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Yoffie, Yoffie

 

Yoffie, as Hebrew-speakers know, is slang for "great" or "wonderful".

 

That was my feeling upon reading Eric Yoffie's Haaretz piece, "Why Israel needs the wall".

 

Yoffie rants against Dani Dayan's new plan, published in the New York Times.  In doing so, he requires support from ... Zeev Jabotinsky.  Days of Messiah, another Hebrew expression.

 

He writes against Dayan's vision of tending first to economic needs:-

 

Ze’ev Jabotinsky, in his famous essay “The Iron Wall,” written in 1923, dismisses the view that if Zionists provide “material conveniences” to the Palestinian Arab population, it will agree to be ruled by the Jews...Jabotinsky insists...[Arabs] cannot be bought and sold with economic favors.
 
Jabotinsky’s conclusion is that the Jews must build their own state behind an “iron wall” that their enemies cannot breach, while assuring democratic rights to non-Jews in their state; and they must also accept that on the other side of the wall, the Palestinian Arabs will reject Jewish “bribes” and insist on a “fatherland” of their own.

 

That is a true representation of Jabotinsky's view.  But there are two problems.  And the yoffie ends.

 

First, Jabotinsky returned to the issue in his "Arab Angle - Undramatized".  and as a Rabbi, Yoffie should appreciate this:

 

Under a decent régime a minority can live in reasonable contentment. The world has no right to assume that Jewish statesmanship is unable to create as decent a régime as that created by English, Canadian or Swiss statesmanship. After all, it is from Jewish sources that the world has learned how the “stranger within thy gates “should be treated. 
 
Jabotinsky believed in "civic equality".  That does not demand citizenship.  The political expression of the Arans of the Land of Israell can be attained in other ways that retreating from Judea and Samaria.  Dayan, a faithful Jabotinskyite, is no less committed to this principle of "civic equality" and it is a pain to see Yoffie avoid the issue by refusing to treat Arabs as humans and only seeing them as the 'enemy':
 
Mr. Dayan wants the full integration of Israelis and Palestinians.  But what Israel needs is separation. And separation requires a wall — with Israelis on one side and Palestinians on the other.
 

And the second weakness of Yoffie is that he almost ignores Jabo's inclusion of Transjordan in the geography:

 

Palestine, astride the Jordan, has room enough for the million of Arabs, room for another million of their eventual progeny, for several million Jews, and for peace; for so much peace that there would then be peace also in Europe.

 

Yoffie does mention it, in passing, but minimalistically without informing his readers what Jabotinsky's aspirations were, so:

 

even if the territory included falls short of what Jabotinsky envisioned

 

Jabotinsky's "wall" was not along a ridiculous "Green Line" which will not - and could not - provide any true security. It was off in the desert between Iraq and today's Jordan.  "Two Banks Has the Jordan".  And so Yoffie's hiding behind a false presentation of Jabotinsky, an ideological opponent, a trick that is silly for such an "American Jewish leader", is worthless and empty.

 

he has fallen short.

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