Over the years, I have articulated positions that many have characterized as distinctly hawkish. This has led many to categorize me as belonging to the “extreme right.”
Given my long acquaintance with Dr. Sherman and my familiarity with his abilities and resolve, I’m convinced that the implementation of his initiative will do much to redress this grave injustice to, and gross misinterpretation of Israel, to which it is undeservedly subjected in many academic circles.
This classification is misleading. I aspire to many of the values to which those on the moderate left aspire. Indeed on several issues—particularly, but not exclusively, on the socio-economic sphere—my views are arguably closer to those on the moderate left than to those of the radical right.
Given the complexity of the issues on the national agenda, I believe that any attempt to designate people or positions as being either “left” or “right” is both overly simplistic and misleading.
Policy—whether domestic or foreign; whether security or social, whether economic or diplomatic—must contend with prevailing realities as they are and not as we wish them to be. As policy input, political correctness is a poor substitute for factual correctness. Similarly, good intentions are no guarantee of good policy. Indeed, often quite the reverse is true.
Even when the goal of one’s policy is to transform an undesirable reality into a more desirable one, if this policy ignores the fundamental essence of the reality it is designed to transform, failure—often disastrous—is almost certain to result.
Nowhere is this more pertinent than in the Middle East. Here, decades of effort and billions of dollars invested in the vain hope of achieving some peaceable resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, have resulted in a string of precisely such disastrous failures.
For all those who genuinely desire a cessation to the violence and bloodshed, a fundamental reassessment of the validity of the conventional wisdom adopted so far is sorely needed.
About Martin Sherman
“From my past acquaintance with him, I can testify that he has never sought conformity or consensus. There can, however … be little doubt that his ideas are challenging, provocative and carefully argued. Indeed, the very controversy they may stimulate is perhaps among their greatest merits. For they raise questions of substance as to the conceptual validity … of several major tenets of international relations policy assessment and deterrence”
Shabtai Shavit, former Head of Israel’s Mossad