Oct. 5, 2018
Progressives for Israel – Zachary Thacher (Tablet)
Tel Aviv is an extraordinarily liberal oasis in a nation founded by socialists and social democrats. Yet people see this country as a rehashing of the American civil rights movement, where Arabs are black and brown victims and multiethnic Israelis are…white oppressors? Most Israelis are Middle Eastern and African; Americans would call them people of color.
Palestinian nationalism is not the story of a minority once bound in slavery now advocating for equality. It’s a zero sum fight for sovereignty. Jews will not be granted citizenship in a future state of Palestine, even in biblical towns like Hebron or Jericho. Yet 20% of Israelis are Arabs and their citizenship is not up for debate.
Israel has 6 million Jews, most of whom fled here and are unwelcome in former homes in Baghdad, Cairo, Tunis and beyond. The surrounding Arab world has over 400 million souls. To this day, Israelis are barred from most Arab states. Who is the disenfranchised minority?
Palestinian politics bear no resemblance to a nonviolent integration movement. Hamas embraces a radical Islamism linked to al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. They are intolerant fundamentalists with social policies that make The Handmaid’s Tale look like a rom-com. When they say they’re resisting the occupation, they mean all of Israel. Their struggle ends with the annihilation of the Jews.
The Palestinian Authority rejects peace when it isn’t stealing from its own people. It supports terror groups that compete with Hamas for brutality and it’s far from democratic – the last time there was an election was in 2006.
Israel is a plucky example of democratic socialism. Whichever party is in charge, universal health care, muscular labor unions, public arts funding and a strong safety net are secure. These are the very achievements progressives like me strive for back home.