Sunday, May 12, 2002

When I saw banners last week for last night's peacenik demonstration in Tel Aviv, I really didn't think they would get anywhere near the 60,000 estimated by the police.

They seem to be employing constructive ambiguity regarding their message ... their slogan is "to withdraw from the territories. for the sake of Israel" ... the hard core actually wants unilateral withdrawal to the 1967 borders, but others support the various "unilateral separation" schemes, or simply returning to negotiations.

Obviously, these events are monitored closely by the Palestinians. And if they will see any indications that the "full unilateral withdrawal" crowd is gaining momentum, as vindication of their current tactics.

I want to try to ask around to see if I can find someone who went to the demo...

Also interesting was the roster of speakers: Not exactly the "fringe" - but pretty marginal... Yossi Sarid (Meretz party) and Oslo architect Yossi Beilin (Labor) are leftist politicians of the sort who never let reality interfere with their preconceptions or desire for international approval. Dudu Topaz is a TV comedian who I don't know much about.

Speaker Amos Oz is a novelist who was apparently one of the "dove-turned-hawk-of-late" intellectuals. Oz wrote an op-ed for the New York Times blaming Arafat for the failure of Camp David and expressing willingness to fight for Israel's survival. But he's had another change of heart it seems.

Thanks to the readers who emailed with info on Oz and Topaz.

Regarding Oz: I couldn't find the NY Times article that I seem to recall. This article strongly blames Arafat for the failure of Camp David, but still seems to advocate a unilateral-separation-type solution.

Some readers emailed to say that Topaz has for a long time had a leftish stance in his repertoire. [ Was he the one who did a skit on channel one that upset the religious parties around 1996? ]

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