Why ‘Brand Israel’ is failing

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 27 Comments

Ambassador Michael Oren’s recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is timely – and appropriate. Israel is less popular among young Americans than ever before. And it will only grow more unpopular as more facts about the occupation make their way into the American mainstream.

It is hard to know what Shalom Eisner — an Israeli army officer — was thinking when he brutalized a Danish bike protester several weeks ago. Probably his thoughts tracked what he was doing — which is to say they weren’t anything out of the ordinary. The Israeli officer was acting normally, on a normal day, in the normalized context of Israeli occupation. The only exceptional thing about the episode was the reaction it elicited.

The Israeli leadership quickly condemned the episode and the officer – who served in good standing until then – received a formal rebuke and was dismissed.

Why did a relatively minor incident provoke a big reaction from the authorities in Tel Aviv and why did the Israeli commentariat pile on in the way they did? Without minimizing the five victims’ pain, injury and trauma, the image of a Dahlesque figure atavistically wielding an M-16 was a little comical, after all.

So what happened?

It was only three-and-a-half years ago that the Israeli army killed 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza – almost a third of whom were children. At the time the Israeli public barely reacted. The country’s media covered the massacre in a way that either reflected or enabled a 94% approval rating for what was happening – within sight – in the name of the whole nation.

It wasn’t until Judge Richard Goldstone recommended that Israel and Hamas both investigate potential war crimes (14 Israelis were killed; four of them by friendly fire) that some people began to worry. But just a little. And not enough to prevent the killing of 9 unarmed Turkish human rights activists in international waters.

The “elite” Israeli commandos commandeered the flotilla and returned home. They were saluted and lionized in the press – but only in Israel. Elsewhere, Zionists struggled to explain the Israeli line to skeptical publics. Justifying an invasion in international waters proved impossible. The til-then-unnoticed, unrecognized, or unacknowledged deterioration in Israel’s legitimacy suddenly accelerated. And not just in Europe.

Today, the conversation about Zionism in America is dramatically different from what it was only a few years ago. Few credible people are willing to insist that the Palestinians and Israelis engage in “negotiations.” The fiction that underpinned the call for a “peace process” – that the two parties are mutual antagonists to a symmetrical dispute – has been unraveled.

Israel occupies the Palestinians. It seizes their property and locks them away. It builds Jewish-only roads and frets about the the number of non-Jewish babies being born. Americans are beginning to know these things and they want to learn more. Television programs like 60 Minutes are helping to spread the news.

The old peace process bureaucrats – people like Dennis Ross – are approaching irrelevance in 2012. The credibility they once enjoyed is gone. It was undermined by an objective reality which is increasingly being conveyed by intrepid bloggers and news reports.

Who can deny that the Oslo process was engineered to facilitate the preservation of Jewish privilege? Who can deny that Jewish privilege has meant rapacious self-indulgence and apartheid? And who can deny that Zionism – the rickety scaffolding upon which the entire project teeters – is approaching its rational conclusion?

The decline of the ideational influence of the Oslo crowd is linked to the decline in the effectiveness of the Israel Lobby. Today, the facile and sloppy application of the “anti-Semitism” charge is an exercise in self-caricature. The heavy-handed-back-channel or elite-access approach is no longer as effective as it once was, certainly not at 60 Minutes.

President Obama may still believe in the power of Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban’s money. Decades spent mired in Washington’s campaign finance muck have likely imprinted some basic premises on his mind. But those same premises are not shared by the next generation of American leaders.

American support for Israel is eroding – and not only because of Israeli policies. More than ever the state’s basic substance is being debated. Young Americans increasingly ask, if multiracial and multicultural, non-sectarian and non-religious democracy is good enough here, why isn’t it good enough in Israel?

There is no good answer to that question.

Does the Israeli leadership understand what’s happening? Was the reaction to a relatively minor incident an implicit acknowledgment of Zionism’s increasingly precarious position? Was it recognition that the camel is overladen – and that the marginal straw doesn’t have to be a particularly big one?

And if it understands all that, what does it plan to do about it?

About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of liwwa.com. Twitter: @ahmedmoor

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27 Responses

  1. Blake
    May 23, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Was it ever going to work though? 64 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

    • Sumud
      May 24, 2012, 8:06 am

      I think if Israel had just accepted the 55% the partition offered them and not undertaken the Nakba, Israel/Palestine would be a non-issue now and it would have been that way for many years now.

      War in 1947/48/49 was not inevitable, it was a war of choice for Israel because her leaders were fixated on possessing all of Palestine; non-jewish arab Palestinians were an impediment to their goal. Many many Palestinian villages made non-aggression pacts with their jewish neighbours which the zionist forces then violated…

  2. lysias
    May 23, 2012, 3:40 pm

    It wasn’t until Judge Richard Goldstone recommended that Israel and Hamas both investigate potential war crimes (14 Israelis were killed; four of them by friendly fire) that some people began to worry. But just a little. And not enough to prevent the killing of 9 unarmed Turkish human rights activists in international waters.

    Report: Turkey set to indict IDF officers over killing of Gaza flotilla activists.

    Will Turkey be able to get an Interpol arrest warrant for the Israeli officers? And will the EU countries extradite them to Turkey? (Fat chance of the U.S. or Canada doing so.)

  3. HarryLaw
    May 23, 2012, 4:02 pm

    A recent poll in Stern magazine in Germany is instructive ‘most Germans think Israel aggressive, here- http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/120523/poll-most-germans-think-israel-aggressive

  4. chuckcarlos
    May 23, 2012, 4:29 pm

    many reasons

    phil weiss and annie robbins like to tango and not dance to some obscure hebrew hat dance?

    usa is increasingly becoming something other than a “christian” nation…even the up and coming “christians” worship the virgin of guadalupe…now there’s something no scribe in Babylon could ever borrow or make up on their own…holy lands ain’t so holy…ask Richard Gere

    usa got snookered after WW2 when all the european colonialists got kicked out and usa got stuck with a whole bunch of losers…vietnam, israel…over and over…

    israel bs is the same as that coming from the meyer lansky cubans who long for the return of a real democratic leader like Batista…long on self serving shit, short on facts…

    instantaneous communications…and knowledge that israel has lied so long about the arab and muslims that their lies are coming home to roost…

  5. Blake
    May 23, 2012, 5:11 pm
    • seafoid
      May 23, 2012, 6:01 pm

      Thanks Blake

      Brand Israel will have a hard time spinning this
      It sounds just like a pogrom from old Russia


      Clashes erupt during south TA protest; migrants attacked

      Residents says streets ‘no longer safe for children, women’ due to influx of African infiltrators. Demonstrators attack migrants’ car, leftist. MK Regev: They are a cancer in our society

      Neri Brenner Latest Update: 05.24.12, 00:35 / Israel News

      About 1,000 people gathered in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood Wednesday evening to protest against the government’s handling of the flow of African migrants into Israel.

      Some of the demonstrators shattered the windshield of a vehicle in which three African migrants were riding. The migrants were not injured.

      Police arrested two people suspected of attacking a foreign worker during the protest.

      Related articles:

      Israel’s southern border fence progressing
      3 Africans suspected of raping 15-year-old girl
      Police chief: Foreigners problem growing

      The demonstrators also chased two foreigners but were blocked by police. They also threw two firecrackers at police forces.

      Earlier, about 100 demonstrators chased after a leftist who took part in a counter rally. Police officers blocked the protesters path. The rioters hurled glass bottles and sticks at the officers.

      According to Israel Police, 17 people were arrested. Fifteen of them were arrested for rioting and assault, while two others were detained for looting a store owned by migrants.

      “We stole everything,” one of the youngsters who looted the store said with a smile on his face. “People took whatever they could carry.”

      Demonstrator arrested (Photo: Yaron Brener)

      “If the wife of a Knesset member would have been raped, this whole mess would have been sorted out, but no one cares about us” one of the demonstrators who were arrested told Ynet.

      The protesters waved signs reading “South Tel Aviv a refugee camp” and “Infiltrators, leave our home.”

      One of the demonstrators who spoke during the rally urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “decide whether we live in Israel or Sudan.”

      Smaller protests against the illegal immigration phenomenon were held in Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Eilat.

      Residents of the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods Shapira and Kiryat Shalom held another rally on Chahmei Yisrael Street. They waved signs reading, “Our streets are no longer safe for our children,” “The craziness of our life: Neglect, crime, rape and violence,” “Yesterday it was my daughter, tomorrow it will be your daughter,” and “Yishai was right.”

      Many Israelis, including ministers, attribute the growing violence in the country to the illegal immigration of Africans.

      “We are afraid to walk the streets,” said Ayala Silwani, who has lived in Shapira for the past 30 years. “The elderly are forced to remain indoors, women are afraid to walk around alone – this is an impossible situation.”

      The protest organizers urged participants not to take the law into their own hands and refrain from carrying out acts of violence in the neighborhood.

      “The infiltrators are taking over our neighborhood,” another resident said. “Netanyahu must find an immediate solution. The prime minister must see to it that (the infiltrators) are provided with food, but first he must guarantee our security.”

      A number of Knesset members from the ruling Likud party were also on hand. MK Danny Danon, chairman of the Knesset lobby dealing with the problem of infiltrators, called on the government to deport the foreign migrants. “We should not be ashamed of the word ‘expulsion’. We can send them back (to their home countries),” he said.

      “I spoke with the president of Sudan, and he said to me ‘no problem, send them back to us.'”

      MK Miri Regev referred to the infiltrators as a “cancer” and attacked the human rights groups that are aiding the foreign migrants.

      “The infiltrators are a cancer in our society. All the leftists who filed High Court appeals (against the deportation of African migrants) should be ashamed of themselves,” she said.

      “We will not let them thwart our attempt to protect ourselves, our children, our women and our work places. We will continue to protest every day until the last of the Sudanese infiltrators returns to his country.”

      Earlier Wednesday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the construction of a fence along the border with Egypt would not stop the influx of foreigners into Israel. “The fence has been breached in the past and it will be breached many more times in the future,” he said during a Knesset session.

      The minister said that if given the mandate, there will not be a single infiltrator left in Israel in one year’s time. “I would change the law so that every infiltrator is put in jail. Then he can decide whether he wants to remain imprisoned or go back to his home country,” he said.

      The tensions between Israelis and foreign migrants peaked in late April when a Molotov cocktail was lobbed into Sudanese kindergarten in south Tel Aviv.

      Tel Aviv District Police Commander Aharon Aksol said Monday that the past few months have seen a surge in violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants, but added that the phenomenon should not be attributed only to the infiltrators who reside in the city’s southern area, but to “Israeli society as a whole.”

      During a Knesset debate on the wave of violence, Aksol said the growing tension between the residents of south Tel Aviv and the infiltrators was dangerous. He claimed that something must be done to curb the violence “or else the situation may deteriorate.”

      • seafoid
        May 23, 2012, 6:06 pm

        The deputy leader of Likud, no less


        Speaking at the rally in south Tel Aviv late Wednesday, MK Danny Danon (Likud), chairman of the “Deportation Now” movement, called for the immediate expulsion of African migrants from Israel.

        Danon said: “The infiltrators are a national plague and we must deport them immediately before it’s too late – the Sudanese can go back to Sudan and the rest should be deported to other countries in Africa and Eastern Europe.”

        Danon added that “the State of Israel is engaged in a war against an enemy state composed of infiltrators and located within Israel. Its capital is south Tel Aviv. ‘Deportation Now’ is the only solution.”

        Can anyone imagine the uproar if a right wing demagogue in Scotland said in public – “Jewish people are a plague and must be deported immediately. “

      • Sumud
        May 24, 2012, 8:14 am

        Danon said: “The infiltrators are a national plague and we must deport them immediately before it’s too late – the Sudanese can go back to Sudan and the rest should be deported to other countries in Africa and Eastern Europe.”

        The Eights Stages of Genocide:

        Stage 3 – Dehumanization
        Characteristic: One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases.
        Preventive measures: Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen.”

        Let us see what Barack Obama has to say about fellow Africans being compared to diseases by prominent Israeli politicians… Will he grow a spine or just throw ever more taxpayer money at Israel?

        I tell you, Israelis are being primed for the final zionist push to push Palestinians out of Palestine.

      • Shingo
        May 24, 2012, 9:03 pm

        What about this one Sumud?

        Denial “The perpetrators… deny that they committed any crimes…”

  6. Henry Norr
    May 23, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Unless something has escaped my memory and Mondoweiss’s search engine, no one posted anything here about the BBC World Service’s 2012 Country Ratings Poll, although it’s been discussed in detail in recent week by the Israeli press, Electronic Intifada, Gilad Atzmon, etc. (Phil did a post on last year’s version: “BBC spots sharp climb in negative view of Israel in the U.S.“.)

    In this year’s results, based on a survey of 24,000 people in 22 countries, Israel is tied with North Korea for third place among countries that most negatively influence the word – both got 50 percent, which put them a bit behind Iran (55 percent) and Pakistan (51 percent). The U.S., Nigeria, and Kenya were the only countries where a majority of respondents said they had a positive view of Israel; overall, only 21 percent of respondents were in that category.

    The results from the U.S. weren’t so good, though: 50 percent of American respondents said they had a favorable view of Israel, an increase of 7 percent from last year, while the percentage saying they have a negative view of Israel decreased 6 percent to 35 percent.

    The full report is here. Here’s the section on Israel:

    Evaluations of Israel’s influence in the world—already largely unfavourable in 2011—have worsened in 2012. On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2011 and 2012, 50 per cent of respondents have negative views of Israel’s influence in the world, an increase of three points from 2011. The proportion of respondents giving Israel a favourable rating remains stable, at 21 per cent. Out of 22 countries polled in 2011, 17 lean negative, three lean positive, and two are divided.

    In the Western countries surveyed, views of Israel show improvement only in the US. Fifty per cent of Americans have a favourable view of Israel in 2012, and this proportion has increased by seven points. At the same time, the proportion of negative ratings has gone down six points to 35 per cent and, as a result, the US has gone from being divided in 2011 to leaning positive in 2012. These are the most positive views on Israel’s influence expressed in the US since tracking began in 2005. Apart from the US, the most favourable views of Israel are found in Nigeria and Kenya, where views have also shifted since 2011. A majority of 54 per cent of Nigerians (up 23 points) rates Israel positively, and the country has moved from being divided to leaning positive in 2012 (54% positive vs 29% negative). In Kenya, negative ratings have fallen ten points (to 31%), while positive views have risen by 16 points (to 45%), shifting the country from leaning negative in 2011 to leaning positive in 2012.

    Among the Muslim countries surveyed, perceptions of Israel have deteriorated in Egypt (85% negative ratings, up 7 points and the highest negative percentage in the survey), and remained largely negative but stable in Pakistan (9% positive vs 50% negative) and in Indonesia (8% vs 61%).

    In the EU countries surveyed, views of Israeli influence have hardened in Spain (74% negative ratings, up 8 points) and in France (65%, up 9 points) —while positive ratings remain low and steady. Negative ratings from the Germans and the British remain very high and stable (69% and 68%, respectively). In other Anglo-Saxon countries, views have worsened in Australia (65% negative ratings, up 7 points) and in Canada (59%, up 7 points). This hardening of opinion towards Israel’s influence in the world is strongly apparent in South Korea, where negative views have risen (69%, up 15 points) while positive views have decreased by 11 points (to 20%).

    Negative attitudes have also increased among the Chinese, the Indians, and the Russians. In China, a 9-point drop in positive ratings (to 23%) makes the overall balance of views even more negative (23% positive vs 45% negative). In India, negative perceptions have gone up 4 11 points (to 29%), and overall opinion has shifted from being divided in 2011 (21% vs 18%) to leaning negative in 2012 (17% vs 29%). In Russia, public opinion has shifted from leaning positive in 2011 to being divided in 2012 (25% positive vs 26% negative).

    In Ghana, favourable views have fallen by 13 points while negative views have decreased by eight points, and the country has shifted from leaning somewhat positive in 2011 (32% positive vs 27% negative) to being divided in 2012 (19% vs 19%). Over six in ten Ghanaians (62%, up 20 points) do not give a rating, the highest percentage in the survey. In Latin America, perceptions are negative overall, with pluralities giving negative ratings in Chile (34%, stable), Peru (35%, stable), and Mexico (44%, up 15 points). Brazilians continue to be strongly unfavourable to Israel’s influence, with a stable majority of 58 per cent who rate it negatively.

    Factors shaping perceptions of Israel
    For those who held negative views of Israel influence in the world, the foreign policy of the Israeli State is by some distance the main reason explaining their negative rating (45%). The way Israel treats its own people stands out as the second most important reason (27%). Of those holding positive views, Jewish traditions and culture are cited by 29 per cent globally, closely followed by foreign policy (26%).

  7. American
    May 23, 2012, 5:52 pm

    Failing because the Brand has no substance?
    Which lets me sneak in a news flash about the Facebook ‘brand”…better known as “hype”.
    Facebook always smelled like another Enron to me because Zuckerman has been a sleazy schemer, not a business man, from day one.
    But really it’s a disaster for the ignorant average investor out there.
    By the time the senate investigation into this is over I’m betting that what is revealed is that Zuckerman colluded with Goldman and their IPO bankers to make sure only the general investors not the big guys got stung….. because Zuckerman and the those who actually knew about the secret negative financials on Facebook made billions in their trades. I am equally sure nothing will be done about it and the investors are out their money. Zuckerman may take a powder to Singapore like his co- founder (co thief) of Facebook if things get too hot.
    I don’t now what was in the negative report but it probably included the zillion lawsuits Facebook users already had against Zuckerman for knowingly allowing scammers and scammer ads on Facebook for nice fee.
    The thing is that Facebook did well enough to be what it was…but not more than that….but Zuckerman has the same mentality as the Enron dudes….which was if you can scam people, your users or your investors ……do it…stealing and scamming is what they call being sucessful in business.

    Zuckerberg promptly sold his 30.2 million shares, netting a quick billion dollars and change in the IPO….that should be a clue and tells you what he thinks of Facebok’s ability to ever be worth it’s price.

    Morgan Stanley Being Investigated over Withholding Facebook …
    ‎AllMediaNY – 6 hours ago
    AllMediaNY – Morgan Stanley Being Investigated over Withholding Facebook Stock Information.Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sued over stock float‎ Digital Spy
    Shareholders sue Facebook, Zuckerberg, Morgan Stanley‎ Computerworld
    Senate to investigate claims of mishandled Facebook IPO
    Updated at 01:33 PM today

    Facebook Founder Flees Fleecing
    Facebook co-founder (co thief would be more like it) Eduardo Saverin’s renounced his U.S. citizenship in favor of living in Singapore, to aviod taxes and probably whatever else blows up at Facebook.


    Facebook’s stock has fallen as low as $30.94, or 19 percent below its IPO price of $38, and more than 30 percent from a peak of $45 reached shortly after it started trading Friday.
    The drop on Tuesday came after Reuters reported that underwriters had cut their revenue estimates for the stock shortly before the IPO, a highly unusual move.

    • lysias
      May 24, 2012, 10:03 am

      And what about all the media that hyped the Facebook IPO?

  8. seafoid
    May 23, 2012, 5:57 pm

    “It is hard to know what Shalom Eisner — an Israeli army officer — was thinking when he brutalized a Danish bike protester several weeks ago”

    Some garbage like this

  9. American
    May 23, 2012, 6:10 pm

    “And if it understands all that, what does it plan to do about it?”

    LOL….Israel plans to do more of the same. Why shouldn’t it? Who’s going to stop them? Or do we need to just kowtow more to their paranoia and psychopathy and ‘feel their victim hood pain’ demands more to make them quit?
    They haven’t “quit” their rampage for 65 years….65 years, their entire life time, think about that…….they aren’t ever going to quit it voluntarily.

  10. Shingo
    May 23, 2012, 8:56 pm

    Fascinating post Avi.

  11. Nevada Ned
    May 24, 2012, 4:29 am

    Today on the opinion page, the New York Times ran a column by Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian who is an Israeli citizen. He briefly documents the Nakba and Israel’s continuing racial discrimination against Palestinians (some Israeli citizens, some not).

    The New York Times is famous for its obituaries, which is part of its boast of being “The Newspaper of Record.” This piece may be the obituary for Israel’s official ideology, according to which Israel developed without hurting anybody or pushing anybody out of the way.

    The NYT plays an elite “gatekeeper” role: if it’s in the NYT, it must be news. Other newspapers are now officially allowed to discuss Israel’s racial discrimination against Palestinians.

    Stay tuned for the response. My guess is that Israel’s supporters will generate some critical letters attempting to rebut Munayyer’s piece, but all (or nearly all) of the critical letters will come from Jews. Support for Israel from non-Jews is collapsing.

    • Karin
      May 24, 2012, 6:14 am

      Actually, I think support for Israel among American Jews, especially younger and secular liberal Jews is collapsing. The strongest support in the U.S. comes from Southern evangelicals, and nothing they see in the news seems to change their beliefs, because they are biblically based.

      • piotr
        May 24, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Someone should tell them that Israel is a county of gay parades, public sex on beaches and, worst of all! socialized medicine.

    • playforpalestine
      May 24, 2012, 9:39 am

      “The New York Times is famous for its obituaries, which is part of its boast of being “The Newspaper of Record.” This piece may be the obituary for Israel’s official ideology, according to which Israel developed without hurting anybody or pushing anybody out of the way. ”

      That is seriously weak, dude. The NYT is famous for a lot of things, it’s widely considered to be the best paper in the US, along with the wash post. The “paper of record” term comes from librarians who named it that because of its index, a novelty back in 1916 or whenever it began, not because of its obits.

    • lysias
      May 24, 2012, 10:05 am

      Actually, I believe the NYT reported Deir Yassin at the time. And then proceeded to forget about it.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    May 24, 2012, 11:09 am

    RE: “It is hard to know what Shalom Eisner — an Israeli army officer — was thinking when he brutalized a Danish bike protester several weeks ago. Probably his thoughts tracked what he was doing — which is to say they weren’t anything out of the ordinary. The Israeli officer was acting normally, on a normal day, in the normalized context of Israeli occupation.” ~ Ahmed Moor

    FROM PAUL WOODWARD, War in Context, 4/17/12

    (excerpt) A soldier is on the battlefield, face-to-face with the enemy — but he’s run out of ammunition. How’s he going to engage in what could be the final fight for his life?
    If he’s an Israeli soldier he’ll most likely employ the no-holds-barred Krav Maga, one of the world’s deadliest hand-to-hand combat styles. This technique derived from street-fighting skills developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler, as a means of defending Bratislava’s Jewish quarter against attacks by fascist groups in the 1930s.
    This is what Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, deputy commander of the IDF’s Jordan Valley brigade, resorted to when faced with the “threat” posed by a bunch of kids on bicycles on Saturday afternoon.
    Eisner might have appeared to have lost control but his was what might be called measured brutality — restrained enough not to kill or to fracture a peaceful protester’s skull.

    The following video shows Israelis training in the technique the lieutenant colonel employed.*
    Amir Mizroch is the editor of the English Newsletter Edition of “Israel Hayom”, Israel’s most widely-read Hebrew daily newspaper. He says the blow that Eisner delivered to Andreas Ias, an ISM activist participating in the Jordan Valley cycle tour, is a Krav Maga blow that IDF recruits are taught in their first week of basic training. . .

    * ENTIRE COMMENTARY AND VIDEO (01:09) – http://warincontext.org/2012/04/17/what-lt-col-shalom-eisner-reveals-about-the-idf-and-the-occupation/

    • Henry Norr
      May 24, 2012, 11:35 am

      There’s a Krav Maga Institute that happens to have its HQ in Berkeley, not far from where I live. More info here.

  13. radii
    May 24, 2012, 3:30 pm

    “what does [israel] plan to do about it?”

    what they plan doesn’t matter, what they will do is escalate – as they always always do – and only make the situation much worse for all … but this speeds up the death of zionism, so it will be useful in that regard

  14. JLWarner
    May 24, 2012, 11:28 pm


    You say “American support for Israel is eroding” (third from last paragraph). Probably correct among the people. But still a very long way from a majority of Americans. And history has shown that popular movement don’t get to change government policy until there is a 2/3rds or 3/4th majority.

    You ask, Why isn’t an American-like “multiracial and multicultural, non-sectarian and non-religious democracy” good enough for Israel (same paragraph)? I would love to see that, but I don’t have much hope. The answer is that almost all Israelis want to express their ethnic/religious identity in a state. And I suspect many Palestinians want the same thing.

    If you want to advocate for a one state solution, explain to us what a one state would be like. Discuss the one state’s institutions and method of governance. Give us a picture of how Jews and Arabs would interact in one state, how power would be shared, and how economic disparities would be addressed.

    You don’t have to tell us about Israeli sins against Palestinians or explain how the peace process is a fraud – we know all that.

    • gazacalling
      May 25, 2012, 10:52 pm

      That was a thoughtful reply, Warner. I tend to agree with Ahmed about the public opinion shift though. There’s shifts in public opinion that respond to events, and then there’s the tectonic shifts that opinion polls can’t measure except over a very, very long period. The key thing about that deeper public opinion is the education of opinion-leaders. That is something that I do see changing, even though it is incremental.

      I don’t see much hope for a one-state solution either. There’s just too much racism for that too work. But there’s too much attachment to Jerusalem on both sides for a two-state solution to work either. So this thing hurtles to a conclusion on its own, and all we can focus on is education of opinion leaders…

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