Real friends of Israel see it running off a cliff

Gideon Levy in Haaretz on challenging delusional Zionism:

Today, your representatives will open your great annual convention, the General Assembly. Between New Orleans’ Marriott and Sheraton hotels, you will be sated with lectures and lecturers, panels and discussion groups. Some will be about you, and some will be about us Israelis. Once again, you will hear all the cliches – and Joe Biden, Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, too.

But this year, you will be meeting in the shadow of last week’s midterm elections – many of you are surely rejoicing over the president’s defeat – and on the eve of fateful decisions.

I read that your menu includes an Israeli breakfast, and also several discussions about the global delegitimization of Israel. Doubtless the speakers will tell you it’s because of anti-Semitism.

Don’t believe them. There is anti-Semitism in the world, but not to the extent they will tell you. Nor is there any “delegitimization of Israel.” There is only delegitimization of Israel’s policy of force and occupation.

That same “anti-Semitic” world knew how to embrace Israel when the latter chose the right path – during the Oslo era, for instance. What most of the world has become fed up with is only Israel’s ongoing occupation and violent policy. And the responsibility (and blame ) for their existence lies with Israel, not the world. The world is hard on Israel, but it also grants it special rights that no other country enjoys.

If Israel is dear to you – and that is true of most of you – then be honest enough to criticize it as it deserves. Think about your personal friends. What would they value more: your blind, automatic support, or criticism born of love when it is warranted?

Your beloved Israel is addicted. It is addicted to occupation and aggression, and someone has to wean it from these addictions. Like any other junkie, it is incapable of helping itself. Thus the job falls to you.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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