December 31, 2013 | Cited by Asaf Romirowsky, The Jerusalem Post
Funding a Failing Enterprise
‘If you build it, they will come,” was the line that made Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams famous, as his Ray Kinsella was called upon to build a baseball field that would allow Shoeless Joe Jackson and the seven other players banned in the 1919 Black Sox scandal to play again.
The phrase should be modified in this key way: “If you build it to that end, actual work needs to be put into any enterprise to make it alive and sustainable” – especially if we are talking about state-building.
In the Palestinian case study, Palestinians have attempted to circumvent the building phase in favor of “instant statehood,” that is to argue that because we think we should have a state, we will.
Enter Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who specializes in Palestinian politics. In his latest book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, he methodically details the corruption, lack of leadership and countless excuses by the Palestinians to avoid building a viable state, in favor of Jewish rejectionism at large. As the author correctly describes Arafat’s leadership, “While Arafat was revered by his people for almost singlehandedly focusing the world’s attention on the Palestinian cause from the 1960’s until his death, the problem of corruption would, to some extent, define his legacy.”