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The Iran deal is now in critical danger

Whether Trump outright tears up the deal or simply orders his administration to take punitive actions against Iran, the end result may be the same: goodbye to the nuclear deal.

By Derek Davison

There will be plenty of time to dissect Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton in last night’s presidential election, and what a President Trump will mean for American foreign policy generally. But one thing is clear: the nuclear deal negotiated between the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) and Iran may very well be among the first casualties of the incoming Trump administration.

Trump has been critical of the deal throughout the presidential campaign. However, as with nearly every other issue, his comments about the deal and what he might do with it in office were often unclear:

A businessman-turned-politician who has never held public office, Trump called the nuclear pact a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” during his campaign and said it could lead to a “nuclear holocaust.”

In a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC in March, Trump declared that his “number-one priority” would be to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

He said he would have negotiated a better deal, with longer restrictions, but somewhat paradoxically, he criticized remaining U.S. sanctions that prevent American companies from dealing with Iran.

By contrast, he has conceded it would be hard to destroy a deal enshrined in a United Nations resolution. In August 2015, he said he would not “rip up” the nuclear deal, but that he would “police that contract so tough they don’t have a chance.”

Walid Phares, one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers and a long-time advocate of regime change in Iran, said in July that Trump will “look back at [the nuclear deal] in the institutional way. So he is not going to implement it as is, he is going to revise it after negotiating one on one with Iran or with a series of allies.” This notably puts Trump slightly outside the consensus of the Republican Party, which seems bent on simply destroying the deal. But that also means that any anti-Iran steps the Trump administration chooses to take will get virtually no pushback of any significance from a Congress in which both houses still belong to the Republicans.

Trump’s election also presumably gives his Read More

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'Proud to be outside the consensus, until the occupation ends'

Under public pressure, Ben-Gurion University pulled a prize from Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli soldiers who talk publicly about what it means to serve in an occupying army. The group is ‘outside the consensus,’ the university’s president explained. But if occupation is the consensus, Breaking the Silence says it is proud to be on the outside. The following is a speech delivered by the organization’s executive director at an alternative prize ceremony.

By Yuli Novak

The soldiers who have broken their silence did not do so in a vacuum. The act of breaking one’s silence is not of clearing your conscience or easing the post-trauma of those sent to enforce a military regime over civilians (although it can be a side effect).

The act of breaking one’s silence is not pleasant. Breaking one’s silence is grating, frightening; you lose sleep over it. The point of breaking one’s silence is to radically change the political situation — not cosmetically, but fundamentally, down to the roots.

Breaking one’s silence is taking a personal and moral stance against an unacceptable situation from start to finish, in its totality. Breaking one’s silence is also assuming responsibility for one’s actions and the willingness to pay a personal price for it.

We break our silence in protest of the occupation. Our act of breaking silence is the exclamation that military control over millions of people, Palestinians, for decades, is unacceptable at its core. That the occupation is not something that can or should be normalized or “repaired,” only terminated. Because even though it has existed for decades, it has no right to exist. And breaking one’s silence is to challenge that which has become part of us, and part of our identity, for nearly 50 years now.

The Ben-Gurion University administration said its decision to veto an award granted to Breaking the Silence was based on the fact that we are an organization that is outside the political consensus.

Since the day it was founded, Breaking the Silence has never been part of the national consensus. On the contrary, the act of breaking one’s silence is an act of coming out against the consensus.

Don’t be confused: occupation is the consensus. The soldiers who have broken their silence did so to bring an end to the occupation. They, we, are trying to challenge it. To undermine this mechanism. To disable it. They break their...

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Ending the occupation is in the interest of Israelis, too

The occupation is disastrous first and foremost for Palestinians, but it is also disastrous for the Jewish people in Israel. Left-wing politics cannot be based solely on solidarity with the Other.

By Uri Weltmann

There are left-wing voices in Israel who believe that the very foundation of Israeliness has become inextricably intertwined with the country’s occupation of the Palestinians. One such view, expressed by Inna Michaeli in an oped in these pages, goes so far as to argue that “the end of the occupation will bring about the end of Israel.” Such voices are effectively abandoning the worldview according to which the struggle for peace is a struggle for Israeli society itself, perhaps inadvertently aligning themselves with the radical right in Israel, which also sees the fate of the State of Israel as necessarily tied to its control over the Palestinians.

Those are not left-wing politics.

Left-wing politics is a politics based not only on an abstract feeling of solidarity with the Other, but one that tries to enlist the public to fight for its own concrete interests, i.e. for itself. Our discourse on the struggle against racism or the occupation must be based on an understanding that those phenomena are destructive for Israeli society in the broadest sense, and not only for their immediate victims (Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel or Arab-Palestinians in the occupied territories).

Sure, part of the Israeli public can be enlisted in the struggle against, for example, the settlements, solely on the understanding that they are immoral and unjust. That group of people must be in our camp, but we can’t settle with having only them by our side. It could be that there is a much broader group of people that we could bring into such a struggle if we manage to convince them that the settlements and the occupation are disastrous, first and foremost for the Palestinian people, but that also disastrous for the Jewish people in Israel.

The absence of that discourse must be corrected, not only because it would sharpen the Left’s political message, but because it carries the potential to bring more people into the struggle. At the end of the day we’re not trying to bring the “Old Left” (older, middle class, liberal Ashkenazis, who have been going to Peace Now rallies since the 1980s) into our tent; we must have a message that is relevant for the broader population. We’re...

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Religious pluralism cannot be separated from the fight against occupation

As the 50th anniversary of the occupation draws near, those who consider themselves to be on the left cannot hide behind the battles that keep us in our comfort zone.

By Emily Hilton

Confrontations erupted at the Western Wall last week between security forces and activists from Reform and Conservative movement, after the activists broke through security barriers with torah scrolls in their arms, defying the ultra-Orthodox authorities that run the holy site.

The prayer rally was staged after the government failed to implement a resolution approved in January to create a pluralist prayer section at the southern end of the Western Wall.

In the aftermath of the pandemonium, a global plea of solidarity was sent out to diaspora Jewry to help support religious pluralism in Israel.

As a passionate and proud Reform Jew, I feel strongly that a Jewish state should reflect a diversity of Jewish practice. Praying with Women of the Wall this past summer was easily one of the most meaningful religious experiences I have ever had.

Yet there was another incident of violence that took place against a different minority in Israel last week, one that the media all but ignored: Israeli authorities demolished the Bedouin village of Al-Aqarib for the 105th time.

At the Western Wall and at Al-Aqarib we saw similar examples of Jewish violence — of the grip that an extremist faction has on public life and discourse. Yet the mainstream Jewish press, both in Israel and abroad, did not seem as interested in the experiences of those who do not belong to that small group of extremists.

For the past several years, the demonstrations at the Western Wall have been led primarily by Women of the Wall — a godsend to the liberal Zionist diaspora. They allow us to feel like we are feminist human rights warriors striving for an Israel that is more tolerant and just. Why? Because supporting Women of the Wall means that we do not have to think about the occupation and still feel like we are living out Jewish democratic values. They are an easy rallying cry for diaspora Jewry, since they do not force us to consider our own complicity in oppression.

Having been involved with numerous liberal Zionist organizations for the last few years, the increasing intellectual separation of “internal” and “external” issues in Israel makes it even tougher to have conversations about 1967, let...

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U.S. support for Israel's nuclear ambitions will come at a price

Nuclear disarmament in the Middle East is making a comeback. American backing for Israel on the nuclear issue hinges on steps being taken toward peace.

By Shemuel Meir

Israel is investing great efforts in declaring victory over Egypt on the nuclear issue. As if it were a kind of ritual, reports keep coming out lauding Israel’s victory in the diplomatic arena, and how it foiled the Egyptian demand made at the annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference, which called for the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona to be subject to an inspection regime.

The facts, however, tell a different story. In September 2016 the Arab states proceeded, as they do every year, to put the issue of Israel’s nuclear capabilities on the IAEA’s agenda. This time they did not require a vote. As it does every year Egypt motioned to vote on a similar proposal (without naming Israel) to subject all Mideast countries to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to establish a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (NWFZ). The Egyptian proposal was carried by a large majority of 122 countries in favor, with six abstentions.

In their statements at the IAEA conference, the Arab countries and Iran emphasized the need to create a nuclear weapon free Middle East. The U.S. delegation gave its strong support for an initiative to convene a regional conference on nuclear free zones in the Middle East. As it turns out, Egypt, the rest of the Arab states, and Iran have not come to terms with the nuclear potential attributed to Israel, and have not relented in their diplomatic pressure to promote a denuclearized Middle East.

Nuclear demilitarization in the Middle East also featured prominently in the discussions of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament, which took place in October 2016, and which Egypt declared to be “a top priority of its foreign policy.” Iran emphasized that in the absence of progress toward creating a nuclear weapon free Mideast, “the Israeli regime must be compelled to accede, as a non-nuclear weapon party and without any condition or further delay, to the NPT.”

The nuclear heat might already be felt as early as March 2017. In terms of diplomatic time, this is right around the corner. A round of conferences will kick off next spring in preparation for the big NPT Review Conference in 2020, marking the treaty’s fiftieth anniversary. Spokespeople from Arab countries have referred to the spring of 2017 as a launching pad...

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The gruesome murder of five Arab boys refuses to disappear — 55 years on

Beaten, tortured, and shot to death: this is the story of five Arab boys who met a gruesome fate at the hands of Israel’s security forces in September 1961. Ben Gurion’s government refused to tell the truth of what really happened.

By Makbula Nassar

Last week marked 60 years since the Kafr Qasim massacre. Although the event is seared into our collective consciousness, it was not the only horrendous crime committed by Israeli security forces against innocent Arab citizens during the dark days of the military government, which lasted from 1949 until 1966.

September marked 55 years since the mysterious deaths of George Shama, 17, Jeries Badeen, 16, Rimoun Maroun — the three of them hailed from Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood — Faiz Said Ahmad from Sakhnin, and Mahmoud Abdullah Jabarin from Umm al-Fahm, 18. Their bodies were found at around the same time.

On September 17, 1961 the boys’ bodies were tossed from an ambulance belonging to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute onto the front doors of their families. One after another, a day after they disappeared. The bodies were beaten, riddled with bullets, and showed signs of torture and abuse. According to the state, the boys were “shot while fleeing” as they tried to cross the border into Egypt. Ben Gurion’s government released a statement, claiming that the boys “…did not heed the warning, refused to stop, and continued to run toward the border. Thus they were shot.” (the quotes are brought forth by articles published in the Arabic-language Al-Ittihad newspaper).

Photographs of the bodies, and the testimonies that contradicted this version of the events and revealed the truth, did not embarrass the Israeli regime. Instead of dealing with the question of how these teenagers were killed and who tortured them, Israeli newspapers focused on the massive protests that took place in Arab towns following the events. The demonstrations, which erupted in dozens of localities, were forcefully suppressed and ended in arrests, specifically of activists belonging to the Israeli Communist Party.

The requests by the communists to establish a Knesset investigative committee were rejected outright. Lawyers representing the families and the party were purposefully kept out of hearings on the issue. It was never revealed who gave the orders, which units carried them out, and where the murders took place.

A shared identity, a shared fate

Thirty-eight years after the incident, in 1999, Al-Ittihad — which thoroughly covered the story —...

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Facing the Jewish fundamentalism that murdered a prime minister

Twenty-one years after the monster of Jewish fundamentalism took the life of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel refuses to confront its demons.

By Alon Mizrahi

I was in the shower when Rabin was assassinated. This is how I remember it: they said something happened in Malkhei Israel Square, that shots were heard. I stepped into the shower, and when I came out the television said that someone had attempted to assassinate the prime minister and that he was shot.

They didn’t say anything about his condition, but it was fairly clear to me that this was the end; had he been okay, we would have been told. But they did not tell us he was okay. I stood and leaned on the entrance to the bathroom, clean shaven. My mother and brothers were in the living room, and no one really had any idea what to say. The feeling of shock was similar, perhaps, to what we felt after the Dizengoff Street bus bombing in Tel Aviv, or during the Ramallah lynching, or when the Twin Towers came crumbling down.

When Rabin was murdered I was a young Mizrahi Israeli from the periphery, who grew up in a right-wing Zionist home. I was taught to adore Menachem Begin, to recognize the uniqueness of the Jewish nation, to know the intrinsic violence of the Arabs, to remember the righteousness of the State of Israel. I also knew about the hostility of Ashkenazim, especially leftist Ashkenazim — and most importantly establishment Ashkenazim — toward people like us. Meanwhile we also had great respect for the establishment, leading to a dissonance we could not resolve.

Fear is perhaps the strongest component of our lives. The ultimate guide of human experience. I learned a lot about fear (and it’s good friend, pain) in the years before the assassination. But I have learned even more in the years that followed when two of my greatest fears turned into reality: one of my brothers became ill with paranoid schizophrenia, and my other brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Let’s talk about Jewish fundamentalism

Actually, this entire article is about fear.

Because for my own experiences of fear — like that of many other Israelis — Rabin’s assassination symbolizes the embodiment of a national demon, one that we never learned to contend with. Neither in the years before the murder, and despite the fact that there...

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Diplomacy or armed struggle? Palestinian factions look ahead

Against the backdrop of a crisis of governance in Palestine and the brewing battle of succession, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is proposing a return to armed struggle. But is that what the Palestinian people want?

By Ronit Marzan

On October 21 of this year, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Ramadan Shalah gave a speech marking 29 years since the movement’s founding. Shalah’s speech largely resembled those he has given in the past, but the historical and geopolitical context has changed. Twenty-three years have passed since the failure of the Oslo Accords and changes are taking place in the Palestinian, Arab-Muslim and international arenas. In light of all this, Shalah was able to abandon his question of what will happen after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ departure, and move on to the more pressing question: What will happen after the loss of Palestine?

PIJ, formed in the 1980s, was one of the instigators of the First Intifada. But it was pushed to the political margins after the signing of the Oslo Accords and for more than 20 years has been a fractious military movement that torpedoed any truce it disagreed with. It has not developed a regional base for itself, nor has it stood in local council elections or for the Palestinian Legislative Council, meaning it has effectively sidelined itself in the Palestinian political scene.

On the verge of finding himself and his movement in a new political arrangement featuring Marwan Barghouti as Palestinian president and Khaled Meshal as prime minister, Shalah is seeking to return to past glories. During his speech, Shalah called for a number of steps: the cancelation of both the Oslo Accords and the recognition of Israel; the building up anew of the Palestine Liberation Organization; a strategic alignment of all Palestinian groups (within the Green Line, in the West Bank and Gaza, and in the diaspora) for a common, armed struggle; and the strengthening of the boycott movement against Israel. He also harshly criticized Arab regimes for abandoning the fight for Palestinian liberation and normalizing ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, three trends are threatening to push the Palestinian issue off the Arab and global agenda that may drive a strategic reset in the Palestinian struggle. The first is the attempts by the regimes in Turkey, Iran and Qatar to wrest the regional leadership role from the grip of weakened “secular” Arab governments and to rescue Palestine from the...

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To reach Diaspora Jews, start by acknowledging their struggles

Those who dismiss the struggle at the Western Wall because it ignores Palestinians should recognize how important the Kotel is to American Jews. Their struggle for justice might start at the Western Wall, but it doesn’t necessarily end there.

By Rachel Canar

Something unprecedented happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday. More than 200 people, including 12 rabbis — leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Masorti movements — held a major Jewish protest against the status quo in Israel.

It wasn’t about the occupation; it was about the rights of Jews of all streams to pray in their respective traditions at the Western Wall, a right that has been actively denied them for decades. Some Jewish and Israeli activists, who for years have been waiting for the Diaspora leadership to march on the barricades of the occupation, were frustrated to see that energy focused on something as seemingly unimportant as the Western Wall.

It seems that many Israelis, especially those who are not religiously affiliated or inclined, do not understand how important the Western Wall (“Kotel” in Hebrew) is to Diaspora Jewry. They seem to be especially blind to the anger roused by the Israeli government reneging on an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the wall.

Diaspora Jewry’s connection to Israel is physically centered at the Kotel. The entire country is supposed to be a homeland for the Jewish people, but when Diaspora Jews visit, Israel invariably feels foreign. It is only at the Western Wall that they say, “aha!”, this is my connection. “My ancestors laid their hands here, or dreamed of it, just as their ancestors did.” When you lay your hands on the stones, you can almost feel a buzzing and hear whispers of millions of prayers. This is where we can see and feel that we are all one people that come from this place.

UNESCO notwithstanding, there is no question that these stones are the last remnants of the wall that once framed the Second Temple, the center of the civilization of a scrappy band of tribes known as The Hebrews.

Anyone who has a vested interest in Diaspora Jews taking action on or engaging with Israel, even in order to oppose the occupation, must first and foremost recognize that reality. It is not mere symbolism: either this is their homeland or it isn’t, and the Kotel is the...

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Turning Gaza's humanitarian disaster into Israel's bargaining chip

If Defense Minister Liberman, along the entire political and military echelon, know the extent to which Gaza’s residents are suffering, why do they insist on using that suffering as a bargaining chip?

By Rachel Beitarie

Something strange happened in the middle of last week: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman decided to give an interview to the Palestinian daily, Al-Quds, in which he spoke about the solutions to the challenges facing the Gaza Strip. In short, he proposed rehabilitating the Strip, which would include the building of a port, an airport, and industrial zones. All this in exchange for full demilitarization.

“If Hamas puts an end to digging tunnels, arming itself, and firing rockets,” Liberman said, “we will end the blockade and build a port and an airport ourselves.” Later in the interview, the defense minister threatens Gaza with another round of fighting and killing — only that this time the extent it will be unprecedented and final. Two things are clear from the interview: Liberman, along the entire political and military echelon, know full well about the hardships facing Gaza’s residents. The second is that Liberman sees these hardships as a bargaining chip.

Rights — not benefits

Let’s be clear about one thing: the freedom of movement of Palestinians in Gaza — as well as their right to make a living, trade, enter and exit the Strip, maintain family ties, attend university — to lead normal lives — are not subject to negotiations. These are not carrots to be doled out for good behavior — they are basic rights to which every person is entitled.

The interview further shows Liberman insistence on implementing a semi-new policy of turning directly to the Palestinian public, all while bypassing its recognized leadership — a tactic that is slowly being used more often by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on Arabic-language social media. Liberman’s casual threats/promises vis-a-vis the residents of Gaza reveal precisely what we at Gisha have always argued: Israel controls many aspects of daily life in the Gaza Strip, and these days that control is especially tight. One cannot claim that “we left Gaza” when Israel continues to hold on to the keys; Liberman is doing little to contradict that claim. On the day after the interview was published, Yair Lapid jumped on the bandwagon and sided with the defense minister.

The intuitive desire to draw a connection between calm on the border and the...

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Why it took Lebanon two years to elect a president

The problem with Lebanese electoral politics is far less sectarian than we are often led to believe. And you thought the American elections were a headache?

By Aurélie Daher

At last! The Lebanese parties finally decided on October 31 to give the country a new president, after the position had been vacant since the last president, Michel Sleiman, left office in May 2014. The country thus had remained headless for no less than 29 months — to the point where some started to wonder whether the job itself had any significance or use.

Michel Aoun, the successful candidate, had probably suffered through a few panic attacks during the voting session. Everything was supposed to go smoothly: the parties that supported his candidacy included a sufficient number of MPs to secure the vote. While checking the quorum, however, some smart aleck in the Chamber chose to play with Aoun’s nerves by casting a ballot for… “Zorba the Greek,” forcing Nabih Berry, the speaker of the Parliament, to move to a second round. At the end of the second round, the attendees counted more ballots than there were MPs. But, halleluja, the third try came through, and the soon-to-be president got the job with 83 out of 127 votes cast. The newly elected president gave his first speech as head of state by talking about himself, in the third person no less.

Why, for the last two-and-a-half years, was it so difficult to agree on and then elect a single candidate? Some incorrectly blamed a sectarian divide among Sunnis, Shia, and Christians and/or the intense competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia (each in support of a different candidate). Others pointed to the war in neighboring Syria, assuming that a victory by Bashar al-Assad would permit the pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian March 8 Alliance, led by Hezbollah, to impose its candidate. Conversely, a rebel victory would permit the pro-Saudi, pro-U.S. March 14 Coalition, led by Saad Hariri, to prevail in Beirut.

Facts, as well as a number of rules governing Lebanese politics and required under the constitution, contradict both explanations. The problem is political, not confessional, and far more intra-Lebanese than many may think.

Political infighting

Under the Lebanese constitution, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the head of Parliament a Shiite Muslim. After Sleiman’s term expired in May 2014, the heads of the two...

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Help! My father is voting for Trump

Trying to understand, and explain, the troubling electoral choice of the man who raised me.

By David Sarna Galdi

Election day is a week away, and barring a revelation akin to Paul’s on the road to Damascus, I am fairly sure my father will be voting for Donald Trump. My educated assumption about my father’s decision, based on highly frustrating conversations that usually end with me slamming down the phone, has left me angry and confused. How could I have been raised by a man voting for a presidential candidate whose campaign was best summed up by economist Paul Krugman: “Donald Trump said some more disgusting things over the weekend.”

The success of Trump’s hijacking of the Republican Party and scorched-earth carnival of a campaign has been credited — among other things — to the appeal of his message to the “left behind” demographic: uneducated white men who feel threatened by multiculturalism and cheated by globalism.

Economics, however, doesn’t fully explain Trump’s ascent; there is a putrid sludge of racism, chauvinism, bullying, and ignorance bubbling at the core of the Trump show, and frequently erupting to its surface. He has won the support of people on the fringes of society who simply can’t stand the idea of an LGBT-friendly, multicultural America with a black man or any woman in the Oval Office. And that’s exactly what is so baffling about my father’s support for Trump; he is none of the above.

My dad is a 70-year-old Israeli who came to the United States as a teenager — so successful of a student that within a few years he was accepted to an Ivy League university and received both undergraduate and graduate degrees. His job wasn’t made obsolete by an app; he’s been retired for years. He respects women and believes in equality. He is an immigrant. He has no affinity for firearms. My dad’s not even on social media; he’s completely oblivious to Trump’s greatest tool, with which his foul messages have bypassed conventional filters of good taste and fact-checking. So how could Trump possibly appeal to him?

The answer became clear when my father forwarded me a chain email, to which he had tacked on a sentence earnestly expressing his hope that the contents would explain the “drastic changes that occurred in the past eight years.”

The email, titled “All of a Sudden, Poof, no USA.” mentioned no author....

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Ending the occupation would undo Israeli identity as we know it

Bringing an end to 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians will undoubtedly change the face of Israeli society as we know it. Let’s welcome that change with open arms. 

By Inna Michaeli

The argument that opposing the occupation does not contradict a love for Israel has been heard over and over in the Israeli Left for years. This isn’t just a matter of PR — it is the personal experience of many Israelis.

The problem, however, is that it does not manage to convince the public at large. But what if the public has good reason not to be convinced?

Take for example the unbridled attacks on B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad following his appearance before the UN Security Council. B’Tselem and El-Ad responded to the attacks by arguing that the organization speaks specifically about the occupation. Others sought to strengthen El-Ad’s public legitimacy as someone who is “pro-Israel, anti-occupation,” including high-ranking members of the military establishment who knew El-Ad as an outstanding soldier during his service in a prestigious field intelligence unit. It is doubtful, however, if they could ever convince the public that El-Ad’s opposition to the occupation is patriotic.

So why is it so difficult for the Israeli public to accept the “pro-Israel, anti-occupation” formula?

I believe this formula is not as simple as it appears. It presumes a fantasy in which Israel can end its rule over the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and continue to exist just as it does today.

But taking over Palestinian land and lording over every aspect of Palestinian daily life is too deeply rooted in Israelis’ day-to-day experience, as Mairav Zonszein wrote recently. In fact, we have no idea what Israeli society really looks like — or what Israelis themselves look like — without the occupation.

The array of national myths and beliefs that allow continual military rule over Palestine and the Palestinians is at the basis of Israeli identity. It is in our national memory and narratives, which tell us who we are, which justify how and why we arrived at this point. It is everything we learned at school.

We learned about an Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) bereft of destroyed Palestinian villages covered by pine and eucalyptus trees. We learned about making the desert bloom, about a “land without a people for a people without a land.” We learned about the most moral army in...

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