April 28, 2007

How do you take your solutions, one state or two? and how do you achieve them?

I caught a bit of a buzz going on about an article by Uri Avnery. I heard that there's some stuff on Desert Peace about it which I'm just about to look at. And what a surprise! Desert Peace supports the so-called two state solution. I also found out that Uri Avnery's piece was itself partly a response to a speech made by Ilan Pappe in the first place.

My own view here is that, at this point in time it doesn't matter how many states there are in what we now call Israel and the occupied territories. What matters is how they are constituted, and, of course, how they behave. On that latter, Israel's behaviour is atrocious. It is not simply a state with colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing in its history, it is a state that persists in colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing. This we (and they) call zionism. It is zionism that is the problem.

Now Israel has powerful allies in governments and the media so it can behave as atrociously as it likes and have powerful allies support it with arms and money. Zionists also contriol so much media that the newspaper considered to be most critical of Israel in this country hands its editorial column over to a self-declared zionist and has resident columnists who are zionists. So what to do? Well if the establishment won't do anything to make Israel yield on the question of the human and civil rights of the Palestinians a boycott seems to be in order. Avnery doesn't like that one either. Why? Because zionist propaganda would portray it as being just like the nazi boycott of Jewish shops.

It's curious that Avnery speaks of gains made by the so-called peace camp in Israel over the years.
I believe that we have already attained impressive achievements: the recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people has become general, and so has the readiness of most Israelis to accept the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. We have compelled our government to recognize the PLO, and we shall compel them to recognize Hamas. True, all this would not have happened without the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and (sometimes) favorable international circumstances, but the contribution of the Israeli peace forces, which pioneered these ideas, was significant.
He sees gains in these things. I see zionist tactics, in fact gains for zionism in many ways. And then he speaks of what the peace camp hasn't gained:
We have not succeeded in compelling our government to stop the building of the wall or the enlargement of the settlements, nor to restore to the Palestinians their freedom of movement. In short, we have not succeeded in putting an end to the occupation. The Arab citizens of Israel have not attained real equality. But beneath the surface, in the depths of national consciousness, we are succeeding. The question is how to turn the hidden success into an open political fact. In other words: how to change the policy of the Israeli government.
Now I don't accept that either. I don't see Israelis softening and I believe it is because of the pandering to Israel by western governments and covering for Israel by western media that Israel's privileged population retain and insist they will maintain their Jewish supremacy no matter what.

As it happens there have been tremendous gains made in the field of consciousness of the realities of zionism on the part of western publics. In 2000 (I think it was 2000) 60% of EU people polled said they believed Israel to be the biggest threat to peace in the world. Israel regularly comes top of the polls for the worst kind of society. There is a general recognition that far from being singled out for condemnation because it is Jewish, Israel has got away with each atrocity because it has used its Jewishness and its lacrymose Jewish "history" to gain sympathy no other colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing could dream of.

The fact that people generally are wising up to the reality of zionism and therefore the lack of legitimacy of Israel is not lost on the zionist movement. Look at the zionist approach to debate these days. The lies, the abuse, the bullying that goes on. It really is all over bar the shouting. They shout their "rights" to drown out their wrongs. They want to make anti-zionism a criminal offence. They openly lie in the media, on message boards. They don't care. It's a tactic now to flaunt their power but it is also a weakness of power when it has to be flaunted so. And the establishment is with them - for the time being.

So when the establishment won't act, the people have to. It's pointless saying that a boycott can succeed where the international community has failed. The international community, if there is such a thing, hasn't even tried. The people must try. Decent people cannot suddenly take over the Guardian or any other newspaper. Cannot take over governments just yet. So what can we do? We can boycott Israel across a variety of fronts, cultural, economic, whatever. But where establishments fail people can succeed and the strength of the enemy, whether to kill or to lie, should not be held up as an excuse to pander to either its power or its propaganda.

Whether the goal is one or two states based on justice for all, a popular boycott of Israel together with a commitment to expose Israel for what it is and what it does is the only hope for any form of justice for the Palestinians short or long term.

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