‘How dreams of peace led to Israel’s biggest mistake’

‘How dreams of peace led to Israel’s biggest mistake’

A brilliant example of the late commentator’s intellectual honesty and his incisive analysis of the Arab-Israel conflict, brought here in memorium.

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Charles Krauthammer, 24/06/18 10:21 | updated: 15:09

(JTA) — On June 10, 2002, Charles Krauthammer delivered the Distinguished Rennert Lecture upon receiving the Guardian of Zion Award from Bar-Ilan University’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies. Below is an excerpt from the lecture titled “He Tarries: Jewish Messianism and the Oslo Peace.” 

In the 1990s, America slept and Israel dreamed.

The United States awoke on Sept. 11, 2001. Israel awoke in September 2000.

Like the left and like the reverie that we had in the United States, secular messianism was intoxicated with the idea that history had changed from a history based on military and political conflict to one in which the ground rules were set by markets and technology. This was the infatuation with globalization as the great leveler and the abolisher of things like politics, war and international conflict. This kind of geo-economics was widely accepted in the early post-Cold War era.

It was Sept. 11th that abolished that illusion. It taught us in America there are enemies, they are ideological, they care nothing for economics and they will use whatever military power they have as a means to achieve their ideological ends. This is the old history, perhaps the oldest history of all, the war of one God against another. No new history, no break in history, no redemption from history.

The other source of this secular messianism in the Israeli context was the success of the European Union, which was seen as a model for peace in the Middle East. There was talk of Israel, Palestinian and Jordan becoming a new Benelux, with common markets, open borders, friendship and harmony.

Indeed, if you look at the Oslo Accords, of course there is page upon page of all of these ideas of cooperation on economics, on technology, on environment, all which in retrospect appear absurd. And indeed, this entire idea of the Benelux on the Jordan looks insane in retrospect, but I believe that it was insane from the very beginning, when it was first proposed 10 years ago.

There are such obvious differences between the European situation and the Middle Eastern one. First is that the period of harmony, integration and commodity among the Europeans happened only after the utter and total defeat of one party. It did not come from long negotiations between France and Germany at Camp David, compromising their differences over the 20th century. It came from the utter destruction of Germany and the 
The period of harmony, integration and commodity among the Europeans happened only after the utter and total defeat of one party…these conditions do not apply in the Middle East.
rebuilding of a new Europe after that surrender and accommodation.

These conditions do not apply in the Middle East. The only way that that kind of peace will come definitely is the peace not of the brave but of the grave, and that means a peace that would be established with the defeat of Israel and its eradication. There is no way that Israel can utterly defeat the Arabs the way the Allies defeated Germany and Japan in the Second World War.

So that the idea of some kind of harmonious Middle Eastern Union drawing on the European mantle is drawn from a totally false historical analogy, one that is based on surrender and accommodation that could not happen in this Middle Eastern context, unless we are looking at the world through the eyes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Secondly, the Middle East is still a collagen of religious fanaticism, economic backwards and political tyranny. It is nothing more than a mirage to transpose the situation in Europe with the harmony that came after half a millennium of conflict and in conditions of modernity to transpose those conditions to the Middle East, with a conflict as much younger and the political culture infinitely less mature.

In this context, to look at the savage religious and secular conflicts going on throughout the Middle East and to believe that the most virulent of these, the conflict with Israel, can find the kind of harmonious coexistence that exists in Europe, can only be called messianic.

Now this is not to say that the only impulse underlying Oslo was messianic. There was a messianic left and there was a realistic left, if you like. The realists saw Oslo as a pragmatic way out of Israel’s dilemma. I believe in retrospect, as I believed at the time, that they were utterly mistaken, but at least they were not dreaming.

I think Rabin had a fairly coherent logic behind Oslo. He saw three basic changes in the world having occurred in the ’90s, and he thought they would give Israel an opportunity to quickly settle the Palestinian dispute and to concentrate on the larger disputes coming in the longer run from the periphery, from the missiles and the weapons of mass destruction that would soon be in the hands of Iran, Iraq, Libya and others.

And the three events he saw were: First, the collapse of the Soviet Union, which deprived the rejectionist Arabs of the great superpower sponsor and source of economic, military and diplomatic assistance. Second was the victory of the United States in the Gulf War and the establishment of American hegemony in the region. Third was the terminal condition of the PLO. Arafat had again, as always, chosen the wrong side in war, was cut off by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, ostracized by the United States, lost all of his financial and diplomatic support. The PLO was on its last legs.

Rabin thought he was cleverly exploiting the weakness of the PLO by reviving it, he imagined, just enough so it could make peace with him. With the Soviets gone, with Iraq defeated, with the U.S. ascended, with the PLO weakened, he thought he could make a deal on this basis. He turned out to be hopelessly mistaken, both on the intentions and on the recuperative powers of the PLO once Israel had helped it out of its abyss.

It was one of the great miscalculations in diplomatic history.

Indeed, I believe Oslo will stand as perhaps the most catastrophic, self-inflicted wound by any state in modern history.

But at least in Rabin’s mind, as I understood it, it was a calculation. For Peres and his counterpart on the Israeli left, it was a leap of faith. And I mean the word literally, faith.

Chesterton once said that when a man stops believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything. In the ideologically fevered 20th century, this belief in anything often turned out to be a belief in history, history with a capital H. For the messianic left, Oslo was more than a deal. It was a realization, a ratification of a new era in history.

Rabin’s Oslo was pessimistic, peace with fences, separation, divorce wearing its tenuousness. Peres’ Oslo was eschatological: Benelux, geo-economics, the abolition of power politics.

Israel, labored under its illusion, did not awake to its reality for seven long years, until reality declared itself in the summer of 2000 at Camp David, when Barak’s astonishingly conciliatory peace offer elicited a Palestinian counteroffer of terrorism and suicide bombing.


I believe Oslo will stand as perhaps the most catastrophic, self-inflicted wound by any state in modern history.
This is not to say that peace is impossible; it is only to say that peace will always be contingent. And even that contingent peace will require the demonstration by the Arab side of its willingness, its genuine willingness, to live in acceptance of a Jewish state.

Again, that is not impossible. That is what Sadat offered, and he meant it. It is not clear that post-Sadat Egypt means it, although it has lived within the Sadatian parameters at least for reasons of prudence ever since.

But there has never been a Sadat among the Palestinians. And the idea that one can strike a real peace deal with Arafat, in the absence of a Sadat-like acceptance of the Jewish state, is indeed delusional. Until there is a genuine Arab, a genuine Palestinian acceptance of a Jewish state within whatever borders, there will be no end to history, there will only be more and more history.

Bismarck once said of the Balkans that they produce more history than they can consume, and that will be the fate of the Middle East for the foreseeable future.

Let me conclude by dealing with one objection to my characterization of the secular messianism of the Israeli, and I might say American, left. One might ask, “Was not the original Zionist dream itself messianic?” After all, a hundred years ago Zionism itself appeared to be a crazy dream. The idea of the ingathering of the exiles, the reestablishment of the Hebrew language, of Hebrew culture, the settling of the land, the achievement of political independence, appeared all to be, well, messianic.

I would argue precisely the opposite. Zionism is the antithesis of messianism. Zionism argued against waiting in the Diaspora with prayer and fervency for some deus ex machina to come and to rescue the Jews. Zionism rejected the idea of waiting for an outside agent, for a Shabbetai Zvi and a Bar Kochba. Zionism is supremely an ideology of self-reliance, of self-realization. It refuses to depend on others, it postulates no sudden change in the psychology of enemies, it postulates no change in human nature, it postulates no discontinuity in history.

Zionism accepted the world precisely as it was and decided that precisely because the world was as it was, the Jews had no future in the Diaspora and would have to build their future in Zion. Most of all, they understood that the building of Zion would depend on Jewish action, Jewish initiative, Jewish courage. They had to go out and to build a state themselves, and they did.

Oslo, on the other hand, a supreme expression of post-Zionist messianism, was entirely contrary to that spirit. Why? Because of its passivity, its reliance on an almost quasi-religious change of heart among Israel’s enemies. It is an acceptance of Israel by people who daily in their propaganda, in their sermons, in their pedagogies, anatomize the very idea of the Jewish state. It expected a renunciation of terrorism by people who practice, support, and fund and glorify it, and who had been doing that for 20 years, 30 years. It believed in entrusting the security, the safety, perhaps even the very existence of the Jewish state into the hands of sworn enemies.

We have now learned, to our sadness and horror, that one cannot contract out the safety of the Zionist experiment to others, most especially to Arafat and the PLO. That was the premise of Oslo and it has proven to be catastrophic.

I repeat, in the 1990s America slept, and Israel dreamt.

The only good news is that Israel has awoken from that reverie, the most disastrous messianic seduction since Shabbetai Zvi. Shabbetianism survived nonetheless for centuries; Osloism still has its cultic adherence. But the body of the Jewish people has awoken, let us hope not too late, and once and for all determined never again to succumb to the messianic temptation.

© Bar-Ilan University

(Charles Krauthammer wrote a  weekly political column for The Washington Post, was a Fox News commentator and appeared regularly on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” He died Thursday.) 

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His leadership and television interviews have gone trough out the world. Luden Centeno of Converso Marano Jewish background from Spain resides permanently in Jerusalem. His analysis of Middle Eastern events as they relate to Israel is regularly broadcast through internet radio and television through out the world, especially the USA. Luden has given close to 500 television interviews in Israel Jerusalem and broadcasts live from Jerusalem Israel on the radio. On our last 6 radio programs we have had over 500,00 listeners listening in. Our main goal is to educate the world about Israel and its right to protect herself from any form of terrorism that comes out of Ramallah and the occupied territories that belong to Israel. Israel faces many challenges and dangers since a very long time. There is an unprecedented propaganda campaign initiated by the Arab League to demonize, discredit and delegitimize the Jewish people and their state, within their own land! The efforts of the Arab League were recently seen in the UN Resolution 2334 text as follows, adopted by the UN Security Council at its 7853rd meeting, on 23 December 2016. Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008), guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions. In order to achieve their goals, the Arabs have for more than 30 years resorted to a deliberate misinformation campaign. This propaganda campaign by the Arab League – both in their own countries and for the last three decades exported to Europe and North America has caused Israel what would seem irreparable damage and indeed, it was the main culprit in the reawakening of dormant European anti-Semitism. Israel continues to suffer many attacks from terrorists and should not bow down under the pressure imposed by the USA, the EU. the Quartet, nor the UN. The former Obama administration was working behind the scenes to get UN Resolution 2334 to pass. even while allowing Iran to continue to develop their nuclear facilities by using John Kerry and others to fulfill their hidden agenda. On December 23rd 2016 the US abstained from exercising its veto to UN resolution 2334 which allowed it to pass. Then John Kerry immediately blasted Israel over the presence of Israeli settlements within Israel's own land. The Obama Administration's hidden agenda came to light. The former Obama administration was trying to force Israel to give up more land for false peace as we have seen in the past. Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley were on the negotiating table. For perspective, if the so-called Palestinians obtained Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley, Givat HaRoe’eh in the Samaria community of Eli, Ramat Gilad and Giv’at Assaf (also in Samaria), and Mitzpeh Lachish, near Nehogot outside Hebron. they could easily rain down rockets towards any city within Israel, leaving without defensible borders. We say no to land for false peace as we have seen in the past. By former President Barrack Hussein Obama who had a hidden agenda against Israel who will face many difficult challenges ahead (see Tehillim / See Psalms 83) As we have seen what happened with Gush Katif where almost 9,000 Jews were forced out of their own Jewish land due to US pressure, now Bet El Almuna and Migron and Judea and Samaria face the same threat. More than 17,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel uprooted 9,000 Jewish families. Over 11,000 were fired from Gaza towards the southern Israeli city of Sderot by Islamist extremist whose end-game is the total destruction of my people Israel. Hamas terrorists are supported by Iran and now Hamas has joined hands with Fatah. The Iranian Lebanese proxy Hezbollah who also operate in Syria are committed to the total destruction of Israel and has over 100,00 rockets aimed at Israel .Now Al Qaeda and ISIS who are operating in Syria Egypt and the Sinai Desert they will do anything in their power to destroy my people Israel and all Jews. Judea and Samaria (the heartland of Israel also known as the West Bank) face many challenges in the days to come as Abu Mazen will try to pressure the entire world and former US President Barrack Hussein Obama the UN the EU and the Quartet into giving more land for false peace. We saw what happened after the Oslo Accords were signed, dramatically increasing Islamic terror against Israel. Abu Mazen the fake Palestinian Authority leader approached the United Nations many times and has petitioned to be declared as a recognized nation within Israel's known borders. The time has come to tell the entire world the real truth about the enemies of Israel. We speak on the Quran using a Power Point video presentation. We have been aired on CNN, German TV, Finland TV, CCTV, China Al Jazera, Al Arabiya Turk TV and many radio stations on the current issues of Israel. Luden Centeno has a heart for his people Israel and will continue to inform the entire world the real truth as many News Media outlets throughout the world hold anti-Semitic views and won’t tell you the real truth. Centeno, a former police officer who studied Political Science at Temple University USA was born in the USA and currently lives in Jerusalem Israel, knowing karate and boxing having played semi-pro baseball. He has two children, a girl and a son, both born in Jerusalem. Centeno discovered in 2004 that there were possible Converso Marrano Jews from Spain whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition in 1492. The family names Centeno and Perez are registered in El Libro Verde De Aragon in Spain. The Roman Catholic Inquisitors maintained all the names of all Jewish families who were forced to convert to Catholicism during that horrible time period in Spain. Since 2004 Centeno has been flying intercontinentally to the USA speaking to the nations on the current issues of the the state of Israel (see Psalms 83′ as the nations gather against Israel.) He has spoken on Al Arabiya TV, Dubai TV, Holland TV, German TV and also on American Family Radio which links up with 700 radio stations. His goal is to educate the entire world that Israel has the right to self-determination and the right to defend itself from terrorism. The Moslem Arabs in that area started calling themselves “Palestinians” merely only 40 years ago. “Palestinian” refers to people who live in Palestine: Arabs (“Arabic speaking peoples”), Bedouins, Druze, Christians, and Jews lived in then the British Mandate of Palestine. No people or nation called Palestine ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land. There is no Palestinian language or culture in past history. Palestine, as a country does not presently exist. No Arab nation has their historical roots on the land and no one had laid claim to this territory other than the Jews. The Jewish rule of this land extended over a period of over 2000 years. Israel became a nation in the land in 1312 BC. God gave them the land in a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20) and they lived there. See the following Quote from the Quran, "Death to the enemies of Allah! Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is..." This is what radical Islam says about us Jews’ “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim) Psalms Chapter 83 תְּהִלִּים א שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף. 1 A Song, a Psalm of Asaph. ב אֱלֹהִים אַל-דֳּמִי-לָךְ; אַל-תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל-תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל. 2 O God, keep not Thou silence; hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. ג כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ, יֶהֱמָיוּן; וּמְשַׂנְאֶיךָ, נָשְׂאוּ רֹאשׁ. 3 For, lo, Thine enemies are in an uproar; and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. ד עַל-עַמְּךָ, יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד; וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ, עַל-צְפוּנֶיךָ. 4 They hold crafty converse against Thy people, and take counsel against Thy treasured ones. ה אָמְרוּ–לְכוּ, וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי; וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד. 5 They have said: ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.’ ו כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו; עָלֶיךָ, בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ. 6 For they have consulted together with one consent; against Thee do they make a covenant; God’s word says in Zechariah 8:23 "Thus saith the LORD of Hosts: In Those days it shall come to pass, That ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

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