“Palestinians … have a perfect track record of missing opportunities,” Jared Kushner lectured them on CNN in pushing the annexation plan. “If they screw this up I think they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they’re victims, saying they have rights.”
The Jewish “nationhood” proposition being promoted by the Trump regime — in which American Jews are expected to love Israel — is the ultimate endorsement, and thereby the anti-Good Housekeeping seal, to Jewish nationalism. And all this was predicted when Zionism arose in the west.
“We oppose Zionism. We oppose the role that Zionists play in the diaspora,” historian Jack Jacobs explains Bundism at the Yivo Institute in New York, on a breakthrough panel that included Molly Crabapple calling for one democratic state to whoops and applause and Jacob Plitman saying his Zionism was “shattered” after one encounter with Palestinians and learning their story.
When J Street advocates for “Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish homeland,” it is supporting a concept that has been a contradiction-in-terms since Israel’s establishment. Abba Solomon argues that J Street and Bernie Sanders too cannot face the fact that political Zionism means perpetual Jewish domination, or at best custody, of Palestinian lives.
American Jewish organizations cultivated Zionism as a bulwark of Jewish identity and against assimilation, but the success of the indoctrination has created problems for American Jews. “Public antipathy toward Israel would all too likely spill over into hostility toward American Jews,” the American Jewish Committee warned in 1953.
Abba Solomon reviews “Rest in My Shade: A Poem About Roots,” writing, “The beauty of the works in this 8 by 8 inch hardbound book, of 18 artists, promote thoughts of a peaceful Palestine that could be, when exile and anger and walls of concrete and razor wire are gone, when the roles of alien and native — enforced with battle rifles carried by conscripts — are forgotten.”
The theme of Gili Getz’s work “The Forbidden Conversation” is that dialog must take place between anti-Zionists and Zionists, and between US Jews and Israeli Jews, or Jews will fragment as a community — and not deal in a more healthy way with Israel/Palestine. Abba Solomon doubts the efficacy of that program.
UN Special Rapporteur S. Michael Lynk tells an audience in New York, “annexation trends in the occupied territories, particularly with respect to the West Bank, are quickening, and annexation is in the air, and formal annexation may be occurring sooner than we are thinking.” The Israeli right has been creative, but the human rights activists give him hope.
Some American Jews are fully participatory in the Zionist tale of “building our homeland.” And their innocence about the devastation “constitutes the crime,” in the words of James Baldwin. For Jews, to recognize the system of Jewish supremacy in Palestine is absolutely necessary, but painful.