When the current Israeli war in Lebanon began, some leading Israeli doves quickly declared their support for it: Novelist Amos Oz, one of the founders of Peace Now and a tireless advocate of a two-state solution, wrote a bellicose op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times on July 19. “The Israeli peace movement should support Israel’s attempt at self-defense, pure and simple,” Oz declared.
Yossi Beilin went even further. He’s another prominent peace activist, one of the architects of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians and justice minister at the time of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. He was also one of the architects of the 2003 Geneva Accord, a joint Israeli-Palestian nongovernmental two-state solution to the conflict that was comprehensive, detailed and followed closely the principles outlined in the 2000 paramaters laid out by President Clinton. In a July 25 Washington Post article headlined “Israeli ‘Doves’ Say Response Is Legitimate,” Beilin was quoted saying that instead of invading Lebanon, Israel should have attacked Syria for arming Hezbollah.
But recently some Israeli doves have begun to speak out in the Israeli media against the war. Tom Segev is one of Israel’s best historians and writers, and a man of the left. “Israel has adopted the moral values of Hezbollah,” he wrote in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz August 3 after Israel bombed civilians in Qana. “Whatever they are doing to the residents of northern Israel, we can also do to the citizens of Lebanon, and even more. Many Israelis tended to look at the Qana incident primarily as a media disaster and not as something that imposed on them any ethical responsibility.”
Gideon Levy is the former spokesman for Shimon Peres, now a writer for Ha’aretz who often criticizes the moral blindness of Israeli society toward Palestinians. “Israel is sinking into a strident, nationalistic atmosphere and darkness is beginning to cover everything,” he wrote July 30. He denounced “the insensitivity and blindness” of Israelis, the “tones of jingoism, ruthlessness and vengeance” that dominate public discourse. He reminded Israelis that Lebanon “has never fought Israel and has 40 daily newspapers, 42 colleges and universities,” and that it “is being destroyed by our planes and cannon and nobody is taking into account the amount of hatred we are sowing.”