The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003


After receiving email from Frank Cohen I also heard from a guy I worked for at a startup several years ago, who is also a member of the Arab Jewish Dialogue Group. If I get any smarter I will have to nominate myself for a Nobel Prize.

Let me explain what ticked me off about the Declaration. Whenever I see a newspaper editorial about Israelis and Palestinians, I find it irritating. The purpose of a newspaper article is to communicate ideas to the newspaper's readers. And a newspaper editorial about Mideast Peace fails that purpose. No one in the Israeli cabinet, and no one in a "refugee camp" training to strap Semtex on himself, cares what some journalist 7,000 miles away thinks about Israel and Palestine.

Does the person writing the editorial realize that? If not, he or she is a borderline megalomaniac. There is a bit of that in all newspaper editorials. "This is what should happen in Jerusalem. This is what should happen in Iraq. This is what should happen in Washington, D.C."

I do think that editorial writers know that they are not going to change any minds in Tel Aviv or Bethlehem. So what they are writing comes across as condescending, as a way for the author to demonstrate his moral superiority. "I'm in favor of peace." Well, it's easy to moralize in favor of peace when you live in a stable society. It's easy to talk about how one side has to compromise with the other when you don't have to deal with the consequences.

So when I saw the Declaration it annoyed me in the same way that all the newspaper editorials have annoyed me over the years. And it was probably unfair for me to treat the two as equivalent.

The other reason I got annoyed was that I'm just plain exasperated at the flat-out failure of the "peace process." By which I mean not any specific set of accords, but the whole meta-process of "peacemaking" that has been going on for almost thirty years. Most of it is bullshit -- how many times has the Secretary of State said he would not tolerate any more violence? -- and all of it appears to be counterproductive. When I was kid, Palestinians threw rocks.


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