Most of the time when Zionists discuss democracy, it’s from under a dark cloud’s pall. The words they issue are strained and a compressed desperation suffuses their arguments. Invariably, they become aggressive. Masada is rebuilt in their own heads and they wait for it to fall. They prepare.
A friend forwarded a conversation he had with a troupe of Zionists on Facebook. He made all the reasonable arguments that Americans understand: We are all equal irrespective of race; international law is inviolable; apartheid is a crime against humanity; and so on.
His arguments were met by two responses mainly: The Jews insist on their right to self-determination and will never give up control of the country (the Palestinians and democracy be damned); and, one state means war.
My friend was arguing exclusively with American Jewish Zionists, which always makes the first argument he encountered seem stupid – for lack of a better word. Perhaps American Jewish Zionists ought to argue that “The Jews insist on their right to an ironclad insurance policy.”
This site is partly dedicated to challenging the idea that Jews are exceptional in American life or that America will produce the next Hitler. So it’s worth talking about the second argument.
In combating my friend’s insistence that Palestinians and Israelis can share a single state, one American Zionist (who I had the pleasure of meeting in Beirut) openly stated that Arabs and Jews cannot live together. Presumably, that’s for the same reason that Germans and Jews cannot live together.
My friend then asked what that meant for the twenty percent of Israelis who are Palestinians. The American Zionist responded that second-class citizenship is an unavoidable reality. It springs from the reality of a Jewish state (like radiation from uranium).
I’m avoiding quotations for the sake of privacy (although Facebook is very, very public), but this young American argued that the “Arabs” had no choice but to accept the 3/5ths rule. The Jews must have their state, but over time, maybe, conditions would get better for Palestinian-Israelis (As an aside, what does this say about the quality of civics education in American schools?).
Also, they’re better off in Israel than they would be if they lived on the surface of Jupiter. But if Palestinians and Palestinian-Israelis demand full civil rights, it’s going to get very bloody.
The main argument that Zionists and their friends make for the maintenance of the status-quo (read: apartheid) is that the Jewish Israelis would never permit a democratic state to arise in Palestine/Israel. Allusions are made to catastrophic violence. Really, Zionists and their friends are threatening us with catastrophic violence. More and more, I’m convinced that it’s a threat they’re willing to follow through on.
On Nakba Day, members of the Israeli army murdered eleven unarmed refugees. They killed them, of course, because their existence threatens the existence of the Jewish state. This is precisely the kind of violence that we’re continuously warned about. Do we really want to incur the wrath of armed Zionists by threatening their illusions of racial supremacy and their real racial privilege in Palestine/Israel?
The question rests on a normal person’s conscience like an oil slick. Bashar Al Assad, the greatest mass murderer in the history of ophthalmology, is relying on the same calculus to maintain his despotic control in Syria. The question for those who oppose equal rights in Palestine/Israel because they portend violence is whether they’re prepared to reward racists for the havoc they threaten to wreak.
The one-state solution is a foregone conclusion; the end of the Jewish state is a foregone conclusion. Palestinians will not be cowed because of the threat of violence – we saw that on Nakba Day. So how far will the Zionists go? How long will their American friends insist that the Jewish state “has a right to exist?” How many more Palestinians will be exterminated in the fight for equal rights?
As Juan Cole already pointed out, the Israelis are perpetrating a slow genocide in Palestine/Israel. But the slowness of it is excruciating.