INTO THE FRAY: Lauder’s lame lament

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

Lauder’s lame lament

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According to Ronald Lauder, Israel must be either perilously insecure; or demographically untenable. This is an utterly false dichotomy.

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


“…the Jewish democratic state faces two grave threats that I believe could endanger its very existence…The first threat is the possible demise of the two-state solution…The second, two-prong threat, is Israel’s capitulation to religious extremists and the growing disaffection of the Jewish diaspora. – Ronald S. Lauder, New York Times, March 18, 2018.

Earlier this week the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, published an Op-Ed in the New York Times, entitled Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds.

In it, he made a bewildering claim.

Lauder’s bewildering call for homophobic, misogynistic tyranny

According to Lauder, Israel can only remain a democratic Jewish state if it agrees—with some yet-to-be-identified amenable Palestinian-Arab—to establish what almost inevitably would be—if past precedent, prevailing reality and future projection are any criterion—a homophobic, misogynistic Muslim majority tyranny, on the highlands overlooking Israel’s densely populated coastal plain, dominating its only international airport…

Endorsing a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv

Work on Israel’s anti-tunnel barrier on the Gaza border
Work on Israel’s anti-tunnel barrier on  Gaza border

There is, as mentioned, little reason to believe that if the IDF were to evacuate Judea-Samaria to facilitate the implementation of the two-state formula, the resultant realities would not follow the same path as Gaza. Significantly, the proponents of such evacuation, Lauder included, have not—and cannot—provide any persuasive assurance that it will not. Certainly, such an outcome cannot be discounted as totally implausible—and hence must be factored into Israel’s strategic planning as a possibility with which it may well have to contend.

Gaza vs Judea-Samaria: The daunting difference

Ben Gurion Airport and Greater Tel Aviv as seen from “Palestine”
Ben Gurion Airport and Greater Tel Aviv as seen from “Palestine”

… unlike Gaza, which has no topographical superiority over its surrounding environs, the limestone hills of Judea-Samaria dominate virtually all of Israel’s major airfields (civilian and military); main seaports and naval bases; vital infrastructure installations (power generation and transmission, water, communications and transportation systems); …Under these conditions, demilitarization is virtually irrelevant—as illustrated by the allegedly “demilitarized” Gaza..

By ballot or bullet?

But it is not only demilitarization that is largely irrelevant. So too is the alleged sincerity of any prospective Palestinian “peace partner”. For whatever the deal Lauder envisions being struck, its durability cannot be assured.

The menace of mass marches

Mass marches intended to break through border fence
Mass marches intended to break through border fence

Clearly, if such marches do take place, Israel and its military will be put in an unenviable (to greatly understate matters) predicament—having to choose between mowing down large numbers of (largely unarmed) civilians and being inundated with international censure and possibly sanctions; or allowing frenzied mobs to overrun and ravage Israeli towns, villages and farming communities located close to the border, and to raze their homes, rape their women and butcher their residents…Is Lauder seriously suggesting that Israel evacuate more territory to afford the Palestinian-Arabs greater freedom to conduct such pernicious and potentially lethal rallies?? 

“Capitulation to religious extremists”? Give us a break, Ron!

As for Israel capitulating to religious extremism, Lauder charges: “…the spread of state-enforced religiosity in Israel is turning a modern, liberal nation into a semi-theocratic one”.

On this, allow me, as a decidedly non-observant Jew, to blurt out: Give us a break Ron!

After all, for anyone remotely familiar with the realities of Israeli society—the glut of seafood restaurants offering their fare on Friday nights, the congested highways on Saturdays, the throngs of shoppers flocking to the crowded department stores and coffee shops open on the Sabbath, the skimpy bikinis on crowded beaches over the weekend, the carnal content freely available in the national media—this is clearly complete claptrap.

How the two-state dogma empowers religious Orthodoxy

little analysis is required to discover a crucial, but seldom recognized, truth regarding the socio-political realities in Israel. Virtually all the political power of the religious parties is a direct result of the political schism between the secular parties over the issue of two-statism. For it is only because of the intra-secular rivalry over the appropriate territorial dimensions of Israel that give the religious parties their hold over “the balance of power” and allow them to wring disproportionate political gains from their coalition partners—much in the same way as Avigdor Liberman’s stridently secular Yisrael Beitainu faction managed to coerce Netanyahu into giving him the defense portfolio. 

Lauder’s false dichotomy

Lauder presents his reader with a stark choice, claiming: “…13 million people live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea… almost half of them are Palestinian…If current trends continue, Israel will face a stark choice: Grant Palestinians full rights and cease being a Jewish state or rescind their rights and cease being a democracy”. He thus concluded: “To avoid these unacceptable outcomes, the only path forward is the two-state solution.”

[But] there is a way to retain Israeli democracy while avoiding the territorial peril entailed in the two-state formula, and the demographic dangers entailed in enfranchising the enemy.This  is the Humanitarian Paradigm … which entails initiating incentivized emigration of the Arab residents in Judea-Samaria through a comprehensive system of enticing incentives for leaving and daunting disincentives for staying…”

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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