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Supporting 'peace', legitimising Zionism

An interview with Angela Merkel in Jewish Voice From Germany serves as an illuminating albeit expected insight into diplomatic efforts to elevate Israel into further immunity. Through a discussion of Israeli security, Zionist legitimacy, peace through ‘a viable two-state solution’ and Jewish self-determination, Merkel effectively eliminated all traces of Palestinian struggle in order to provide Israel with further assertions regarding its self-proclaimed right to plunder and human rights violations.

Framing current relations between both countries within the perspective of the Holocaust, Merkel asserts the necessity of promoting future ties through an enhanced awareness of history and the outcome of cooperation between both countries in terms of politics, economics and science. A repetition of ‘Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East’ is followed by a declaration against neutrality when asked about Israel’s security concerns and an acceptance of Zionism as the right of self-determination for Jews – statements uttered within a vacuum encompassing nothing but a strategy aimed at proclaiming domination which in turn lends an undeserved credibility to imperialism. The only resemblance of criticism was directed against settlements however, this was balanced by the importance of ‘the two sides, both Israel and the Palestinians, work towards a durable peace settlement, that’s to say a viable two-state solution’.

With Palestinians eliminated from the historical narrative, Israel was once again discussed as an entity disassociated from the continuous human rights violations generated by its existence and the support of its allies. An alternative discussion of the statements in the interview portrays the dynamics of current implementations of Western democracy and the significance attached to the meaning of neutrality.

Hailing Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East frames the current discourse in ambivalence, should one take into consideration the ideals of international law. However, Israel and its allies have disassociated themselves from accountability, citing international law violations only when the country in question does not conform to western allegiances. Hence, the issue of dispelling neutrality has other ramifications which one should take into consideration. Primarily, a declaration against neutrality is usually assumed to be taken in favour of the oppressed. Within official discourse pertaining to international organisations and powerful countries, a stance against neutrality is expressed according to the political ramifications – a choice of structuring discourse in favour of an oppressor whose continued existence ensures the survival of the imperialist agenda. Merkel’s declaration against neutrality affirms the support towards the internationally acknowledged human rights violations perpetrated by Israel – which yet again raises the issue of Merkel’s declaration against neutrality as a form of compliance with the dominant global hegemony.

The interview has been published at a time when prominent Israeli academics, intellectuals and artists have launched a petition supporting the EU funding boycott in settlement areas, described as ‘an act of friendship and support to the state of Israel in its recognised borders’. The striking similarity is the almost negligible mention of Palestine and Palestinians in both scenarios, establishing the fact that Israel’s self-acquired and internationally supported legitimacy flounders, in case of an explicit mention of Palestinian self-determination and right to land.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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