“One more reason to love the Irish people. The tide is turning,” an elated Roger Waters recently tweeted.
The cause of his happiness? For Israel, the end is, if not exactly nigh, then nigher.
In late January, the lower house of the Irish parliament passed the “Control of Economic Activity Bill”, a.k.a. the Occupied Territories Bill.
The bill will prohibit importing from or selling products to individuals or companies in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and presumably the non-Palestinian Golan Heights as well. Offenders face jail time as well as financial penalties.
Waters, co-founder of rock band Pink Floyd and sole owner of his longstanding hatred of the Jewish state, apparently regards the Occupied Territories Bill as an initial foray in what will snowball into a major attack against Israel’s sovereignty.
How can an Irish boycott sink Israel?
Tides generally turn at their leisure, although once upon a time in this part of the world, a tide did turn with enough force to dramatically alter the demographic landscape.
Waters seems to expect a more gradual geographical realignment. Perhaps he subscribes to the political version of Chaos theory, whereby the fluttering of one butterfly’s wings can eventually affect the weather around the entire globe.
Waters provides no details as to how and when Israel’s political tide might turn. Limited to extremely brief entries, Twitter is the wrong place for detailed explanations, although you can do it if you really try.
Waters did not try.
Clues to his thinking, however, can be found in the views of another inveterate Israel hater, Richard Falk.
In 2014 Falk, a former Princeton professor of international law, was similarly optimistic regarding the Palestinians, as he explained in a lengthy article in the leftist Nation magazine. His article was adapted from his Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture at Columbia University.
Falk, who served as a UN special rapporteur for Palestine from 2008 to 2014, argues against a pessimistic assessment (from a Palestinian perspective) he heard at a dinner party:
“Let’s face it: the conflict is over, Israel has won, the Palestinians have been defeated, and there is nothing more to be done or said. I am not happy about this, but this is the reality. We should move on.”
Falk was having none of it.
Actually, he had some of it; yes, he admits, the outlook for the Palestinians does appear hopeless.
However, “the appearance of Palestinian defeat is an optical illusion—one that hides the probability of eventual Israeli defeat.”
The most important battle is the one “for legitimacy, which is most likely to determine the political outcome.” Israel may be worried about armed resistance but it is even more worried about “delegitimation.”
History favors the Palestinians: in “colonial” conflicts over the last five decades, “the side that was weaker militarily controlled the political outcome. The side with the greater perseverance and resilience, not the side that controlled the battlefield, won in the end.”
The Palestinians also have powerful political weapons, especially “international law and UN authority, which had been the trump in the Palestinian deck of cards.”
They are aided too by a “global solidarity movement” that includes B.D.S.
Parts, sums and totals
Do you see where this is going?
Probability. Legitimacy. Perseverance and resilience. A global solidarity movement. The United Nations. The International Criminal Court.
Neither B.D.S nor the ICC nor any other single factor by itself is powerful enough to make an impact on the Jewish state.
But if you combines these forces, they should be potent enough not only to threaten Israel existentially but to actually overwhelm it. Between the river and the sea, only one state. Its name will be Palestine.
In the nearly five years since Falk’s prognostications, the Palestinians have if anything lost ground—diplomatically, politically and probably legally.
But five years is a piffle. Falk did not provide a time line, nor did he argue that the radical overhaul he was predicting would occur imminently. He advised patience, and he would presumably be heartened by the Irish OTB vote—one more powerful weapon to insert into the Palestinian quiver.
While happy Roger Waters was professing his love for the Irish, commentators pointed out that the proposed law would pit Ireland not only against Israel but also against the EU and America. Four of Ireland’s largest companies are American-owned, and you might have heard of some of them: Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The new law will straitjacket them.
Final passage of the Occupied Territories Bill once seemed assured. Now, with the prospect that it might harm Ireland more than Israel, its future is less certain. And if it fails or fades away—if it affects no tide at all—the Palestinians and their western supporters will probably find themselves back on square one, and having lost more time to boot.
Nations don’t voluntarily relinquish their sovereignty, even if you gang up them. Forcing Israel to disappear itself will always be quixotic in the extreme; it is militarily strong and an economic force in its own right, and it has a powerful ally or two. And the radical left’s legal, political and moral cases against it are bogus.
Falk concludes his article with a quote from the poet W.H. Auden: “We who are about to die demand a miracle.”
Miracle? Another miracle?
He doesn’t even have faith in his own analysis.