Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Look Inside the Peace Industry

I don't often link to Jewschool, and when I do, it's usually to highlight a point of contention in the comment section. The following post by Jew Guavara struck me for its sheer humanity. There is a reason why restaurants don't allow patrons in the kitchen. To every delicious sausage there is the sausage-making, which may be far less delectable than one ever appreciated. Spoiled food, rat droppings, meat being dropped on the floor and put back on the grill, appetizers being reused from table to table, enough to make you want to hurl and forswear dining out. It's the same way with activism, and politics, and yes, even the saintly peace industry.
When peacemaking was ‘in’ and respectable parts of Israeli society where invested in it, this included cynical journalists, former army officers and intelligence agents, and various capitalists with ‘new middle east’ stars in their eyes. Not to mention offbeat Orthodox rabbis, ‘peacenik’ settlers, Hamas reformists, and Palestinian Authority returnees in fancy new cars. ICPME was squarely in the center of all this peacemaking.

For the most part, these respectable parts of Israeli society withdrew from supporting peace overly much. Their disengagement was part of a general rightward, pessimistic, ‘realistic’ trend in Israeli politics. But they are waiting in the wings - ready to resume their previous role as professional intermediaries between the Israeli and Palestinian societies. Waiting to fundraise for ‘People to People’ projects. Joint youth camps. International delegations to Scandinavian conferences. Learning missions to Cyprus and the Balkans. ‘Competitive Advantage’ seminars for future binational business initiatives. Water saving cross border initiatives. And all the rest.

All these programs will cost money, and the money will flow to those who best understand the ins and outs of embassy schmoozing and sweet talking foundation executives. Lovable rogues like OB will resurface, showing up in Washington DC to shake hands with whoever seems important - Jeremy Ben Ami and his board of directors might be useful someday. Maybe they can help steer some future USAID ‘peacebuilding’ grant towards whatever organization he ends up running.

It kind of makes me sick.
I left out the parts about philandering, and the women who love to be womanized. There's always that, always.

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