Sunday, November 25, 2007
One of [the] themes on this site is that Jewishness played a role in the prowar movement (just as Islam plays a role in jihadist radicalism). Jewish neocons were aggressive about using American power to preserve Israel's security, while liberal Jewish hawks asserted over and over that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and completely neglected the apartheid road system that is talked about across the Arab world.
Until liberal Jews come to terms with this element of the war support, Jewish intellectual life will remain in denial/crisis, the left will be riven by unspoken suspicions on this score and will remain ineffective, the neocons will remain unchallenged intellectually, and our foreign policy will remain broken.
In dismissing Judt's view that Zionism is anachronistic and must yield to ideas of a binational state in Palestine, Cohen writes with typical bombast: "I suppose India can save itself from being an unfortunate anachronism by a reintegration with Pakistan..." The key error in this statement is that partition actually worked 60 years ago in India: Pakistan became a state.
The Palestinians are stateless; the Israelis are expansionist. If the Palestinians had been given a state when real opportunity arose, there wouldn't now be a high concrete wall on their land, the hilltops wouldn't be colonized by religious settlers, and Muslims would have freedom to visit their holy sites.
Of course Cohen writes that he opposes the "settlements." He says this in passing as an example of legitimate criticism of Israel. The settlements. The issue here is how monstrous the Israeli policies in the West Bank are to you. One line about the settlements is like an American of 40 years ago saying, Of course I am opposed to those whites-only lunch-counters and bathrooms. The issue then was: segregation and the South were corrupting American society. We couldn't make any claim to real democracy in the eyes of the world so long as those conditions existed. This is Israel's situation today, and the reason that progressive intellectuals are attacking Zionist ideas.