Palestinians under occupation should demand voting rights (Goldberg’s latest variation)

A year ago Peter Beinart, the liberal Zionist, all but called for Israeli citizenship for Palestinians living under endless military occupation in the West Bank because people have a right to consent to the government that rules their lives. Now Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg says pretty much the same thing, before he kind of pulls it back:

When Abbas goes before the UN, he shouldn’t ask for recognition of an independent state. Instead, he should say the following: “Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza 45 years ago, and shows no interest in letting go of the West Bank, in particular. We, the Palestinian people, recognize two things: The first is that we are not strong enough to push the Israelis out. Armed resistance is a path to nowhere. The second is that the occupation is permanent. The Israelis are here to stay. So we are giving up our demand for independence. Instead, we are simply asking for the vote. Israel rules our lives. We should be allowed to help pick Israel’s rulers.”

Reaction would be seismic and instantaneous. The demand for voting rights would resonate with people around the world, in particular with American Jews, who pride themselves on support for both Israel and for civil rights at home. Such a demand would also force Israel into an untenable position; if it accedes to such a demand, it would very quickly cease to be the world’s only Jewish-majority state, and instead become the world’s 23rd Arab-majority state. If it were to refuse this demand, Israel would very quickly be painted by former friends as an apartheid state.

Israel’s response, then, can be reasonably predicted: Israeli leaders eager to prevent their country from becoming a pariah would move to negotiate the independence, with security caveats, of a Palestinian state on the West Bank, and later in Gaza, as well. Israel would simply have no choice.

This won’t happen, of course.

About Philip Weiss

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

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

  1. Shmuel says:

    I had a feeling Goldberg would end up blaming the Palestinians (again) for their own oppression. If only the Palestinians were to stop demanding independence, Israel would rush to give it to them. How can they be so blind?! If Goldberg were president (of the PNA), he’d negotiate the pants off Netanyahu in two seconds flat — show these silly Arabs how it’s done. But alas he’s not, and so, the Palestinians are doomed to an eternity of Israeli domination. Oh, the futility of it all.

    • Krauss says:

      Maybe it’s just me, but to me, Goldberg is actually very, very predictable. Call it pattern recognition.
      Goldberg always defends Israel on the indefensible areas, but he always brings up what I call ‘a tactical backdoor’. Namely, criticize Israel on a tactical issue.

      Therefore, Bibi is attacked by Goldberg on being clumsy, out of his depth etc etc.
      All that is fine. But what you will never see Goldberg do is to fundamentally question Bibi’s willingness to peace. That is a line that is never crossed.

      Ditto for Israel generally and it’s political establishment. Goldberg will skewer them on all miniscule, tactical issues(timing, execution and so on) but he will, again, never question the notion that Israel does not want to continue settlements and therefore destroy peace, as a de facto policy. Israel is, again, clumsy, misguided, amateurish, short-sighted etc. All character flaws. But in Goldberg’s narrative, it’s fundamental aim is always pure.

      So his defence of Operation Cast Ballot(better known as Pillar of Defence) was typical. He defended the brutality – and more importantly he refused to adress the reason why rockets were flying, could have anything at all to do with a brutal blockade – but he thought a ground invasion was wrong. So again, Israel is fundamentally morally right in all situations. But he will attack it’s tactics, the way it goes about these things.

      Once in a while, to keep his credibility, he will stake out on say something really left-wing. So he’ll warn a few times per year that Israel is becomming an apartheid state. Now he’s sort of, maybe, kinda saying the palestinians ought to be their own masters.

      Yet, when Daniel Levy(formerly of J Street when that organization was still kinda of left-wing) wrote in the Atlantic about Israel’s fundamental moral corruption, Goldberg was like a putbull. You see, it’s one thing to let Goldberg talk about these issues – on his terms. It’s not okay for everyone else to talk about it, without the endless hedging.

      This is another of those areas. Goldberg will tip-toe right up to the edge, for tactical reasons, in order to stay relevant on the left.

      But if people started pushing a vote for Palestinians under occupation in a serious manner, count on Goldberg to start attacking again. Of course, with a few sprinkled denouncements on Israel’s clumsy, ineffective tactical mistakes.

      Goldberg is really like a clock in his preditability. I’m still surprised Phil hasn’t seen through him completely, as the hesitant tone of this article conveys.

  2. pabelmont says:

    Mr. Goldberg, Israel is not at all interested in avoiding being labeled a “pariah”. They rather like it, in fact. It helps with their “fortress mentality”, their idea of being surrounded by enemies, an idea they really don’t want to give up — for example, by making any sort of peace acceptable to Palestinians. Calling Israel a “pariah” is, frankly, like “throwing Israel in the briar patch” (to use the Br’er Rabbit trope). Israel LIVES in the briar patch for goodness sake!

    So being called an “apartheid state” holds no terrors for them. It’s already happening. Big deal, they seem to say.

    What they do fear is not being able to treat the West Bank and East Jerusalem as their own private property. They really do not want to have to wait for a peace treaty before they build (retain) settlements, universities, seats of government, etc., on Palestinian land. THAT is what they fear.

    So the PA is ill-advised MERELY to demand the vote, although (for the duration of the by-now-apparently-permanent-in-intent occupation, Palestinians living under occupation [IMO:and also the exiles of 1948] certainly deserve the vote. No, what they should demand is that the member states of the UN apply pressure (I call that sort of pressure “nation-state BDS”) upon Israel with a view to removing the settlers and settlements and wall FOR THE DURATION of the occupation. Yes, not forever, just for the duration.

    Israel fears being required to comply with humanitarian law, and such a compulsion by members of the UNGA is absolutely not the same as “throwing Israel in the briar patch”.

  3. mondonut says:

    No choice? Here is a more likely Israel response:

    “Israel guarantees the right to vote to each and every citizen of the State of Israel. The Palestinians have also elected their own leaders in free and fair elections.”

    Anyone who is truly interested in the voting rights of the Palestinians might want to question why Abbas is still in office despite his long expired term of office.

    • eljay says:

      >> Here is a more likely Israel response:
      >> “Israel guarantees the right to vote to each and every citizen of the State of Israel … ”

      ” … , which will no longer be a supremacist ‘Jewish State’, but which will instead be the secular, democratic and egalitarian state of and for all Israelis equally.”

      Perfect! :-)

    • Donald says:

      “Anyone who is truly interested in the voting rights of the Palestinians ”

      Leaves you out. But you’re right–Israel probably would continue to steal land while saying Palestinians have rights because they voted. People could run elections in jail too, if the jailers allowed it.

      • mondonut says:

        Donald says: Leaves you out.
        ===========================
        You know this how? I have no problem with Palestinians voting as they see fit, but it is the Palestinians themselves who are denying access to elections.

    • Mooser says:

      “No choice? Here is a more likely Israel response:
      “Israel guarantees the right to vote to each and every citizen of the State of Israel. The Palestinians have also elected their own leaders in free and fair elections.”

      Who are you quoting, Mondonut? Anyway, no matter who it is, it’s nice to know you have an almost instant grasp of Zionist hasbara on this subject. Yes, I know, Mondonut, you’re not-a-Zionist.

      • mondonut says:

        Mooser says: Who are you quoting, Mondonut?
        ======================================
        Correct, I am not a Zionist. Nor part of your Hasbara fantasy. And I was not quoting anyone, those were my own words, which I mistakenly thought would be self evident. My bad.

        • Cliff says:

          You can say you’re not a Zionist all you want – but every one of your comments belies that statement.

          You do not sympathize with the disproportionate number of Palestinian dead and suffering.

          You blame said suffering on ‘human shield’ tactics by Hamas which is spurious and and intellectual lazy and irresponsible.

          You hold Palestinians to higher standards in spite of the logistical reality of the relationship between Israeli Jew and Palestinian Arab.

          You are pro-colonialism and/or anti-Arab and anti-Islam. You do not believe indigenous peoples have the right to use violence against their oppressors (slippery sloping Hamas and other militancy into ‘all Palestinian resistance’ and taking away Palestinians’ collective right to defend themselves).

          All the while, reiterating Israel’s rights, sufferings, claims, etc.

          You are most certainly a Zionist. Perhaps a newbie full of assurance that he/she is an impartial observer – but there is no such thing and your biases are quite transparent.

          On the continual dialogue here in the comments section – your political philosophy and set of moral/ethics (as they conform to whatever ethno-religious [or lack thereof as 'identifiers' for whom you are] variables describe you and whatever else makes you, ‘you’).

          You are quite typically another dustbin Zionist troll who is BLIND to the forest for the trees and it is precisely because your intellectual framework (how you approach a news item out of the conflict) contorts to fit a pro-Israel narrative.

          Whereas, we can bash and denounce Hamas and Islamic Whatever while acknowledging the Palestinian Arabs’ claim to the land is legitimate and they as a people (an abstraction) have legitimate grievances that are continually perpetuated BY THE ISRAELIS and not by some unknown natural disaster.

          But continue posting. You’re not posting for dialogue. You are posting for yourself – to hear your own words out loud in the hope that simply rattling off meaningless Zionist memes may stem the avalanche of well-documented, well-reasoned, etc. anti-Zionist rebuttals.

          Hence why trolls such as you make a comment and disappear for substantial amounts of time to again reappear and make another hit and run comment.

    • straightline says:

      @mondonut And here’s the rational response to that. “To define an Israeli citizen – at least by birth – you need to define its borders. Please do so! ”

      Abbas still in office? Ask Israel and the US.

  4. eljay says:

    >> Such a demand would also force Israel into an untenable position; if it accedes to such a demand, it would very quickly cease to be the world’s only Jewish-majority state, and instead become the world’s 23rd Arab-majority state.

    “Jewish-majority state” suggests that Israel is an egalitarian state in which Jews just happen to be the majority group. But Israel is not a “Jewish-majority state” – it is a Jewish-supremacist state, a state with laws that favour Jews over non-Jews.

  5. ritzl says:

    Do both. Use potential prosecutions at the ICC as leverage to negotiate/secure political equality in a one state outcome, if that’s the Palestinian choice. Israel’s leaders and supporters are scared to death of the former. Moreso, it seems, than the latter.

    Taken as an either/or proposition, Goldberg’s new found love of a one state outcome is a deliberate attempt to maneuver around the near-term and dire consequences of a successful UN bid, in favor of something Israel can “limp-leg” out to their own advantage for another 100 years.

    • American says:

      “in favor of something Israel can “limp-leg” out to their own advantage for another 100 years”

      Exactly how I see it. One state is their second best option for controlling ALL of Palestine and ALL of it’s resources if they are prevented from just taking Palestine and edging ALL the Palestines out..

  6. American says:

    I absolutely do not see how One State can work. I don’t believe that Israelis, in particular, can or will allow Palestines to be equal citizens on the same footing as Jews. The majority of Jews who live in Israel have chosen ‘to be zionist’…..iow, to live in a state that ‘officially’ requires a religious or ethnic majority. I do not see how they can make the transition from that mentality to one that does not privilege or maintain their religious or ethnic majority . If even they could it would take years and years, probably decades, or a generation to make that mental and emotional transition. Is the apartheid society and discrimination that would surely come about despite any one man one vote and last for a long time worth it? We all know how worthless ‘voting’ can be on actual policies within a country. There are hundreds of political trickery’s and laws and regulations that can be implemented, and ways for a government that starts off as and is majority Jewish to maintain that hold despite one man one vote and demographics. I wish I could be convinced this would work but I just don’t see it.

  7. Woody Tanaka says:

    “The demand for voting rights would resonate with people around the world, in particular with American Jews, who pride themselves on support for both Israel and for civil rights at home”

    Bull. If this happened, the vast majority of American Jews would find some excuse as to why their oh-so-famous regard for human rights doesn’t extend to this particular subset of humans. Like Peter Beinart, these people would cast aside their alleged principles in a second

  8. eljay says:

    >> If this happened, the vast majority of American Jews would find some excuse as to why their oh-so-famous regard for human rights doesn’t extend to this particular subset of humans.

    Goldberg’s comment seems to suggest that the regard American Jews have for human rights already does not extend to the Middle East:
    >> ” … American Jews, who pride themselves on support for both Israel and for civil rights at home … ”

    (“support for … Israel” likely covers civil rights for Jews – but not non-Jews – in Israel.)