Friday, December 7, 2012

Israel, Now or Never: 10 Points concerning the Jewish State's future (Israeli 2013 Election Coverage, 4)

Following the UN vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member state, Israel decided to show their appreciation by declaring the building of 3000 housing units in the West Bank. If that was not enough, a day later, it was announced that Israel would hold funds earmarked for the Palestinians. Yes, it seems that the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his FM, Avigdor Lieberman are holding true to their statements that they would work to topple Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, if he preceded to the UN vote.

Despite bringing Israel to one of its lowest places ever in terms of world support, Netanyahu and Lieberman's newly joint election list, Likud Beitenu, appear as if they are set for victory. Most polls place them at receiving between 35-40 seats (out of 120), with the center and center-left parties completely divided. There is no doubt that such an outcome will be detrimental to the future of Israel.

Below are 10 points, made up of comments and questions concerning Israel's future. As a historian, I do not usually look into the future; however, these issues have been on my mind for some time, and I thought I would share them. Further, as a citizen of the Israeli state, and a father of a daughter living there, I obviously have an agenda and a stake in its future. The period of silence is over.   

1. Without a doubt, a Israel refusing to move forward on the peace process and to negotiate with the new Palestinian state, could be met with diplomatic and economic sanctions. While it is highly unlikely that this will happen just "one spring morning," it is an obvious extension of the world's message to Israel: move forward with peace, or else.  

2. Along the same line, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement has the chance to grow significantly. Public activism against Israel has received a new surge of energy, and it seems like they will seize the moment.  Now that the world has recognized a Palestinian state, the work of the BDS will be all the easier. In short, Israel will become more and more isolated.

3. The American Jewish community needs to come to terms with the fact that they cannot support a Jewish state at all costs. In fact, if Israel does “act in the name of the Jewish people,” then it’s high time that American Jews understand that now is the time to get involved and pressure Israel to recognize the international mandate for a Palestinian state.  A global pact of Jewish groups from such countries as Argentina, Great Britain, and France, among the many others, might also be of special significance. The fact J-Street came out in support of Israel at the beginning of the Gaza campaign, shows that the liberal Jewish community needs to take a much clearer stance; in fact, following the recognition of the Palestinian state, some Jewish communities in the US came out in support of Palestine and are voicing their opposition to the new settlement plans. 

4. The Israeli peace camp needs to reorganize independently of the center parties, who have only shown us that they are incompetent of leading a true movement. In fact, during this election campaign we have seen how incompetent the Israeli center politicians are, beginning with Shelly Yachimovich, Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid (and the list goes on). The only real leader in Israel today is Benjamin Netanyahu; sad to say, but true. 

5. The only alternative the peace camp has is Meretz, the Zionist Left party, and Hadash, the (Jewish-Arab) Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, which is affiliated with the Israel Communist Party. While it is unlikely that these parties will actually ever have the chance to run the country, it would be interesting to see how the Israeli society might flourish under political parties which actually could offer the Israeli citizen a safe and secure home, for both Jews and Palestinian-Israelis (the Palestinians within Israel proper, who have Israeli citizenship and makeup 20% of the population). 

6. Regardless if the Jewish population do not see fit to vote for the non/anti-Zionist parties, like Hadash, or Balad (a Palestinian party supporting a more radical agenda of equality for all citizens, which leans towards a One-State solution), they should at least open their eyes to the fact that there is a 20% Palestinian minority in their state. Building true bridges with Palestinians within Israel could be an important step to reaching peace and equality for all in the region. Also, it could also show the Israeli Jews a third way, one where Zionism can be retained culturally, but does not need to equal political hegemony. 

7. There is a real danger that a Netanyahu-Lieberman team, following the elections, in a moment of desperation, could set out to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, using the Separation Wall as a border; in essence, ending hopes that Jerusalem will be a shared capital of Israel and Palestine. All eyes need remain open to such a scenario. We know from Lebanon and Gaza, unilateral pullouts lead to continued violence. Peace can only be achieved through negotiations.

8. The Palestinians also need to seize the moment, unite all of their factions, and call new elections. No matter what type of government is elected, they will need to continue down the path Mahmoud Abbas has paved: one of diplomacy. This is the only way they will succeed in reaching full statehood. As an Israeli citizen, I will stop here since saying more would be presumptuous on my behalf.  They have plenty of peace-loving people on their side. The point is too build bridges together. 

9. In light of President Obama’s support of Israel, in the near future, he will need to come up with a major-policy shift, addressing Palestinian needs.  Obama won the Nobel Peace prize even before he made any real attempts at peace; now is the time to show us that this was not in vain. 

10. Israel, with its walls, fences, and Iron Dome to protect it skies, has become the largest gated community in the world. This is certainly not the Jewish haven Zionists had in mind. If Israel invested in peace, what it has invested in arms, then it is safe to say they would be living in a  a country where their children, along with the whole region, would thrive. After 45 years of occupation, and a century of violence, Israeli politicians have lead their citizens down a dead-end road. The time has come for the citizens to ask themselves how their own nationalism could be what has kept Israel in such a vicious circle of violence for so many years. 


  1. Israel is an illegitimate state and there will never be peace in Palestine as long as it exists:

    Modern Judaism
    Evolved from a Germanic cult
    Spawned by an ancient Babylonian text,
    Cum Palestinian text,
    Introduced by proselytizing Palestinian
    Into the Germanic tribes
    In early Roman times.

    The Ashkenazi's Germanic language--
    Their Germanic culture,
    And their Germanic-Palestinian DNA
    Prove they are a Germanic people--
    They are not a Semitic people.
    This gives a new understanding
    Of their invasion of Palestine
    And their continued aggression there
    for "lebensraum."

  2. ", or Balad (a Palestinian party supporting a more radical agenda of equality for all citizens,"

    like say,civic nationalism like the USA? and you call that radical? rethink your assumptions.

  3. fantastic publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector do not understand this. You must proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!