Just boycott settlements? Liberal Zionist agenda faces huge pressure now

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After shunting the “nation state of the Jewish people” law to page A7 in yesterday’s editions, today the New York Times did the right thing and put the story on its front page, column 1.

But then in a classic instance of shilling for Israel, the Times buries a vital piece of information — that Palestinians comprise 21 percent of the Israeli population. The paper waited until the 13th paragraph to disclose that figure, well off the front page.

Opponents say the law will inevitably harm the fragile balance between the country’s Jewish majority and Arab minority, which makes up about 21 percent of a population of nearly nine million.

That would seem to be information that a reader needs in the second or third paragraph. How many people are injured by this law? But no — in a classic Times move, the newspaper of record does what it can to ignore/brush aside the one-fifth of the population that is not Jewish. Maybe it’s an unconscious effort by reporters David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner, but it does the trick: minimizes the bad news.

The larger issue the law raises for liberal Zionists is, What’s the distinction now between the occupation and Israel? Liberal Zionists have always said that we don’t like discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel, and we fight that discrimination, but it’s not as bad as occupation. Palestinians in Israel have opportunities. They are discriminated against in various laws and practices, but they don’t have the difficulties of people in the West Bank, who have no rights at all.

On this basis, liberal Zionists, including Peace Now and Peter Beinart, have called for boycott of goods produced in settlements/colonies, but not to the west of of the Green Line (the ’49-’67 border).

Their argument just got a lot harder. Israel is officially now an apartheid state. Only one people have the right of self determination. The prime minister says the state of Israel exists for Jews. “This is our state — the Jewish state . . . Today we made it law: This is our nation, language and flag.”

New York Times readers hear what he’s saying, loud and clear. Almost all the comments selected by readers as important are from people who want to wash their hands of apartheid and theocracy. “It’s time Israel has to go it alone. I am disgusted that a people who were once the subject of persecution worldwide could so easily turn around to become the persecutor. Enough,” writes D. Murphy from Worcester, MA.

It seems to us that liberal Zionists will need to put real pressure on Israel, and say, We don’t just want the occupation over. We want this law and other discriminatory laws reversed. That means boycotting the state of Israel for officially and legally discriminating against non-Jewish citizens. Which is something the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign has always said in its program, for 13 years. Indeed, BDS is vindicated once again by this law, for having its eyes on the prize.

We believe many decent liberal Zionists, such as Beinart, are going to have to do some soul searching right now. Some will rise to the occasion, some won’t. Beinart surely will.

H/T to Maghlawatan, a Mondoweiss commenter

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It was apparent long time ago, that Israel should be boycotted, and BDS should not apply ONLY for the illegal settlements. If Israel refuses to end the occupation, the land theft, and if it continues to kill unarmed civilians, there is only one way to make them understand it is wrong – BDS. 60 years is a long time for any people to suffer this way.

For Israel, Jewish & Democracy no longer answer.
The “nation state of the Jewish people” has confirmed the divide.

It will prove a very uncomfortable stretch for Beinart,
between his Zionism and his putative decency.

The Liberal-Zionist oxymorons are coming home to roost.

RE: “It seems to us that liberal Zionists will need to put real pressure on Israel, and say, We don’t just want the occupation over. We want this law and other discriminatory laws reversed. That means boycotting the state of Israel for officially and legally discriminating against non-Jewish citizens.” ~ North & Weiss MY COMMENT: I’m not very optimistic. JOEL KOVEL (1-20-13): [EXCERPT] . . . As with everyone I know of in official political… Read more »

I remember being in London at a pro Palestine meeting around 2001 and a Jewish lady telling the multitude that Israel could not be boycotted because of the Jewish history in Europe. And Israel has slowly chipped at that cover before blowing it out of the water this week. An all Israel BDS includes some very juicy targets. El Al, Teva, the diamond wallahs. Israelis will only desert the occupation when it hurts. It’s tough… Read more »

“The prime minister says the state of Israel exists for Jews. “This is our state — the Jewish state . . . Today we made it law: This is our nation, language and flag.” Yep, the prime minister has made it real easy now for ‘liberal jews’ to come out of their closets and see ‘israel’ for what it has just been declared to be: an apartheid state without a shred of democracy in it.… Read more »