Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ari Shavit: Israeli-Palestinian peace is dead, long live peace

Ari Shavit writes:
The tale of the Israeli left is a sad one. In the summer of 1967, the Zionist left was correct. On the seventh day of the Six-Day War, it already understood that the occupation would corrupt us and the settlements were pointless. It fought bravely against the rejectionism of Prime Minister Golda Meir and the messianism of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, as well as the general hawkishness of Likud. But the left’s great mistake was that it conjured a magical faith in the possibility of ending the occupation via the metaphysical promise of peace now. 
 This serious (almost religious) faith in an immediate and comprehensive peace was shaky even at the end of the 20th century, but it has become utterly groundless in the 21st century. But the left refused to recognize this clear and bitter fact.
Its view of the past didn’t really leave room for the rejectionism of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, or for the steadily growing power of Hamas. Its view of the present didn’t really leave room for Islamic fundamentalism, Arab chaos and Palestinian extremism. The rational, moral and Zionist political movement of the 1960s and ‘70s lost its identity and way. It became detached from reality. Read more
Ari Shavit has written another sober piece, questioning the failure of the Israeli left, without turning to the right-wing. After Abbas's speech at the UN, questions must again and again be raised about the possibility of complete peace agreements, with the reluctant leaderships on both sides.

The alternative, for the Israeli side, would be an immediate declaration of withdrawal from civilian occupation beyond the security fence, to enable Palestinian civilian control of their territory, with termination of military occupation only when partial or full peace agreements are signed.

This would include the relocation (of a few kilometers) of 20% of the settlers (who live in 80% of the settlements, though these are significantly smaller than those in the blocs of settlements along the green line, which will remain Israeli in exchange for land swaps when negotiated agreements are signed).

The Hero and His Shadow 
($11:99 on Kindle)
A Necessay Companioin to Ari Shavit's My Promised Land

A review by Elizabeth Clark-Stern

Psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote in The Red Book of the distinction between “The Spirit of the Times” and “The Spirit of the Depths”. We see this vividly demonstrated when we put Ari Shavit’s acclaimed new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel alongside Erel Shalit’s classic work, The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel. The former takes us through the history of the heroic creation of Israel, including the darkest “shadow” behaviors of the Jewish state in the 1948 massacre of the Arabs of Lydda.

In the latter work, Erel Shalit tells us why.

This is no simplistic psychological analysis. The brilliance of this Israeli Jungian analyst is that he offers no easy solutions, plumbing the paradox of the necessary heroic identity of the Jewish state, and yet, around every corner is the shadow of every hero: the beggar, the frightened one, the part of all of us that is dependent on forces outside of our control.

It is also very important to note that Erel Shalit’s book is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the inner workings of the soul. On one level Israel is the backdrop for the author to explore how shadow, myth, and projection work in all of us, regardless of our life circumstance, nationality, environment, or history. It even includes a comprehensive glossary of Jungian terms that has some of the best definitions I have ever encountered, and hence a find for readers new to Jung.

And, of course, for people who are fascinated by the scope and depth of the story of Israel, this is a simply great read. It stands alone, but read as a companion to Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, Erel Shalit’s Hero and His Shadow gives us The Spirit of the Depths in all its dimension. We may not be able to resolve the Arab/Israeli conflict, but we can learn many things from this brave, complex Israeli author, that we can apply to healing the inner and outer wars in our own lives.

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