Friday, May 11, 2012

The Failures of Progressive-Left Zionism: The Settlers

Mike L.

(Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives.)

Progressive-left Jewish Zionists are failing the Jewish people.

If the first way in which progressive-left Zionism is failing is in its ostrich-like reluctance to acknowledge, and seriously discuss, the rise of the Jihad throughout the Muslim Middle East, another way is through their justifying bigotry against their own people.

Progressive-left Jews are encouraging hatred toward their fellow Jews.  Jews who dare to live in Judea and Samaria are targets not only of Palestinian terrorists, but of progressive-left diaspora Jews who spit hatred at those people.  What is most galling, perhaps, is that these "settlers" are living under exceedingly difficult circumstances, while their Jewish prosecutors live in clean, safe apartments and houses in Europe, Australia, and North America.  Those of us who live in the United States need not worry that a crazed Jihadi will sneak into our 3 month old baby daughter's room and chop off her head.  Yet, progressive-left diaspora Jews feel free to malign these people.

I think that it is a disgrace and I've written about this before. In a 2010 piece entitled Liberal Jewish Suckers, I wrote:

I personally do not care whether Jews live there or not. I am not in favor of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Nor do I oppose Jewish settlements in the West Bank. For that matter, I also do not oppose Episcopalians living in Skokie, Illinois, nor Rastafarians living in Kathmandu, Nepal, nor Ethiopians living in Walla Walla, Washington. What we are being told, though, is that Jews living, and thus building, in the West Bank is an impediment to the peace process. This is nonsense. How can the mere presence of Jews in the West Bank prevent Mahmoud Abbas from sitting across the table from Benjamin Netanyahu? All they need to do is agree on Israel's final borders, and thus the borders of the forthcoming Palestinian state, and then those Jews who live in the newly formed state of Palestine will be living under Palestinian rule. Presumably many will leave under those conditions because, or so I guess, most would prefer not to live under Palestinian sovereignty. But should that not be up to them?

Of course, it should. The problem is that when Barack Obama demanded "total settlement freeze" then Mahmoud Abbas was put into the position in which he could demand nothing less, thus ruining any potential there may have been for a negotiated peace. Now, this is, of course, terrible enough, but what compounds the problem is progressive-left Jewish hatred toward those very people who Abbas and Obama do not want living, and thus building, on historically Jewish land.

To my mind there are few things in this world more revolting than Jews who whip up hatred toward other Jews. I do not like it when anti-Semitic Jewish anti-Zionists, the Finkelsteins of the world, spit poison and hatred at the Jewish state of Israel and I do not like it when progressive-left diaspora Jews spit poison and hatred at the so-called "settlers." It creates bigotry and it justifies violence against us. It gets used by anti-Semites to justify the very hatred that necessitated the creation of the Jewish state to begin with.

Why must any future state of Palestine be Judenrein? Israel does not demand that their Palestinian population pack up and move out, yet not only does Abbas and the PA insist upon the dismantling of Jewish settlements in their areas of jurisdiction, but even liberal American Jews do so. This is not only a form of unjust bigotry, it is, itself, an impediment to the peace process. Let me be clear. It is not Jewish settlements in the West Bank that is an impediment to the peace process, but the insistence that Jews must not be allowed to live, and thus build, in the West Bank that is the impediment to the peace process.

In this way progressive-left diaspora Jews, who complain bitterly about Jews building housing for themselves in Judea, end up justifying the conflict. If the very idea of Jews building housing for themselves in Judea is so horrendous, and if diaspora Jews whine and bitch and moan about it, how can we blame the Palestinians for refusing to accept Jewish people on that land?

I know that some will say that it's not about Jews, per se, but about Israeli nationals. This is nonsense. Does anyone honestly think that anyone else would care if those people were Muslim? Of course, not. The problem here is not that they are Israelis, but that they are Jews.

Pretending otherwise fools no one.


  1. This is a sensible argument. The real issue is indeed the Palestinian insistence that their state be Judenrein. People should be able to live where they choose and if Jewish settlors choose to stay behind in Palestine their rights must be protected by the Palestinian authorities, although I doubt either that they will or that the West will care.

    I often advance this argument in political discussion. The usual reply is that Israel, as occupying power, has an obligation, to prevent settlement of occupied territory. This is based on Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention::

    “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    There are two problems with this argument. Firstly, Judea and Samaria are not occupied territories. Second, Israel is not deporting or transporting anyone. (The discussion then usually proceeds to examine those issues and the context of Article 49).

    An interesting point is that Israeli Arabs are usually none to keen on being ruled by a Palestinian government and do not want to settle in a Palestinian state. We saw an example of this when it was suggested that Wadi Ara be part of a land swap. The Israeli Arab population opposed the plan, preferring to remain Israeli.

    My own view is that if the Palestinians had any sense they would beg Israel to rule them. They would have more rights and liberties and be economically better off than they are under Palestinian rule.

  2. Would anyone have a problem with any Israeli Muslims building housing and living in Judea and Samaria if they so chose? If they did would anyone suggest that Israel was in breach of international law or the Geneva Conventions by not stopping it?

    Moot points I know because this would never happen. But it seems that it is only "illegal" if the Israelis happen to be Jews.

    What about Israeli Christians? Are they "illegal" too?