‘Zionism and peace are incompatible’ — Israeli general’s son

Now that the two-state-solution is all but dead, it is vital for Americans to hear the voices of Israelis and Jews and Palestinians who are imagining a different future. And maybe we are witnessing in that the end of Zionism. The important thing though is the strength of the voices, and the moral and spiritual vitality of them, and their potential leadership. Here is Miko Peled, an Israeli, the son of a war hero, uncle of the victim of a suicide bomber, writing a month ago:

Setting aside for a moment the argument of whether dividing historic Palestine into two states was ever a good idea, clearly forty years ago it was a viable solution. Today as liberal Zionist Jews and others call for this solution, it is a sad and pathetic sight.

In 1967, after the IDF completed the conquest of Palestine, great men like Dr. Nahum Goldman, Dr. Yishayahu Leibovitch, General Dr. Matti Peled and other prominent Jews called for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. However, Jews in Israel, America and elsewhere around the world were basking in the messianic glow of the conquest of historic Israel, bewitched by the sounds of biblical names now made accessible.  Names like Hebron and Bethlehem, Shilo and Bet El, all of which who were now within reach drove everyone, including secular liberal Jews to believe that there is a God and that he was really on their side.

Never mind that a solution whereby half of the population receives barely 20 percent of its historic homeland while the remaining half receives the rest had little chance of success to begin with. Now the West Bank is riddled with towns and malls and highways built on Palestinian land for Jews only and Israeli cabinet members openly discuss population transfers, or rather transfer of its non-Jewish population.  The level of oppression and the intensity of the violence against Palestinians has reached new heights and so the questions that begs to be asked are: who exactly will allow Palestinians to establish their mini state? and where will this state exist? If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind, Israel has no intentions of ever letting go of any part of historic Israel. 

Discussing the two state solution now under these conditions shows an acute inability to accept reality. As one learns about the history of the Zionist movement and the early years of the state of Israel one will understand that parting with any portion of historic Israel is not something Israel will ever do.  Liberal Jews in the US (see J Street) and in Israel (see the Zionist liberals like David Grossman who recently received a peace award in Germany) all of a sudden realized that there was a problem. They all claim that the solution is partition and segregation via the creation of a tiny and impotent state for the Arabs of Palestine.  They do claim that Israel must be reprimanded for its treatment of Palestinians and they even condemn the siege on Gaza.  These are commendable statements coming from Zionists anywhere particularly in the US where criticizing Israel is a mortal sin, but this is just talk. 

There is an illusion that a liberal, forward thinking government can rise in Israel and then everything will be just as liberal Zionists wish it to be.  They will pick up where Rabin and Arafat left off and we will have the pie in sky Jewish democracy liberal Jews want so much to see in Israel. This illusion is shared by American Jews, liberal Zionists in Israel and around the world and in the West where guilt of two millennia of persecuting Jews still haunts the conscience of many.  If only there were better leaders and if only this and if only that… But alas, reality continues to slap everyone in the face: Zionism and peace are incompatible. I will say it again: Zionism is incompatible with peace. 

A serious study of the history of modern Israel will show that the emergence of Netanyahu and Lieberman was perfectly predictable. They are the natural successors of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin.  As one looks at the political map in Israel one can see that future Zionist leaders, be they from Labor, Likud, Meretz or the religious nationals, will be no different and offer no change.  The problem is Zionism and the solution is dismantling the Zionist framework and instituting a secular democracy that does not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. In other words, no one nation will rule over the other but the rule of law will govern everyone equally. 

Zionism has created a state that wants nothing to do with peace or reconciliation.  The problem is not Benjamin Netanyahu and Lieberman and the solution is not Yossi Beilin or David Grossman who represent the Zionist liberals.  The problem is that the basic premise on which the Jewish state was founded, Zionism, is flawed.

About Miko Peled

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , ,

{ 32 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I preer : Zionism and American foreign policy are incompatible.

    Everything else is just commentary.

  2. marc b. says:

    “A serious study of the history of modern Israel will show that the emergence of Netanyahu and Lieberman was perfectly predictable. They are the natural successors of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. As one looks at the political map in Israel one can see that future Zionist leaders, be they from Labor, Likud, Meretz or the religious nationals, will be no different and offer no change. The problem is Zionism and the solution is dismantling the Zionist framework and instituting a secular democracy that does not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. ”

    amen, brother. i am constantly beating this drum. there are no atheists in foxholes and there are no ‘secular’ zionists. i forget who made the statement about the lack of true faith amongst many christians. ‘they believe that they believe’, is the quote, or at least close to it. the inverse goes for secular and atheist zionists: ‘they believe that they don’t believe in G-d’. but really they do. citizenship, geography, foreign relations, everything is built upon biblical foundational mythology. ben-gurion and herzl were kidding themselves.

  3. I originally thought that these were your words. It would help to put quotes around someone else’s comments.

    “Today as liberal Zionist Jews and others call for this solution, it is a sad and pathetic sight.”

    “Never mind that a solution whereby half of the population receives barely 20 percent of its historic homeland while the remaining half receives the rest had little chance of success to begin with.”

    There is NO solution that does not entail fundamental tensions. Single state results in severe diminution of “consent of the governed”, and enormous risk of bloodshed. Bi-national state results in Lebanon, and enormous risk of bloodshed. Green line two state looks difficult to implement, and results in some risk of bloodshed, and risk of Israeli civil war between expansionist and secular.

    I read really any analysis that declares impossibility as immature. The reality of any political conclusion is of tension.

    The literally least tension that I surmise is the two-state solution with STRONG emphasis on democracy in each.

    Democratic and Zionist is flawed in application, not in origination. He and other progressive Zionists should be stronger of heart to remain committed to Israeli self-governance, equal rights and due process, and being a real good neighbor.

    All those three. Not suicide. I had a long conversation with a high school friend last night who declared that he has lost the energy to continue living. He went through his reasoning, that it took too much effort to make a living, that his network of support had broken down, that his illness (diabetes) was reaching the stage where it was really hurting his other organs anyway, and that just continuing was not a good enough rationale that it was just cowardice on his part, inertia.

    Israel is not that confused, not that burdened.

    It has a repairable disease, if those that are committed to healthy human life bother to soberly reform it.

    • Mooser says:

      “I originally thought that these were your words. It would help to put quotes around someone else’s comments.”

      Rolling on the Floor, Laughing My Skinny Jewish Ass Off! Yup, Witty, you are just the guy to lecture other people on their use of quote marks!!

      Thanks again Richard, that one cleared all the morning congestion out of my old lungs. You are without doubt the best medicine.

    • Shingo says:

      In your typical haste to rush our a racist and denial riddled reponse, what you have done Witty is argue Peleds case for him. By your own admission, Israel would respond to a single state outcome by inflicting bloodshed. Of course what you try so despefrately to ignore is the fact that bloodshed has been synonimous with Zionism from day 1. Then again, by your own admission. the only blood you’re ever been concerned with is that of your own tribe.

      Israel was founded on bloodshed, and has shed blood ever since. To suggest tZionist is not flawed by origination is truyly delusional, unless fo course, you endorse ethnic cleasing and land theft, which is what Hetzl spoke of when he envisioned the ethnocentric state.

      How anyone could argue that Zionism was ever pure or untarniched, when it’s very creator stated that anti semtism would be it’s greatest asset beggars belief.

      Peled is clearly equal rights and due process, but has discoevered, like the rest fo the world, that Zionism cannot tolerate such basic concepts, because equal rights and due process are themselves a threat to Zionist aspirations.

      I’m glad you accept that Israel is diseased Witty, but sadly for you and your fellow racist ideologues, the cure would kill the patient.

      • The Reverie of the Zionist -Gertrude Stein, 1920

        I know all about the war I have been in France ever since the peace. Remember what was said yesterday.
        We can think and we know that we love our country so.
        Can we believe that all Jews are these.
        Let us remember that the little bird of all is not the one that has the singing dell. It sings and it sings and a great many people say it is not pleasant. Is it likely that there is real grief. Anywhere there are beards and everywhere there are girls and all about there is a wealth of imagery.
        I saw all this to prove that Judaism should be a question of religion.
        Don’t talk about race. Race is disgusting if you don’t love your country.
        I don’t want to go to Zion.
        This is an expression of Shem.

        ah, but what does it mean, Dear Gertrude?

        At it’s most basic:
        1. I saw, up close and personal, the way Jews lived and were treated in France in the earliest years of zionism — note the date: 1920

        2. I didn’t like zionism. I considered it racist. Zionism is different from the religion of Judaism.

        3. With respect to that date, 1920: be aware that zionists in Palestine were already displacing Palestinians, stealing and destroying their homes and land, that early. Be aware that this was years and years before Hitler appeared on the scene. Be aware that even as Jews in Israel were destroying Palestinian homes and land, the American film industry in Hollywood, dominated even in those years by Jews, was creating films accusing the world of antisemitism.

        4. One researcher who has studied Gertrude’s “Reverie” wrote this to explain at least the format of the essay — the shifts between “I” and “We” and “You:”

        Stein would eventually describe “talking and listening” as the mark of genius, for “[o]ne may really indeed say that that is the essence of genius, of being most intensely alive, that is being one who is at the same time talking and listening” (Lectures 170).2 By linking her dialogic technique of “talking and listening” to “genius,” Stein both legitimates this technique and deconstructs the conventional idea of genius as exceptionality, uniqueness, and transcendence. If genius is inherently dialogic, and if dialogue is the mark of genius, then the very idea of the exceptional, the unique, or the transcendent no longer makes sense. Claims to primacy and singularity are equally challenged by Stein’s notion of “talking and listening.” In the dialogic text, no singular authority, or authoritarian idea, can hold sway: this, paradoxically, is the sign of genius.

        Those who cling to Jewish exceptionalism might find something to think about in Gertrude Stein’s conception of how the capacity to “talk and listen” is the mark of genius.

      • Citizen says:

        Aryanism was fine too, so long as it remained a myth in a story book. Nazism, the Third Reich, Israel reborn–what was ancient Rome, biblical Israel, those two Hebrew tribes–what did each respectively do?

    • Shingo says:

      This paragraph sums Witty up to a T:

      “There is an illusion that a liberal, forward thinking government can rise in Israel and then everything will be just as liberal Zionists wish it to be. They will pick up where Rabin and Arafat left off and we will have the pie in sky Jewish democracy liberal Jews want so much to see in Israel. This illusion is shared by American Jews, liberal Zionists in Israel and around the world and in the West where guilt of two millennia of persecuting Jews still haunts the conscience of many. If only there were better leaders and if only this and if only that… But alas, reality continues to slap everyone in the face: Zionism and peace are incompatible. I will say it again: Zionism is incompatible with peace. “

    • Mooser says:

      “It has a repairable disease…”

      Disaeases aren’t “repaired”, Witty, they are cured, if all goes well, and/or we recover from them. Even in a metaphor, you dishonestly absolve Israel from any responsibility for its own condition.

      And no doubt, your high-school friend appreciates your discretion.
      But if somebody told me I was sicker than Israel, I might consider self-expungement.

  4. Would love to see this on the opinion page of the New York Times.

  5. Shingo says:

    What an outstanding and superbly written piece. It argues what I have tried to argue but couldn’t put into words so succinctly.

    Peled is an inspiration.

  6. bijou says:

    Would love to see this permanently featured on the front page of this blog… somehow.

  7. talknic says:

    He dares to say…

  8. potsherd says:

    Here’s someone who clearly sees the reality.

  9. You might care to see Gilad Atzmon’s recommendation of a film about how historical Zionism is anti-Semitic.

    link to gilad.co.uk

    Certainly it is hard to see how Zionism is compatible with any form of a religion which supposedly holds all life as sacred.

    • the winged gods who deliver goods to my doorstep just delivered M Shahid Alam’s book, “Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism.”

      Alam is from Bangladesh, and a professor at Northeastern University. His book is an easier read than is Haggai Ram’s “Iranophobia;” the latter was translated from Hebrew, I believe, and is a bit cumbersome and academical.

      “Israeli Exceptionalism” has three parts. The first part defines and describes the varieties and sources of Israeli exceptionalism.
      The second part is a sort of Credo in Unum Deo of zionism: chapter titles include: -A Violent History; -The Arabs Hate Us; -A Secular Messianism; – A People Without a Land; -A Land Without a People; -Jewish Factors in Zionist Success; -A Surfeit of Mother Countries; British interests, Antisemitism, as related to zionism; and -Christian zionism.
      The third part of Dr. Shahid Alam’s book discusses “the Special Relationship.”

      The “special relationship” waxed and waned: American Jews were thoroughly involved in the very early days of Zionism, as were some very influential American Christians, such as Blackstone, Scofield, Woodrow Wilson. But the relationship waned during the wars years, and really did not revive to germinate its current full bloom until after the 1967 war, under the tutelage of Nixon-Kissinger.

      I am eager to see if Dr. Alam discusses how Britain and then France — zionist Israel’s first two “special relationships” — fared as their relationship cooled.

  10. I am certain a majority in Israel would go to war to preserve its self-governance.

    As, a majority of Palestinian prefer war and/or murder to being moved.

    Neither of which are genocide.

    To imagine that a single state will come about by external pressure is immature, harmful in its immaturity.

    The only viable path to a single state is by formation of genuinely moderate civilist political parties within Israel, that are sufficiently credible as to be accepted in a government coalition.

    The two-state solution is only dead when the societies are integrated into nearly equal populations in each region.

    Equal rights are reasonable to agitate for. To the extent that the agitation for equal rights is accompanied by agitation for revolution of the state of Israel, it will be fought, and suppressed.

    The effect of that agitation will be much worse for the minorities within Israel, as they will overtly threaten that which Israelis cherish.

    Maybe in the very long term, a unified Israel/Palestine would emerge, but not after a long and cruel fight, and certainly not without real internal struggle to humanize the other.

    The way that Israelis and supporters are spoken of here among the angry left, is not a sign of hope.

    • Citizen says:

      How does a non-Jew effectively agitate for equal rights in a Jewish State, even if that State also calls itself “democratic?” Separate but equal is not a promising model.

    • Shingo says:

      “I am certain a majority in Israel would go to war to preserve its self-governance.”

      Of course Witty, seeing as Israel has never seen a war it did not want or start for that matter. The fact is that you know very well that Peled is correct – Zionism is an anathema to peace.

      No one has ever argued that a single state would emerge as a consequence fo external pressure Witty and you know that, though you keep repeating this mantra in the hope you will convince yourself it is true.

      That is what one would call immaturity, as well as serious denial and self delusion.

      The single state is a consequence of Israeli choices, not anyone else’s.

      The path to a single state has already been laid by Israelis who pretend to be moderates and extremists alike.

      The two-state solution is dead because there is no viable space to accommodate the second state. So called Liberal Zionists like yourself and Desrshowitz, continue to cling desperately to the idea that the 2 state option is alive the same way that Galileo’s contemporaries insisted the earth was flat.

      Equal rights will never come about in the single state without revolution, in the same way that the civil rights movement required revolution. The Israelis do not want to give equal rights to non Jews, and thus those rights must be demanded and taken.

      But yes you are right, Israel is an oppressive, human rights violating society and will naturally suppress this movement, just like America did in the 60′s..

      “The effect of that agitation will be much worse for the minorities within Israel, as they will overtly threaten that which Israelis cherish.”

      Yet another acknowledgment that Israel is an intolerant, racist and violent society.

      Your honesty of late has been very refreshing Witty.

      “Maybe in the very long term, a unified Israel/Palestine would emerge, but not after a long and cruel fight, and certainly not without real internal struggle to humanize the other.”

      Yes, oppression by Israel will always be cruel. Zionism is racism and Israel has always demonstrated cruelty to minorities.

      “The way that Israelis and supporters are spoken of here among the angry left, is not a sign of hope.”

      You are right Witty. Only a fool would “hope” that Israel will suddenly come to it;s senses without revolution, chaos, and sadly, violence.

      • I regard the Palestinian solidarity movement that is willing to rationalize away decade-long organized terror campaigns against civilians as more similar to neo-Zionist expansion and suppression, than different.

        Without reform of both, there is no hope for peace. Hopefully, in the future, incremental (large increments) changes will be responded to reciprocally, rather than opportunistically.

        My comment was to pose that the choices of dissent is also a moral one, that there are moral consequences to positions taken, that determination in the cause of partisan “justice”, isn’t.

        The civil rights movement was a reform, an application of “equal due process under the law”, already articulated in the 1776 revolution, 1783 Constitution and confirmed after the Civil War.

        Reform, NOT revolution.

        • Shingo says:

          “I regard the Palestinian solidarity movement that is willing to rationalize away decade-long organized terror campaigns against civilians as more similar to neo-Zionist expansion and suppression, than different.”

          There is no difference between Zionism and Neo-Zionist expansion and suppression.

          “Without reform of both, there is no hope for peace. ”

          Without justice, there is no hope for reform.

          “My comment was to pose that the choices of dissent is also a moral one, that there are moral consequences to positions taken, that determination in the cause of partisan “justice”, isn’t.”

          You’re opposed to any form of justice.

          “The civil rights movement was a reform, an application of “equal due process under the law”, already articulated in the 1776 revolution, 1783 Constitution and confirmed after the Civil War.”

          False. The civil rights movement was a revolt, and civil disobedience. It was driven by key events like a black woman refusing to give p her seat on a bus.

          Revolution, justice then reform. Israel is incapable of self reform, therefore there can be no reform without revolution.

    • Koshiro says:

      “Self-governance”?
      What the heck is that? What you probably mean is ‘ethnically limited franchise’.

  11. Les says:

    Zionism is, however, compatible with the “piece process” the US is attempting to force upon all Palestinians including Abbas. We do much more than supply Israel with Caterpillars and white phosphorous.

  12. Citizen says:

    Obama just told the Indians that US support for Pakistan distinguishes between the state and its people–and this is why Pakistan has not been/is not treated as a terrorist state.

    • Citizen says:

      Obama said he expected the question before it was asked.

    • Saleema says:

      I’m getting tired of Obama beating up on Pakistan. I have all my family there and I don’t want him extending the war inside of Pakistan. Pakistan has enough serious internal issues of domestic terrorism, with scores dying every month practically. Now they have to worry about an encroaching invasion from the Pakistan, with threats to seize nuclear weapons?

      Obama has been the biggest disappointment politically in this century. Obama doesn’t care about the Pakistani people. Why would he? They are not his constituents. He cares only about the government, not for their well-being but for delivering what the US wants from them.

    • eljay says:

      >> Obama just told the Indians that US support for Pakistan distinguishes between the state and its people–and this is why Pakistan has not been/is not treated as a terrorist state.

      He’s as hollow and fraudulent as Bush, only more eloquent. Viva America.

  13. Avi says:

    Dr. Yeshayahu Leibovitch was an ardent speaker of truth. He warned Israelis that the continued brutality of the occupation is not sustainable, that a Palestinian state must be established and that Israeli forces must withdraw to the 1967 borders.

    No one listened. Some listened but pretended to know better.

    In the end, Dr. Leibovitch died in his sleep one night.

  14. lobewyper says:

    Powerful article–thanks, Phil! Jerry Haber (The Magnes Zionist) has a nice historical analysis of Zionism in which he faults the “particular kind” of Zionism that the founders of the Jewish state embraced in his piece, “Israel’s ‘Arab Problem’–Part 1.” Read in conjunction with Peled’s posting, it provides what I think is an excellent historical context for the present situation. Of course, we will never hear about this context in the MSM…

  15. kalithea says:

    Brilliant article that should be required reading in Israel, the U.S., and Canada which now holds the new-found mouthpiece of Zionism, the Canadian government, thanks to Harper.

    I love it when Jews and Israeli Jews are brutally honest; it’s incredibly refreshing not to have to deal with arrogance, ignorance, self-delusion and denial.

    I’ve been stating for a very long time that Zionism is incompatible with democracy and justice and you can’t have peace without justice; so obviously, as long as Zionism lingers, peace will be non-existent. But most of all Zionism is incompatible with reality.

    I find it amusing that some Zionists actually believe there is such a thing as a “harmless”, secular Zionism. Sometimes I perceive Zionists like junkies. Unless Zionists are willing to risk the withdrawal symptoms from this enticing, cultish ideology, they will never achieve peace and continue on a deluded path of self-destruction. But unfortunately, Zionism is more powerful than any drug or cult. It’s based more on an addiction to power bound together with religious zealotry and collective paranoia.

    Witty stated earlier: “To imagine that a single state will come about by external pressure is immature, harmful in its immaturity.”

    What I find immature, harmful and dangerous is the notion that Palestinians should and will end up accepting to live dispersed in between settlements filled with radical, expansionist Zionists and that these radicals will somehow make room for a Palestinian state and will surrender already-developed settlements to make room for a restricted Palestinian state. This is the illusion Zionists propagate to keep “talks” going while they steal more and more land and ghettoize, isolate and restrict even strangle prosperity in the territories; meanwhile, Israel thrives and flourishes in booming prosperity on the backs of Palestinians. How immoral is that?

    Clinging to this illusion is a recipe for perpetual injustice and bloodshed. I’ll play along, I admit, there are two Zionisms. There’s a liberal Zionism that is deluded enough to believe that a Palestinian state is still possible when reality has made it impossible and there is a fascist Zionism, that PRETENDS a Palestinian state is possible while it perpetuates injustice and expansionism and bends and twists the rule of law to make the delusion of a “greater Israel” possible while it uses the Anti-Semitic card and the Holocaust to legitimize its ever-expanding crime against humanity, and also uses the naive, deluded, “harmless” Zionist as its cover.

    The truth is that Apartheid has come to Israel, only this time it’s much worse than it was in South Africa, because the Afrikaners never had a special status, they weren’t the chosen ones and they couldn’t use either a religious myth or a victim status against their prey, while Zionists have exploited this status for over 70 years holding it over the heads of Palestinians who have been suffering under Zionist fascism, violence and cruelty for just as long.

    This progression of Zionism is leading to a bad place. Many people still wonder how the Nazis were able to practice their brand of racism so brazenly. They too felt superior, exceptional and at the same time regarded themselves as victims of the outcome of WWI and thus threatened and paranoid and took drastic measures to protect themselves, one of the most powerful of these was propaganda and the other, increasing military prowess.

    We’re allowing a catastrophic outcome to evolve, and I blame our governments in North America most of all because they mistakenly think they know what´s best for us. Hopefully, we won’t have to risk our own rights and freedoms to stop this outcome, because this situation has much more powerful consequences globally than South African Apartheid ever had, and the obstacles are so much greater considering that Islamophobia and hegemony in the region is part of the equation that stops governments from siding with the rule of law and the preservation of human rights for all. The Palestinians are pawns in a much bigger game. They’re being sacrificed so Israel can forever dominate and manipulate its neighbors with this carrot (i.e. perpetual frustration), while its nuclear domination is the big stick. What a dangerous game to play. When will people realize that Israel has no intention to allow for a Palestinian state and that Palestinians will never be free and that submission and if possible ethnic cleansing are the most desired outcomes? Palestinian submission would no doubt confound Israel’s neighbors.

    Think about how the U.S. and Canada stepped up against Serbia in defense of human rights and how now they use the Anti-Semitic card as an EXCUSE not to stop advancing Apartheid in Israel. It’s all a charade, folks, the Palestinians and their rights are the sacrificial lamb, Zionism is the altar, and power is the objective.

    By the way in case no one’s guessed it yet, Israeli Apartheid and Zionism are synonymous.