When key friends start to join with your harshest political critics, you have several choices. You can find new friends (preferably equally well connected or wealthy), call President Obama and ask him how he handles things (some of his progressive backers want to conduct an exorcism to remove the socially conservative beast that has inhabited his post-election body), or abandon your true north and enter a self-reflection zone. (You mean I might actually be wrrrrrrrwrrrrrwrrrrong?)
Any bets on what choice Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu will make?
Continue reading “Netanyahu Loses a Friend (Is This A Good Start?)” »
It is time to set the record set. I cannot pretend to speak on behalf of others, but I am willing to bet that there are like-minded people who share my view that opposition to occupation does not equate to opposition to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
Inspired by a heated debate I had with a friend this week regarding an article I forwarded to him, written by MJ Rosenberg and published in Al Jazeera, I would like to say here and now that the condemnation of the subjugation of 4 million people in the occupied Palestinian territory is in no way shape or form the delegitimization of the State of Israel, nor does it amount to questioning Israel’s right to exist. For the record, Israel has the right to protect its citizens from eight years of rocket attacks which endlessly fire into Israeli towns, stopping the very fabric of socio-economic life, and from terrorist attacks that rip buses and body parts apart and shred families’ lives forever.
The issue is not whether Israel should be here. Rather the concern is that the space for debate about the occupation is narrowing to such an extent that Jews who criticize Israeli government policy are labeled “self-hating Jews”, as if to imply that Jewishness precludes one from having independent streams of thought and opinion. And non-Jews are quickly labeled anti-Semitic, or my personal favourite, pro-Palestinian. What does that even mean? Does that mean to suggest that in the battle for existence between Palestinians and Israelis that I prefer the former to the latter? Pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, these are purely fashionable terms that have the rather unfortunate and predictable consequence of oversimplifying a ridiculously complex situation.
Continue reading “Narrowing the space for debate” »
Most of us now have the same basic end goal for the Israelis and Palestinians — a two state solution based on 1967 borders with appropriate land swaps.
That border mantra is really the easy part. The real fun begins when it gets to negotiating the period of time for settler “unsettlement,” refugee compensation, what minimum
number of refugees get to go back to Israel, water rights, security, the control of neighborhoods and holy sites in East and West Jerusalem, and then putting all of this to a vote.
That’s why the proposed U.N. vote on a resolution granting Palestinian statehood ultimately lacks strategic purpose. The resolution doesn’t resolve or help to push to resolve longstanding issues that will only get resolved (and legitimized) through negotiations led and endorsed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, that will then be followed by a clear expression of support from the Arab League and America and a vote by the Israeli and Palestinian people.
Continue reading “The Proposed U.N Vote On Palestine Lacks Strategic Focus and Demonstrates Failed Leadership” »
As the launch of the Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human approaches, increasing numbers of Zionist officials and commentators illuminate the depths of their moral and intellectual bankruptcy by arguing that it is a political – not humanitarian – project.
Ran Curiel, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, offers an example as good as any other. On May 10, he actually went to the trouble of calling a press conference in Strasbourg to offer this conclusion. “In our view, the flotilla is clearly a political provocation … since there’s no need for a flotilla to aid Gaza,” he said. “You can pass whatever you want to Gaza through normal channels.”
Curiel’s reasoning leaves much to be desired. Nobody seems entirely clear on what can enter Gaza through his “normal channels,” namely the Erez Crossing, and a large majority of its necessities continue to arrive at a high premium via tunnels from Egypt. And humanitarian opposition to the siege has always had more to do with its crippling effect on Gaza’s economy than its obstruction of aid. Due to the impossibility of legally importing most goods, or exporting nearly anything, unemployment now reaches 45%, and 300,000 people survive on a dollar a day.
Nevertheless, his conclusion is sound, if self-evident. The Freedom Flotilla is indeed “a political provocation.” Why shouldn’t it be? And when has it pretended to be anything else?
Continue reading “Of course the Flotilla is a political provocation” »
What if a U.N. resolution recognizes a new Palestinian state, but doesn’t require that Palestine must also recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order for the resolution to take effect?
Dayenu? (Loose Hebrew translation: It would be enough…)
What if a U.N. resolution recognizes a new Palestinian state, requires that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order for the resolution to take effect, but doesn’t address Israeli security concerns?
What if a U.N. resolution recognizes a new Palestinian state, requires that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order for the resolution to take effect, addresses Israeli security concerns, but doesn’t address Palestinian (and Jewish) refugee issues?
Continue reading “Why A U.N. Vote on Palestinian Statehood is a Ridiculous Waste of Time” »