This is a general response – as opposed to my usual paragraph-by-paragraph critique – of Peter Beinart’s 12/3/2014 article on Haaretz.com, titled “The Jewish-American battle for Israeli democracy Stops at the Green Line: Why does the nation-state bill offend America’s Jewish establishment more than the occupation?”
So the American Jewish establishment is critical of the Jewish nation-state bill, which makes Peter Beinart happy. To a point. The establishment criticizes the bill lest it lead to an erosion of Israel’s democratic character, especially at the risk of Arab rights – but – and here Beinart triumphantly busts the American Jewish establishment and the State of Israel in one fell swoop – the Arabs beyond the Green Line have barely any democratic rights at all! They lack any citizenship, cannot vote for their government, and do not enjoy due process or freedom of movement as they live under draconian military law. Indeed, this duplicity is puzzling.
No worries, Peter can explain the American Jewish establishment’s hypocrisy. It’s convoluted, so bear with me: in order to avoid being labeled deligitimizers or demonizers of Israel, the establishment will only criticize Israel within a smothering of praise. Something like: “Israel is an American-like paragon of democracy, except for this nation-state bill.”
And the only part of Israel that the establishment can praise is the Israel within the GL – really, the establishment is ashamed of Israel’s military occupation beyond the GL.
Look, I’m not too thrilled with the nation-state bill myself, and I don’t think Bibi is either. I suspect he was subject to some political strong-arming. Bibi’s a sharp guy and knows this bill is superfluous, as – contrary to popular hysteria – it neither guarantees anyone more or fewer rights. It just reiterates what everyone already knows, and has been enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence: that Israel is the Jewish state with equal rights for all its citizens. In fact, all this bill can do is provoke, which it has done admirably.
And now about that pesky human rights problem in the PA Beinart loves to talk about: I actually agree with him. They live under horrible conditions. If only Abu Mazen and co. would grant some basic freedoms and allow for another election – hey, once a decade is not too shabby! Oh right, then Hamas will likely control the PA. And Abu Mazen can’t have that. After all, if that happens he stands to lose a fortune.