What Anti-Zionist Leftists Get Wrong

tags: Israel, Palestine, American left

Bernard Bohbot is a PhD student of history at the University of Quebec in Montreal, working on the tortuous relations between the Jews and the left. 

Loathing Israel has become a religion in a large segment of the left – especially the far-left, which has always been anti-Zionist, but even in much of the liberal left. Questioning Israel’s existence is no longer taboo. According to left-wing anti-Zionists, Israel is a “colonial-settler” state that should be dismantled to repair the wrongs done to the Palestinians. Yet this anti-Israel left doesn’t question the existence of other states whose creation entailed much more violence and injustice. 

Some argue that there is another historical precedent to invoke to justify denying Israel’s legitimacy – the apartheid regime in South Africa. This analogy is problematic, as the South African apartheid regime wasn’t a democratic nation-state; it was a regime based on the rule of the majority by a minority. 

Of course, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank tarnishes the country’s reputation and fosters this anti-Israel sentiment. Still, there is a major difference between criticizing Israel’s policies and questioning its very existence. 

Furthermore, Israel is not the only one responsible for the stalemate. The Palestinian Authority has been difficult to deal with, both when led by Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas; it has arguably either rejected or ignored peace plans that would have allowed the Palestinians to recover the overwhelming majority of the occupied territories in 2001, 2008, and 2014.  (Readers are invited to consider a detailed analysis in the form of a recent book review at the Fathom journal website by Yair Hirschfeld, a veteran of Israeli peace efforts going back to the Oslo process.) 

The Second Intifada destroyed the electoral power of the Israeli left, which had led the government in 2000. Suffering the worst wave of terrorism that has ever struck Israel, most Israelis moved to the right. This was a tragedy for the Palestinians as well; despite flaws cited by Hirschfeld, among others, Ehud Barak as prime minister ultimately accepted the “Clinton Parameters” for an equitable two-state solution.  . . .

Read entire article at The Third Narrative

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