Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Robert Wright at New York Times Opinionater blog: "Against 'Pro-Israel'"

Another sign of changing discourse: Robert Wright at the New York Times' Opinionater blog has this to say about the concept of being "anti-Israel":
"Are you anti-Israel? If you fear that, deep down, you might be, I have important news. The recent tension between Israel and the United States led various commentators to identify hallmarks of anti-Israelism, and these may be of diagnostic value. As you’ll see, my own view is that they aren’t of much value, but I’ll leave it for you to judge."
Wright goes on to point to such "hallmarks of anti-Israelism" as believing that Israel shouldn't build settlements in East Jerusalem and believing that unconditional support of Israeli policy endangers U.S. troops. His analysis of settlements in East Jerusalem is particularly refreshing in the U.S. media:
"Symptom no. 1: Believing that Israel shouldn’t build more settlements in East Jerusalem. President Obama holds this belief, and that seems to be the reason that Gary Bauer, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, deems Obama’s administration “the most anti-Israel administration in U.S. history.” Bauer notes that the East Jerusalem settlements are “entirely within the city of Jerusalem” and that Jerusalem is “the capital of Israel.” That’s artful wording, but it doesn’t change the fact that East Jerusalem, far from being part of “the capital of Israel,” isn’t even part of Israel. East Jerusalem lies beyond Israel’s internationally recognized, pre-1967 borders. And the common assertion that Israel “annexed” East Jerusalem has roughly the same legal significance as my announcing that I’ve annexed my neighbor’s backyard. In 1980 the United Nations explicitly rejected Israel’s claim to possess East Jerusalem. And the United States, which normally vetoes U.N. resolutions that Israel finds threatening, chose not to do so in this case.In short, accepting Gary Bauer’s idea of what it means to be anti-Israel seems to involve being anti-truth. So I don’t accept it."
Wright argues that Israel's expansionist policy is creating "a condition that would be increasingly reminiscent of apartheid," a point made in stronger form by Ali Abunimah at yesterday:

"Globally, Israel faces a growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions just like apartheid South Africa did in the 1980s. A leading Israeli think tank, the Reut Institute, warned the government recently that this campaign "possesses strategic significance, and may develop into a comprehensive existential threat within a few years."

It also stated that a "harbinger of such a threat would be the collapse of the two-state solution as an agreed framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the coalescence behind a 'one-state solution' as a new alternative framework." With its aggressive settlement expansion plans, Israel has in effect chosen a one-state instead of a two-state solution -- but it is indeed an apartheid state."

The discourse is shifting, and you can help. Check out the US Campaign's media action resources, and organize in your community to oppose military aid to Israel and promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel's violations of international law and human rights.