Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vayeshev: What Pacifism Isn't

It might be ironic that another longtime ally of the US, South Korea, has been forced by political consideration involving matters outside of its own security to be "shev ve'al ta'aseh" while under direct attack from a historical sworn existential enemy. I guess it isn't just Israel.

One also sees, on occasion, bumper stickers [usually courtesy of Code Pink, but the sentiment probabaly predates them] procaliming that "War Is Terrorism". The unspoken corollary should be "Pacifism is Murder".

The classic Rashi in the parsha states: Yaakov sought to settle {"leshev"] in peace/trsanquility ["shalva"]...and the episode of Joseph was foisted upon him. SImple enough...and while there was no real battle necessarily to be fought here, one can discern what might be the preeminent false concept associated with peace and tranquility: that it ipso facto requires ceratin parties to be shev, to settle and do nothing. Certainly the Middle East peace camps and peace processors seem to have bought into this fallacy.

One personage who didn't buy into this fallacy was Yitzchak Rabin; despite, with great misgivings, having decided to embark on the Oslo process, he realized two things that have eluded other [if not all] peace processors: one, you make peace with your emenies not your friends, meaning that said enemies don;t suddenly become your friends; and, two, peacemaking is, counterintuitively, a messy business [as evidenced by his comment in the immediate aftermath of Oslo that "Arab governments do not operate on Western democratic principles". He knew who he was working with, and wasn;t suffering from the illusion that a "new Middle East" was about to be created.]

Certainly we don't need to be reminded of the fallacies of doctrinaire pacifism and peace processors. But everyone else does.