Beinart’s Blindspot: Israel has always been a non-democratic apartheid state

Israel/Palestine
on 34 Comments

Like other Mondo contributors, I find Beinart’s new book to be brave, important, and blinkered all at once. The biggest problem is Beinart’s false, idealized image of pre-1967 Israel as a “flawed, but genuine democracy.” This doesn’t work because even within the green line Israel has always been a non-democratic apartheid state.

Reference the international law definition of the crime of apartheid:

inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Israel’s willful, orchestrated ethnic cleansing of Palestine –– and denial of the right of refugees to return who wish to live peaceably with their neighbors –– negates any legitimate claim Israel had or has to being a “flawed, but genuine democracy.” By any civil rights standard, these refugees and their descendants should have been on Israel’s voter rolls for the past 64 years.

978 0 226 07802 1 frontcover
Martin Buber and Judah Magnes insisted on equality as
the basis for Zionism. Peter Beinart’s book,
The Crisis of Zionism, ignores this important history.

Think of it this way… In the 1960s, if Alabama had driven 80% of its black residents out of the state in a pre-planned campaign of violent terror, would Alabama then have had the right to claim to be a “flawed, but genuine democracy” because it granted the remaining 20% the right to vote? Everyone in the free world would have called such a claim precisely what it would have been: white supremacist propaganda.

Israel has from day one been a Pretend Democracy. It’s a brilliant slight of hand to deny the vote to people who aren’t present on election day because they’ve been expelled. But the facade’s cracks become more visible every day.

The Crisis of Zionism is not a result of the conquest, slow-drip ethnic cleansing, and colonization of the West Bank, which is simply a continuation of what Ben-Gurion and colleagues started in 1948. The Crisis of Zionism is that there is no way to reconcile liberal values with ethnic cleansing, and there is no way to maintain the charade indefinitely in the internet age.

Gideon Levy calls out the spades in his latest column, Nothing Has Changed in Israel Since 1948:

In 1948, new immigrants were brought straight from the ships into abandoned Palestinian homes with pots of food still simmering in the kitchen, and no one asked too many questions. In 2012, the Israeli government is trying to whitewash the theft of Palestinian lands, all the while scorning the law. A single straight line – a single, perpetual mode of conduct – runs from 1948 to 2012: Palestinian property is ownerless, always abandoned property, even when this is demonstrably not the case, and Israeli Jews are free to do whatever they want with it. It was catch-as-catch-can with regard to Palestinian property in 1948, and it’s catch-as-catch-can in 2012, in a never-ending game… Now, as then, a crime is a crime.

Beinart elided Martin Buber and Judah Magnes almost entirely from his book. For shame! Buber and Magnes advocated a Zionism based on Equality, which could have worked out just fine. Someday we shall overcome the ethnic cleansing versions of Zionism — both “liberal” and revisionist —  and rediscover Buber and Magnes’ prophetic, just vision.

When the struggle for Equality — from the River to the Sea — breaks out, where will Beinart and the “liberal” Zionists stand?

34 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    April 30, 2012, 10:25 am

    “The biggest problem is Beinart’s false, idealized image of pre-1967 Israel as a ‘flawed, but genuine democracy.’ This doesn’t work because even within the green line Israel has always been a non-democratic apartheid state.”

    Not only that, but it fails to even recognize that for a generation, the Jews controlling the state officially oppressed Palestinians who were citizens of the Israeli state and imposed martial law against them for no reason other than their religion/ethnicity.

    Has there ever been a moment, a single second, in the whole dirty history of Israel when Arabs weren’t officially oppressed by the vile bigotry of that filthy state?

  2. pabelmont
    April 30, 2012, 11:21 am

    Beinart wants to offer something to himself (first) and to other LZs (his anticipated readers) that they can stomach based on their dreams, their “received truths”, their self-identification as Zionists, etc. They don’t want all those earlier Israelis to be villains.

    For them, it is ‘received truth” that Israel is fundamentally OK” and is a “democracy”. Somehow they missed the lesson that expelling and refusing to re-admit the 750,000 Palestinian refugees of 1947-50 (who are now, properly, “exiles” as well as far more numerous) was a deliberate re-arrangement of the Israeli electorate which, inter alia, wrecked any claim to being a democracy.

    But — for all that — Beinart seems to be opposed to Greater Israel, opposed to settlements (except those he thinks of as warm and fuzzy around the old city of Jerusalem), against continued occupation.

    He is, thus, a sort of ally of Palestinians. He even espouses OPT-BDS. Small, insufficient, unlikely to be very useful at best, hard to put into useful practice, but not nothing, not nothing. Something.

    Of course, he bases his story on falsehoods, as mentioned by Matthew Taylor above. But his work is intended (I think) to create and increase disquiet among LZs gently and slowly and at a rate they can accommodate.

    For all I seem almost to defend Beinart and MJR on their (to me weird) refusal to praise total-BDS, I really would like Phil to invite them each to write a short essay on what good they think OPT-BDS can do, how it can be put into operation as a practical matter, etc. Contemplating OPT-BDS, I am reminded of the attempted exculpation of the magicians asnwering to the King’s impatience in “The 500 Hundred Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins”:

    Be calm, oh, sire, and have no fears;
    our charm will work in ten short years.

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 30, 2012, 11:39 am

      “Beinart wants to offer something to himself (first) and to other LZs (his anticipated readers) that they can stomach based on their dreams, their ‘received truths’, their self-identification as Zionists, etc. They don’t want all those earlier Israelis to be villains.”

      I think your analysis is sound. But I’m not sure that these people are, in fact, “sort of all[ies] of Palestinians” because Beinart is on record in saying that he is willing to heave his supposed liberalism overboard in favor of his Zionism. So while he would prefer a Zionism that respects Palestinians’ human rights, if given the requirement to choose one, one would be hard pressed to believe that Beinart wouldn’t throw the Palestinians under the bus (sadly, in this case, replace “bus” with “tank” and you have it, quite literally) to protect Zionism.

  3. Kathleen
    April 30, 2012, 11:37 am

    “brave” So tired of this “brave” label. Decade after decade of human rights crimes being committed and Beinart is “brave” for finally taking a stand. Will go along with better late than never. But “brave” Beinart is not. The spin here having to do with individuals who have been fully aware of the crimes that Israel has been committing for decades and then finally take a stand as “brave” is a weak and obvious public relations effort. Beinart and others who have stood silent for decades are not “brave” now that they are FINALLY taking a stand

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 30, 2012, 12:16 pm

      Yeah, I agree, Kathleen. How brave is it to open one’s eyes and actually look without the blinders of self-identification-blinders on?

      • Kathleen
        April 30, 2012, 2:19 pm

        bingo. And then have it spun that you are so “brave” for finally taking a stand on human rights crimes that you knew were taking place.

        Enough of this trying to create a star for finally taking a stand on human rights abuses

    • Matthew Taylor
      April 30, 2012, 12:37 pm

      Kathleen, yes brave. The territory Beinart staked out was far to the left of the American Jewish Establishment. Good on him for pushing the envelope. I believe that Phil said Beinart’s book won’t ultimately make a difference and I agree. But even though his book is a decade and a half late (it might have made a difference during Netanyahu’s first term) it’s still brave. He knowingly exposed himself to a mountain of vitriol, and he got it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 30, 2012, 1:12 pm

        On what basis is he brave? His position is still well to the right of where it should be, for anyone who claims to be liberal or for human rights, and his position is not an act of moral fortitutude as he is doing nothing more than trying to weasel a middle road between where principles of human rights (assuming he has them) should put him, and where the pull of ethno-religious nationalism would land him.

        And stating what you believe, regardless of how your friends, family and associates will react isn’t bravery, it’s the minimum required to be an adult, to be a man. Even if they call you names and don’t invite you to parties anymore. But, really, his profession is such that vitriol comes with the territory. If facing criticism is all that it takes to make a pundit “brave” then everthing he writes is “brave” and, therefore, you’ve destroy the meaning of the word.

        So, one cheer (and, by implication, two boos) for Beinart for not being a total amoral toad about the issue. But let’s not blow it out of proportion and pretend that he was speaking truth to power with some tyrant’s sword at his neck.

      • Kathleen
        April 30, 2012, 2:14 pm

        Clearly totally disagree. Not brave at all. Part of the better late than never crowd

      • yourstruly
        May 1, 2012, 9:16 pm

        brave because however small beinart’s step forward he’s put himself at risk of being on the receiving end of zionist retaliation, verbal for sure and possibly physical, as per what’s been happening to jewish protesters at zionist conferences (a year ago in new orleans, for example). and as israel firsters become yet more desperate, things could get worse. like thirty years ago when i was notified by one of the intelligence agencies that my name was on a hit list that contained about thirty names, and don’t think that wasn’t scary. what’s more mossad recognizes no borders. so until israel firsters start running for cover, yes, it’ll take a certain amount of bravery to take a stand against the zionist entity israel’s crimes.

    • joemowrey
      April 30, 2012, 1:39 pm

      Bravery isn’t a word which should be used to describe Beinart. Opportunism would be more suitable. He’s made his fame and fortune being the darling of the pro-Zionist-liberal crowd. Now he’s going to make even more money pretending he’s had a sudden awakening. I’ll bet the advance he got for his latest book was easily in the high six figures. To suffer punishment like that, where do I sign up? He’s probably laughing all the way to the bank about how he has “knowingly exposed himself to a mountain of vitriol.” (per Matthew Taylor). What he has knowingly exposed himself to is an avalanche of money as the controversy surrounding his book sends the sales through the roof.

      At one point, someone referred to Beinart’s new book as a form of “penance” for having supported the Iraq war. Some penance. Perhaps a more appropriate “penance” for Beinart would be to have to give all the proceeds from his latest book to the people of Palestine. Call me a cynic, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t be nearly as “brave” if he wasn’t making a bundle of dough for the effort.

      • Kathleen
        April 30, 2012, 2:16 pm

        Nailed it “Opportunism would be more suitable. He’s made his fame and fortune being the darling of the pro-Zionist-liberal crowd. Now he’s going to make even more money pretending he’s had a sudden awakening.”

        And all of this spin to make him a hero for finally taking a stand.

  4. Sin Nombre
    April 30, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Matthew Taylor wrote:

    “I find Beinart’s new book to be brave, important, and blinkered….”

    But I suspect you’re wrong here Matt if you think that Beinart is “blinkered” about the reality that you further discuss. He’s too smart and too knowledgeable. So yes, that is, he knows that despite that hypothetical Alabama situation came up with precisely describing Israel’s situation, he’s still okay with it, eyes wide open.

    One of the more amazing things that strike me in the discussions that involve folks like Beinart and etc. who can be called part of Phil’s “Jewish Establishment” is the strange, chronic lack of asking them about this same precise kind of double standard. And that goes not only for the discussions in the mainstream and other media, but here too and in other blogs.

    There is, it can seem, somewhat of an unconscious acceptance of the idea that yes, to a very considerable if not absolute degree one simply cannot hold Israel to the standards held to everyone else, and this seems to me a huge thing. (Not just in general, but also because there’s never any talk of the *degree* to which Israel is holdable to at least some of the same standards.)

    What, that is, do we *know* would be the reaction from Beinart and the rest of that Jewish Establishment to any American or Westerner who came forward and, say, advocated a Constitutional amendment perfectly legally declaring their country to be a “Christian” nation? And accompanied it with talk about how this might be needed in the future to legalize some actions to keep it so?

    Well of course I think we know what the reaction of Beinart and his Establishment would be: Any such advocate or movement would be instantly denounced as fascist. Filth. Forget just being called “anti-democratic.”

    Beinart knows this. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some similar behavior on his part already in his writings on, perhaps, Pat Buchanan. Maybe even Buchanan opposing more immigration into the U.S.

    So it’s not a matter of being “blinkered.” Instead I think the inevitable response is that the history of the jews allegedly justifies a double standard, which of course even if accepted still leaves Beinart, et. al. with the problem of the *degree* to which jewry/Israel is entitled to same.

    And that’s not a small problem, which is why I think you never see even the most open, Holocaust-centered jewish partisan talking about it. The Beinarts of the world of course don’t want to have to admit to any double standard at all and that they believe Israel unlike every other country has this double standard), but even when they are forced to openly acknowledge that they still aren’t blinkered: They know that that’s what they want, *and* they also know they can’t articulate just how far it goes. Because *they* know it may have to go very far indeed in which case they’d still support it.

    • Kathleen
      April 30, 2012, 2:21 pm

      “One of the more amazing things that strike me in the discussions that involve folks like Beinart and etc. who can be called part of Phil’s “Jewish Establishment” is the strange, chronic lack of asking them about this same precise kind of double standard. And that goes not only for the discussions in the mainstream and other media, but here too and in other blogs.

      There is, it can seem, somewhat of an unconscious acceptance of the idea that yes, to a very considerable if not absolute degree one simply cannot hold Israel to the standards held to everyone else, and this seems to me a huge thing. (Not just in general, but also because there’s never any talk of the *degree* to which Israel is holdable to at least some of the same standards.) ”

      Same standard. What a concept!

    • American
      April 30, 2012, 4:35 pm

      “There is, it can seem, somewhat of an unconscious acceptance of the idea that yes, to a very considerable if not absolute degree one simply cannot hold Israel to the standards held to everyone else, and this seems to me a huge thing.”

      That is the core of zionism and Israel. It’s exceptionalism and victimhood entitlement without which it could not exist, least not in the form is now does.
      I have to reject it…the whole idea of privileges and immunity and exceptions passed down to or inherited by every succeeding generation of a certain group based on a peoplehood or religious connection to prior generations victimization.
      It’s too bizarre….as bizarre as eternal guilt imposed on a group for their ancestors crimes.
      The world can’t work that way or at least those exceptions won’t work forever. It’s against most people basic concept of fairness. It breeds resentment especially when those who demand special privileges as victims then use their privilege to abuse and victimize others.
      It’s not even rational, the holocaust-victim contract with the world does not even arise from humanitarian values, it’s a political construct. It’s in such conflict with what we consider fair and equal and humanitarian treatment of everyone that that’s why it is now being questioned. It has nothing to do with discounting the lives of innocent victims or disrespecting or minimizing what happen to them.

      • lysias
        April 30, 2012, 5:10 pm

        In the world of 1948, South Africa and the Jim Crow South were considered democratic.

        It’s just that the rest of the world has moved on from there, and left Israel behind.

      • Sin Nombre
        April 30, 2012, 8:33 pm

        AMERICAN wrote:

        “That is the core of zionism and Israel. It’s exceptionalism … without which it could not exist, least not in the form is now does.”

        Well I think that’s true enough, but the reason I talked about the secondary problem of *degree* of exceptionalism being a huge problem too for Zionists is because I think that for at least one good reason *some* exceptionalism ought be allowed.

        I know that most would ground it in the Holocaust and maybe I’m influenced by that, but even moreso I’d grant Israel proper’s legitimacy just simply based on the idea idea that there’s got to be some statute of limitations on these things. The U.N. spoke back then, and even though if it spoke today it’s values would dictate saying something different or more, that’s just not fair. You can’t go back uprooting everything root and branch back to some Day Zero to keep according with ever-changing morals and etc.

        So like I say, I’d grant that basic exceptionalism recognizing Israel proper. But it would stop there, and that’s the problem for a Beinart or etc., because of course the harder-core Zionists say hell no our exceptionalism allows us to go further and further and there’s no logical stopping point then, and yet a Beinart or etc. feels they have to come along.

        For instance, I think part of what Beinart is saying is “enough settlements right now are enough,” which I think is bad enough. But even if he said “all settlements be emptied” and even though we’d all cheer, he’s still got that problem in the future with demographics in Israel proper, doesn’t he? And it’s there that I think yeah, he would go along with some sort of ethnic cleansing (probably getting the U.S. to pay arabs to leave), and/or some sort of deprivation of the right to vote from the arabs in Israel proper.

        Thus, at any rate, to me the issue *is* “exceptionalism” in way, but it’s really the … “what degree of same” question that’s not only fair to say, but also the most acute too given, as I noted, everyone seems to accept *some* exceptionalism for Israel.

      • American
        May 1, 2012, 2:19 am

        SN

        The exception I would tolerate would be the original exception of giving the ‘a piece of Palestine’ for holocaust Jews….. BUT….not because they were or are “entitled” to another’s land for any reason…. but because it is not practical now to remove Israel. That exception would also require that for Israel to remain it be held to every single ‘requirement’ of the UN 181 that created it and make reprepations for every agreement and condition in 181 that they have violated the past 65 years. That some people except some exception I think is based purely on the holocaust justification, but even those people, if they knew the extent of exceptions granted Israel and zionism and the victims it has created I dont’ think they would except it….theyd be outraged as we are.

        What can you imagine that is more insane than allowing a group the privilege to take what isn’t their and to victimize others with complete immunity from law and human standards based on the claim they are entitled to it or it is necessary for them because of their connection to prior victims in their group? It’s madness. Would be madness to bestow this kind of exceptionalism on any group of humans for any reason because it will always be abused.

      • Sin Nombre
        May 1, 2012, 5:39 am

        Well for sure nothing you say is unreasonable, American, although it’s a different issue as to whether it’s reasonably doable. I just don’t think the world community has the stones to try to enforce all of same, even if Abbas says that he’d like to go back and change the Palestinian’s rejection of 181.

        In a way then there is some sense to the idea that the solution is for the parties themselves to reach an agreement, but of course as we’ve seen that solution isn’t possible with the U.S. subsidizing Israel not to reach such an agreement, thus leaving the situation insolvable really.

        This isn’t hardly any brilliant observation, but what’s amazing is the willingness of Israel to essentially commit itself to untold decades of future war so as to attain its desires. There’s something so … UnWestern about that mindset: “Oh yeah, we know that we’re going to be at war for all our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our children simply because of our territorial desires. That’s okay….”

        Except that’s not exactly the way it’s working out as a good number of Israelis seem to be getting sick of the constant state of war, and then especially seeing hard-core Zionists in the U.S. funding people like the settlers and so seeming to say that unlike those “sick of fighting” Israelis, they will fight to the last Israeli.

        What a mess. And to think of the depths of stupidity and corruption that got us into the middle of it and keeps us there. It’s like watching someone consciously feed their hand into a wood chipper. First the fingers, then the hand, then to the elbow….

  5. Shmuel
    April 30, 2012, 12:36 pm

    It’s a brilliant slight of hand to deny the vote to people who aren’t present on election day because they’ve been expelled.

    Another good one is to deny people the rights of natural-born citizens because you expelled them and changed the name of the country – granting the new kind of citizenship only to those physically present in the country on a given day. Except for – and here’s the real kicker – all Jews and their relatives, Palestinian citizens or not, previously resident in Palestine or not, born Jewish or converted, who could mosey on down and collect their “Israeli” citizenship any time they liked (and still can).

    But pre-67 Israel (at least after martial law for Palestinian Israelis was lifted on 8 November 1966) did treat all those whom it allowed to become citizens equally (except when it didn’t). After all (and liberal Zionists seem to like this bit), it says so in Israel’s [non-binding and never-respected] Declaration of Independence.

    When it comes to democratic sleight of hand, Israel is second to none – not like those amateurs who thought that they could fool people by simply calling themselves “democratic republics”.

  6. American
    April 30, 2012, 2:29 pm

    “This doesn’t work because even within the green line Israel has always been a non-democratic apartheid state.”

    Of course it has. A state can actually have a majority of one race or religion and still have full democratic equality for the minorities…..BUT …it can’t define itself and ‘operate’ as a State FOR one particular race or religion on that race or religion’s ideology and primilary on laws and doctrine ‘preferred’ by that race or religion.
    Every time I hear a zionist call Israel a democracy it just illustrates once again their narcissistic, or whatever mental deficit causes it, stupidity in assuming anyone would accept their black is white, up is down description of democracy.
    They are like wind up toys…Israel is a democracy, Israel is a democracy…..it’s so annoying after a while you want to take hammer to it to shut it up.

  7. AllenBee
    April 30, 2012, 3:30 pm

    “Buber and Magnes advocated a Zionism based on Equality, which could have worked out just fine. Someday we shall overcome the ethnic cleansing versions of Zionism — both “liberal” and revisionist — and rediscover Buber and Magnes’ prophetic, just vision.

    brave words and catchy ring, Matthew, but too facile by a long way. This may be one reason why it is a mistake for those concerned with I/P to frame it in terms of slavery — the motivations for slavery were vastly different, and the ways in which slavery was dismantled long and arduous. But ultimately, everyone recognized that slavery was a grievous human wrong. It’s not clear that many zionists — and a whole lot of Christians — can intellectualize that zionism is inherently wrong — see Shirazi on Einstein: we’ve been “inceptioned” for a century and more.

    When the struggle for Equality — from the River to the Sea — breaks out, where will Beinart and the “liberal” Zionists stand?”

    Who cares where Beinart & liberal zionists stand; where will Palestinians LIVE, Eat, work, sleep, pray when “equality” breaks out?

    Why should anyone feel compelled to be sensitive to Beinart’s or liberal zionist sensitivities? They’ve had their 15 minutes.

  8. radii
    April 30, 2012, 3:33 pm

    hindsight is rose-colored 20/20 sometimes … as with Beinart’s account of pre-1967 israel … the horrors of today’s israel can be traced back directly to people and policies then

  9. Annie Robbins
    April 30, 2012, 3:40 pm

    thanks matthew, important article.

  10. Nevada Ned
    April 30, 2012, 4:43 pm

    Many Mondoweiss commenters compare the oppression of Palestinians by Israel with the oppression of blacks in South Africa. However there are other comparisons: the treatment of African-Americans before the civil rights movement, or the treatment of native Americans. The latter case really was a case of genocide (“the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”)
    The long-term Israeli plan is to reduce the Palestinians to the level of the native Americans, but this is unlikely to work. Native Americans are outnumbered 100:1, while the ratio of Israeli Jews to Palestinians (in Israel, the OPT and Arab countries) is about 1:1.

    • lysias
      April 30, 2012, 5:04 pm

      Self-identified Native Americans may be outnumbered 100:1, but I suspect a lot of Americans who identify themselves as white have at least some Indian blood.

    • Talkback
      May 1, 2012, 7:32 am

      @ Nevada Ned

      “while the ratio of Israeli Jews to Palestinians (in Israel, the OPT and Arab countries) is about 1:1.”

      1:1 is the ratio in ‘mandated Palestine’ (today). I think it’s 1:2 (like in ’48).

    • Kathleen
      May 1, 2012, 11:32 am

      yep

  11. yourstruly
    May 1, 2012, 9:08 am

    what went wrong?

    nothing, except it’s –
    ill-conceived
    ill-planned
    ill-advised
    illegitimate
    just plain ill as in sick, sick, sick
    and from day one

  12. wondering jew
    May 1, 2012, 4:05 pm

    The nakba casts a shadow on Israel’s claims on democracy. Granted. But Beinart’s instinct is reformist rather than revolutionary and thus dealing with the nakba is not on his front burner. Beinart asserts that Israel is moving in the wrong direction and he wants it to move in the right direction.

    It is the duty of one staters to imagine the future of undoing the nakba. The clearer the picture of the un nakba’ed future, the easier it will be to reach that future.

    Beinart is imagining undoing the occupation. Since israel existed from 48 to 67 in precisely that state, it is an easier imagination. (A bit easier to reach certainly and a lot easier to imagine.)

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 1, 2012, 4:31 pm

      “But Beinart’s instinct is reformist rather than revolutionary and thus dealing with the nakba is not on his front burner.”

      And that’s exactly his problem. His position is akin to someone in 1962 in Alabama saying that “we’ve got to find away to preserve all the white supremacy but we just have to stop all the lynchings. That’ll fix it up!”

      “It is the duty of one staters to imagine the future of undoing the nakba.”

      Okay. How about: Effective immediately, all persons from the Med to the Jordan will have full equality and full political, social, human and economic rights, without regard for race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. Within 90 days, elections will be held for delegates to a constitutional convention to come up with a written constitution to ensure these rights. Within 180 days such constitutional convention is to be held. Within 1 year, an election under that constitutional will be held for all offices. After 2 years, any Israeli or Palestinian refugee who wishes to return to the land and reside there as a full citizen can do so. After that, anyone wishing to immigrate and become a citizen will have to apply and be processed in a neutral matter, without regard for religion or ethnicity. Over the next 10 years, the state will engage in the reconcilliation process, bringing to light the crimes committed during the period post 1947 and compensating the victims of the Nakba for their losses. Over the next 4 decades, the state will have an affirmative duty, in allocating resources and otherwise, to correct for the imbalance between the consitutant communities inflicted by zionism. That is a fair and just future.

      “Beinart is imagining undoing the occupation. Since israel existed from 48 to 67 in precisely that state,”

      No, the occupation existed then. The Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state were under martial law for no other reason than sheer bigotry. The “occupation” isn’t merely a military exercise, although it is that. It’s the expression and implimentation of judeo-supremacy. THAT is the cancer that has to be cut out.

      • wondering jew
        May 1, 2012, 5:48 pm

        woody tanaka- Your imagination is “fine”. But 1. How do we reach there from here? and 2. How do we ensure that this vision is not overtaken by some other vision (as in Muslim brotherhood takeover or Lebanese civil war situation). (another version of how do we reach there from here without ending up elsewhere instead.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2012, 6:15 pm

        1) The first step is for the prevailing vision among those with the guns (the Israelis Jews) to change to one which respects the rights of everyone.

        2) structural assurances. Why does the US work, even with all the rotten potential fault lines? Because if everyone gets a good piece of the pie, no one is interested in blowing up the pie. The problem now is that the Jews collectively get 70% of the pie, the Palestinian citizens of Israel get 29.5% of the pie and the Palestinians in the West Bank get .5% of the pie. That’s a recipe for an explosion. If you get it closer to 50/50, and everyone (and their children) have a stake in the gravy train, then their won’t be support for change.

  13. Shmuel
    May 1, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Beinart is imagining undoing the occupation. Since israel existed from 48 to 67 in precisely that state, it is an easier imagination.

    Except for the martial law that Palestinians lived under from 1948 until the end of 1966, highly discriminatory property laws and resource allocation policies, a tightly-controlled Arab education system, military censorship of the Arabic press and lack of independent political representation. In other words: occupation.

    Call it reformist or revolutionary, but what Beinart is trying to imagine (an Israel without occupation) has never existed before, and pretending that it did prior to ’67 is extremely unhelpful, and a major obstacle to creating such an entity (see e.g. Yehouda Shenhav, “Time of the Green Line”). Beinart’s point of departure is certainly internal, but he needs to listen to fewer Israeli leftists and more Palestinians if he really wants to make a difference.

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