Pragmatism and Ideology
By Moshe Feiglin
Translated from Makor Rishon
During the week that the EU announced its planned sanctions against Israel, one of the dedicated Land of Israel lobbyists requested that I add my signature to a petition of MKs to the Prime Minister to request the renewal of construction in Jerusalem. 32 highly respectable signatures of loyal MKs from the center and right of Israeli politics already adorned the petition. But after a cursory glance at the petition, I clearly could not sign:
Wednesday, 10 Menachem Av/17.7.2013
To MK Binyamin Netanyahu
Re: Renewal of Construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – Now
We turn to you regarding the above issue as follows:
1. In these days, we are witness to another attempt by the European Union to terrorize the State of Israel and to damage its vital interests. This attempt may thwart any chance for a political breakthrough and foil the efforts of Secretary of State Kerry to renew the diplomatic negotiations.
2. On the backdrop of this attempt and its results, there is no place to wait any longer and it is imperative to immediately renew construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
3. We request that you give the appropriate instructions for renewal of construction.
“I can’t sign,” I gently said to the lobbyist. “I have a problem with the wording.”
“What’s the problem?”
“This document implies that we must renew construction in Jerusalem so that Kerry can succeed in the diplomatic process. But I think that we must build in Jerusalem for entirely different reasons and I am absolutely opposed to the diplomatic process.”
The lobbyist tried to convince me that this is pragmatic politics: This is the argument around which we can now achieve a consensus. “I also don’t like it,” he explained, “but that’s politics.”
The respectable number of MKs signed on the letter proved, on the surface, that he was right. One week later, John Kerry succeeded in renewing negotiations between Israel and the “Palestinians.” Thirty two MKs, the most loyal to the Land of Israel – from the Likud, the Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu and even Shas, are now signed on a document that implies that there is no reason any more to renew construction in Jerusalem. Our common goal – renewal of “peace” talks – has already been achieved.
Would a leftist MK ever dream of signing his name to this type of convoluted document that fundamentally contradicts his entire worldview in the name of political pragmatism?
Which politics ultimately determine Israel’s agenda? The ‘pragmatic’ politics of the Right or the ideology of the Left?
It is time for the Right to connect its politics to its ideology.