Boston Professor Critiques Israel From His Ivory Tower

Andrew Bacevich

Today is Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s memorial day for its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. It is a graphic reminder of the terrible human cost that Israel has suffered in the absence of peace.

Writing in the Boston Globe, however, Professor Andrew Bacevich relates to Israel’s situation vis-a-vis the Palestinians through a cold academic lens that sees Israeli yearning for peace as disingenuous:

Stripped to its essence, therefore, peace, as Israelis understand the term, is an agreement between supplicant and benefactor. It’s the condition that ensues when the weaker party meets the stronger party’s requirements. Peace implies submission. Given its superior power, why should Israel settle for less? …

Viewed from this perspective, when Palestinians refuse to acquiesce in Israeli demands — protesting the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories or balking at a requirement to acknowledge Israel’s indelibly Jewish identity — they are willfully rejecting peace. Given that existing circumstances manifestly favor Israel, we may take with a grain of salt Israeli expressions of disappointment that peace should remain so elusive.

Bacevich’s analysis that turns peace talks into an Israeli attempt to subjugate the Palestinians absolves the Palestinians of any need to make concessions or responsibility for the conflict.

When Bacevich advocates “leveling the playing field” to strip Israel of its strategic advantages, he ignores the reasons why those advantages are necessary in the first place to protect Israelis from enemies such as Hamas still advocating genocide while even the supposed “moderates” of the PA have not expressed a willingness to bring the conflict to an end.

Ultimately though, Bacevich betrays his real sympathies and bias in this description of Israel:

Even before founding their state, Zionists were intent on acquiring a surplus of power. By means both fair and foul, Israel succeeded in doing just that. Today it has a regionally dominant conventional army; nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them; and the world’s leading superpower in its pocket.

And it is Bacevich’s use of the trope of ‘Zionist control’ over the U.S. that tells us what his real issues are with Israeli power and why he’d like to see it cut down to size.

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Photo: Flickr – Naval War College