Netanyahu, the Jewish State and Racism...
Excellent piece here by Saree Makdisi, in HuffPo. What follows is mainly the last part:
For [the Palestinians] to recognize
That fact--and its attendant anxiety among Zionists--poses a real problem for the million Palestinians inside
Western liberals consider Avigdor Lieberman to be right wing because he says openly that he wants the indigenous Palestinians removed from what he considers to be the Jewish
How could he not? This is not rocket science or linear algebra: it is what it means for a state to insist on having a single cultural identity irrespective of who happens to actually be living on the territory it considers its own. It is all too rarely thought of in the same terms, but the violent insistence on monoculture is just as ugly in
And the fact of the matter is that the expulsion or "transfer" of Palestinians has been a core feature of Zionism as it has been practiced since 1948. It is inherent in Zionism as a political program--from right to left--because, if the idea behind Zionism is to establish an exclusively Jewish state (which it is), the only way for a would-be Jewish state to have been established on land that began the twentieth century with a population that was overwhelmingly (93 percent) non-Jewish was through the removal of the land's non-Jewish population. The sense that there is an inherently Jewish land inconveniently cluttered up with a non-Jewish population that needs to be dealt with somehow or other drove Zionist planning all through the 1930s (the "transfer" of the Palestinians was planned more than a decade before the 1948 war). And, as grotesque as ever, it was on full view in Netanyahu's speech.
The key moment in the speech came when he said that "the truth is that in the area of our homeland, in the heart of our Jewish Homeland, now lives a large population of Palestinians." This attitude comes straight out of the primitive racialism and imaginary civilizational hierarchies of the nineteenth century. The Jews are a people with a homeland and hence they have a right to a state; the Palestinians are not a people at all, or certainly not one of the same order. They are merely a collection of vagabonds and trespassers intruding on the Jewish Homeland. They have no rights, let alone a centuries-old competing narrative of home attached to the same land, a narrative worthy of recognition by
On the contrary: the Palestinians must accept that
This racialized sense of inherent entitlement and unique superiority--fueled (in just the way that a child is spoiled by over-indulgent parents) by over $100 billion of our tax dollars, the endless deference of our elected representatives, the open-ended diplomatic cover provided on demand by all our presidents after Eisenhower--is what allows Israelis like Netanyahu (and Lieberman, and Livni, and Olmert, and Sharon, and Rabin, etc.) to threaten, bellow at and admonish the Palestinians. It is also what allows Israel to occupy Palestinian land, demolish Palestinian homes, starve Palestinian children, imprison and shoot Palestinian youths, tear up Palestinian olive trees, crush Palestinian aspirations, while believing--really sincerely believing--that Israel is the real victim of everything that has happened. And, unbelievable as it is, that idea too (that
Such attitudes, such views, are the inevitable products of endless indulgence.
No matter what the best way forward is--two states or one--it is absolutely vital for the American people to call their leaders to account and to demand that this indulgence must end, for the sake of everyone involved. And until our politicians learn (or are persuaded) to do the right thing, it falls on each of us to do what we can to end the indulgence and to bring pressure to bear on