I am deeply skeptical of tribalist movements. Wherever I have encountered them it has been ugly - from the Jim Crow south to American "official English" campaigns, anti-Muslim rampages in India, Maratha nationalism when I lived just outside Bombay, and the Irish vote against birthright citizenship. The Jewish state is a special problem - because after the Nazi Holocaust Zionism was a perfectly understandable exodus and nation-building movement. But it wasn't the Palestinians who had been the oppressors, so they experienced it as a settler invasion. And that continues with a tribal ideology that justifies taking more Arab land.
Liberal Zionism seeks accommodation with Palestinians while insisting that a single state on all Israeli controlled territory threatens the Jewish majority. Palestinians, it is said, must remain a minority in Israel and citizenship remain full only for those who meet the sort of tribal criteria that we find unacceptable here as a violation of 14th Amendment equal protection principles. The most prominent defector among the intelligentsia, the late historian Tony Judt abandoned his youthful Zionism. The current Gaza war seems certain to harden lines. The "obvious and inevitable" two-state compromise seems to have lost its traction. And the single democratic state is a non-starter among Israelis, precisely because to Palestinians it looks like a path to Arab majority rule. - gwc
Israel’s Move to the Right Challenges Diaspora Jews - NYTimes.com:
by Antony Lerman
"[I]t’s not just Gaza, and the latest episode of “shock and awe” militarism. The romantic Zionist ideal, to which Jewish liberals — and I was one, once — subscribed for so many decades, has been tarnished by the reality of modern Israel. The attacks on freedom of speech and human rights organizations in Israel, the land-grabbing settler movement, a growing strain of anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism, extremist politics, and a powerful, intolerant religious right — this mixture has pushed liberal Zionism to the brink. In the United States, trenchant and incisive criticism of Israeli policies by commentators like Peter Beinart, one of liberal Zionism’s most articulate and prolific voices, is now common. But the critics go only so far — not least to avoid giving succor to anti-Semites, who use the crisis as cover for openly expressing hatred of Jews."
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