Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Final Solution" for Palestinians

Here is an "interesting" op-ed in the New York Times by Jeffrey Goldberg titled "Israel’s ‘American Problem’". In which Goldberg seems to be endorsing Obama for President and at the same time making the case that Israel should abandon its West Bank settlements. Goldberg of course will be condemned by AIPAC for these statements and even labeled a "anti-Semite" or "self-hating Jew" - take your choice.

There are some Jews who would be made anxious by Mr. Obama even if he changed his first name to Baruch and had his bar mitzvah on Masada. But after speaking with him it struck me that, by the standards of rhetorical correctness maintained by such groups as the Conference of Presidents and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, Mr. Obama is actually more pro-Israel than either Ehud Olmert or Ehud Barak. (To say nothing of John McCain and President George W. Bush, who spoke to the Knesset last week about external threats to Israel’s safety but made no mention of the country’s missteps.)

This is an existentially unhealthy state of affairs. I am not wishing that the next president be hostile to Israel, God forbid. But what Israel needs is an American president who not only helps defend it against the existential threat posed by Iran and Islamic fundamentalism, but helps it to come to grips with the existential threat from within. A pro-Israel president today would be one who prods the Jewish state — publicly, continuously and vociferously — to create conditions on the West Bank that would allow for the birth of a moderate Palestinian state. Most American Jewish leaders are opposed, not without reason, to negotiations with Hamas, but if the moderates aren’t strengthened, Hamas will be the only party left.

And the best way to bring about the birth of a Palestinian state is to reverse — not merely halt, but reverse — the West Bank settlement project. The dismantling of settlements is the one step that would buttress the dwindling band of Palestinian moderates in their struggle against the fundamentalists of Hamas.

So why won’t American leaders push Israel publicly? Or, more to the point, why do presidential candidates dance so delicately around this question? The answer is obvious: The leadership of the organized American Jewish community has allowed the partisans of settlement to conflate support for the colonization of the West Bank with support for Israel itself. John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, in their polemical work “The Israel Lobby,” have it wrong: They argue, unpersuasively, that American support for Israel hurts America. It doesn’t. But unthinking American support does hurt Israel.
Of course Goldberg feels the need to take a swipe at the book "The Israel Lobby" just to maintain his creds in the pro-Israel Lobby, but he is absolutely wrong on this point. John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt do not argue against "support of Israel", they argue against "unconditional support for Israel". In fact I am sure they would agree with most of what Goldberg states in this article.

It is of course refreshing to hear some rational discussion on the issue of West Bank settlements coming from a member of the Israel Lobby, but talk is cheap. It really comes down to action. One of the strategies discussed in the book "The Israel Lobby" is the one of maintaining an illusion that Israel entertains the idea of a Palestinian State while at the same time doing everything to make the realization of such a state impossible.

This article also gives a rationale for why Goldberg is making this suggestion at this time. The answer can be found in the title of Jimmy Carter's book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". People in the United States are finally waking up to the idea that Israel's policy towards the Palestinians are no different than South Africa's policies were towards Blacks. There is the beginning of a divestment campaign against Israel just like there was against South Africa.

Here is what Archbishop Desmond Tutu has to say, "I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa."

And here is a quote from the Goldberg article.
“We now have the Palestinians running an Algeria-style campaign against Israel, but what I fear is that they will try to run a South Africa-type campaign against us,” he said. If this happens, and worldwide sanctions are imposed as they were against the white-minority government, “the state of Israel is finished,” Mr. Olmert said in an earlier interview. This is why he, and his mentor, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, turned so fiercely against the Jewish settlement movement, which has entangled Israel unnecessarily in the lives of West Bank Palestinians. Once, men like Mr. Sharon and Mr. Olmert saw the settlers as the vanguards of Zionism; today, the settlements are seen, properly, as the forerunner of a binational state. In other words, as the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy.
A "binational state" is a code word for a single state solution. The hard core Zionists of course have no problem with that because they have a solution - "transfer". "Transfer" is another code word. Genocide is the proper translation, although these days the media seems to prefer another code word - "ethnic cleansing". "Transfer" was the solution offered by Zionists confronting the same problem 60 years ago and it is the same solution offered today. It is "the Final Solution".

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