Last month author Samuel G. Freedman wrote a long piece in the Forward saying that Netanyahu is “abandoning American Jews.” A liberal Zionist lament, the article celebrated the American Jewish “love affair” with Israel, now threatened by the affinity between a right-wing Israeli administration and a rightwing American one; celebrated too Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, the unification of Jerusalem, and the strength of the Israel lobby; and called Israel “the Jewish state we have wanted to love and support.”
You will see that Palestinian political conditions and history are completely absent from the article. No Nakba, no expulsions, no second-class citizenship. Freedman mentions Palestinians only from a Jewish point of view– “the Palestinian terror war of the second intifada.”
Two days back Freedman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times praising the resistance of football players to U.S. segregation. Titled “Politics Has Always Had a Place in Football,” the piece slammed an ideology of white supremacy, twice referenced the “Jim Crow” South and sang the worthy praises of the civil rights movement:
In the pros, and even more at the college level, football was not incidental to the doctrine of segregation and the ideology of white supremacy. It was one of the pillars on which they rested. At the football powerhouses in the American South, the sport resisted integration nearly a decade longer than lunch counters, bus systems, hotels and other strongholds of Jim Crow….
Why, one might ask, would the White House care enough to intervene? Because with the civil rights movement marching at home and a battle underway against the Soviet Union for hearts and minds in the nonwhite “developing world,” having an all-white team in the nation’s capital was a liability.
The battle for equal rights in pro football continued with the efforts of black quarterbacks to break the color line at that position. The resistance to a black quarterback, which ran through every single pro team, was built upon the dogma of white supremacy.
Freedman’s two positions are incompatible. The occupation is permanent; liberal Zionism has enabled that permanence by failing to prevent meaningful criticism of the occupation in the United States; and now that apartheid exists, liberal Zionists refuse to bear witness to it. They’re too busy laying out America’s own awful record on civil rights. And people see that blindness.