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Haaretz publisher: US president can't act on Israeli apartheid

Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken published a very strong op-ed this weekend, titled, “The necessary elimination of Israeli democracy.” Schocken is referring to settlers ideology as “promoting apartheid,” and accuses all Israeli governments, except Rabin’s during Oslo and Sharon’s during the disengagement, of playing along.

Schocken has also something to say about the United States’ role in the process (emphasis mine):

… The fact that the government is effectively a tool of Gush Emunim and its successors is apparent to everyone who has dealings with the settlers, creating a situation of force multiplication.

This ideology has enjoyed immense success in the United States, of all places. President George H.W. Bush was able to block financial guarantees to Israel because of the settlements established by the government of Yitzhak Shamir (who said lying was permissible to realize the Gush Emunim ideology. Was Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan University speech a lie of this kind? ). Now, though, candidates for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination are competing among themselves over which of them supports Israel and the occupation more forcefully. Any of them who adopt the approach of the first President Bush will likely put an end to their candidacy.

Whatever the reason for this state of affairs – the large number of evangelicals affiliated with the Republican party, the problematic nature of the West’s relations with Islam, or the power of the Jewish lobby, which is totally addicted to the Gush Emunim ideology – the result is clear: It is not easy, and may be impossible, for an American president to adopt an activist policy against Israeli apartheid.

Read the rest here.

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    1. Richard Witty

      I think it is important for those of good heart in Israel to dispel from their thinking that the US will be the savior of fairness in the world, not for the bias or duplicity of the lobby, but for the delusion that the US controls the world or Israel.

      The US’ influence is declining. It does not have the power to force as its overextended, and it does not have the power to persuade, as there is too fundamental divisions in the world that are not subject to persuasion, and that with the case of Israel, the potentially humanely supportable positions (“enough Israel”) are not prominent enough in Israeli politics.

      In a word, “there is noone to negotiate with”.

      What doesn’t work?

      Revolutionary politics. Urging a magical single state. International law to define Israeli intra-national policy. Imprecise international pressure (BDS that is not oriented beyond 1949 armistice line). Habitual demonization of Jewish people even for supporting Israel even through the lobby.

      What does work? (At what?) At what is the most important question.

      If Israel is to take responsibility internally, for Israeli dissent, it must pursue peace, and not revolution. (At some point, the dual nature of Israel per declaration and basic law, as Jewish and democratic will shift to nearly entirely Jewish association – without the democratic and without the Jewish ethical – and then isolation and even revolution might be necessary.)

      The time of revolution is not yet, no matter how many people skip the distinction between threat of fascism and actual.

      Peace depends on consent. It requires willing consent of Israelis, Israeli Jews primarily but also Arab Israelis that appreciate the Israeli society, even as they object to aspects of it severely. And, it requires consent of Palestinians.

      To achieve consent requires either the force of the other giving up (unlikely with two such stubborn peoples), or the persuasion to co-exist, to accept each other.

      To persuade requires a basis of the persuasion. Will Israel accept Palestinian demands while their civilians are under attack? Unlikely. (The Lebanese proxy militia, partially at the behest of Iran is very problematic.)

      Will Palestinians accept Israeli demands to accept an ethnically based subordinated participation, unlikely?

      A true extension of peace offer is necessary. A true intent to help the other be independent, free, healthy.

      And, then to persuade the other, requires first persuading one’s own, so that those that are elected are willing and able to extend that offer of sincere peace.

      And, that is where the left comes in. The underlying principles of democracy and mutual acceptance, respect, honor, are MORE important than the particular political positions.

      Israel and Palestine need a vigorous discussion of the principles of polity and of society, of what balance of free enterprise and commonwealth is optimal. Of what balance of democratic equality and party and individual power are optimal.

      And, it needs to also happen in the religious community, in their own language. Both the themes of egalitarianism and of fascism have precedents and support in Torah and commentary. Both the themes of democratic institutions and of monarchical/dictatorial have precedents and support in Torah and commentary.

      The assertions that the primary value that Torah supports is the permanent land deed and fortress association and not the mission of the Jewish people to be a light/model unto the nations, is a false one, and CAN be argued within Torah literature and within halacha.

      There is no contradiction in Torah or in religious practice and circles with treating non-Jews very well, as honored neighbors. And, there is no contradiction in Torah in establishing democratic institutions that express the will and consent of the governed.

      And, there is contradiction in Torah in treating one’s non-Jewish, or even Jewish, neighbors harmfully.

      Change starts with hearts and minds, not with political conclusions.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Dan Kelso

      Amos Schocken has never once criticized Arab aparthied.
      Even Amos wont be allowed in Abbas Jew free state.
      Has Amos seen the hate filled genocidal PA media against Israel. Its all there on Palmediawatch.
      Please stop calling Jews settlers. Jews were living in Judea and Samaria 1500 years before Mohammad was born.
      Nine times more Jewish civilians have been murdered by Palestinians in the West Bank than Palestinians murdered by Jews in the West Bank.
      During the past 11 years, out of 50 Arabs killed by Jewish civilians, 27 were self-evident cases of self-defense against armed Palestinian assailants
      By contrast, the 215 Jews murdered in the West Bank (254 if Gaza is included) involved almost without exception clear-cut circumstances in which Palestinian assailants targeted their victims, often in home invasions involving the slaughter of entire families like the Fogel Massacre, Shefi family massacre, gang assaults on hikers or attacks on civilian vehicles. Other sources, like the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the United Nations (OCHA) confirm the relatively few murders committed by Jews and the much higher number of lethal assaults by Palestinian killers.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ken Rosen

      Even Haaretz admitted, that Saeb Erekat confirmed Olmert had offered a final peace settlement that would include territorial concession equivalent to the entire West Bank and the division of Jerusalem.
      The Palestinians also control 100% of Gaza.
      It’s about the fact that the Arab nations surrounding Israel hate Jews and do not want ANY Jewish presence AT ALL in the Middle East.
      The Arabs want the Jews to live but not ruling a sovereign country like Israel is today. Of course they would love to see the Jews as the dhimmi they were among the Arabs before 1948, paying taxes for not being Muslims and be like the Kurds, Coptics, Black Christian of Sudan and Berbers today. 2nd class citizens stripped of any Judicial rights. That’s the reason they won’t distinguish Israel as a Jewish State.
      Even when Arafat talked about his aparthied plans, Amos Schocken was silent.
      Arafat’s speech in front of 40 Arab diplomats in the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 30, 1996. Was called “The Impending Collapse of Israel”.
      Arafat said, you understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State . . . I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews. We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Muslim domination!”

      Reply to Comment