Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Winning (Losing) Strategy

I've had various people who claim to care about Israel say that "time is on Israel's side." One person I know said that Israel should keep building settlements until Palestinians agree to a deal, as a "price" for not negotiating.

These people are crazy. They are literally insane, and their delusions will see Israel destroyed. Jeffrey Goldberg makes the case that I've been making for months now -- the only thing Palestinians have to do to win everything is wait:
If I were a Palestinian (and, should there be any confusion on this point, I am not), and if I were the sort of Palestinian who believed that Israel should be wiped off the map, then I would be quite pleased with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s performance before Congress this morning.

I would applaud Netanyahu for including no bold initiatives that would have suggested to the world that Israel is alive to the threat posed by its seemingly eternal occupation of the West Bank.

In fact, I would make support for Netanyahu the foundation stone of my patient campaign to dismantle the world’s only majority-Jewish country. I would support not only Netanyahu, but the far-right parties of his governing coalition, the parties that seem uninterested in democracy and obsessed with planting more Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

The settlements would have my wholehearted backing. I would encourage my brother Palestinians to help build settlements at a brisk pace. I would ask the Israelis to build an even more intricate system of bypass roads on the West Bank that would connect Jewish settlements to one another and to Israel proper. I would ask my ostensible allies among the Arab nations to provide interest-free mortgages to Israelis in Tel Aviv, so they could move out to the settlements for some fresh air and a little more yard. And, while I was at it, I would insist that my leaders abort their campaign for United Nations recognition of an independent state of Palestine.

My goal: To hopelessly, ineradicably, entangle the two peoples wedged between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Then I would wait as the Israeli population on the West Bank grew, and grew some more. I would wait until 2017, 50 years after the Six Day War, which ended with Israel in control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I would go before the UN and say the following:

"We, the Palestinians, no longer seek a homeland of our own. We recognize the permanence of Israeli occupation, the dominion of the Israeli military and the power of the Israeli economy. So we would like to join them. In the 50 years since the beginning of the ’temporary’ occupation, we have seen hundreds of thousands of Israelis build communities near our own communities. We admire what they have built, and the system of laws that governs their lives. Unlike them, many of us live under Israeli military law but have no say in choosing the Israelis who rule us. So we no longer want statehood. We simply want the vote."

And this, of course, would bring about the end of Israel.

That's it. Wait until you've got 50.1% of the population, and then just say "all I want is to vote. That's all." Game over, thanks for playing. This "Jewish, democratic homeland" thing was nice while it lasted.

As Adam Serwer observes, the label "pro-Israel" should be reserved only for those who recognize the critical, existential threat Israel faces from this demographic time bomb. Folks with a lot of bluster but little knowledge don't count. Certainly, the National Union thugs who promise to resist the creation of any Palestinian state don't count (if I had it my way, these people would literally be excommunicated from Judaism). And craven leaders better at shoring up short-term political coalitions than taking the bold steps Israel needs to survive? They don't count in my book either.

Palestinians have time on their side. They have the UN on their side. They have the Arab World on their side. They have growing chunks of the international community on their side. We can whine and moan about how unfair it all is, or we can suck it up and realize that we're living in an unfair world, and deal accordingly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't someone who conjures "big BLACK convicts" out of thin air when parsing Justice Scalia's words be a little more judicious using dehumanizing terms like demographic threat or time bomb? Especially when your closing paragraph clearly frames the whole issue as one of "us vs. them".