Ilene Cohen


Ilene Cohen defines ‘Ziosplaining’ as “the efforts of Zionists of so-called moderate stripe, who are endlessly pained by reality, to explain to Palestinians (and the world) that they have no choice but to support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” She says the latest effort in the genre is Yossi Klein Halevi’s Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. “That neighbor, by the way, is the author’s imaginary neighbor—the only one possible for such an exercise, because few and far between would be the Palestinians who wouldn’t gag at this patronizing effort to have their situation ‘explained’ to them,” Cohen writes.

Ilene Cohen writes: “How curious is it that it took Ghazala and Khizr Khan to make a devastating dent in the nativist, Islamophobic Trump juggernaut and expose the emperor’s ugly nakedness? Admittedly, the success of this effort took an earnest embrace of patriotism and American exceptionalism, plus (inevitably) some embrace of the nobility of war. I hope it doesn’t turn around to bite us. But for the moment, this seems to be the only language that works. Still, it’s worrisome: who, after all, has ever succeeded in taming patriotism?”

Isaac Herzog, leader of the Israeli “opposition,” outlines for the readers of the New York Times his recently announced separation plan, aimed at keeping the colonial project intact while affording the world the illusion of something en route to a state for the Palestinians. In the op-ed, “Only Separation Can Lead to a Two-State Solution,” Herzog is explicit that the plan eschews the establishment of a State of Palestinian at this time; instead it allows Israel to take what it wants while maintaining complete control. Neat trick.

Can anyone say when the Israeli colonial project, dependent as it is on the suppression of a subject people in the name of the theft of their land, will reach its end? For sure not. But the downfall of such regimes often comes unforecast and without warning. It may be hard for Israelis (and their best friends abroad) to digest the reality of the situation, especially given the irony that they are bringing that future on themselves.