Is Liberal Zionism Dead? – The New York Times

Posted By on January 11, 2018

Not long after Trumps announcement, the central committee of the ruling Likud Party passed a resolution calling for the de facto annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Knesset passed an amendment requiring a supermajority to give up Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem, making a peace deal with the Palestinians even more elusive.

Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organizations central council, told me that before Trumps decision, there was a frozen peace process, but many people believed it could be restarted. Mr. Trump killed the potential, he said.

This appears to have been intentional. Writing in Fire and Fury, his new book about the Trump administration, Michael Wolff quotes Steve Bannon boasting about the implications of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which Bannon treated as a death knell to Palestinian national aspirations. We know where were heading on this, Bannon reportedly said to the ousted Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes. Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza.

Despite Bannons Great Game fantasies, thats not going to happen. Instead, if the possibility of Palestinian statehood is foreclosed, Israel will be responsible for all the territory under its control. There will be one state; the question is what sort of state it will be. Some on the Israeli right foresee a system in which most Palestinians will remain stateless indefinitely, living under a set of laws different from those governing Israeli citizens. Yoav Kish, a Likud member of Parliament, has drawn up a plan in which Palestinians in the West Bank will have limited local administrative sovereignty; rather than citizens they will be Residents of the Autonomy. Supporters of Israel hate it when people use the word apartheid to describe the country, but we dont have another term for a political system in which one ethnic group rules over another, confining it to small islands of territory and denying it full political representation.

The word apartheid will become increasingly inescapable as a small but growing number of Palestinians turn from fighting for independence to demanding equal rights in the system they are living under. If the Israelis insist now on finishing the process of killing the two-state solution, the only alternative we have as Palestinians is one fully democratic, one-state solution, Barghouti says, in which everyone has totally equal rights.

Needless to say, Israel will accept no such thing. Though demographics in the region are as contested as everything else, Palestinians are likely to soon become a majority of the population in Israel and the occupied territories. If all of them were given the right to vote, Israel would cease to be a Jewish state.

But most of the world including most of the Jewish diaspora will have a hard time coming up with a decent justification for opposing a Palestinian campaign for equal rights. Israels apologists will be left mimicking the argument that William F. Buckley once made about the Jim Crow South. In 1957, he asked rhetorically whether the white South was entitled to prevail politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically. The sobering answer, he concluded, was yes, given the white communitys superior civilization.

Its impossible to say how long Israel could sustain such a system. But the dream of liberal Zionism would be dead. Maybe, with the far right in power both here and there, it already is.

Continued here:
Is Liberal Zionism Dead? - The New York Times

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