A recent blog on the Times of Israel by the former president of the American Jewish Congress, Robert K. Lifton, has called upon Israelis to support Netanyahu’s strategy with regard to the current negotiations.
His fear is that the Jewish state might cease to exist, should Israel embark upon occupying the remnants of land inhabited by Palestinians. While advocating the two state solution as the only means to preserve the Jewish state, the “staunch Zionist”, as the newspaper describes him, is allegedly concerned about a possible weakening of the US-Israel allegiance and a lack of opportunity for American Jews to assist Israel in maintaining the so-called “Jewish and democratic” state.
Concerns about demography have been expressed at various stages by Israeli academics and leaders, who have provided lucrative sweeteners to lure settlers to Israel. However, rather than reading as a reflection of the alleged fears of Zionists, the article provides an insight into the distortion of history and memory in order to protect the occupying power. The article is littered with expressions of fear and pride, reclaiming fragments of history by deconstructing their significance in the name of “commitment to Zionism”.
Through brief mentions of the Holocaust, the UN partition vote, as well as the 1967 expansion of Israel into Palestinian territory, Lifton expresses pride at Zionists’ ability to construct a safe haven for Jews. This is countered by a fear of destruction should the latest negotiations fail. An alternative understanding of the article would focus on Zionist pride at constructing a state founded upon the imperialist-sanctioned illegality, persecution and massacre of the Palestinian people; this is completely absent from his idealistic portrayal of the acquisition of “barren land”.
The UN partition vote and subsequent acceptance of the state of Israel is promoted by Zionism as the legal foundations upon which the Jewish state thrived and, according to Lifton, is sustained by politics based upon integration rather than displacement. The flawed concession of creating a state within an already inhabited land was perceived and flaunted as a right to a homeland. In keeping with the politics of imperialism endorsed by the UN and the US, Zionism endorsed a brutal strategy against the indigenous population while maintaining the facade of benevolence, thus garnering sympathy from various influential countries around the world. The use of force under the name of “humanitarian intervention” by the international community has been replicated under the guise of “security concerns” by Israel, effectively achieving an extension of oppression to be applied internally against the Palestinian population. What Israel has achieved is an assurance that it will continue to be rewarded for its perfected aggression, as it effectively represents and implements US interests in the region and beyond, through military cooperation with other oppressive governments.
Lifton states, “The history of South Africa has demonstrated how the nations of the world can force a country accused of apartheid to change its behaviour and grant voting power to a large disenfranchised population. And if that point is ever reached, Israel will pay a heavy price.” In other words, Israel seeks to continue violating international law while employing a strategy which diverts international anger away from the narrative it has created through the implementation of a fabricated moral right to land.
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