Not so recently, I ran a post criticizing Eric Yoffe for his intention to rally his "troops" to counter any opposition to a forced Israeli-Arab peace deal that would involve giving up parts of Yerushalayim. Pro-peace as he is, Yoffe was bothered by those reactionary forces in America who still, for some unidentifiable reason, seem to think that our enemies in Israel cannot be trusted to keep their part of a peace agreement and that any deal that involves giving up our Holy City is anathema to believing Jews.
Yet today I came across this article in which an entirely different Eric Yoffe seems to appear. Far from the "I'll stop those war-mongering rightists", this time Yoffe speaks the language of his opponents when discussing the need for Israel to re-enter 'Aza and put an end to Hamas' reign of rockets and terror:
Did they understand that since 2001, more than 7,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza at civilian targets in Israel? Did they realize that a “proportionate” response would involve 7,000 Israeli rockets fired at civilians in Gaza? Did they appreciate that the relatively small number of civilian casualties in Israel resulted not from the humanitarian intentions of Hamas but from the crudeness of their weapons, and that those weapons were now improving? Did they know that the traumatized children of Sderot lived in constant fear? On what basis, I asked, did they expect Israel to tolerate these attacks?
And what would their congregants be saying if their churches in Michigan had been subjected to seven years of hostile fire from across the Canadian border? Would church leaders be calling for “restraint” from the American government in these circumstances? And did they really expect that any American president would show such restraint?
Strong words from a man previously thought to be so dedicated to peace that he was prepared to fight for the Israeli government's right to give a city that is its capital and that of the Jewish people it purports to represent. But he didn't stop there:
What followed, of course, was the suggestion that the “occupation” was responsible for the rocket fire. I replied: Excuse me, but Prime Minister Sharon pulled out of every inch of Gaza in 2005, and his successor was elected on a platform calling for unilateral withdrawal from most of the remaining territories. And yet there has not been a single day of quiet following that withdrawal. Indeed, rocket strikes significantly increased after it was completed.
Yes, I assured them, I shared their concern for Palestinian suffering in Gaza. But the simple fact is that if terror and rocket fire were to come to an end in Gaza, the suffering of her people would end as well.
Of course he's completely right. 'Aza is currently unoccupied and a constant source of destruction for Israel. Yehudah and Shomron rightly remain under Israeli control and one does not read of rockets raining down on Petach Tikvah and Hadera. This is not something to be wondered at. Given a free hand, the Arab leadership in 'Aza has engaged in behaviour that is perfectly predictable for an organization that is dedicated to destroying Israel. Only Israel's continued control on the ground elsewhere has prevented the problem from spreading.
But if you pause to think about it, Yoffe is completely inconsistent in his assertions. On one hand, when he called for the American Jewish left to prevent the Jewish right from sabotaging a deal to surrender Yerushalayim, he was saying, in effect: I'm aware Israel has already evacuated territory at a terrible cost. I'm aware that only complete idiots (read: liberals) still don't see that this was a huge mistake. And I want to push forward a deal that will lead to further withdrawals.
Yet now he talks about how admirably Israel has restrained itself until now in the face of endless provocation and how he can't blame the government if it sends the army back into 'Aza to finish Hamas off!
Well which is it? Was the withdrawal from 'Aza such a mistake that a re-occupation, even if temporarym, is necessary? And if so, how can he justify supporting further withdrawals that only a moron (read: liberals) couldn't predict will lead to further violence against Israel?