In any case, the polls in Israel all show that even the pro-Oslo supporters do not believe for an instant that the Palestinians would abide by any such deal. The extent of the cognitive dissonance that characterizes Israelis at the beginning of the twenty-first century is best exhibited by the fact that the vast majority of those who support continuation of the ''peace process'' also say they believe that Arafat will follow any agreement with more terror and more attacks on Israel and that the Palestinian Authority will violate any future deal it signs.
Future historians will find it a daunting challenge to explain how Jews, often stereotyped as the smartest humans on the planet and with more Nobel Prize winners than any other group, could have allowed themselves to be snookered into the Oslo accords.
How could seemingly intelligent people place their faith in such absurdities? No ''normal'' people would voluntarily entrust its national security to a group of fascist terrorists and endanger its very existence because of a belief that Internet services and consumerism had made defense and territory superfluous.
In fact, the entire Oslo episode of Jewish history is an indicator not only of the silliness and shallowness of Israeli politicians, but of something far deeper and far more ominous. Very simply stated, Oslo may very well indicate that secular Zionism has failed. This failure of secular Zionism is one and the same with the crisis of ''Israeliness.''
Indeed, Oslo has shown how shallow and empty is the whole enterprise known as Israeliness. In its bid to replace traditional Jewish identity and consciousness with civic Israeliness, with Hebrew-speaking consumerism and post-Jewish civil patriotism, secular Zionism has in fact created a bizarre new entity riddled with confusion regarding its own identity, exhibiting virulent self-hatred and self-debasement, willing to blame itself for all of the problems created by Arab aggression and fascism, and all too willing to sacrifice itself on pagan alters of political correctness.
In the nineteenth century, much of the original opposition to Zionism by the religious leaders of Europe was based on their allegation that secular Zionism was thinly-disguised assimilationism dressed up in nationalist symbolism. How ironic it will be if history records that the last decade of the twentieth century and the first of the twenty-first proved them essentially correct.
The Oslo era was accompanied by a massive assault on Israel's pride and confidence by its own leaders. Israeli intellectuals lectured the country about its original sinfulness. Israel was flooded with ''New Historians'' and ''Post-Zionists'' who zealously set about the task of rewriting history texts and school curricula to promote the Arab ''narrative'' — i.e. the Arab version of history.
Israeli politicians, ever attentive to the zeit-geist of trendy secularism, announced themselves ready to strip the country of all of its Jewish national emblems, from the star on the flag to the words of the national anthem. And, after 1,300 years of discrimination against Jews by Arabs, Israeli politicians were implementing ''reverse discrimination'' programs, under which Arabs received preferences and Jews suffered quotas.
One after the other, Israeli politicians mouthed the post-modernist gibberish of the anti-Israel choruses from overseas — how Israelis need to stop ruling over another people, how they have to learn to understand the “other,” how they must bring themselves to commemorate the ''tragedies'' the Jews had imposed upon the Arabs and make restitution.
While assimilationism in the Diaspora has often been described as “self-hatred,” the term is misleading. Diaspora assimilationists are simply indifferent to their Jewishness and want nothing to do with Judaism. They generally do not actively wish Jews harm.
The Oslo era in Israel, however, saw the emergence, perhaps for the first time in history, of virulent and literal anti-Jewish bigotry among the intellectual, media and political elites of Israel. Israeli universities became petri dishes for Jewish anti-Zionists and anti-Semites, ''Post-Jewish'' leftist extremists, and people openly advocating the elimination of their own country and its merger into some sort of Palestinian state.
The Israeli public school system was conscripted to proliferate Arab ideology. Israeli politicians and leftist professors seriously proposed that Israel create a National ''Naqba'' Day in which it atone for the very fact of its creation and the ''catastrophe'' that this creation caused to Israeli Arabs.
The Israeli media, operating under the nearly complete hegemony of the Left, bludgeoned the country on a daily basis, promoting Arab propaganda in editorials, Op-Ed columns and even ostensibly objective news stories.
This self-flagellation produced a situation whereby each and every atrocity committed by Arabs was greeted with calls from the Israeli chattering classes for further concessions and appeasement by Israel. Some, including tenured extremists at the universities, went so far as to justify and celebrate Arab acts of terror as necessary to force Israelis to come to their senses and make peace.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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