing mandated surrender. The PLO leadership resided sumptuously abroad and world opinion grew accustomed to the fact. Tampering with all this was incomprehensibly rash.

We’re still paying for Peres’s devil-may-care adventurism.

His “peace” harmed Israel incalculably more than the so-called occupation he bemoans with European sanctimoniousness, as if he had become a visiting stranger himself, a bit distant from our reality.

Oslo kick-started Israel’s historic delegitimization and grotesque demonization. It was a steep downward slide ever since. Numerous Israeli lives were sacrificed to the Oslo Moloch (“victims of peace” or “offerings of peace” in unconscionable Osloite parlance). The international community’s pariah, we were never as vulnerable since 1948. Peres opened the gates of hell.

In the 1950s prominent social psychologist Leon Festinger, progenitor of the Cognitive Dissonance theory, focused on the obsessive rejection of tangible reality by fanatic followers of fantasy. He studied a small cult that awaited the imminent arrival of aliens from another galaxy. They calculated dates and prepared meticulously for the great event – which never materialized. Yet members of the flying saucer cult didn’t relinquish their faith in “Guardians” from outer space and their promises for a new universe.

This led Festinger to observe in his ground-breaking 1956 book When Prophecy Fails that the collapse of prophecies disseminated by cults “often has the opposite effect from what the average person might expect.
The cult following gets stronger and the members even more convinced of the truth of their actions and beliefs.”

Israel’s home-grown peace cult is proof positive. Not only don’t Oslo’s progenitors beat their own breasts in contrition for what they wrought, but they beat the breasts of their political opponents. Rather than regret all the giveaways by Israel, they aver that everything would have been hunky-dory had we only given more and divested ourselves of additional strategic assets with greater cheer rather than sourpuss grudging.

The operative premise here is that even if today’s government won’t accept this wisdom, tomorrow’s might. Osloites keep formulating the starting point for future bargaining and setting the stage for the next disaster. Harbingers of The New Middle East refuse to be dissuaded.

As Festinger noted, “a man with conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts and figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point… Presented with evidence – unequivocal and undeniable evidence – that his belief is wrong, he will emerge not only unshaken but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed he may even evince new fervor about convincing and converting others to his view.”

12 thoughts on “Another Tack: Optimism was compulsory

  1. Might not the folks in fervent steadfast opposition to Oslo then and now share in an enduring cognitive dissonance all their own, regarding Shimon Peres as a starry-eyed visionary and his ardent followers no more than dupes enthralled by his grand design? If so, I’m afraid the very fact that this arch-villain still holds high office today means Israel’s will to live is all but gone.

  2. It is very telling that Peres and Barak sit comfortably in the government of the LINO ,Likud in name only Netanyahu’s government.
    If Israel were remotely sane and determined to survive ,both men would be held responsible for all the innocent blood on their hands and sitting in shame in jail.
    Israel’s very stubborn disobedience to God and religious obedience to the liars and perverts in Washington with their 18 year old failed,phony peace scam will prove very costly.

    ‘Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land. And I will set your bounds from theRed Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the River. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” Exodus 23

  3. That Tack is a hard one, it shows and perfectly explains the SWEET POISON of political self deception !
    How did it come to the INTOXICATION in the first place ?
    Maybe the relentless pressure from the good American friends had just lasted for too long and maybe some old warriors became a bit disoriented in the process and maybe they just lost their way and maybe they looked at Washington too hard and suddenly they looked back from there to Israel…and so they had LOST their perspective…!

  4. Amazing analysis, riveting to read. I recall reading Sarah’s article from April 21 recounting the frustration that Peres felt in his meeting with Ban Ki Moon in the wake of the murder of the Fogel family and the attack on the school bus, in which Ban laid as much blame at Israel’s door for ‘disproportionality’ as he did at the that of the Palestinians, and her observation that ‘Perhaps the only hopeful note in the bleakness of world moral bankruptcy was the following quote from no other but the Prophet of Oslo. And so quipped Peres after his non-too-pleasant banter with Ban: “Israel cannot leave places in the West Bank without making sure the Gazan story won’t be repeated there.”’

    To me, an outsider who sides very firmly with Israel as she faces existential threats, it is unfathomable that the Osloites of Israel have apparently taken no notice of the perpetually unreasonable stance taken by the international community when it comes to things Israel, and refuse to acknowledge the ramifications of trying to placate an unappeasable enemy. One would have hoped that the brief glimpse of insight of Peres would have taken root with others in his camp. It’s somewhat akin to watching a horror movie and yelling to the main character to not open the basement door, but of course to no avail. It is so crystal clear that nothing good can come nor has come from making concessions to an enemy hell bent on your destruction, and the mind boggles at that thought that anyone on the receiving end of such hatred could carry on talking peace and compromises – and indeed capitulations – obliviously and blithely. Heaven preserve the draftees of the Oslo generation.

  5. Thanks very much for quoting from Festinger’s book.
    It strengthens to know that it is not one’s own fault to convince someone in the own family of the dangers Israel is facing each day more so.

  6. Part of the reason Israel is in its present dilemma is because of a persistent denial of certain realities by the “Oslo high-rollers” in Israel and other Western countries, for example:

    1. There will never be peace between the Arabs and Israel because the Arabs do not want it. Prolonged periods of peace between rival or hostile countries and peoples in history are the exception, not the rule, except in the context of imperial administrations, such as the Pax Romana. The historical examples are manifold, for example the rival city states of Ancient Greece or Renaissance Italy, the Biblical history of Israel, the rise of Rome, the nation states of Europe, etc. For Israel this means that the expectation that there will ever be anything like stable peaceful relations with its neighbors is foolish and that Israel should conduct itself in a manner consistent with being in a prolonged state of war, accompanied by periodic truces, with neighbors who cannot be trusted in any way. Under such conditions, there can be no place for appeasement or wishful thinking.

    2. There will be no democratic or non-authoritarian governments established in Arab countries anytime soon. Elections do not mean democracy. There is nothing in the history or culture of the Arab peoples to cause one to expect that a Western type democracy will arise in any Arab country for several generations at least, if ever at all.

    3. The concept of “land for peace” has no historic precedent. It is unwise to give up concrete, defensible borders or bridgeheads for intangibles like promises of peace, particularly from hostile neighbors or unstable regimes (and, by definition, every Arab regime is unstable). The present dilemma concerning the Sinai is a perfect example, as are the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, while the wisdom of holding the Golan is quite apparent. Israel has every justification for at least partially re-occupying or even annexing these or any other territories immediately, if it sees any significant risks to its security by not doing so.

    4. The United Nations is a sham and should not be taken seriously. Israel may have derived its modern birthright from the UN, but for quite some time the UN has shown itself to be a seat of anti-semitic activity viciously hostile to Israel. The UN has tolerated other nation members’ threatening to destroy Israel, a clear violation of the UN charter. The UN is a powerless organization, is suffering from declining prestige, and serves no useful purpose. In fact, Israel has every justification for withdrawing from the UN (I wish my own country would do so).

    5. No country ever has permanent allies or friends. Nations may have shared interests, which can lead to friendly relations, but ultimately each nation follows its own star. World conditions change, leaders change, interests change. In the final analysis all nations must recognize that they can count only on themselves to pursue their particular interests, both in the short and long run.The example of the Iranian nuclear program comes to mind. Another is the about-face of the Obama administration with regard to nuclear missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    6. National security is more important than world opinion. Nations do not survive and thrive based upon a world popularity contest. Does Assad care about what the world thinks about him, when his own survival is at stake? I don’t recall Israel being worried or defensive about world opinion when staging the raid at Entebbe or bombing the Iraqi nuclear installation, actions far more provocative than the Marmara incident. The judgement or advice of another person or nation is worth only as much as the inherent worth of that other person or nation doing the judging or advising. If the other person is truly worthy (and Europe and most of the rest of the world are not, given that most of them would be just as happy to see Israel disappear), you listen; if not worthy, then why attend to the other’s judgment or advice? A nation should never sacrifice the lives of its soldiers and civilians based upon world opinion or rules of engagement designed by its enemies.

    7. There are precedents for divine intervention. Is it an accident of history that an obscure Semitic people delivered from slavery conquered, occupied and civilized a critical area of the Middle East as a prelude to its playing an enormous role in world history, totally out of proportion to what one would have expected given its size and lineage? Or that the Jewish people were the only people to survive totally intact from antiquity and, after two thousand years against all odds, re-established the state of Israel, even to the point of reviving the Hebrew language in its ancient homeland? Does not the fact that Israel today, despite being surrounding by tens of millions of hostile neighbors, not only survives but also thrives–does this not resemble the miracles of the pillar of fire and the parting of the Red Sea, or the conquest of Canaan under Joshua? And such miracles are not manifest only among the Jewish people. Was the momentous intellectual and cultural flowering of
    and fourth century Greece, the source of the West’s intellectual and artistic traditions, purely an accident? Or the rise of Rome in less than one hundred years to rule the Western world and civilize Europe? Was it purely good fortune that there should have been such a critical mass of outstanding and talented men as existed at the time of the American Revolution? I see God’s grand purpose behind all these things. Certainly great human effort was required to bring all these things about, but, as I see it, always with the realization that a greater purpose was at work, beyond mere human will and striving. In such circumstances, God will help those who help themselves.

    I recognize that it is easy for me to write these things as I sit in the comfort of my home in America while you, on the front lines, have to deal with these issues on a daily basis and take all the risks. It is for this reason that I do not presume to tell you or any other Israeli what you should do. I wish simply to share some thoughts with you in friendship and because, as a fellow Jew, the fate of Israel is always very much on my mind.
    May I also wish you l’shanah tovah (or as my grandparents would have said, gut yontiff) on the occasion of the New Year.

  7. Oslo was the kick-start of Israel, not the Arabs – self destruction.
    The day Israel allowed Arafat to set his foot on her land, the day an Israeli shook this man’s hand, soaked with Jewish blood, the day, Israel conceded and began calling these Nazi-Arabs “Palestinians,” thus gave them legitimacy to be a nation, the day Israel began telling these Arabs she will allow them a “Palestine” to contaminate her Holy land in Judea and Samaria, the day Israel gave the Waqf the control over the Holly Temple Grounds, the day Israelis began saying West Bank, last one Netanyahu in his speech in the UN, rather than calling it by the right name, Judea and Samaria, the day Israel “believed” while ignoring reality, which she buried away by her insanity, that Israel has a partner to peace, while these jihadists were murdering hundreds of Israeli civilians when they just turned one eye away – what citizenry in the in the world has to go through security when entering a shop, a restaurant, such stringent security ? NONE!? While the Arabs next door do not have to because a Jew will not kill them as they intend to kill the Jews anywhere they can, that day Israel began the down road slalom to her own delegitimization.
    And let us not forgot, how Israel deliberately forgot to teach it at schools, to brain wash our nation of our LEGAL rights to the land – the truth about the Mandate for Palestine the ONLY DEED to the land the entire world gave us and now WE caused them to regret it. This deed cannot be reversed!
    Israel rather went along with the Arabs, who confiscated her land through wars, political aggressive war and stealth jihad and are still trying to confiscate this deed, now in the UN with unilateral bid to the land that is not theirs. Israel caused this historic delegitimization and grotesque demonization. Because, since 1993, she had allowed and went along with the discourse of the Arabs lies, deception, anti-Semitism, incitement and hate rhetoric, while smiling to the cameras and telling everyone Israel has a partner to peace – to every piece of its land – rather than tell ourselves, FIRST, the truth, that these filth sub-humans want to kill each one of us and take away our land, bring upon us the Final Solution, finish the Nazis job.
    Even today Bibi said, “if Abbas is willing and agrees to set talk, with no precondition, we will have peace in one year.” Has Bibi gone insane? They will never have peace with Israel, never, until they raise few generations who learned to like Jews and recognize us as a Jewish State, or we end up in a war that its slogan will be, it us or you! Total victory or say goodbye to Israel. Have 63 years of wars, fedayeen, intifada, jihad, daily rockets, have no proved that? Whom are we kidding?
    Oslo also ignited world anti-Semitism.
    Had Israel stood its grounds – on its legal rights to the land not burying them and going along with the Arabs taqiyya – we would have never got to where we are today. Since Oslo, Israel has been on a steep downward slide and still would not allow itself to grab the poles along the way, which God offers her, and end this maniacal race downhill to her isolation and even God forbid, demise. Numerous Israeli lives were sacrificed to the Oslo Moloch, yet they still on this path…only this week a young father and his baby boy were attacked by jihadists’ stone throwers and ended up dead and what the Osloid Israel Defeat Forced (IDF) do? They bury the terror attack in a story of a car accident. Shame on them!!!
    By allowing the international community run our affairs, by conducting schizophrenic ambiguous policy, by letting the world know that we really do not care for the land, thus negotiating it away, meaning it is not ours, we have made ourselves a pariah! And indeed we were never as vulnerable since 1948.
    Peres, Rabin, Beilin opened the gates of hell and Peres keeps on pushing Israel toward that gate.
    The only solution: the truth and shout, in every speech, have a copy of the Mandate for Palestine in every speaker’s hand, about our, Jews, LEGL RIGHTS to the LAND of ISRAEL from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, every centimeter of it! And stop talking about two state dis[solution] and use the RIGHT lexicon: Judea and Samaria, a/k/a West Bank, Aras a/k/a “Palestinians,” Jewish communities to never mention he word “settlements.
    The cure is in our hands, not the world.


  9. On a slightly unrelated note, this description by Festinger in the last paragraph brings to mind a horrific case that happened in Netanya several years ago – to make a long story short, a man was accused by the police of committing a heinous crime, despite all evidence being in the man’s *favor*, and all the police investigators came up with was at best circumstantial evidence (e.g. a yellow cap that was found in the man’s house). Eventually and thankfully he was exonerated and in the civil suit that followed he was awarded about 2 million shekels in reparations for his ordeal. The presiding judge found the police and prosecution conduct to be egregious, especially that of the police investigators who, whether consciously or otherwise (my bet is on the former), set out to frame this man in a crime he did not commit, reality and facts be damned. Needless to say she was appalled at this flagrant disregard of man’s basic rights.

    The chief police investigator, interviewed following the judge ruling in favor of the ex-defendant, persisted in his assertion that the man was guilty as charged. Nothing, not even incontrovertible proof to the contrary could dissuade him. I thought this “investigator’s” recalcitrant denial of truth and reality matched like a glove to Leon Festinger diagnosis, and it makes me wonder if the psychologist’s findings shouldn’t be incorporated into some vetting process for police employees.

  10. What I find particularly asmuing about Bernie’s account of things is Olmert’s dramatic statement to Abbbas that “this was the best offer Abbas was going to get in the next 50 years from an Israeli leader”. I can assure you that 5 years from now Olmert would offer a complete withdrawal to the pre-67 without swaps and without internationalization of the Holy Basin and accepting 1 million refugees. Five years after that, Olmert (or any other PM from the “peace camp”) will offer a withdrawal to the 1947 Partition lines, while turning over areas conquered during the 1948 war such as Jaffa, Naharia and WEST Jerusalem to “international control” and now accepting 2 million refugees. Five years after that Olmert will offer dismantling of the state of Israel which would be placed under “neutral international control” (something like the British Mandate) with unlimited return of refugees and with exploration of repatriation of Jews back to Poland and Morocco (the reverse of Beilin’s Geneva Agreement which seeks to send Palestinian refugees to these places).All the Palestinans have to do is keep saying “NO” and the Left will keep crawling to them.The other funny item is Bernie’s absolute assumption that the Arabs want what he wants and that is an “independent Palestinian state living side by side in prosperity with Israel”. In actuality, such a thing is abhorrent to the Arab world. The peace agreement Bernie is pushing Obama to force on the two sides would be viewed as merely another imposed robbery of Arab lands against the will of the Arab masses, just like the Sykes-Pico Agreement dividing the Ottoman Empire territories between Britain and France, except now the land of Palestinian would be given to the Jews, which is even worse.Go ask the demonstrators at Tahrir Square who are waving pictures of Mubarak with a Star of David imposed on his forehead if they would like Obama for doing this.

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