When human rights for all is deemed impossible

The Zionist establishment is fearful of the ever-growing campaign against Israeli human rights abuses:

…The facts on the Middle East ground have put Israel’s advocates in a nearly untenable position. As Yossi Klein Halevi has often pointed out, both the settlement enterprise and the Oslo effort failed to achieve their fantastic goals. Now Hamas has succeeded in undermining the last realistic hope for partition: unilateral separation. In the wake of the recent Israeli elections, the formation of a right-wing coalition with the polarizing Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister cannot help but frustrate many American Zionists in their desire to plead Israel’s cause.

The two-state solution, to the degree it has any salience, now qualifies as the conservative position. The liberal stance is the vision of a unitary state. No longer the property of river-to-sea settlers, it has returned after 60 years to its leftist parentage, now intermingled with Islamists.

And when it comes to the rhetoric about a unitary state, American Zionists (and perhaps Israelis, as well) do not fully grasp the potency of the South African analogy. They spend a lot of energy and verbiage making the case that Israel does not practice apartheid, but they haven’t come up with nearly as effective an answer for why the South African model of peaceful transformation, full enfranchisement and majority rule shouldn’t be applied to Israel and the Palestinian territories as well. It is easier to answer to the cynicism of the apartheid analogy than the optimism of the Mandela-DeKlerk compromise.

So consider the current divestment activity at such colleges as Hampshire, Haverford, NYU, Macalaster, and Columbia as just the start of a new phase of struggle. Pay close attention when someone like the author Naomi Klein, a rock star to young activists, endorses divestment, because she matters a lot more on campus than alter kockers like Noam Chomsky. And don’t assume, this time, that our side is destined to win.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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