Liberal Zionist Aluf Benn laments in Haaretz: “The Boycott of Israel Is No Miracle Drug.”
Aluf Benn realizes that the frustrated liberal Zionist elites in Israel (who had high hopes for the 2015 elections) would like to co-opt the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS), and ride it to their preferred destination – “saving Israel from itself” (some “two state solution” of the “peace process” type, without addressing all the core apartheid issues).
This co-optation attempt is an indication of a lack of vision and a lack of energy among these elites. Benn is right in feeling troubled about this. He realizes many would rather emigrate than fight. He wants these elites to be more pro-active and try to change Israeli society from within.
He writes that if BDS actually took hold, the elites would leave, as happened in South Africa:
Those with money and a foreign passport looking for freedom would get out, leaving behind a poorer, more right-wing, more religious country.
People who view the boycott as a miracle drug “to save Israel from itself” must ask themselves if they’d want to live in a Masada country in the style of right-winger Bezalel Smotrich or in a state of all of its citizens with a Palestinian prime minister like Hamas’ Khaled Meshal, or perhaps Mohammed Dahlan or Marwan Barghouti. They must ask themselves if for the chance of ending the occupation, they’re willing to sacrifice the prospect of a prosperous, liberal, democratic Israel in recognized borders.
To change the situation, the left has to learn from the right and establish a base of domestic support for its positions. People forgoing the political effort on the reasoning that the public is stupid, racist and spellbound by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are giving up on the country in which they’d wish to live.
However, most Haaretz readers don’t think they can change reality from within. Furthermore, both Benn and those he’s trying to exhort are interested in maintaining the ethnocracy rather than in de-colonizing the land.
If that’s the way things are, it’s better to encourage these Israelis to leave. Privileged ethnocrats who are unwilling to take substantial action to end apartheid are not very useful.
This post first appeared on Neiman’s Facebook page.