Is this the end of Liberal Jewish support for the Palestinians?

Since the Gaza war, numerous articles have been written, in publications such as The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, discussing whether support for Israel is still compatible with liberal values. Israeli racism, occupation and undemocratic legislation have lead many Jewish liberals to conclude that they can no longer maintain their belief in Zionism, and their support for the State of Israel.

We can discuss whether these arguments are correct or not. But it seems surprising that there is no similar discussion going on among Jewish liberals about whether they can still maintain their support for the Palestinians. The case here seems very clear – the Palestinians are in breach of numerous liberal values.

1. Many parts of Palestinian society are explicitly racist

On Palestinian television and social media, explicitly racist images and videos are often shown. For example, in this video, a Palestinian children`s TV show explicitly encourages hatred against Christians and Jews. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is a Holocaust denier, and he recently said that there would be life imprisonment for any Palestinian who sells land to Israelis.

2. The Palestinian Government is corrupt

The Palestinian government has stolen vasts amounts of money from its own people.Yasser Arafat was accused by the International Monetary Fund of embezzling about $900 million dollars of Palestinian money over a period of five years. In 2013, the EU accused the PA of squandering 2 billion euros of aid, due to corruption and mismanagement.

3. There is no freedom of speech or press under Palestinian rule

Last month, the Associated Press reported that two thirds of Palestinians are afraid of speaking out against Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian Authority has been guilty of intimidating journalists who report stories they do not want reported. In 2013, a Palestinian journalist was imprisoned for a year for depicting Mahmoud Abbas as a player on Real Madrid football team.

If liberals wish to stop supporting Zionism because Israel is “lurching to the right”, they cannot ignore what is going on on the Palestinian side. It is wrong for liberals to be discussing rejecting Israel without addressing the very serious issues that plague Palestinian society.

About the Author
Aron White, 22, is currently studying and teaching in Yeshivat HaKotel, whilst studying for a degree in Politics and International Relations through LSE.