Friedman pick will force good liberal Zionists to admit the peace process has failed

US Politics
on 34 Comments

The nomination of an American champion of settlers to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel is no crisis for rightwing Zionists or anti-Zionists. But it is a crisis for liberal Zionists: they are seeing their dream of a two state solution dying before their eyes.

The nomination is a triumph for rightwing Zionists. They see a way to fully impose their vision of “Jewish democracy” across the land God gave to the Jews, without obstruction from the west.

Daniel Pipes at Commentary lays out the burn-the-village-to-save-it logic at Commentary: “Palestinians Would Benefit from Their Defeat.”

To those who hold Palestinians too fanatical to be defeated, I reply: If Germans and Japanese, no less fanatical and far more powerful, could be defeated in World War II and then turned into normal citizens, why not the Palestinians now?

Friedman’s nomination is also no crisis for anti-Zionists. They long ago told you that “Jewish democracy” is a unicorn and that you can see Jewish democracy in action right now: there is one state between the river and the sea, and Palestinians live under apartheid conditions and worse in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. For anti-Zionists, Friedman’s nomination is a bitter vindication of a reality to which they were long bearing witness, for which Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall gave their lives.

The nomination IS a crisis for liberal Zionists. Desperation and anguish are sounding from J Street, Peace Now, the New Israel Fund, and others.

The liberal Zionists have been galvanized by the nomination. They are getting donations “in honor of David Friedman“. “He called you Kapos,” J Street headlines its donation page. Haaretz reports a “surge” in donations to “leftist Jewish groups… in protest” of the pick.

The talking points against Friedman among liberal Zionists are in sync: They all speak of Israel as the “homeland of the Jewish people.” From J Street to the New Israel Fund and Peace Now:

He is hostile to the two-state solution – the only way to ensure Israel’s future as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.

 

David Axelrod writes that Trump:

just took hammer to the prospect of a 2-state solution. The Senate should reject this nomination!

One good thing about this crisis is that the monolith of the Jewish establishment has been shattered: there will be open disagreement among leading Jewish groups. Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street called out other Jewish leaders for supporting Friedman on Chris Hayes’s MSNBC show. “There’s going to be a real split in the institutional life of the Jewish community.”

Lara Friedman of Peace Now has criticized the American Jewish Committee for saying nice things about Friedman. She also scores AIPAC:

But Peace Now is a member of AIPAC’s advisory board. Maybe at last it will quit the Israel lobby, prizing its integrity over access, because young Jews are watching this unfold with horror and pushing them to do the right thing. Look at IfNotNow’s challenge on David Friedman:

If the Jewish establishment remains silent on this latest appointment–as they have on Bannon–they will once again demonstrate how out of touch they are with the rest of the Jewish community. They will once again show that they are unwilling to provide the moral leadership needed in this moment of crisis.

If the Jewish establishment remains silent, we will act for them.

Chris Hayes and other liberal hosts may have to actually drop the mask– and air anti-Zionists. (End of the blacklist? Hmmm.)

The other good news in the nomination is that the liberal Zionists are having a rendezvous with reality. For decades they have supported a purported solution and “peace process” that has produced nothing but more suffering for Palestinians. That is simply fact; yet they have kept kicking the can down the road. Yesterday I received a fundraising appeal from Peace Now:

“As a result of these efforts by Peace Now and others, the Israeli national agenda has been revolutionized: a majority of Israelis now recognize the two-state solution as the only way to maintain Israel as a secure, Jewish, democratic state. Settlement activity is almost universally recognized as undermining the prospects for achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

This is not political reality: Israeli society and the American Jewish establishment are bent on advancing the colonization process. The Obama administration vetoed an anti-settlement resolution in the UN Security Council in 2011 with the active complicity of liberal Zionists and Jeffrey Goldberg and the rest of the Jewish establishment.

As Lara Friedman herself noted, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu bragged this morning:

There has not been a government that showed more concern for settlement in the Land of Israel and no government will show more concern.

The Friedman nomination has the potential to finally expose the charade of the peace process to the American mainstream, and American politicians and journalists will get to report the truth: there is one state between the river and the sea. Palestinians who have witnessed to these facts for years will gain prestige; Chuck Todd and Jake Tapper will have them at the big table.

IMHO all those who seek justice should welcome this opening and seek to organize with liberal Zionists who recognize this reality. Note the ending of David Remnick‘s report in the New Yorker on the Friedman nomination. He quotes Avishai Margalit of Israel’s Peace Now:

“The only thing you can say about Friedman’s appointment is that it’s not as if some other Ambassador would make a big difference. It doesn’t matter. There is no peace process, though Friedman may escalate things. The Palestinians have given up in any case. They have lost hope in any solution, and this is another nail in the coffin.”

That counts as a breakthrough. The Friedman nomination hurts liberal Zionists because it’s the end of the dream of a democratic Jewish state. But it’s the beginning of another dream, which requires the labors of many good people.

H/t James North and Yakov Hirsch. 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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34 Responses

  1. John O
    December 18, 2016, 12:08 pm

    [IfNotNow] “If the Jewish establishment remains silent on this latest appointment–as they have on Bannon–they will once again demonstrate how out of touch they are with the rest of the Jewish community.”

    You’d think that, as 2016 drags towards its depressing close, establishments everywhere would realise that their padlocked ears have already brought them Brexit and Trump, and may well bring Presidente LePen of France next year. But then, if your ears are stopped up …

  2. Maghlawatan
    December 18, 2016, 12:27 pm

    The dream of a Jewish democracy has been dead for years. Gilo is almost 50 years old. The question has always been whether or not Israel can pull it off. Can it actually cover apartheid with the Holocaust pass? And the answer is still “no”.

    Israeli society didn’t develop as the Scriptures predicted

    – It has a very poor attitude to quality
    – it runs Groupthink
    – it is violent and thinks vioilence solves problems
    – It will just blank anyone who questions YESHA

    So the house has been bet on YESHA

    The unwind will be epic

  3. Annie Robbins
    December 18, 2016, 1:04 pm

    Palestinians who have witnessed to these facts for years will gain prestige; Chuck Todd and Jake Tapper will have them at the big table. –

    hmm, not so sure about that. hopefully.

    • just
      December 18, 2016, 1:28 pm

      Exactly my reaction, Annie.

      First of all, Chuck and Jake will have to come clean on their own complicity and culpability in the charade of the ‘peace process’, their own flagrant biases against Palestinians, and their full- throated support for all things Israel and Jewish…

      Their networks will have to have to allow that, and reveal their own legendary and foul partisanship. The wall(s) may come tumbling down, and the American people and the world will perhaps be gobsmacked to realize that they’ve allowed themselves to be lied to about apartheid Israel being their BFF and a ‘democracy’.

      So will Ali Abunimah, Susan Abulhawa, Dr. Barghouti, et al really be given a seat at “the big table”?

      • Phil Perspective
        December 19, 2016, 12:56 am

        So will Ali Abunimah, Susan Abulhawa, Dr. Barghouti, et al really be given a seat at “the big table”?

        Haha!! Of course they won’t.

    • Citizen
      December 18, 2016, 10:17 pm

      Yes, hopefully–dig out an extra supply, from I don’t know where–maybe Slurrpy (Chris Matthews) will open up a tiny door?

    • REALITY CHECK 101
      December 20, 2016, 5:10 pm

      I just wanted to point out an obvious fact: Calling Palestine the “homeland” of the Eastern European Jews is like calling America the homeland of the Western European Christians.

  4. pabelmont
    December 18, 2016, 2:40 pm

    A quibble: “there is one state between the river and the sea, and Palestinians live under apartheid conditions and worse in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

    Yes, Palestinians do live under Apartheid, but so do Israeli-Jews. In South Africa, the weight of Apartheid fell on blacks, but the system operated on both. Two laws for two peoples: In Israel/Palestine there are also two laws for two peoples.

    I am not crying for the rotted-out-souls of the Israeli-Jews who have established this Apartheid system. But having a rotted-out-soul is damage and is a damage of Apartheid. We often hear warnings and recognition of the damaged souls of IDF folks who have performed evil service in OPT. But the system (as BDS recognizes) is established by ALL Jewish-Israel.

    • JWalters
      December 18, 2016, 7:51 pm

      For clarity, I’d characterize your point not as a “quibble”, but as an “additional destructive aspect” of Apartheid. Which it most definitely is. And in that respect, Zionism is bad for the Jewish community. It seems to me you make a very important point.

      • Citizen
        December 18, 2016, 10:20 pm

        What’s the point, it’s easy to take the high ground morally when you’re the victim, but once you have the power, the privilege, the police force, not so much? Reminds me of old adage: It all depends on who’s ox is being gored.”

  5. Maghlawatan
    December 18, 2016, 3:06 pm

    The settlers and Likud are bad faith all the way through. Decent politics and values have no place in Israel. Liberal Jews who think Israel is like any other country are for the birds.

  6. yonah fredman
    December 18, 2016, 3:13 pm

    For me, the end of the two state solution looks like this: I advocate Israel annex the West Bank and offer Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians who live in the West Bank.

    • Mooser
      December 18, 2016, 6:27 pm

      “For me, the end of the two state solution looks like this: I advocate Israel annex the West Bank”

      That is very generous of you, “Yonah”, giving Israel your West Bank. And of course, Israel can annex the West bank, without a plebiscite, and welcome all those Gazans to full citizenship in Israel’s discriminatory laws.

      • Citizen
        December 18, 2016, 10:22 pm

        YEAH, when the high court of Israel has already proclaimed there really is no such thing as “Israeli citizenship.”

      • Sibiriak
        December 18, 2016, 11:11 pm

        Citizen: […] the high court of Israel has already proclaimed there really is no such thing as “Israeli citizenship.”
        ————-

        Correction: the court said there was no Israeli nationality ; they did NOT say no Israeli citizenship .

      • Citizen
        December 20, 2016, 1:48 am

        Israel refused to recognize an Israeli nationality at the country’s establishment in 1948, making an unusual distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality.” Although all Israelis qualify as “citizens of Israel,” the state is defined as belonging to the “Jewish nation,” meaning not only the 5.6 million Israeli Jews but also more than seven million Jews in the diaspora.

        Critics say the special status of Jewish nationality has been a way to undermine the citizenship rights of non-Jews in Israel, especially the fifth of the population who are Arab. Some 50+ laws in Israel specifically privilege Jews, including in the areas of immigration rights, naturalization, access to land and employment.

    • JWalters
      December 18, 2016, 7:40 pm

      Or, how about returning all the art stolen from Jews by the Nazis to its rightful owners, and returning all the land stolen from Palestinians by the Zionists to its rightful owners? The land theft is MORE RECENT than the art theft.

    • eljay
      December 19, 2016, 8:06 am

      || yonah fredman: For me, the end of the two state solution looks like this: I advocate Israel annex the West Bank and offer Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians who live in the West Bank. ||

      For me, the end of a two-state solution looks like this:

      All of (Mandate) Palestine becomes a single secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally. No “Jewish and democratic”, no “Arab / Muslim state”.

      Preferential immigration rights are granted to all people up to n-generations removed from (Mandate) Palestine. No special “Laws of Return” for Jewish or non-Jewish people with no tangible ties to the region.

      • Mooser
        December 19, 2016, 12:28 pm

        “eljay” it is something common to all of them: “Yonah” can imagine anything, even the most improbable Israeli turn-arounds, anything, but he can never, ever, imagine that Israel will be forced to do anything, or will even have to play by any other rules than its own.

      • eljay
        December 19, 2016, 1:24 pm

        || Mooser: “eljay” it is something common to all of them: “Yonah” can imagine anything, even the most improbable Israeli turn-arounds, anything, but he can never, ever, imagine that Israel will be forced to do anything, or will even have to play by any other rules than its own. ||

        Zionists seem to think they can stroke Captain Israel for a Thousand Years, but the “self-determination” box of Kleenex will be used up long before then.

    • Talkback
      December 19, 2016, 8:28 am

      Yeah Yonah! And what happens if Palestinians don’t want to live under Jewish supremacy? Doesn’t matter, right? Cause that’s why it’s a Jewish supremacyin the first place.

  7. amigo
    December 18, 2016, 3:22 pm

    It turns out that Trump donated 10 k dollars to the illegal settlements.

    “Settlement leader says Trump’s donation to Beit El was made in honor of David Friedman, Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel. Jared Kushner’s parents also served on founding board of the settlement, Haaretz has learned. ”

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.759738

  8. JWalters
    December 18, 2016, 7:31 pm

    There have always been subgroups within the Jewish community. But WHY has the “establishment” group (i.e. the “donor class”) always supported, and continued to support the most radical, Jewish supremacist, archaic, blind to plain justice, “settler” group? For clearly this pipsqueek bunch of religious fanatics on their own would not have been able to control America’s media and political “establishments”.

    Is it possible the “donor class” of the Jewish establishment has some ulterior motive, either directly or indirectly related to their financial fortunes? e.g.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/because-global-supplier/

    As evidence of this possibility, recall that a member of that group, Bernie Madoff, swindled a Holocaust memorial fund. (!)

    The emotional attachment of liberals to Zionism has depended on deception. e.g.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/03/a-history-of-silencing-israeli-army-whistleblowers-from-1948-until-today/

    The liberal Zionists are akin to retired widows who are swindled by professional-level fake romances.

    • Yakov Hirsch
      December 19, 2016, 12:50 am

      JWalters December 18, 2016, 7:31 pm
      “There have always been subgroups within the Jewish community. But WHY has the “establishment” group (i.e. the “donor class”) always supported, and continued to support the most radical, Jewish supremacist, archaic, blind to plain justice, “settler” group?”

      The “donor class” are the most ethnocentric, the most tribal, and also very susceptible to the hasbara culture “social construction of reality. ” (Think of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whispering toxic tribal nonsense in Adelson’s ear. )
      When less ethnocentric Jewish billionaires feel philanthropic, they give money to more universalistic enterprises than the settlement of Beit El. Maybe something more in line of a donation for the establishment of a kids cancer ward at a local hospital.

      • Mooser
        December 19, 2016, 11:37 am

        “The “donor class” are the most ethnocentric, the most tribal, and also very susceptible to the hasbara culture “social construction of reality. ”

        Well, that’s because they can afford it. It’s an expensive luxury pretension.

  9. iResistDe4iAm
    December 18, 2016, 10:42 pm

    Here’s Angry Arab’s (As’ad AbuKhalil) take on Friedman’s nomination…

    The liberal hue and cry over the appointment of David Friedman as Trump’s ambassador to Israel
    http://angryarab.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/the-liberal-hue-and-cry-over.html

    “I don’t understand the commotion. David Friedman is a fanatic Zionist and someone who has expressed racist views to Muslims and Arabs. That is clear. But I don’t in any way think that Dennis Ross or Aaron David Miller or David Shapiro are any better or less fanatical in their Zionism. In fact, over the decades, Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller and Martin Indyk did so much damage in foreign policy that David Friedman would be hard press to match. Get a hold of yourselves and stop pretending that US foreign policy was “even-handed” and “sensible” until David Friedman came along.”

  10. Dan Walsh
    December 19, 2016, 12:51 am

    @ Daniel Pipes

    “To those who hold Palestinians too fanatical to be defeated, I reply: If Germans and Japanese, no less fanatical and far more powerful, could be defeated in World War II and then turned into normal citizens, why not the Palestinians now?”

    …ah, yes equating Palestinians to Nazis is fine and not racist so long as it is a Zionist doing the comparing, right? And might it be that Pipes’s point could apply even more appropriately to Zionists? They have all the big guns. Might it be good for them to be defeated so they could enjoy a rebirth as normal people? This, after all, is the true spirit of BDS – “tough love” for Zionism so it can finally wake up to its pathologies and start the long walk back to mental health.

  11. Ossinev
    December 19, 2016, 5:58 am

    As ever IMHO the key to all this and to the rapid and final unraveling of the “peace process/two state solution” farce lies not in the convolutions in US Jewish society but with the increasingly irrelevant PA and its mandarins. Saab (we`ll give back the keys) Erekat`s reaction to the appointment is a routine tut tut which he has perfected to a fine art.
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/erekat-moving-us-embassy-to-jerusalem-will-destroy-peace-process/

    He,Abbas and the rest of the PA Vichy cabal will cling on to the bitter end no matter what to keep their 7 star hotel International Conference lifestyles and egos – screw the people they are supposed to be fighting for. They will continue to collaborate with the Israelis in order to stay there and the Israelis in turn will continue do all it takes to keep them in position. It is very much up to the younger Palestinians in the OT to take to the streets to get shot of this bunch of self serving crooks , terminate the so called “Authority” once and for all and openly push for full civil rights including citizenship voting and citizenship rights in whatever ” state” emerges.

  12. Misterioso
    December 19, 2016, 12:42 pm

    For the record:

    http://www.awdnews.com/political/assange-forget-russia-,-the-real-threat-to-america-comes-from-israel-and-the-israel-lobby

    Julian Assange: “Forget Russia, The Real Threat to America comes from Israel and the Israel Lobby” (December 18/16)

    • JWalters
      December 19, 2016, 9:10 pm

      What makes Israel such a dangerous enemy is that it has managed to disguise itself as a friend.

  13. James Canning
    December 19, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Should one assume David Friedman will encourage Israel to “annex”, illegally, more areas of the occupied West Bank? However, I very much doubt Friedman would encourage “annexation” of the entire West Bank.

    • eljay
      December 19, 2016, 3:07 pm

      || James Canning: Should one assume David Friedman will encourage Israel to “annex”, illegally, more areas of the occupied West Bank? … ||

      “Annex” is such an ugly – and perhaps even anti-Semitic – word. Mr. Friedman is more likely to suggest that Israel should “reclaim” its “historical lands” so that Jewish people the world over can “return” to their “ancient homeland”.

    • rosross
      December 19, 2016, 7:52 pm

      West Bank is a euphemism for another slab of Occupied Palestine.

  14. rosross
    December 19, 2016, 7:51 pm

    The more extreme the actions and positions the faster the only solution, a one-state solution shared equally by coloniser and colonised alike, will come to pass.

    Palestinians won’t get their country back and Israeli Jews won’t get a Jewish elitist theocracy but justice will have been done.

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