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Netanyahu visit causes ‘New Yorker’ to contemplate ‘untenable’ Jewish future for Israel

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I believe that Netanyahu’s disgraceful speech to Congress represents the tipping point, that anyone with any sense of an American interest, the people’s interest, had to vomit over that spectacle. Here’s proof: Hendrik Hertzberg, who is largely silent on these matters, getting eloquent at the New Yorker. He echoes Obama’s view that the world is moving ahead of a Jewish state that occupies. Notice Hertzberg’s defensiveness about a Jewish and democratic state and the Palestinian application for statehood. One great thing about the Palestinian initiative is that it will force more American liberals to stand up for their values (after 7 decades of disfranchisement of a people). Also note the halfway-honest italicized reference to the Israel lobby, which editor David Remnick pooh-poohed. Hertzberg (thx to Ali Gharib):

Nearly as appalling as Netanyahu’s intransigence was the mindlessness of the senators and representatives, Republican and Democratic, who rewarded him with ovation after standing ovation. This had less to do with studied convictions about the issues than with the political salience, actual and perceived, of certain Jewish and evangelical constituencies. (For many in the House chamber, the two-state solution is their own plus Florida.) But Middle East diplomacy is always distorted by short-term domestic politics. At the moment, Israel-accepting Fatah has its untested détente with Israel-denying Hamas; Netanyahu has a cabinet stocked with ministers openly determined to keep every inch of the West Bank; Obama has 2012. The President has put down some markers but has no discernible plan to make them stick. Time is short. In much of the Arab world, public opinion is supplanting the whims of malleable tyrants. Palestinians are beginning to discover the possibilities of nonviolence, which Israel, with its ethical and political traditions, would find far harder to resist than rocks and rockets. The longer the occupation lasts, and the larger the Arab and Palestinian populations grow in territory under Israeli control, the more untenable Israel’s future as both Jewish and democratic becomes. And a tsunami approaches. “There is an impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one, not just in the Arab world—in Latin America, in Asia, and in Europe,” Obama told the AIPAC delegates. In September, the United Nations may consider a Palestinian request for admission as a sovereign state. Such a resolution would not make Palestine sovereign, of course. But it would damage Israel’s legitimacy in unprecedented ways, and probably threaten its economy.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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