Israel has ceded the mantle of modernity to the Arab Spring

Pro-democracy protestors -Tahrir Square, Cairo, January 2011

Surely we should look at the idea of a Jewish state in the same way we look at the idea of an Islamic state? And therein lies the true anti-cosmopolitan nature of Israel. The Arab Spring has thrown on a spotlight on the Jewish State’s backwardness. As we know now from historians such as Benny Norris, the plan for an ethnically cleansed religious state was Israel’s aim from the very outset. When global evolution started to make an undisguised policy of transfer troublesome in image terms, we learnt from the likes of Baruch Kimmerling that the more subtle but equally evil policy of ‘politicide’ was adopted.

Although predictably reported from the wrong angle – Palestinian Authority Prepared to Sell Their People Short – the Palestine Papers proved what was demonstrably obvious: the Palestinians were prepared to bend over backwards for a peace deal. Yet still they got nothing. And the world was spun the standard fallacious rehash of the Palestinians “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Then Benjamin Netanyahu gets a flurry of standing ovation in congress whilst rejecting Obama’s call for ‘67 based peace deal – a plan which Israel’s continuing policy of creating fact on the ground has rendered near redundant. Instead we get a paean to old-fashioned greed and territorial aggrandisement which, if uttered by the little bearded man in Tehran, would make many an Iranian blush. Benny, blinded by dreams of lebensraum, can’t even hear the supposed ‘sense’ of the Israeli left as they currently shout that a ‘67 plan is the best modernity will offer for that ultimately appalling concept: a religious state.

Israel – like all religious states – should adopt a mantra of “Keep It Medieval.”

You can lay siege to Gaza but, as has been noticed in Israel itself, you can’t keep the demands of modernity at bay.

“More and more Palestinians are uninterested in a negotiated, two-state solution, because they want to change the essence of the conflict from an Algerian paradigm to a South African one. From a struggle against ‘occupation,’ in their parlance, to a struggle for one-man-one-vote. That is, of course, a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle – and ultimately a much more powerful one. For us, it would mean the end of the Jewish state.” That’s Haaretz interviewing Ehud Olmert 8 years ago.

One man/one vote is an appalling vista for Israel. As it is for the rulers of many of Israel’s neighbours. But the citizens of those neighbouring countries are out on the streets screaming: ‘enough.’

The interview with Olmert – vice prime minister in Ariel Sharon’s then government – continues:

Olmert’s “formula for the parameters of a unilateral solution are: To maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem.” Large settlements such as Ariel would “obviously” be carved into Israel.

“Maximum Jews, minimum Palestinians” – this harks back to the language of long ago. And indeed, Olmert hankers unabashedly for those more hopeful times. “Twenty-three years ago,” he says, “Moshe Dayan proposed unilateral autonomy. On the same wavelength, we may have to espouse unilateral separation. We won’t need the Palestinians’ support for that. What we would need is to pull ourselves together, to determine where the line should run.”

We are told the language “harks back to long ago”. But such language should always be the sound of long “long ago.” Because when it comes to a simple choice of “human rights” or “religion” – the answer should be quite simple.

When pursuing one means the complete abnegation of the other, it ceases even to be a question.

Kevin Barrington 31.5.2011

One Response

  1. A good article from Al Jazeera on how Israel cannot be a medieval style theocracy and a just democracy at the same time, it hasd to choose.

    Another good piece from Al Jazeera, by a former Israeli foreign minister on why we should not distracted by the outdated con job of an argument against concession which is fed to us as Israel’s security concern:

    “Binyamin Netanyahu’s furious rejection of US President Barack Obama’s proposal to use the 1967 borders as the basis for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute – frontiers that he called “utterly indefensible” – reflects not only the Israeli prime minister’s poor statesmanship, but also his antiquated military philosophy.

    In an era of ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction, and in which the planned Palestinian state is supposed to be demilitarised, why is it so vital for Israel to see its army “sit along the Jordan River”? If such a tripwire is really necessary, why shouldn’t a reliable international force carry out that task? And how can hundreds of isolated settlements spread amidst a hostile Palestinian population ever be considered a strategic asset?”

    It’s the nature of Israel’s future which needs to be debated. Israel human rights groups have branded the currernt Knesset the most racist in history. And Netanhayu plans the further Akrikannisation of that already embarassing concept: the Jewish state

    A former CIA officer writes:
    ” Israel’s continuation as a secure state remains fundamentally assured. It is the nature of that state which will have to change. Rather than discriminating systematically against its Arab citizens, Israel has the opportunity to become a truly democratic, bi-national state, still capable of fulfilling the founding vision of a Jewish homeland, even if it no longer does so on an exclusive basis.”

    It is interesting that the most progressive debate amongst mainstream media on Israel and Palestine is to be found on Al Jazeera.

    No bout the fact that they are not vulnerable to the bully boys who make up AIPAC explains that.

    A good article on the lobby that does more to harm not just America’s image but its real interests.

    To quote another outdated figure:
    “How long will we sing this song?”

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