It is with this in mind, that I was pleasantly surprised to read this thoroughly sobering and pragmatic response to Jimmy Carter’s latest attack on Israel. It is penned by Bradley Burston of Haaretz.
The occupation is horrid, but it is not apartheid.
The occupation must be opposed not because it resembles apartheid, but because it is overtly destructive to both Palestinians and Israelis.
The use of the term apartheid actually contributes to one of the primary reasons why the occupation continues. It is the "Oom Shmoom" syndrome - the Israeli mindset that says "The whole world curses and mislabels us for anything we do or don't do, so we might as well go on doing what we're doing."
As it is, it is too easy for Israelis to maintain a state of denial over the occupation and its evils. It is too easy for Israelis to dismiss hyperbole, to wave away comparisons to the Nazis and other genocidal regimes.
What is needed is honest criticism of the occupation as it is. What is needed is exposure of the specific ways in which Israel's policies cause harm to the harmless, and, in the process, are bad for Israel as well.
The occupation will not end because of a thousand rockets, or ten thousand. It will not end through boycotts by publicity starved academics.
It will end by means of Israelis being exposed to and coming to terms with wrongheaded and often immoral acts committed in the name of security, acts which often harm only non-combatants. It will come through the actions of Israeli courts, of a U.S. administration actively seeking solutions, and, eventually, though the actions of courageous Israeli politicians.
It will come through diplomacy, international involvement, and a process in which mutual demonization gives way to compromise.
What is needed is an attempt to approach Israelis as human beings trying, if often failing, to deal with an impossible array of complex variables.
Human beings, not evil, bloodthirsty colonialist Zionist thugs. Human beings, not a collection of facile, mean-spirited labels.
Zionists and Israel hater’s alike, I hope you are both listening!