Following the example of its counterparts in the West, for decades the Israeli Left has carefully cultivated its image as the fun side of the political divide.
In a thousand different ways, the public was told that the Left is on the side of tomorrow. It is the home of optimism. If you want a cheery future, if you want to party all night long and never get a hangover, the image-makers told us the Left is the place to be.
From the Left's perspective, the peace process between Israel and the PLO was the fulfillment of its promise. It was also its key to a permanent cultural monopoly and control of government.
Israelis who objected to handing control over the country's heartland and capital city to the PLO were nothing more than gloom and doom preaching, messianic extremists. The Right was angry. The Left was happy. The Right was the party of war. The Left was the party of peace. The Right was suspicious and tribal. The Left was optimistic and international.
The first blows to the Left's otherwise perfect narrative were cast just seven months after the moment of its greatest triumph. Just seven months after the epic handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, the first Palestinian suicide bomber made his appearance. On April 6, 1994, the bomber murdered eight Israelis on a bus in Afula.
By the time the peace process was a year old, the image of the suicide bomber had begun to eclipse the image of the balloon-festooned peace the Left sought to embody.
It was at this time that the Left could have been expected to reconsider its commitment to the peace process. But that is not what happened. The Left maintained absolute allegiance to the phony peace process. It simply ditched hope.
Quietly but relentlessly, the Left replaced hope for a better future with fear of a terrible future. Specifically, Leftist leaders like Haim Ramon began threatening their countrymen with national demographic destruction.
Ramon seized upon falsified Palestinian demographic forecasts. He and his comrades used the data - which inflated the number of Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip by 50 percent - to threaten their countrymen with encroaching demographic doom.
True, transferring land to the PLO had turned out to be a very bad idea. True life had been better and safer before the fake peace process.
But, the Left warned, if we didn't retreat to the 1949 armistice lines anyway, Jews would become a minority in our country within 15 years.
It took much longer for the demographic time bomb to be exposed as a dud than for the peace fantasy to explode. Indeed, Ramon's Kadima Party still bases its surrender platform on the phony PLO population data.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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