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Gideon Levy (unintentionally) lays bare the contradictions of liberal Zionism

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Usually Gideon Levy’s razor-sharp commentaries in Haaretz get to the heart of the matter, but I think he blew a gasket with his latest, comparing the P.A.’s bid for statehood to early Zionist politics. Sure, there are a few tenuous comparisons to be made and it’s an intriguing thought experiment…

The Palestinians are the new Jews and their leaders are amazingly similar to the former Zionist leaders… They are now the ones whose cause is just in the eyes of the world. The same world that understood in November 1947 that the Jews (and the Palestinians ) deserve a state, understands in September 2011 that the Palestinians finally deserve a state… Look at them and look at us. They are what we once were.

…But there’s a huge elision in this comparison –– no direct statement that the early Zionist political program was predicated on a premeditated campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous non-Jewish population. This is where liberal Zionism consistently runs afoul of reality, a stubborn unwillingness to come to grips with or even acknowledge the crimes of 1948. As the world witnesses gravediggers Bibi and Obama bury the corpse of the “peace process,” the only path to a just, equitable outcome will run through truth, reconciliation, and land/power-sharing that comes to terms with the entire history of Zionist dispossession of the Palestinian people.

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I thought it was a poor effort from Gideon Levy.

Matthew – I think you are off the mark here. Do you know for a fact that Gidon Levy disagrees with Ilan Pappe’s thesis? Although Levy has a worldwide audience through the translated Ha’aretz site, he is addressing Israelis. He astutely draws parallels between 1947 and 2011 drawing on political trivia that that will resonate only with Israelis. As always, Prophet Gidon is pounding on the Israeli bubble, trying to cut through the indifference and… Read more »

More WB settlers getting all militant. “Amalekites” is a heavily laden term in religious Judaism, with some interpretations that it is a religious duty to kill “Amalekites” (and their children and livestock, if I remember scripture correctly) In today’s papers: “Our enemies are like Amalek (a biblical villain),” said Marzel, chairman of the rightist movement Our Land of Israel. “But we must remember that the best defense is offense. We can’t stay close to our… Read more »

In fairness, many Zionists in the pre-state era were emphatically for a bi-national state. Judah Magnes and Henrietta Szold among them. Darker forces prevailed.

Zionism at earliest moment based “on a premeditated campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous non-Jewish population”? I agree. But it is far from clear that the WORLD understood this. UNGA-181 is not written that way; it calls for respect for the “other” living within each country. recall that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was being negotiated/written at this time, the WWII had just finished and had more to it than just the… Read more »