FULL DISCLOSURE : this blogger works in concert with Dr. Martin Sherman and his strategic policy center – www.strategic-israel.org/ Meaning, ( among other matters ) as such, am absolutely in sync with his policy prescriptions.
It goes without saying, we are of like-mind. And very few things are more outrageous to this writer, than placing ones integrity behind any organization which is not only a waste of time, but of less than vital national import. Serious times mandate serious solutions.
That being said, it is important for the readers to understand that Dr. Martin Sherman is not just a run-of-the-mill blowhard academic. FAR from it. He is the “master’s master” in political science and security policy. In other words, his expertise lies not only in his superb academic background, but, most importantly for the readership, in his “operational” resume.
Bear in mind the following to understand that the good Professor is not blowing smoke. As is said, he knows his stuff.
“About Martin Sherman”… “From my past acquaintance with him, I can testify that he has never sought conformity or consensus. There can, however … be little doubt that his ideas are challenging, provocative and carefully argued. Indeed, the very controversy they may stimulate is perhaps among their greatest merits. For they raise questions of substance as to the conceptual validity … of several major tenets of international relations policy assessment and deterrence”- Shabtai Shavit, former Head of Israel’s Mossad.
Now, why in the world would a former Head of Israel’s Mossad ( the CIA’s Israeli counterpart ) have an ‘acquaintance’ with him?
And this too –
” I have known Dr. Martin Sherman for many years; our acquaintance spans both Israeli campuses and campuses abroad. I have always been impressed by Dr. Sherman’s ability to uncover the truth, to present his arguments with eloquence, and to politely yet thoroughly disprove widely held misconceptions and opinions.”
“To be a proponent of Zionist principles and to speak out for Israeli security in today’s academic climate is no small feat; to remain steadfast in these positions requires both academic and personal integrity of an order rarely seen.”
“For this reason, I believe that the creation of a new institute for strategic studies in one of Israel’s major universities is of vital importance. As a past Commander of the IDF’s Institute for National Security, I believe that there is an acute need for a civilian institute whose purview is the objective and realistic analysis of Israel’s strategic environment.”
“Dr. Martin Sherman is an ideal candidate to bring this mandate to fruition.”
“Gen. (Ret.) Yaakov Amidror”
Moving right along….
” I have known Dr. Martin Sherman for more than 10 years.”
“I have been greatly impressed from his analytical capabilities as well as his precise and forceful manner in which he expresses his views.”
“Despite all costs to himself – personally and professionally – he has never let political correctness’s considerations to influence his research or corrupt his conclusion.”
“I believe that Dr. Sherman’s endeavor to address the disturbing and damaging phenomenon of anti-Israel bias inside the nation’s academe is of paramount importance.”
“I strongly endorse his effort to establish an independent policy center inside the existing academic establishment to contend with and counteract this damaging phenomenon and encourage support for his initiative.”
Vice Prime Minister
“Minister of Strategic Affairs”
” The recent revelations in the national press regarding the strong post-Zionist bias and widespread exclusion of pro-Zionist views from the faculties of social science and humanities in the Israeli academe underscore the importance and urgency of Dr. Martin Sherman’s initiative to establish a policy center within the existing academic establishment to redress this grave shortcoming in Israel’s intellectual landscape.”
“I have known Dr. Sherman for over twenty years during which I have developed great respect and appreciation for the principled manner in which he has conducted himself on issues of Israel’s strategic interests – despite pressures from his professional milieu.”
“He has never compromised on his meticulously researched positions – which he has always presented both eloquently and persuasively – for the lure of greater personal gain or professional advancement.”
“In his analyses of ongoing events and his predictions of future outcomes, he has proved consistently more accurate than virtually all of the mainstream opinion in the Israeli academic establishment.”
“In view of the above, I strongly endorse Dr. Sherman’s endeavor, which will without doubt answer a dire need, and fill a critical gap in Israel’s system of higher education today.”
“I wish him every success in enlisting the necessary resources required to implement his goal, and hope that all those mindful of Israel’s future security will extend him their support.
“Dr. Uzi Landau – Minister of National Infrastructures”
Plus, several other notables, among them a Nobel Prize Laureate – Professor Robert Aumann, 2005 Economics.
In this regard, Dr. Sherman’s strategic policies are also featured in his weekly column at the Jerusalem Post. It is called ‘Into The Fray’. For the uninitiated, the Jerusalem Post’s Board ( hand-picked through their moneyed associates, but desperate to fit into the PC milieu) is mostly squishy center, tilting to the left. However, mindful of the positions of the national right, which entails a good majority of Israel’s Jewish public, they throw several bones to their audience. This is achieved chiefly through three brilliant columnists; one of whom is also part of its Editorial Board, namely Caroline Glick.
Dr. Sherman, Caroline Glick and Sarah Honig are their drawing cards/star power. Nevertheless, it came as a shock to his loyal readers when he announced that his column would be discontinued. But, as is said, “money talks”.
The readership were incensed, and many threatened to cancel their print & Premium online subscriptions. Others said they would no longer tune into the website. Lo and behold, they decided to continue his column.
Now, it is no mystery what went down, but at the end of the process the readership kicked butt.
The questions become: Why did the Board get its shorts into knots to begin with; and why at this juncture? Could it be, that the strategic polices offered below ( by none other than “the master” in his discipline ) scared them witless, but knowing full well that he has the ultimate prescriptions?
You be the judge.
In addition, for the purposes of this commentary, Part 2 is delineated in full and Part 1 is linked. Being that Part 2 offers the meat, it is only proper that it appears in plain sight. However, Part 1 is necessary reading to thoroughly follow the strategic issues at hand.
Moreover, it is worthwhile to glance at some of the posters comments too. It gives a gleaning into the mood/situation ( aka ‘matzav’ ) within Jewish circles, as well as others who care about Israel’s survival.
Into the Fray: What’s wrong with the Right – Part II
The Right must realize that between the river and the sea, either exclusive Jewish or exclusive Arab sovereignty will eventually prevail.
PHOTO: BEN HARTMAN
The result has been a devastating defeat for the political credo of the Israeli Right.
This has been most dramatically reflected by the erosion of the core-ideals of the ruling Likud Party – the party of government for most of the three-and-a-half decades since it first came to power in 1977 on a platform of Greater Israel and the resolute rejection of territorial withdrawal in general and the TSS in particular.
Despite its longstanding and vocal opposition to the TSS, it has never articulated a clear idea of how it envisions the permanent-status arrangement. As a result, the Likud found itself unable to respond effectively to the pointed and very pertinent question from its TSS-adherent adversaries: “So what’s your alternative?”
With no comprehensive countervailing paradigmatic position to promote or defend, it found itself gradually forced to give way under the weight of this onerous question, and to increasingly adopt elements of the TSS-paradigm which it had not only previously opposed, but was proved totally vindicated in doing so.
It is impossible to understate the damage this corrosive process has caused.
The situation that confronts us today defies belief: The Likud is urging (some might say, beseeching) the Palestinians to enter into negotiations over an arrangement (the TSS) which it, itself, vehemently rejected several years ago as unacceptably dangerous. Incredibly, this is occurring despite the fact that all the dangers warned of did in fact materialize!
It is difficult to imagine a greater – and more uncalled for – intellectual capitulation and a more devastating and unmerited ideological defeat.
Imperative to recognize imperatives
To survive as the permanent nation-state of the Jewish people Israel must address two fundamental imperatives:
• The geographic imperative
• The demographic imperative
It is self-evident that if either of these is inadequately addressed, Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people will be gravely jeopardized, eventually becoming unsustainable.
The mainstream discourse invariably – and deceptively – presents Israel’s only choice as being between accepting the TSS – which would make Israel untenable geographically, or the OSS (one-state solution) – which would make it untenable demographically.
Neither comprises an acceptable policy-paradigm for anyone whose point of departure is the continued existence of Israel as the permanent nation-state of the Jews.
This, as we will see, compels us to the inexorable conclusion that between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there can – and eventually will – prevail either exclusive Jewish or exclusive Arab sovereignty.
Untenable geographic reality
Why the TSS entails an unacceptable geographic reality, except under wildly unrealistic – hence irresponsible – “best-case scenario” assumptions has been spelled out in considerable detail on numerous occasions by numerous authoritative experts.
Indeed, for any moderately well-informed person with a modicum of common sense and intellectual integrity, it is a conclusion that is manifestly unavoidable.
I will therefore refrain from repeating these details, which I have set out in several previous columns, and suffice with the following observation: In the absence of any compelling contrary evidence, Israel’s working assumption must be that there is no reason to believe that a TSS-compliant evacuation of the West Bank (or large tracts thereof) by the IDF will produce results essentially dissimilar to those precipitated by similar withdrawals elsewhere.
Accordingly, there is no reason to expect that TSS-implementation will not culminate in Israel’s urban metropolis – from Haifa to Ashdod, where up to 80 percent of its civilian population resides, a similar proportion of its economic activities is conducted, and much of its vital infrastructure is located – being subjected to realities similar to those to which Sderot and its environs are subjected.
Clearly, such realities (or even the tangible threat thereof) would – at negligible cost to Israel’s adversaries – make any socioeconomic routine impossible to maintain.
Such a situation would be extremely difficult to redress, other than by the coercive dismantling of a sovereign state, something virtually unthinkable in today’s international milieu.
Untenable demographic reality
The OSS, on the other hand, along with other hybrid/interim proposals that envisage a large Arab population being included, as enfranchised citizens, within Israel’s sovereign territory, would create an unacceptable demographic reality for anyone wishing to preserve it as the permanent nation-state of the Jews.
True, recent “counter-establishment” demographic studies, headed by people such as the indefatigable Yoram Ettinger, have provided persuasive, well-researched evidence that the demographic threat is far less acute – or at least, less urgent – than usually portrayed, both in terms of its present scale and its future trends.
However, even if these estimates are correct (as they appear to be), this does not imply that there is no longer a grave demographic problem, but only that we have more time to deal with it in a more measured, less pressured manner.
For any proposal involving the permanent inclusion of a large, enfranchised socio-culturally discordant population within the frontiers of Israel will precipitate a unbearable societal burden, “balkanizing” the country, making it impossible to govern.
No matter how ingenious the schemes devised to dilute the political power of the additional Arab population might be, this would not alleviate the gravity of the threat, even if they could overcome the daunting array of judicial and legislative challenges they would inevitably encounter. For the problem is not merely a numerical one of how to produce – or prevent – parliamentary majorities, but one of the relative weights of inherently adversarial socio-cultural sectors that would make up the weave of Israel’s societal fabric.
Brutally simple dilemma
While addressing the geographic imperative requires Israel to maintain control of all Judea and Samaria (or at least of sufficiently large segments to make the TSS unviable), addressing the demographic imperative means that the Arab population of these areas cannot be permanently incorporated into the population of Israel.
To adopt a policy based on any contrary – and highly implausible – assumptions would be an unconscionable gamble of historic proportions, gravely imperiling the Jewish state.
We are left to confront a brutally simple choice: Either forgo the Jewish nation-state or address the need to significantly diminish the scale of the Palestinian-Arab population.
Whether one relates to this stark dilemma with a sense of moral outrage or equanimity will not affect the inexorable logic that led to its deduction, or the necessity to acknowledge its inevitability. Trying to evade the bleak nature of this inescapable choice by reformulating it in less forbidding terms would be no more than an exercise in hypocrisy or self-delusion.
Half-baked, poorly thought-through alternatives that would leave Israel with impossibly torturous and lengthy borders, and disconnected or quasi-connected enclaves, accessible only by narrow, indefensible corridors would – even if they could be implemented – solve few problems and acerbate many.
So, for those who find the prospect of forgoing the Jewish nation-state unacceptable, the grim decision is whether to address the problem of diminishing the Palestinian-Arab population by coercive or by non-coercive means.
Discounting the coercive
Coercive displacement of populations is hardly a rare phenomenon in today’s world and – depending on the classification and the source – its luckless victims number up to 30 million. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the Palestinians have publicly proclaimed that, had the fortunes of war been reversed and the Arabs been victorious, they would have had no compunction in expelling any surviving Jews from “Palestine.” Even today it would be hopelessly naïve to assume that given the opportunity they would not embrace such measures.
Yet despite all this – and in the absence of large-scale military conflict – moral, political and practical considerations preclude physical coercion as an instrument of Israeli policy to achieve demographic goals.
That leaves non-coercive measures, such as generous economic inducements, to address Israel’s demographic imperative.
It would be a grave error to dismiss this rigorously derived conclusion as an unrealistic rant or an unachievable, extremist goal.
It is not rooted in any messianic dogma of divine dictates (I would probably be deemed a scandalously sinful secularist by many); or in some fanatical fascist fundamentalism (I often find myself closer to the Center-Left than to the radical Right on a host of socioeconomic issues); or in a ethnocentric desire for tribal purity (I, too, appreciate the merits of social diversity and am susceptible to the lure of multiculturalism, although I do balk at the moral relativism that often springs from it).
Indeed, it is a conclusion that reflects sentiments articulated by some of the most prominent human rights activists in modern history (as the example in the opening excerpt illustrates).
Questions to be addressed
But the conceptual validity of an analytical conclusion – however compelling –does not ensure its practical applicability.
To assess the chances of its implementation, numerous operational questions need to be addressed:
• How are these proposed non-coercive inducements to be structured? What would be their scope, scale and sources?
• What is its feasibility given the prevailing opinions in both the Israeli and Palestinian publics?
• What diplomatic objectives need to be achieved internationally to prepare for its implementation?
• How does Israeli diplomacy – both official and public (particularly the latter) – need to be restructured to meet these challenges?
• How do pro-Zionist civil society elites – in Israel and abroad – need to be mobilized to prime public opinion?
It is to these and other questions of operational practicality that I will devote next week’s column.
Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.net) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
Part 1 is here – http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=281571.
Isn’t it obvious why officials, who actually effectuate Israel’s security policies, rely on his expertise, even if they are thwarted (through pressure politics) from implementing said prescriptions?
And is it ANY wonder that the denizens on the left are TERRIFIED to debate him?
Does “chew up and spit out”…”taking an opponent to the wood shed” resonate?