There are some people who love their sports teams so much that they find themselves getting increasingly agitated whenever they go to see them play. They simply can’t stand watching their team lose, more than that they can’t stand to see every missed shot on goal, any pass that goes straight to the opposition, any penalty stupidly given away.
In their fury they curse not the opposing team but their own, they curse their players, they curse the management and they consider abandoning even watching them play because they can no longer stomach the disappointment.
It seems that Israel has a few of these kinds of fans herself. The message they’re chanting from the cheap seats in the stadium, (you know the seats with the poorest view) is that the occupation needs to end. I guess from so far away they didn’t realise that Israelis already know. Although I am really grateful for being enlightened by these faraway Zionists who have found a way to both tell Israelis what they already know and enhance their own public profiles I have to say I find them somewhat disingenuous.
Over and over again it seems I am subjected to these anguished speeches by (primarily) American Jews who tell me in the same breath how much they love Israel and how painful it was for them to decide it’s time for BDS. The latest by Kathleen Peratis is an instant classic;
I have not only heard all the arguments against BDS, I have made them. I am one of those really liberal Jews who will appear on panels too treif for most mainstream Jews (because they include anti-Zionists) and argue that the liberal Zionist dream is not dead, that a Jewish and democratic Israel is still possible, that Israel (inside the green line) is a democracy. For this I am sometimes mocked. Marilyn Neimark, my co-panelist not too long ago, turned to me when it was her turn and said, “And do you also still believe in the tooth fairy?”
I think we all know where she’s going with this, naturally the conclusion is;
“But maybe it is time now, maybe past time, to embrace a broader BDS tool for our own goal of ending the occupation—time for us to embrace the wake-up call that occurs when a rock group won’t perform in Tel Aviv, when the E.U. refuses to fund Israeli projects that have any presence over the Green Line, when the Presbyterian Church threatens divestment in companies that profit from the occupation.”
A few days later there was a rather weak argument put forward against Peratis’ piece entitled “If you want to be Politically Irrelevant, Support BDS”. Rabbi John L Rosoce of J Street made the argument that;
“I believe it is a serious political mistake for American Jews to support any kind of BDS (even one limited to the settlements) because we risk having our friends and allies in Congress walk away from us as pro-Israel, pro-peace advocates and align themselves with regressive, right-wing forces that do not support two states for two peoples.”
The implicit message here is that were he not worried about a loss of political support Rabbi Roscoe would also be boycotting Israel. Thanks Rabbi, it’s no surprise that judging by the minuscule social media footprint of the piece, barely anyone shared it.
Of course what the rabbi might have pointed out was that it’s rather absurd to advocate boycotting Israel in order to force her to stop settlement building and the occupation of the West bank at precisely the moment that Israel is in protracted negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to do just that. It might also be worth noting that if you’re a true friend of Israel you might be considering some of the risks involved in a withdrawal. Just a thought.
There are two things that are coming through loud and clear in these “I love Israel, I’m going to hurt Israel”, tough love arguments. The first is that they are incredibly superficial. The logic being that if diaspora Jewry stops buying Israeli goods and works to prevent popular musicians from coming here then the Palestinian Authority will decide that the Right of Return is no longer an issue and Palestinian terrorism, necessitating operations in the territories by ground forces will end.
Personally I find this logic to be flawed. May I also add that some people seem to have become confused and believe that criticisms are the same as solutions. They are not.
So let me put it out there for those members of my family overseas who feel the need to crap all over the country they love so much at any given opportunity. We are well aware of the danger that continued settlement building is causing our country. Poll after poll makes it very clear indeed that Israelis want peace talks in the hope that a solution to this conflict will come soon. But don’t think for a single second that if only Israel would just walk out of the West Bank that everything would be fine, that terrorism would end, that Israel would no longer come under attack.
The threats we face come from fanatics whose goal is not peace but destruction. They do not look to the establishment of a Palestinian state but the end of the Jewish one. Hopefully soon there will be a deal struck between the representatives of my country and those of the Palestinians. A deal that will ensure the viability of a Palestinian state and an Israel that will never have to dig mass graves in public parks as was the case in May of 1967. There was a reason that no one living here back then could foresee a situation where Israel, with a waistline of a mere 15km, actually won a war.
To put it bluntly until such time as a deal is agreed I kindly request that you, who live safe in the diaspora and call yourselves “Zionists” while at the same time hurting Israel in whatever way you can, spare us Israelis who are living the unfolding story of our people every day the benefit of your self important bullsh*t!
You’re telling us things that we already know whilst failing to recognise the steps we are already taking. You’re also ignoring the threats Israel faces and acting as if withdrawing from the West Bank is the answer to all Israel’s problems. You are arguing this because you are far away and can’t see what’s happening here and because you won’t be the ones living in a post occupation Israel.
If there’s a wave of terror from the West Bank after we have left you can simply shrug your shoulders and say “hey we tried” and then go back to your day job, we’ll be the ones bleeding. Really, if you find it impossible to be a part of the solution, at the very least stop making yourselves a part of the problem.