Is the time right for a palace revolution?

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
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This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

First it’s the infiltrators. They need to be thrown in the sea. Instead, they’re marching in Tel Aviv. Now it’s the inciters. The inciter’s crime? Living in their own land.

How dare Africans demonstrate for their right to live free of harassment!

How dare Palestinians incite against those who continue to steal their land!

Infiltrating Africans and inciting Palestinians are joined at the hip.

Now comes the Israeli peace offering to transfer hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens out of Israel – coupled with the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

So much for a fresh start in the New Year.

Israel has always believed it can wait out the Arabs, the Europeans, the United Nations and the Americans. In 2014, the supposed year of decision, Israel will redouble its efforts to wait it out.

So far Israel is right. Time has been on Israel’s side.

BDS moves steadily along. I was a serious doubter at first. And, sure, not every motive is pure. BDS operates like any political movement. Sometimes mutual interest makes for strange alliances.

BDS’s silence about Jewish particularity is troubling but, then, Israel has permanently damaged the possibility of arguing Jewishness in a positive way. In 2014, negative attitudes toward Israel – and Jews – will increase. The idea in progressive quarters that Zionism and Judaism – or Jews and Israel – can be finely distinguished is an idea not a reality.

Yesterday, the large Dutch pension fund, PGGM, removed its funds from Israeli banks because of the banking system’s involvement with the occupation. The BDS movement continues to pick up steam. Look for yet more BDS victories in 2014.

The question before BDS is whether there is an occupation tipping point. If so, Israel would have to admit defeat and withdraw at least to all the places it now controls. That is, Israel will get everything it has but will be unable to get everything it wants. Whether BDS can get what Palestinians need is debatable.

Yes, shades of the Rolling Stones who, rumor has it, may play Israel this summer. Millions of dollars are at stake for the Stones. Having recently read a biography of Mick Jagger, I’m not sure he can look a million dollar gift horse in the mouth and turn away.

Will Israel get what it needs this year? Time is what it needs. And even though John Kerry travels Super 1st Class, you’d think he’s tired of being humiliated by Benjamin Netanyahu. He just left Israel without even detailing his “framework agreement,” already a downgrade from a “permanent agreement,” itself a downgrade from the initially announced “urgency” of the situation.

Time is factoring in once again. But no one really knows for sure.

As the Stones sing it, Kerry – but Netanyahu and Abbas as well – are “practiced in the art of deception.”

Jagger was once a street fighting man. I think the Stones should go to Israel, pocket their millions, and midway through the concert announce their support for BDS, donate a million to the cause, then continue on with the show.

Think the time is right for a palace revolution?

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of The Heartbeat of the Prophetic which can be found at Amazon and www.newdiasporabooks.com

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