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David Brooks comes out against the occupation

Israel/Palestine
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David Brooks

David Brooks

My new theme is that the Israel lobby in our country is regrouping around J Street and a program of withdrawal from the West Bank in order to fend off the looming threat to Israel, the anti-Zionist left. To make this shift, the lobby must throw the neoconservative Greater Israel types under the bus– because they are fueling the left by enabling the occupation.

Further evidence comes from the fact that neoconservative David Brooks in the New York Times today comes out against those who would “permanently colonize the West Bank.” His old buddies.

Israel faces a “torturous… horrific choice”, he writes, to end the colonial project so as to forestall international criticism. Brooks praises the leader of the new Zionist consensus, Ari Shavit:

Today this brutal situation boils down to one torturous choice, which Ari Shavit captures in his superb book, “My Promised Land”: “If Israel does not retreat from the West Bank, it will be politically and morally doomed, but if it does retreat, it might face an Iranian-backed and Islamic Brotherhood-inspired West Bank regime whose missiles could endanger Israel’s security. The need to end occupation is greater than ever, but so are the risks.”

Then Brooks distances himself from his neocon buddies:

amoral realists [who] decide in the brutal situation that anything that advances survival is permitted. Under their leadership, security becomes insecurity because security measures are taken to the extreme. These are the people who want to permanently colonize the West Bank.

Brooks can no longer marginalize the left critique. In fact, he is frightened by the American Studies Association vote this week and the movement to isolate Israel. Notice how careful he is not to condemn our side out of hand. We are often good people, with high ideals. And he too is against the occupation… But.

there are people whose minds seem to flee, almost by instinct, from ambiguity to absolutism. These are often good people, with high ideals. But they take a dappled society in a tough situation, like Israel, and they want to judge it according to black and white legal abstractions….

You notice these people because you rarely see them taking the perspective of people they dislike. They don’t acknowledge that even the most humane projects often involve error, fear and sin along the way.

Many Europeans think about Israel this way, as do the folks at the American Studies Association, or A.S.A., which this week announced an academic boycott of Israel. The A.S.A. has a problem with the way Israel is occupying the West Bank. Who doesn’t? But the A.S.A. refuses to acknowledge the complexity of the horrific choice that Ari Shavit identifies.

The A.S.A. instead wants to take Israel’s mistakes and use them as a pretext to make it a rogue nation.

I’d point out, Brooks is agonized by the “horrific” choice of leaving the West Bank. Why does an American columnist regard such a territorial matter half the world away as so painful– when so many other territorial/sovereignty issues over much greater swaths of the planet don’t amount to a hill of beans here? Because of religious attachment, in an empowered American group. And what have been the consequences of such devotion? American support for the occupation, for 46 years.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

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46 Responses

  1. just
    just
    December 20, 2013, 10:22 am

    He seems to only “come out against the occupation” wrt Israel’s ‘best interests’.

    Where is his remorse, his concern for the millions brutalized by the Occupation, the inevitable blowback from the cruelty and injustice that Israel has meted out to the indigenous Palestinians? His apology?

    And Shavit’s beleaguered proclamation here:

    “Today this brutal situation boils down to one torturous choice, which Ari Shavit captures in his superb book, “My Promised Land”: “If Israel does not retreat from the West Bank, it will be politically and morally doomed, but if it does retreat, it might face an Iranian-backed and Islamic Brotherhood-inspired West Bank regime whose missiles could endanger Israel’s security. The need to end occupation is greater than ever, but so are the risks.””

    is so much caca, that it is hard to dissect it. More fear mongering by the illusory victim, when it is clear that they are/have been the cruel oppressors.

  2. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    December 20, 2013, 10:24 am

    “amoral realists [who] decide in the brutal situation that anything that advances survival is permitted. Under their leadership, security becomes insecurity because security measures are taken to the extreme. These are the people who want to permanently colonize the West Bank.”

    And they have been in power for decades, supported by people like you.

  3. Krauss
    Krauss
    December 20, 2013, 10:33 am

    His entire column can be categorized under the well-worn banner:

    Shoot-and-cry.

    The whole “Iran will take over the West Bank!” is one of those Zionist myths that people like Brooks(and Shavit and many others) want to tell themselves in order to avoid any moral responsibility.

    It’s like the mythology that “the conflict was never about land” at the same time as settlements just keep growing and taking land away from those who are indigenous to that soil.

    The rest of the column is just the same old claptrap. Israel is facing a “complex” situation. I wonder if Brooks would be so willing to forgive white-ruled Apartheid. But of course, when it comes to a situation when he is in the ethnic majority(if he were to take aliyah), all of the sudden, we must respect the fears of the Apartheid ruling elite.

    Brooks is not against any occupation nor any Apartheid. But his column is important because he is a political shapeshifter, he is always sticking his finger out to the wind.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      December 20, 2013, 10:43 am

      P.S.

      You’re right, Phil, this is the newest tactic of the lobby. Finally, they are starting to see that the game is coming to a close. My questions:

      1. Will it make a difference? Does Israel listen to people like Brooks?

      2. Ehud Olmert and the J Street lobby say they only need to move 40,000 settlers. But this is under a maximalist proposition that would reduce the Palestinian state into a bantustan.

      My question: Will the outside world allow Israel to essentially just do a mini-retreat and call it a day? They would have done in 2000, but what about 2014 or 2015?

      3. The right in Israel has its own solution; annexation.
      The 2SS is dead for them. Who matters most, frankly speaking, Bennett or Brooks?

      4. And finally, how will the non-Jewish and Jewish anti-Zionist liberals react to this tactical reconfiguration? Many of us see this as pragmatic retreat, tactics in other words, not ideological committment to peace.
      How will people like Brooks be able to fool, if at all, the left? I mean the “complex card” is the classic retreat of the racist. Please don’t judge me and the Apartheid I support! It’s complicated!
      Will the left fall for it?

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        December 20, 2013, 10:49 am

        Just one final thing(phew!).

        I believe this signals a second phase in the resistance to Apartheid; namely what you, Phil, wanted to have a long time ago: the left vs the liberal Zionists. You wrote about this back in 2010 already(if not earlier) that first we need to get to the neocons. And once they will be defeated the grand prize will be the liberal Zionists.

        People like Goldberg who is very comfortable calling what is happening in the WB as Apartheid but lashes out against anyone who isn’t Jewish who says the same. Or Beinart, who refuses to call what is happening in Hebron as Apartheid and who has said that

        I’m not asking Israel to be Utopian. I’m not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I’m not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I’m actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel’s security and for its status as a Jewish state.

        Beinart wrote a book raging about hard-right Zionists.
        Yet that guy is a “liberal”? This is the next – and most important – battle. Because what separates Goldberg/Beinart from Brooks is actually not that much.

    • Reds
      Reds
      December 20, 2013, 8:30 pm

      I actually think people like Brooks and both Liberal and Right wing Zionist have the same plan of ethic cleansing and both know/hope by their actions mass violence will arise from the palestinians and this will give them the opportunity to do what Benny Morris said should have been done. While crying victim the hold time. The problem is while the Liberal Zionist choses to and would prefer an slow humiliation and slow cleansing in which they can deny there actions caused such massive violence and claim the tried line everyone hates the peace loving Israeli Zionist. Knowing that once such massive violence and the cleansing starts the U.S. would spin away to make it seem like it was only Self Defense.

      The problem(least the liberal Zionist) for Liberal Zionist occurred is when the Right wing Zionist fraction figured out they could attack liberal zionist and would still be supported, funded and finding out that Liberal Zionist were hesitant to openly attack them because it would give fuel to what they deem enemies of Israel the Right grew in strength and power. While the Right grew it also started to openly discriminate against non-jews and openly talk about it. While Liberal Zionist dismissed such as “fringe” and many supporters found themselves supporting openly racist Zionist and justify it as Defending Israel. Where as before Liberal Zionist always had deniability and the U.S. MSM could help spin it as an He/She Said at worst and Self Defense at best. The Right wing Zionist overt racism has become hard to spin when the actions are being taken by the governing body itself.

      So the previous tactics of “Israel is the best of the worst”, “Non-jews have equal rights” “Israel is the victim and self defense” and the smears and name calling started looking absurd when one could easily link to an racist, discriminatory or outright agressive actions Israel took or was taking. Next was the “Complexity line” or the attacking an critic of Israel but claiming it’s okay to criticise israel but not like “That” or “That” or “That”, Then came the censorship and actions to ban or block others from talking but once again has people could how see open acts of discrimination and racism it became hard to sell. Next came what the Media mostly does is ignore or minimize actions taken by Israel and hope that no one sees. Again this failed because the Right Wing Zionist could do mostly what they wanted and face very little backlash which is all good for them but the World sees it and even the U.S.

      The Last thing so far is as you and others pointing out throwing the Rightwing Zionist under the bus. But if you really look at it, again the Liberal Zionist really can’t criticize Israel to much in fear of helping it’s enemies. So while Brooks or other may attack the Right with one hand they are helping and feeding them with the other. Notice the ones who are (To Liberal Zionist) causing the most damage like benjamin netanyahu isn’t mention by Brooks, Nor people like Adelson or Saban.

      I see it as an “Certain children’s actions has cause a lot of harm in the classroom and some may feel they have a right to because of tough upbringing while others feel it’s really should be addressed, these people who feel it needs to be addressed are thinking about doing the right thing but don’t really know what previously happen to the kids causing harm parents or grandparents”

      Once the Speech is done one kid goes to the the other and says hey so are you getting in trouble and the other kids says nope. So others that heard it may say finally something is going to be done but in reality it’s same old and the person who gave the speech did so to reduce any action taken against the trouble makers not actually do something about it.

  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    December 20, 2013, 10:38 am

    “…they take a dappled society in a tough situation, like Israel, and they want to judge it according to black and white legal abstractions…”

    You know, black and white legal abstractions like treating all of its citizens equally.

    And Dave, you need to look up the definition of “dappled.”

  5. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    December 20, 2013, 10:58 am

    there are people whose minds seem to flee, almost by instinct, from ambiguity to absolutism. These are often good people, with high ideals. But they take a dappled society in a tough situation, like the Jim Crow South, and they want to judge it according to black and white legal abstractions….

    You notice these people because you rarely see them taking the perspective of Southern Whites. They don’t acknowledge that Southern White tradition often involves error, fear and sin along the way.

    Many Freedom Riders think about Southern Whites this way, as do the folks in the civil rights movement, like Marin Luther King. The Freedom Riders have a problem with Jim Crow. Who doesn’t? But they refuse to acknowledge the complexity of the horrific choice that Southern Whites face.

    The civil rights activists and Freedom Riders instead want to take the mistakes of Southern Whites and use them as a pretext to make rogues out of the Southern States.

  6. piotr
    piotr
    December 20, 2013, 11:17 am

    It was said that patriotism is the first refuge of the scoundrel (and we can generalize it to other causes like “worldwide freedom”). But when that refuge becomes unsafe, what is the second line of defense? Complexity! So complex, so ambiguous, sob, sob :-(

    I remember dimly an article claiming that death squads in Guatemala should not be condemned too hastily, illustrated with a chart with some 20 rectangles and a lot of arrows.

    Concerning security, I have some realistic analogy. Perhaps no nation still existing today lost a larger percentage of its people than Paraguay. How can Paraguay survive and feel secure while surrounded by much more powerful former enemies (Argentina and Brazil)? Step 1: not picking fights. Step 2: go back to Step 1.

    PS. You will not read about Paraguayan holocaust because when things are awfully terrible it is very hard to tell precisely what happened. And it happened to folks we do not care about, so it is best to leave it like that. And the reason why Brazilians killed so many are complex (Argentinians were not as active).

  7. tokyobk
    tokyobk
    December 20, 2013, 11:21 am

    “Why does an American columnist regard such a territorial matter half the world away as so painful– when so many other territorial/sovereignty issues over much greater swaths of the planet don’t amount to a hill of beans here?”

    Well this describes you too Phil, right? And frankly me and a lot of Jews who could otherwise live lives without any reference to the Middle East.

    I agree with you completely about the repositioning.

  8. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    December 20, 2013, 11:45 am

    Phil: your political argument sounds about right. People who wish to be able to count on the future existence of (some) Israel see, now, that the occupation must end — to forestall the flow of opprobrium in the EU and elsewhere which, now aimed at the occupation, might by natural logic flow to embrace the entire Israel project.

    What I imagine happening is that the right-wing in Israel will go its happy way, because they’ve never cared what anyone else said — if it were not backed up by force — and thus (that arch-traitor David Brooks, who does he think he is dictating to us anyway?) don’t care about advice from J-Street types.

    I have long argued that the nations should apply pressure against Israel MERELY to require COMPLETE removal of wall, settlements, settlers, and siege of Gaza. I argued that the law requires these. Thus the nations should easily (I thought) agree among themselves to these as goals and, even, I hoped, to these as ACTIONABLE goals.

    I didn’t imagine that the nations would attempt to do more than this. Indeed I didn’t imagine that they would do this much. Therefore I left out the problem of the exiles of 1948.

    But as Israel pursues its aggressive path, anger and horror in the EU and elsewhere may overflow so as not merely to require these clearly legally-required corrections, but also [1] an end to occupation entirely (whether or not there is a peace treaty) and [2] return of the exiles of 1948.

    And this is what Beinart, Brooks, etc. fear.

  9. marc b.
    marc b.
    December 20, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Weiss:

    “Because of religious attachment, in an empowered American group.”

    editorial correction:

    “Because of the attachment to power, in a religious American group.”

  10. amigo
    amigo
    December 20, 2013, 12:26 pm

    “The A.S.A. instead wants to take Israel’s mistakes and use them as a pretext to make it a rogue nation.”Brooks.

    It is a Rogue Nation and that is a self inflicted wound.Why blame ASA for pointing out the obvious.

    • John Douglas
      John Douglas
      December 20, 2013, 4:31 pm

      Brooks’ argument that Amigo quotes is rather like a defense attorney in a murder trial stating, “This trial is not about justice, it’s about using my clients murdering behavior as a pretext for calling him a murderer.”

  11. marc b.
    marc b.
    December 20, 2013, 12:48 pm

    an old chestnut on the realistic limitations of ‘solutions’:

    Here is how the discussion works in Chomsky’s hands. Asked by interviewers Stephen S. Shalom and Justin Podur how he views the possibility of a “single-state solution, in the form of a democratic, secular state,” he responds as follows:

    “There has never been a legitimate proposal for a democratic secular state from any significant Palestinian (or of course Israeli) group. One can debate, abstractly, whether it is ‘desirable.’ But it is completely unrealistic. There is no meaningful international support for it, and within Israel, opposition to it is close to universal. It is understood that this would soon become a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority, and with no guarantee for either democracy or secularism (even if the minority status would be accepted, which it would not). Those who are now calling for a democratic secular state are, in my opinion, in effect providing weapons to the most extreme and violent elements in Israel and the US.”

    Reading these comments, one wonders how Chomsky understands the words “legitimate” and “significant.” Do Palestinians ever qualify? Both the PDFLP and the PFLP explicitly proposed a “democratic secular state” in all of historic Palestine as early as 1969, and the foremost official representatives of the larger PLO umbrella organization expressed this goal within the same year. This continued to be the vision of the core left within the PLO for years to come. More importantly, the Palestinian idea of liberation expressed in the PLO charter of 1968 rejected the colonial construction of ethnic and religious division: all the historic people of Palestine, regardless of religion, were considered Palestinians; all were entitled to freedom of worship. The PLO rejected not Jewish people, but colonial settlers and the state created for their exclusive interests. The “democratic, secular state” espoused by a significant portion of the Palestinian movement throughout the 1970s was an implicit concession to the settler community—a generous attempt to include settlers and their descendants in a liberated Palestine, provided that they were willing to renounce special privileges. This generosity was never answered by any significant movement within Israel. Does this Israeli rejection condition then the limits of justice for which Palestinians and their supporters should struggle?

    What’s clear is that Israelis will necessarily determine the limits of the discourse for Chomsky; anything that they do not accept is “unrealistic.” Pressed again on the subject, Chomsky becomes even more emphatic:

    “The call for a ‘democratic secular state,’ which is not taken seriously by the Israeli public or internationally, is an explicit demand for the destruction of Israel, offering nothing to Israelis beyond the hope of a degree of freedom in an eventual Palestinian state. The propaganda systems in Israel and the US will joyously welcome the proposal if it gains more than even marginal attention, and will labor to give it great publicity, interpreting it as just another demonstration that there is ‘no partner for peace,’ so that the US-Israel have no choice but to establish ‘security’ by caging barbaric Palestinians into a West Bank dungeon while taking over the valuable lands and resources. The most extreme and violent elements in Israel and the US could hope for no greater gift than this proposal.”

  12. American
    American
    December 20, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Ah yes,…. the old ‘complexity’ dodge again.
    The ‘only’ complexity’ for Israel is how they are going to keep all the land they have stolen over 65 years.

    Other than that it couldnt be simpler……they illegally stole Palestine land, they illegally transfered their own population onto that land, under the Rome statutes they are carrying on at least 4 practices defined as acts of genocide, they have committed umpteen thousand human rights violations, plus assorted war crimes.

  13. Mike_Konrad
    Mike_Konrad
    December 20, 2013, 2:36 pm

    Won’t matter.

    Israel will not withdraw from Judea and Samaria.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      December 20, 2013, 6:06 pm

      You forgot to add “voluntarily”. But the day will come when those 600,000 settlers will be driven back across the green line. BDS will be the tool.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        December 20, 2013, 6:57 pm

        But the day will come when those 600,000 settlers will be driven back across the green line. BDS will be the tool.

        Are you sure the tool won’t be magic gremlins? I’ve been hearing a lot about magic gremlins.

        Just out of curiosity. What percentage of GDP do you think you’d have to hack off the United States to get them to give up the territories they stole from Mexico? Or did you notice how easy to was to get the Sunni in Iraq to give up effective control of Kurdish and Shiite areas? It wasn’t like we had to actively fight a war for 4 years or anything.

    • thankgodimatheist
      thankgodimatheist
      December 20, 2013, 8:18 pm

      “Israel will not withdraw from Judea and Samaria.”

      Are you saying that Israel is pretending to seek a peaceful solution via negotiations? I think you do.

    • thankgodimatheist
      thankgodimatheist
      December 20, 2013, 8:23 pm

      “Israel will not withdraw from Judea and Samaria.”

      You sound like a far right messianic settler. Now, what if, hypothetically, they did? What would you do? Leave your colony and settle inside the green line or return, in disgust, poor you, to Germany or whatever the hell you came from?

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      December 21, 2013, 9:14 am

      Another thought provoking and well argued contribution from Mike One-Note.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia
      December 21, 2013, 12:17 pm

      It is possible and it is certain that struggles in all form would continue against the occupier for years,decades,and centuries. Slogan will change,talking points will be invented to distill in one line the hatred against this regime . This will bond the people,mark the Zionist,and perpetuate the necessarry psychological animosity to the settler occupier garrison country. I will give an example- Iran is not rational but a suicidal crazy country- this has benn invented by Zionist and shoved down American in order to make every illegal actions by US moral,ethical,necessarry,and legal to American eyes. Words and phrases like this would be created to keep the anger and animosity to the Zionist alive for future generations . This will be played across all Muslim population for it can be argued that Israel had a handin creating the islamophobia in western countries and in eyeing Pakistan,dividing Sudan, removing Morsi,and providing support to Indian Hindu radicals by participating in Muslim bashing. This will translate into powerful factors while casting votes in the countries like India, UK, USA, France. It will take time but it would come. The boycott will deprive the Zinoist settler entity of the wonderful western pleasures that it so covet .
      It will go to Kenya and may be Angola for respect and business. It has that option.

  14. radii
    radii
    December 20, 2013, 3:55 pm

    you know your boat is sinking when the rats starting jumping ship

  15. BillM
    BillM
    December 20, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Good article, you are very clearly on to something important. I just noticed the Jerusalem Post, of all papers, running an editorial in very much the same line, calling on people to drop th”anti-Israel/anti-Semitic” name calling:

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Picking-our-fights-335621

    Can one vocally favor giving up large swaths of Judea and Samaria for the sake of a two-state solution and still be pro-Israel? Absolutely. Is it possible to oppose the government’s policy on migrants and still be a Zionist? Of course.

    The owners of such views are among the most ardent Zionists. Their passionate philosophy derives not from self-hatred of their Judaism or a post-Zionist vision, but from a love of Israel and a belief that those policies are the only ones that will ensure a strong, democratic Jewish homeland.

    When a classic anti-Zionist bigot such as Waters continues to rabble-rouse…

    But we need to differentiate between those inciters and the thoughtful, educated individuals – both Israeli and foreign – who may respectfully disagree with Israel’s policies.

    They are not necessarily anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. The most you could accuse them of is being naïve or misinformed.

    Your insight also makes Podhoretz’s fit and storming off stage last week much more understandable.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      December 22, 2013, 1:03 pm

      Well, I’m not sure that this is a call for dropping, rather than just for refining, the rhetoric around anti-Semitism. It’s a call for use of moderate language in respect of 2-statists but with all the vials of wrath – ‘spitting’ and all that – still kept in store for people who deny the basic proposition of Zionism, which is that inherent rights (‘birthright’ we now say) to a share in the sovereignty of the Holy Land belong only to people who are Jewish, to others only by grace and generosity. I for one disagree with this proposition, so I don’t think I would escape any of the rhetoric in the JPost arsenal.
      It would be dishonest for the likes of me to strike the pose of Israel’s candid friend who says that the ‘occupation’ should be ended because ending it will by no means negate Zionism but remove all realistic challenges to it, with huge applause for the grace and generosity that has led to the creation of the Palestinian statelet. To my mind that would be acting on a dangerously bad reason.

    • American
      American
      December 22, 2013, 1:16 pm

      I just noticed the Jerusalem Post, of all papers, running an editorial in very much the same line, calling on people to drop th”anti-Israel/anti-Semitic” name calling:…BillM>>>>

      They arent changing anything except their tactics. The anti semite slurring is having no effect any more, includes to many people, so they have to try something else. As illustrated below what they will now is try to present anti Israel activist as “only a few’ bigots and anti zionist like Water instead of a prevailing public opinion. And then cast these few individuals as out of the mainstream and ‘ignorant’ of the real facts abut I/P and as preventing ‘reasonable’ discourse about Israel. As in dont listen to the ‘few’ ignorant ‘inciters” and be ‘reasonable”.
      They want to keep on having ‘reasonable discourse’ another 65 years.
      But they are so stupid you see, that they cant understand they cant put the cat back in the box…so this isnt going to work either.

      “”When a classic anti-Zionist bigot such as Waters continues to rabble-rouse…
      But we need to differentiate between those inciters and the thoughtful, educated individuals – both Israeli and foreign – who may respectfully disagree with Israel’s policies.””

      ”They are not necessarily anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. The most you could accuse them of is being naïve or misinformed”

  16. JeffB
    JeffB
    December 20, 2013, 7:19 pm

    I’d point out, Brooks is agonized by the “horrific” choice of leaving the West Bank. Why does an American columnist regard such a territorial matter half the world away as so painful– when so many other territorial/sovereignty issues over much greater swaths of the planet don’t amount to a hill of beans here? Because of religious attachment, in an empowered American group. And what have been the consequences of such devotion? American support for the occupation, for 46 years.

    Heck that’s part of what got Israel created. According to everyone, Truman was appalled by the idea of leaving 160k+ Jews as permanent refuges after the holocaust and was horrified. Marshal at State his most trusted advisor was horrified by the long term damage that recognize Israel would to American oil interests. Clifford, the head of the ’48 campaign made it clear that Truman would lose a good chunk of the Jewish vote if he didn’t come out for Israel. So America strongly supported Israel.

    Jews support Israel. Jews have always supported Israel. Jews will always support Israel. American Jews may agree or disagree with some aspects of Israeli policy, but they will never support something like BDS which aims to liquidate Israel. You don’t kill what you love because you disagree on some side matter. You just have to accept the fact that the BDS campaign because it explicitly calls for return of refuges and non-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state will always face Jewish opposition. It is simply too extreme.

    David Brooks represents the moderate two state solution position. Two states, with Israel’s security concerns being primary. That’s been a popular position for 46 years.

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      December 22, 2013, 11:51 am

      I’m a Jew, I don’t support these ideas. What do I do? Where do I go? Hey I found a Jewish tent in my travels, JVP. They make me feel part of a non-Zionist Jewish community.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        December 22, 2013, 12:30 pm

        @Phillip —

        I’m a Jew, I don’t support these ideas. What do I do? Where do I go? Hey I found a Jewish tent in my travels, JVP. They make me feel part of a non-Zionist Jewish community.

        JVP is fine. But it isn’t mainstream. In small numbers you can find people who support anything. The question what the community in large numbers will do. It is reasonable to talk about Jews as the most socially large ethnic minorities in America even though there are a prominent Jews that among the financially conservative and prominent Jews that are leaders in social conservative movements. The Jewish position is the one the vast majority of Jews hold.

        To pick another example. The Democratic party has always hated the Mormons. The Mormon extermination orders were issued by Democrats. The Utah war (Mormon territory of Utah vs. US Army) was with a Democrat. Much of the anti-Mormon literature that kept Utah out of the union came from Democrats. In the 1950s the LDS church’s positions were solidly in line with the John Birch society. In the 1970s they opposed the ERA and sided with the rising religious right in the Republican party. The LDS church has been structurally Republican for 180 years. Democrats still get 10-20% of the vote consistently and even occasionally quite a bit more. That doesn’t mean Mormons aren’t Republican.

      • annie
        annie
        December 22, 2013, 6:02 pm

        JVP is fine. But it isn’t mainstream. In small numbers you can find people who support anything. The question what the community in large numbers will do.

        the question is what the american community will do in large numbers. the US supporting the occupation for decades has dependent on more than just what ‘the jewish community’ wants. it’s dependent on the american community going along with that. and that’s a risk because ‘the jewish community’ you speak of, while this far having the ability to get congress and the executive branch to carry out it’s will, relies on a compliant public.

        things have been going a little haywire w/public opinion in direct relation to the rise of the internet. i don’t think you can keep israel intransigence under wraps indefinitely no matter how much your ‘jewish community’ supports it. and this is one reason you’ve got the branching off of jstreet, which is not that much different than aipac. but we all heard the voice vote at the dem convention, that was real no matter how much the press doesn’t reflect that growing american sentiment.

        it just so happens, while jvp may not be a majority of jews, just might end up being much closer to the sentiment of a majority of americans. as israel becomes more and more flagrantly racist, this will alienate the american public.

        claiming the aim of BDS is to ” liquidate Israel,” is analogous to claiming the aim of zionism is to “liquidate” palestine.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        December 22, 2013, 9:07 pm

        @Annie —

        things have been going a little haywire w/public opinion in direct relation to the rise of the internet.

        I’d say that public opinion is becoming more pro-Israeli and more anti-Palestinian in the last decade. I don’t think this is the latest graph but: http://www.people-press.org/files/2012/12/12-14-12-3.png

        You can see the direction is a huge spread and becoming more hostile. That’s a huge, huge spread. The public does not like Palestinians and they do like Israel. Hamas feels like Al-Qaeda Jr. to Americans.

        Even among the 18-29 year olds (the most hostile age group):
        38% like the Israelis
        31% have no opinion
        16% dislike both
        15% like the Palestinians

        Supportive groups like Conservative Republicans break 75/2.

        I just don’t agree that there is any kind of shift in public opinion except getting more pro-Israeli.

        i don’t think you can keep israel intransigence under wraps indefinitely no matter how much your ‘jewish community’ supports it.

        I don’t think it is under wraps. I think most Americans that in most conflicts there are negotiating positions the other side will accept. They aren’t going to see the Israeli position as intransigence. The MW position is based on presuppositions like very strong support for the UN. We know that among Democrats in the United States, by far the most pro-UN group, when the UN didn’t support George Bush on Iraq the UN’s approval rating fell by 10 percent, and stayed low for almost 4 years. That’s not deep support.

        claiming the aim of BDS is to ” liquidate Israel,” is analogous to claiming the aim of zionism is to “liquidate” palestine.

        To say that Zionism aims to liquidate Palestinian national aspirations or Palestine as a nation, is harsh but it is fair. If Team A is playing Team B; Team A wants to win. Another way of saying that is Team A wants to make Team B lose.

      • James North
        James North
        December 24, 2013, 9:58 am

        JeffB: If the critics of Israel are as weak as you insist, why do you spend hours every day here at Mondoweiss trying to refute us? I don’t go over to the Flat Earth Society website to argue with them.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        December 22, 2013, 1:27 pm

        What makes them Jewish besides a set of genes, what binds them
        besides Anti Zionism ?
        How do they differ from another Anti Zionist organization?

      • annie
        annie
        December 22, 2013, 6:07 pm

        what makes you jewish besides a set of genes, what binds you besides zionism? How do you differ from any other ethnic nationalist?

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        December 23, 2013, 4:43 am

        I will gladly answer Annie.
        I am a Jew living among Jews in a Jewish state with unique Jewish
        culture, language , symbology etc. My children will be Jewish by ethnicity and so much more important by upbringing and hopefully so will their children.I am an individial but i am also a link in the chain of the generations of the Jewish people and it is important to me to continue that chain into the future.

        / How do you differ from any other ethnic nationalist?/
        The framework is similar, the cultural substance is different in each case that’s the point of nation states.

        Zionism is the dominant ideology among Jews in Israel and the world.
        It’s a major component of the current Jewish identity sertainly among secular Jews.
        Anti Zionism is the fringe among Jews.
        Mainstrem Jewishness was always historically defined by majority of Jews.
        Hasidism was a fringe movement unitll it became large enough.
        Right now Anti Zionism is the fringe. It may change in time but i seriously doubt that secular Anti Zionist Jews which are prone to total assimilation
        will retain a strong connection to any kind of Jewish identity in the
        next few generations.Anti Zionism is not a positive ideology it cannot define Jewishness there has to be something else.
        Hence i doubt that their kind of Jewishness will ever become a majority they will simply dissolve among the nations of the world
        and probably take their Anti Zionism with them.This happened before.

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        December 24, 2013, 9:04 am

        Zionism was once a fringe movement among Jews. It rose because of real conditions. As did Marcus Garvey movement, in black community.
        Conditions are changed.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 9:11 am

        True Zionizm was marginal at the beginning.
        And indeed things could change.
        I can’t predict the future but i agree with Ari Shavit.
        Secular Judasim without Zionism will not survive it will simply assimilate
        beyond recognition.And given the current marignal status of Anti Zionism
        it will happen well before this negativistic ideology will take any kind of traction among mainstream secular Jews.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        December 24, 2013, 9:26 am

        @ Oleg,
        Early Zionism’s Jewish detractors pointed out that the world was moving towards greater urbanization. People were moving off the farms and shtetls to Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin and provincial towns. The argument went: you aren’t going to reverse that trend and get Jews to move to frontier settlements in Palestine.
        What all arguments based on current reality miss about change is people’s passion. To quote one guy from those early days of Zionism: “If you will it, it is no dream.”

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 9:29 am

        We shall see.

  17. Les
    Les
    December 20, 2013, 9:08 pm

    Howevery weak Brook’s oppostion to occupation, it underlines the fact that for more and more people, oppostion is becoming the default.

  18. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    December 21, 2013, 9:21 am

    Mr Brooks belongs to the group who believes that the Israeli behaviors stem from the fear of annihilation,death,reprisals,and Kaseem rocket.
    Israeli behaviors don’t and never arose from the fear. The benefit of a siege mentality has been enormous . It has been the constant source of takeaways from the German and American charity centers. Israel is not going to release the tension.

    The corrupt Palestine Authority is its only hope of making the world believe that Israel is not occupying West Bank. Israel is looking for a stalemate or stagnated situation where it no longer would be blamed of any occupation but the tension would also would not disappear.
    For Israel,tension of threat to its security could be on display anywhere in any Muslim country while threat to the Jews could be arising again in Europe and to some extent in N America. Israel will not cease to work on this fear mongering ,gift generating projects.
    Israel could have developed entirely on a different model. but the easy money,easy access to power and media ,enormous say over administration and military have created a dangerous addiction and prevented the normal development.These gains have come from corruption,distortions,pressures,and threat. Sole reliance on this strategy have prevented Israel developing more sustainable mutually beneficial relationship both with its benefactors and impotent adversaries.
    Brooks sees the solution but for Israel to get there means it has to redo the whole thing ,it has to remodel and that would be the existential threat that Israel is so afraid of.

    Israel will continue to put all its efforts in delegitimizing BDS and Arabs . It is not going to change its mantras. Occupation will continue as combination of Vichy administration and Bantustan and war on terror would continue to ensure it continues to receive the free money and military gadgets.

  19. dabrownstein
    dabrownstein
    December 21, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Brooks’ notion that the choice to move out of the West Bank is “horrific” seems embedded in a geographical imaginary with long roots–whose archeology I sketch in broad brush-strokes with selective images here (http://wp.me/p36T6t-1if)–and seems to miss the fact that these territorial claims have never been really staked in a domain of law. “Permanent colonization of the West Bank” is a piece of a far greater pie, in other words, from which it cannot be seen in isolation.

  20. dabrownstein
    dabrownstein
    December 21, 2013, 1:06 pm

    I don’t know if any “moral assessment” can be made without examining a broader context in which the “humanity” of this project just doesn’t make so much sense any more to all, and is really just not so evident.

  21. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    December 22, 2013, 1:20 pm

    Perhaps the wind is setting the way of the 2SS, with Shavit’s ‘brilliant’ rhetoric used with Brooks’ approval to persuade the Zionists that they have fulfilled their historically necessary (also sexy) mission and that setting up a Palestinian protectorate is now the way to remove the last difficulty that had remained. This rhetoric appears as Obama and Kerry press ahead with protectorate-style plans, though I think that the trick Kerry is trying to play is to make the limitations on Palestinian sovereignty theoretically temporary and open to revision for good behaviour, so that a glimpse of genuine independence sits on the far horizon. We should be thinking ahead to a likely new situation, with a referendum-approved new arrangement in place, applauded from rooftops all around the world but with both sides trying to subvert it before the ink is dry. It will, of course, be screamingly unfair.

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