Liberal Zionists should be ashamed of arguments against Israeli annexation — calls for a “strong Jewish majority”, or for “separation” from Palestinians — that echo Jim Crow slogans of yesteryear. And yet J Street and Americans for Peace Now and Israel Policy Forum routinely platform speakers who make such appeals.
Peter Beinart’s embrace of the struggle for equal rights for Palestinians in one state puts huge pressure on liberal Zionist organizations to drop the beastly talk about “separation” and demographics and take concrete steps for Palestinian rights. And how long before the Jewish youth group IfNotNow endorses BDS?
James Klutznick, chair of Americans for Peace Now, criticizes Zionism in context of Netanyahu’s annexation plans: “It would be remiss if I didn’t say this unilateralism wasn’t actually rooted in the history of the Zionist movement. From the very begining we had our Jabotinskys and I think they were pretty singleminded in their purpose of a greater Israel, which included all that territory.” Now American Jews have to “weigh” their relationship to Israel and say firmly, “No to any form of annexation. Not a scintilla of property.”
Dedicated Zionists from Robert Satloff to Martin Indyk to Dennis Ross say annexation threatens the future of the Jewish state because it will alienate Europe and the Democratic Party; but AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby org, says not a word, foretelling a chaotic scramble for power inside the Israel lobby, with J Street and youth groups gaining ascendancy.
There has been remarkable news in the last few days: much of the Israel lobby in the United States is in open revolt against the Israeli government to try and stop annexation of the West Bank.
The Conference of Presidents, a powerful Jewish organization, caves to Islamophobic rightwing campaign on its leadership choice and liberal constituent groups dont walk away. Americans for Peace Now and Ameinu have stuck with the pro-settler organization for years, out of pro-Israel solidarity.
The news that Israel’s new government plans to begin annexing the West Bank in July has been greeted with outrage– and resignation. Even some peace processors seem to accept that the two-state moment is passed. Former White House aide Dennis Ross says, “1 state for 2 peoples is more likely.”
The Trump peace plan was brought to you by the Jewish community. Over the last 20 years, vigorous opposition to the pro-Israel right inside the US Jewish community has been quashed, and liberal Zionists have enforced that line by refusing to organize as equals with the community Israel is oppressing: Palestinians.
The two state solution is dead. Sen. Chris Murphy on the Senate floor, Yousef Munayyer in Foreign Affairs, and Ian Lustick in a new book are the latest public figures to acknowledge as much. But Democratic presidential candidates liberal Zionists want to deny the one-state reality so as to maintain the dream of a Jewish democracy. Amplifying Palestinian voices is the only answer to this logjam.
Lately we’ve seen several institutional efforts to show that American Jews are all for Israel, except the lunatics. That’s because the appearance of wall-to-wall US Jewish support is a necessity for Israel lobby groups in convincing politicians to back Israel unconditionally. IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace are a threat to the Stalinist consensus.