What the Israeli settlers have accomplished

Jeff Goldberg writes:

The settlement movement, its supporters, and its apologists (in Israel and in America) have successfully conflated support for their movement with support for Israel and for Zionism itself. They have created a reality in which criticism of the settlement movement has come to equal criticism of Israel. You see this at the AIPAC convention, where no speaker dared suggest that the settlements are, in fact, the vanguard of Israel’s dissolution, rather than the vanguard of Zionism. (I explain why the settlements could lead to the end of Israel here.)

If you read his whole post, you’ll notice that Goldberg writes that “the settlements should be fought as if there was no such thing as anti-Zionism, and anti-Zionism should be fought as if there were no such thing as the settlements.” For the sake of context, this is a riff on prominent Zionist (and eventual first prime minister of Israel) David Ben Gurion’s famous dictum during World War II regarding the White Paper of 1939 which called for the creation of a shared Jewish and Arab state in the British mandate of Palestine. Ben Gurion said that “we must assist the British in the war as if there were no White Paper and we must resist the White Paper as if there were no war.”

Source for Ben Gurion quote: Goldschmidt and Davidson, A Concise History of the Middle East, 9th edition, p. 286.


One comment

  1. I can understand Goldberg’s concern over entanglement but he is late and his arrogant rhetoric is off-putting. He also seems to assume the conclusion, like so many others, that Israel has no valid claim to the West Bank, and from that point of view, it is no wonder he despises the settlers and their use of Zionism.

    I think Israel has actually pursued entanglement in some ways since it’s a possible road to peace. However, it can be counterproductive when that tangle includes continued evil propaganda and violence. But what would Goldberg do now to disentangle? Would he really stop Palestinians from working in Israel, including Israeli settlements? How would he disentangle from those in East Jerusalem who rejected Israeli citizenship?

    Palestinians may finally be at the stage of at least pretending they don’t want to destroy Israel. Peaceful entanglement seems welcome, but it is overshadowed by a history of violence and poor choices that justifies a separate Jewish state. It’s not a matter of apartheid but protection, and Goldberg’s asserting the apartheid analogy deceptively ignores that essential moral distinction.

    Then the peaceful Palestinians will demand “the vote” in Israel… from the UN? Since when does the UN have that power? Besides, Palestinians generally do have “the vote” — over themselves and their territory and affairs. Israel’s limitations upon their self-determination arise from the Palestinian’s failure to prevent violence against Israel. Permanent residents in the US can’t vote in everything either and we don’t even have Israel’s security issues.

    Do you think Goldberg’s comparison of Israel to Yemen and Libya and Syria is apt or is it warped and disproportionate? What specific independence is Goldberg looking for on the Palestinian’s behalf that wouldn’t be a greater threat to Israel? That would be a useful article for him to write.

    Unsurprisingly, I think Charles Krauthammer gives a useful perspective.

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