The latest case of anti Israel activism overseas is the American Studies Association (ASA) Boycott of Israeli institutes of higher education. I hadn’t heard of the ASA until they decided to boycott Israel, I suspect I am by no means the only one. Naturally now they have been catapulted into the headlines, their leaders called for interviews and everyone seems to have an opinion about them. I hope they enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.
But when I heard that the ASA were boycotting Israel my first reaction was to remember how much I want this occupation to end and how easy it is to dream that everything will be okay in the end. I want Israel to finally have a recognised border to the East. I want done with the responsibility of occupation. I want the world to love Israel the same way I do. The same way I used to anyway. The way I loved Israel before the army.
But the way I loved the country before moving here was in the same way that a child loves a fairy tale. Not as a real country but as a haven, a place where nothing bad can happen, a place where each and every one of the people living here are brave and pure of heart and true. The entire country took the place of a damsel in distress and I, Marc Goldberg would be the Prince Charming who rode in on his boeing 747 and cured the Sleeping Beauty of all that ailed her. Where I would single-handedly destroy the barbarians and save my love to go off and live happily ever after with her.
In the army I encountered such a healthy dose of real life that my fairy tale pretensions were ended forever. So much the better. Fairy tales are for children not for adults. As we grow older we have a responsibility to cast aside the dreams we hold. Our father Herzl argued that if we will it it is no dream. The line has been repeated so often it has become a cliche. But I still love it.
Israel exists but she is by no means complete. Herzl recognised the dream for a Jewish state existed but insisted that the Jewish people awoke from their slumber and started taking the practical measures necessary to bring her into being. Only when you’re awake can you make things happen. As wonderful as the dream is, those who insist on remaining asleep are doomed to watch helplessly as their dream turns into a nightmare.
And here I sit watching my government negotiate with the Palestinians on the one hand while building more homes in the settlements on the other. I am reminded that some people are still dreaming. Hoping that if they just keep building and keep refusing to look at the Palestinians living in the towns and cities next to them then they will simply go away. Indeed many times I come against people who refuse to even use the word Palestinian. Dreaming that the refusal to use the word somehow equates to the disappearance of Palestinian nationalism.
After over 40 years it’s time to wake up. We’re the ones interested in a 2 state solution. The Palestinians are more than happy to simply sit back and demand a one state solution as the only viable solution to this conflict. The more homes we build over the Green Line the more likely we make it that the Jewish state will be replaced by a state of Palestine with a Jewish minority in it.