I’ve never understood the outrage that erupted over Helen Thomas’ comments about Palestine. That’s not exactly surprising, because I’ve never understood a lot of thing that people get outraged about. I think there is a lot of outrage for its own sake: people wanting to feel outraged so they purposefully misinterpret statements. When asked where the Jewish immigrants to the occupied lands should go, she said back to Russia or wherever they had come from. I think most people took this as some kind of reference to World War II or something. But I’m pretty sure she was referring to the Israeli government’s policy to push recent immigrants into these areas.
At this point, I have to admit to not being sure where I stand on Israel. I greatly admire Max Blumenthal, but I also think he’s a tad naive to think that just because Jews are doing so well in America that there is no need for Israel as a Jewish state. I have no problem at all believing that in ten or twenty years the conservative Christians could turn against American Jews. It could become as uncomfortable a place for Jews as it is for Muslims. So I think that I am still broadly supportive of Zionism.
But I don’t see why Zionism has to involve the oppression of Palestine. What’s more: this isn’t a fair fight. Israel has almost all of the power. So the fact that there hasn’t been a two state solution is because of one thing and one thing only: Israel doesn’t want it. But of course, it keeps a pretense up about it. And here in the United States, it is accepted. The same apologetics for racism here is applied to it there: if only the Palestinians were twice as good, then there would be a deal.
I read a heartbreaking story over the weekend, Ali Dawabsheh Was Killed Too Soon. It’s about an act of terrorism committed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. They set fire to a Palestinian home, resulting in the death of Ali Dawabsheh, an 18-month old boy. Now, of course, everyone is outraged. And obviously, this does not speak to the way that “Jews are” any more than rocket attacks out of Palestine speaks to the way that “Palestinians are.” Just the same, it isn’t getting much coverage in the United States. We have narratives here! Palestinians are terrorists, not Israelis! And Israel is an Ally™. So that’s that.
Over at Vox, Max Fisher wrote, The Murder of Ali Dawabsheh Is a Direct and Predictable Consequence of Israel’s Occupation. He pointed out in his article, it doesn’t much matter that the Israeli government has condemned this attack without reservation. Its policies make this kind of thing inevitable, “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank empowers and abets settler extremists, who have been increasingly violent for years.” To put it bluntly, Israel hates such acts, but not enough to halt its expansion project into the West Bank.
The more I learn about the situation in Palestine, the worse it gets. Yes, the terrorists firing missiles into Israel are horrible. But they are also largely impotent. And the Israeli government is anything but. And so much that it does is designed to make the situation worse. Eventually, I can see myself getting to the point where I say, “Yes, the global Jewish community needs its own place where it can be safe; but just look at what they’ve done with it; it just isn’t worth it.” And I think younger people — like Max Blumenthal — are already there. If I were running Israel, I’d be really worried about that.