(Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives.)
As the progressive-left has emerged as the foremost racist political movement in the West today, Jews who live in Judea and Samaria have been targeted as one of the groups that it is OK, sometimes even mandatory, to spit hatred at from the Left.
This is bad enough when it comes from progressive racists in general, but far worse when it comes from progressive-left Jews. Progressives tell the world, following Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama, that the reason there is no peace in the region is because some Jews actually live, and build housing for themselves, in Judea.
The crime of Jews building housing for themselves on ancient Jewish land is said to prevent peace in the region and endanger American troops there.
I would like to suggest that those who think along such lines are, in fact, the very people who are preventing a negotiated conclusion of hostilities. The problem is with them, not with the settlers. When the President of the United States complains about Jews living and building in certain sections of Jerusalem, or in Judea and Samaria, he creates the conditions under which anti-Jewish racism becomes justified and peace becomes impossible. Anti-Jewish racism is promoted because the implication is that Mahmoud Abbas is correct to seek a Judenrein "Palestinian" state on Jewish land. If even progressive-left Jews believe that Jews must live here, but not over there, they justify Arab-Muslim race-hate toward us. The reason that peace becomes impossible under these circumstances is because Mahmoud Abbas cannot afford to be seen as softer on Israel than the American president, thus Abbas refuses to negotiate so long as Jews build housing for themselves on land that Jordan dubbed "the West Bank."
There is a very long history of non-Jews demanding that Jews be allowed only to live in certain places. Both the history of dhimmitude, and the history of European ghetto life, is replete with non-Jewish leaders insisting that Jews may live in certain areas and may not live in other areas. When Barack Obama makes the same demand it resonates in an extremely negative manner with those of us who have an inkling of this history and who understand that it is both racist and counterproductive. Just because Jews build housing for themselves in Judea, this does not mean that Abbas and Netanyahu cannot sit across from one another and draw a line on a map.
The settlers, as a group, have done nothing wrong. Some of these people are deeply religious Jews who wish to live where our forefathers walked. There is nothing the least little bit wrong with that. Others are merely Jews who wish to find relatively inexpensive housing and there is nothing wrong with that either. The problem is not with them, but with Arab-Muslim racism against them. It is Arab-Muslim racism towards Jews which insists that Jews should not be allowed to live on that land or that any future state of Palestine must be a Jew-free enclave.
Every once in a while we will read, usually in the left press, that the settlers in Judea and Samaria are behaving badly, even in a criminal manner. There are reports of conflicts with the local Arabs or what is referred to as "price tag" retaliations. I would submit that there is not a population of any size in the world that is free of criminal behavior and that this is true of the Jewish settlers no more than it is true for anyone else. Suggesting that Jews should not be allowed to live in Judea because of criminal behavior would be like suggesting that Italian-Americans should not be allowed to live in New Jersey and for the same reason.
Of course, Barack Obama would never suggest that Italians should be allowed to live here, but not there, in the United States. Any such absurd assertion would be met with slack-jawed incredulity and immediately recognized as the racism that it is. That the president of the United States can make that suggestion about Jews in the Middle East suggests something rather ugly about his relationship to the Jewish people in general. That many progressive Jews would agree with him, while spitting hatred at their brothers and sisters on the west bank of the Jordan river, says far more about them than it does about the settlers.
We need to start thinking about the conflict in fresh ways and that means letting go of the presumptions of Oslo. During the peace process the assumption was that Jewish compromise would be met with Palestinian-Arab compromise toward a final negotiated conclusion of hostilities. Since the Obama administration has rammed the final nails of the peace process into its coffin, we must shed those old assumptions. The fact of the matter is that the Palestinian-Arabs have refused offer after offer after offer for a state of their own in peace next to the Jewish one.
This is a fact that we must incorporate into our understanding of the situation.
The problem is not with Jews living on land where Jews originally came from, but with an Arab-Muslim racism toward us that is so intense that they are willing to use the Palestinian-Arabs as a bludgeon against us. The local Arabs do themselves, and their children, no favors when they embrace genocidal radical Islam in the form of Hamas.
Of course, given the fact that Barack Obama has compared the rise of the Jihad in the Middle East to both the American Revolution and to the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 1960s, it becomes difficult to know just who is more delusional, them or him?
In the mean time, Jewish people will continue to live on, and build on, Jewish land, as well they should. If the Palestinian-Arabs ever decide that they want a country for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one they can have that. All they need to do is agree to it.
Until they are ready to give up their war against us, they will continue to damn their own children to live with the humiliation of check points and the various restrictions placed upon them. Israel is going to do what it needs to do to prevent terrorism against their own people. If the local Arabs do not like it, then they can finally (at long last) accept a state for themselves in peace.
If they are not willing to do that then they have no one to blame but themselves.