Lara Friedman of Peace Now has hit upon a topic that one would think would be pretty safe: Settler extremism. This joins the list of many anti-Israel articles that the Huffington Post "snuck in" between Christmas and New Years at a time that (as the comments section shows) not many people were reading. However, the way that Ms. Friedman approaches the topic of settler violence and the news that Netanyahu just made a deal with some of them is...well, let's just say it's quite ironic. Let me give you a selection, removing the proper nouns:
"And their action this week ... sent an unmistakable message to the : not only won't you pay a price for terrorism, but you'll be rewarded."
"With his actions, sent a very clear signal to the : your terrorism works. Not only will you not be punished for attacking , but you will be rewarded, and at the expense of the ."
"In the almost three decades since the .... the celebrations of as a hero and martyr have become an annual affair, and the memorial to on the grounds of the , where lived, a permanent fixture. And by no coincidence, in those same three decades, extremism has thrived."
" learned the hard way that appeasing the extremists only encourages more, and more violent, extremism."Obviously, it's directed at the settlers but it could just as easily be a right-wing pundit talking about the Palestinians. And in fact many times people (not always right wingers) have said the same. Peace Now's official position on Hamas is not one of appeasement per se, but it does say that Israel must end the siege, which they must know would strengthen Hamas.
But I guess that's the point I'm trying to make about the article: Terms like "extremists" and "appeasement" are concepts that are dependent on one's point of view, but the principles surrounding them remain the same. And that's what bothers me about Friedman's column: How dare Netanyahu make deals with the settlers, but at the same time he must make deals with the Palestinians? How does that make sense? Appeasing extremists either works or it doesn't. If it does, make deals. If it doesn't, fight the extremists until they give up.
But how can Friedman justify treating the settlers and the Palestinians differently, if Israel is facing a problem of extremists among both populations? Is it because the settlers are also Israelis? Or more likely: is it because the settlers have radically different politics from Ms. Friedman and Peace Now? I often see that tendency on both the right and the left: They don't hate their enemies nearly as much as they hate each other. There's irony for you.