Many times I have spoken of the Talmudic parable of the king, his servant, and the fish. Never was it more apt.
Once there was a king who sent his servant to buy a fish. The servant returned with a fish that stank. In fury the king gave the servant a choice of three punishments: “Eat the fish, get whipped for the fish, or pay for the fish.” In common with most people, the servant chose not to reach into his pocket and he decided to eat the stinking fish but after two bites the stench made him give up and he decided to get whipped for it. The pain of the lashes, however, made him stop that, too, and he cried out, “I will pay for the fish!”
And so the fool ate the fish, got whipped for the fish and, in the end, had to pay for it, anyhow. Those in Israel and without, who refuse to understand that nothing will deter America from demanding that Israel make the maximum concessions, play the same fool. Those who do not understand that there is nothing that Israel can possible do, that there are no compromises it can make, that there is nothing short of full retreat to the 1967 borders that will satisfy the United States-are the same fools as the servant who ate, got whipped and in the end had to pay anyhow,
Their refusal to make the difficult choice of telling the Americans “no”, now, at this moment, will see them making the retreats they hope will avert American anger; it will see this effort fail even as the frontier moves from its present lines within the Arab heartland to new ones close to the Jewish cities; and most important, the Americans will make the same demands they always have envisioned since the days of the Roger Plan-total Israeli withdrawal. And since this is a thing that not even the most dovish of Israelis will agree to, the result will be an ultimate Israeli firm “no”, an ultimate American anger of the kind all men of “new initiative” propose to avert today by compromise, and exactly the same conditions of confrontation that would come anyhow if the Israelis said their “no” today. There would be one great difference, however, a “no” today will bring the crisis while Israel stands poised near the Arab capitols. A “no” tomorrow, after all the hapless and confused compromises and “initiatives,” will bring the same crisis near Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Netanya.
This is what happens when foolish and confused Israelis, by refusing to pay the price of saying “no” to the stinking fish of pressure, attempt to eat it, submit to getting beaten over it and then learn to their dismay that there is no escape from the difficult decision that they should have made in the first place.
Let the Israeli government, its men of “new initiative” and the Jewish leaders in America understand several basic axioms:
1) America is committed to the Roger Plan and the world’s interpretation of Security Council Resolution 242, i.e. Israeli withdrawal from all (but insignificant) parts of the lands of 1967. This includes the Golan Heights, Gaza, the entire West bank and the entire Sinai as well as changing Jerusalem’s present Jewish sovereignty status.
2) American interests lie, in the minds of most officials in Washington, with Arab oil, the huge potential Arab market and with supplanting Soviet influence with American. This means, at best, an “even-handed” policy rather than a pro-Israeli one.
3) America is moving steadily to recognition of the “Palestinians” as a people and of whomever they decide to have as their leaders. Those leaders are clearly the PLO and already the move to “moderate” the PLO, “public-relations-wise” is underway so that Washington can more easily pressure Israel into recognizing them.
4) The Ford-Kissinger administration is determined to prevent stagnation and will pressure Israel into concession after concession.
5) No administration will got to war for Israel and no administration will continue the present aid level no matter what Israel does or concedes. The frantic search for human allies will end as unsuccessfully as those Jews in the past who forgot what faith in the Jewish G-d was and who turned to Egypt or Assyria or other “allies” for help, only to learn to their dismay that the allies betrayed them.
Stinking fish are not made to be eaten or to get whipped for. One must have the courage to look at the truth and pay the bitter price of honesty. America is tired of the Israeli nuisance and wishes it would eat the fish already. The time to loudly proclaim “no” is now.
“KAHANE” MAGAZINE September 1976