29 April 2004


I have anguished mixed feelings about Israel. On the one hand, I'm not sure that creating a Jewish nation-state was such a good idea in the first place. On the other hand, once created Israel was a legitimate, democratic state with a right to defend its existence. On the first hand, the disenfranchisement of the people in the territories occupied since '67 has compromised Israel's claim to be the legitimate state of all of its people. On that second hand again, that's more the fault of Israel's Arab neighbors than of Israel --- and Israel has had to be tough and pragmatic to survive in the face of those guys at all.

And so on.

A while ago, Avraham Burg described better than I could the unhappy impasse Israel faces in his essay The End of Zionism.

The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.
Do you want the greater land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy.
Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse--or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks.
Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs.

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