So what is the (liberal) Israeli peace camp up to? The same stuff.
The 61 Project, an initiative of the Molad Center whose interest is “The Renewal [sic…] of Israeli Democracy”, has issued this poster of Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich (of the Jewish Home party), who said yesterday:
“The Palestinian Authority is a liability, Hamas is an asset”.
Smotrich is a fascist, a religious fanatic and a rabid anti-LGBT campaigner. He deserves the graphic treatment in the poster. However, numerous mainstream Israeli officials and public figures have stated that having Hamas in power in Gaza is good for Israel, because it makes it easier for it not to negotiate on the future of the area. Surely they are not wrong in this assertion, and Smotrich was just slightly more candid than them.
Furthermore, one can recall Israel’s pulverization of PA systems and infrastructure in the previous decade, when the PA was insufficiently obedient, as well as the current threats against Mahmoud Abbas and his administration, warning them against challenging Israeli apartheid on the ground and in the international arena.
Moreover, this is the Israeli consensus: it supports Israel’s crimes in the OT, doesn’t like Abu Mazen (especially when he gains international support for condemnations of Israeli policies), and doesn’t mind at all having Hamas in power in Gaza.
Elements of the liberal Zionist “Peace Camp” like to target the extreme right wing from a so-called *patriotic* perspective. The message is that Smotrich is in alliance with Israel’s worst enemies. Instead of informing the Israeli public of the origins of Hamas, as a grassroots resistance movement with legitimate concerns and a long-term truce on its agenda, these liberal Zionists adopt the right wing’s method of smearing the other side as a non-patriot, even a traitor. The 61 Project has copped out of criticizing the Israeli mainstream for its support of atrocities.
This approach has not succeeded, and is unlikely to succeed. The right wing will always have an advantage on the patriotism playing field. However, such Peace Camp populism makes it easy for liberal Zionists to hold on to their delusions about a handful of extremists being responsible for the horrors of the present, and their fantasies about “the renewal of Israeli democracy”.
When “centrist” Israeli politician Yair Lapid calls for a “Lawn Mower” operation against the Palestinians, we should remember that the majority of the Israeli political spectrum supports the worst Israeli crimes being committed right now. The 61 Project’s politics is not grounded in the political reality of Israeli apartheid and colonialism.