That is my title, not Harper's. pl
"In the past few years, a reported one million Israeli Jews have packed their bags and left Israel, going off to, in some cases, their nations of origin, like Canada, the United States, Europe, South Africa, Australia, etc. These are, by and large, the secular, modern Jews, who have given up on Israel as the promised land, and have moved their money out of Israeli banks, sent their children to colleges outside of Israel, etc. It won't show up on the official statistics, because these are mostly dual citizens, who will not necessarily bother to renounce their Israeli citizenship, but several recent visiting scholars from Israel have confirmed that this is true. And the exodus has not ended.
So Israel is being left to religious fanatics, Russian emigres, settlers who are bigger fanatics, and a shrinking percentage of secular pilgrim Jews of the early Zionist period and the post-World War II exodus from Europe. It is a different country, and the last election reflected that tilt. The singular event, highlighting the transformation of Israel was the Rabin assassination, an unprecedented and tragic event, that may be looked back on as the signal event of the failure of the Zionist experiment.
As long as the Bibi government remains in power, reflecting the true will of the Israeli people, Israel will further and further isolate itself from the United States and Europe. The nationalism that Col. Lang correctly identified, will be radicalized, but the further isolation, which began in earnest, with the Gaza action of last December, will accelerate. It is much bigger than President Obama or George Mitchell demanding a freeze on settlements, repudiating the Bush letter, etc. It is a global phase shift away from support for Israel, with no qualification or condition attached.
What is going on now with the Obama Administration is a decoupling from the "passionate engagement" (to use George Ball's adoption of George Washington's term) with Israel. It may not result in a two-state solution, since both the Palestinian house and the Israeli house are both deeply divided and intransigent. It will, I suspect, free the United States to pursue a sovereign foreign policy over time, which is a good in itself.
If there is not some dramatic shift in the thinking of the political leadership of Israel, then we are headed for a protracted crisis, that will, I suspect, ultimately lead to either a very ugly war, a Thirty Years War type religious and tribal fiasco; or an eventual one-state solution, in which the Palestinian struggle for equality and justice is then more akin to the anti-apartheid or American civil rights struggle.
In the meantime, the U.S. should get about the business of repairing state-to-state relations with Syria (already advancing pretty much on a fast-track), and hopefully with Iran. The policy on Iran is to avoid the experiences of the Europeans and the Russians, and deal with the top of the heap–Supreme Leader Khamenei and the National Security Council. It's the only way to hold their feet to the fire, and Gates and company have clearly spelled out a six-month plan for forcing that to happen. We are also quietly cracking down on Saudi funding of Salafi and Wahhabi radicals in the region and in the Indian subcontinent, and that is good, for a change.
An Israel lead and occupied by religious fanatics with 100s of nuclear warheads?
I’m scared already.
I am somewhat amused by the mention of the Rabin assassination in this exerpt. I shouldn’t be so surorised because it was a highly significant event. Certainly worthy of mentioning. However, to the historical tradition of Israeli feedom fighters like Menachem Begin and Yizhak Shamir, Rabin’s assassination represents yet another blow, in a long line of blows, against the Anglo-American/European nobility. The same European nobilities who have been viewed by these Jewish freedom fighters as keeping,for centuries, Jews, in a subservient state.
As I mentioned in a previous post Rabin’s faction in Israeli politics was viewed by the Likud extremists as capitulating to outside forces. (Anglo-American Euro elites/nobility)
Israeli history is rife with instances of assassinating the European nobleman. Whether it was Menachem Begin bombing the King David Hotel, killing British civil servants. Or Yizhak Shamir shooting the Swedish Count Bernadotte. The Zionist “freedom fighters” have a long history of hatred for their historical masters/ European nobility.
How this hatred has gone unexamined for so long is truly strange.
Not long ago i was in tel aviv with my favorite cousin after some time in gaza. Raised by a resolutely atheist father until a nasty divorce when in his late teens, he went off to college and really rebelled — he got religion and started keeping kosher, even. Also smart as a whip and with his father’s left-leaning politics intact, he gravitated to the old socialist zionism and emigrated round about 1983. He long ago lost the religion, but became a husband, a father, an Israeli. His wife is a sabra, a PTSD expert who used to work with the military but now does domestic violence counselling. Good people — he was sick about what was happening in gaza and sicker about his 18 year old son on a base near Ashqelon. We’d been talking about half politics half family gossip for a day or two. This morning, we were just living. We took coffee and a nosh from some yemeni jews, bought lunch and dinner, and wanderd along the beach oggling the gorgeous israeli girls in sundresses, took in the sun and smoked cigars. As we headed away from the beach he turned to me and said: “Fools paradise, huh?”
I know my cousin isn’t going to leave, but I worry for the future if people like him are — leaving an Israel of disgruntled Arabs, haredim and right-wing hawks.
Every educated Iranian I have met in the region has said that one strategic benefit of the threat of nuclear weapon is that it will further de-populate Israel. Israelis will ask themselves: “Why risk dying nuclear war if you can live in the US?” It’s not the only reason for pursuing such weapons, but rather an added bonus. Weirdly, I’ve never seen this mentioned in the Western press.
Unlike Israelis, Palestinians can’t go anywhere; no Arab state will take them. That’s a bargaining chip for Syria, Egypt and Jordan, which will be pressured to do so as part of any settlement.
The unbeleivable amounts of energy needed to keep this albatross of a state flying and defecating on its neighbors cannot be maintained forever.
“It will, I suspect, free the United States to pursue a sovereign foreign policy over time, which is a good in itself.”
Oh please oh please oh please let this be true…
Sadly, I do not think so.
As the Weisman and Rosen case has proven, the USA is in too deep, or rather, the politicians are in too deep in the lobby.
Any normal country would have a scandal bigger than Watergate when a powerful politician plots with a foreign power to usurp the intelligence comittee chairmanship – in our country, it is seen as entirely normal and blase…
It would be great to hear a cry sound out in the US “Next Year Washington”.
It would be great to hear a cry sound out in the US “Next Year Washington”.
To the extent that George Bush’s Iraq crusade was based on advice from the “New Israel”, it is an example of how a tiny ally can destroy a much bigger country. Simply put: we need the money. A billion dollars a day to the Iraq war (and the Afghan war) is unaffordable.
a very ugly war: How do you avoid that? It will be enormously ironic to any historians in existence a hundred years from now that the US was worrying about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, while it stood by and permitted certified looneys to pull the nuclear trigger in Israel. Won’t it?
The public push-back begins.
Next Monday will be an anniversary of an infamous date in US-Israeli relations – the 8 June 1967 sneak attack on the USS Liberty by Israeli ships and planes.US casualties were 34 KIA and 174 WIA. These dead and wounded remain yet unavenged.
Interestingly, in term of population density the two area’s population hardly fill half of biggest high density cities in the world.
The entire population won’t even fill NY city (8m) or half of Tokyo metro area (12m). Annually, NY city hotel handles about 25 million guests.
During the peak of tokyo real estate bubble, entire Israel GDP couldn’t buy 1/10th of ginza district. The price topped at $1m/meter square. When the bubble burst the real estate value lost was in trillions. Of course current credit collapse is still more impressive, since it’s all paper.
If people would just stop fighting and and try to blow the money in more impressive way. It would all be that much more interesting. The entire population of Jerusalem (759k) probably can be put in two of those super skyscrapers with plenty of room left.
Israel unemployment and fiscal condition are ugly. They need to actually start having real economy, build something real instead of going to war every other year.
Anthony: “An Israel lead and occupied by religious fanatics with 100s of nuclear warheads? ”
One of the elephants in the room. Probably the main unmentionable of the politics in the area. Our support of a state that is destabilizing the region by this action is an obvious hypocrisy.
To those doubting Thomases, about the Obama’s push-back against Bibi, check out the American publics support for a fair resolution of this conflict and disgust with the Israeli intransigence.
” And on the crucial question, is it time to get tough with Israel, the gap was a veritable Grand Canyon. Among Obama voters, 71 percent agreed and 18 percent disagreed. Among McCain voters, 16 percent agreed and 73 percent disagreed.
Similar divides showed up on virtually every question asked.”
Sometimes the focus on the little people may provide insight. Hoping my facts are accurate and think they are! I have a quite talented singer and musical female friend. She married an Israeli or American Jew not sure which is correct. They emigrated to Israel. She lasted there 7 years and then after a long struggle realized she could never become an Israeli citizen. Mother not Jewish and even though a convert to the Jewish faith still could not become citizen. So she divorced and left Israel. Trouble is she still loves the guy and now many years later. When stationed in Germany (FRG) I discoverd the Germans had hundreds of DP [displaced person] camps. These DPs were a product of WWII. Again the problem [as I saw it} no possibility of German citizenship even though many were ethnic Germans and spoke German. Hey maybe the criticism of Our (the US) belief in our exceptionalism is because other countries resent US for having in the past and present a more open door than many countries. We actually believe that “All are Equal” and should be given an equal chance. How naive we are in a world that believes just the opposite. Again let’s spend our $3 Trillion on a crusade (can be a quiet one) and cut off all those that don’t honor our First Amendment.
One can ‘understand’ when Israel ‘only’ citizens snoop for their nation on the international stage, however those ‘dual passport/dual nationality’ types who hold both Israeli and U.S. citizenship and passports snoop against our U.S. on behalf of Israel, that is when I have a definite ‘problem’ with ‘them’. Those types are betraying their fellow U.S. citizens and family, notwithstanding their relatives in Israel as the Israeli government (currently run by organized crime associated entities) which is infested with hostile-to-the-U.S. espionage agents, that corrupt Israeli government then sells U.S. mil tech data that they have stolen through their ‘dual citizen’ espionage perps to nations that then use such tech against our U.S. subsequently putting U.S. military and intelligence personnel’s lives in jeopardy, not to mention CONUS defense infrastructures.
To sum it up, it’s time that the ‘dual passport/citizenship’ was stopped. Either a persona is a U.S. citizen or foreign, no more in between. Why I say Israel, is because it is Israel that is causing the most problems for our U.S.!
one of the Liberty’s sailors, Terry Halbardier, was just presented the Silver Star, only some 42 years late. He fixed the radio which allowed the USS Liberty to radio an S.O.S. to the Sixth Fleet. That miraculously put an end to the Israeli attack.
Who knows, wouldn’t it be for him … the USS Liberty might have been lost with all hands, sunk by … Egyptians or Syrians, drawing the US into the Israeli camp. But maybe I’m just cynical.
Interestingly, the citation stated explicitly — with none of the usual fudging — the identity of the attackers: “The USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats in the East Mediterranean Sea….”
More from Ray McGovern.
a correction maybe is needed to your statement that “US for having … a more open door than many countries”
How about the few hundreds of Iraquis which US has taken, out of the millions, and a little country like Sweden has taken tens of thousands?
A US official, earlier this year, stated that “we want other countries to be afraid of us but not so afraid to do something about it.”
Israel serves that purpose. US needs the uncontrollable-by-anyone-else-but-me nuclear armed Israel in Eastern Mediterranean to keep her Patron and Protector position intact. ]That the protestant Christians in US support Israel makes it that much easier to maintain such a policy.]
Just look at the pathetic little Arab leaders who are lining up as supplicants hoping US to get their chestnuts out of fire – they have been doing it for 60 years.
Sadat understood this dynamics and waged a limited war with a limited end goal to get the US (Don Americo) to push Israel to cede Sinai.
In regards to the emigration out of Israel – that is not new – even 25 years ago, their own statistics indicated something like 20% of their passport holders were living abroad. This situation is not unusual for small countries with limited resources – look no further than Lebanon. Or Uruguay.
Russian immigrants to Israel, in fact, are both cultured and mostly non-observant. If I were a Jewish Russian I would find statements such as “Israel is being left to religious fanatics, Russian émigrés” etc. offensive. Israelis should be grateful that such an educated and competent people have decided to live in there.
For an analysis of the extemists in Israel: Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel”(London:Pluto Press, 2004).
One of their key allies in the US is the Christian Zionist phalanx led by Hagee etal. My own book “Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy” has just gone to press in London and should be available in about three weeks.
The demographic shift as described IMO argues for a return to a “one-state” concept as outlined by Rabbi Judah Magnes some decades ago.
Thank you for posting this quotable excerpt. What is the article reference for this in Harper’s for citation purposes please?
‘Unlike Israelis, Palestinians can’t go anywhere’.
Is it really the case that all Israelis go elsewhere? Certainly many of the ‘secular, modern’ Jews to whom Harper refers can. But that hardly includes all Israelis.
For precisely this reason, those Iranians you have talked to who regard it as a ‘strategic benefit’ of the acquisition of nuclear weapons that it will ‘further-depopulate Israel’ should perhaps be careful what they wish for.
What this depopulation implies is a further intensification of the trends Harper has described. This means an Israel dominated by religious and nationalistic extremists, who may well have no place to go, or at least no place they have the least desire to go — and who under no circumstances will willingly accept a bi-national state. But such an Israel will still possess a very formidable nuclear arsenal.
Perhaps the Iranians you have talked to find this a comforting prospect. I wouldn’t, in their shoes.
1. For those interested in details about a “one state” or “binational” solution see, for example,
Tutunji, Jenab and Kamal Khalidi, “A binational state in Palestine: the rational choice for Palestinians and the moral choice for Israelis,” International Affairs lxxiii/1 (Jan. 1997), pp. 31-58.
2. For the perspective of the Jewish Agency see the Annual Report 2008 of The
Jewish People Planning Institute with a forward by Dennis Ross.
Also note that Stu Eizenstat is now the Chairman of the Board…small world I guess.
So nuclear blackmail is the endgame here? I don’t see another conclusion from your starting points. Maybe that’s why Obama skirted the issue in his speech today, offering some dim hope for a world without such weapons.
Do you know any Palestinians? None that I know have much faith in ‘secular modern’ Jews, the ones who supposedly support a sovereign Palestinian state. Perhaps they represent the mysterious Israeli Left that one hears about but never hears. They certainly didn’t manage to prevent the leveling of even more Arab houses in East Jerusalem, nor the relentless expansion of settlement onto Arab land, nor the destruction and ongoing repression of Gaza and its people.
I think it was in one of the Holmes stories that the detective tells Watson that all other possibilities are eliminated the remaining one, however improbable, must be correct.
A nuclear armed Israel blackmailing its neighbors and its principal benefactor? That would explain plenty. I suspect the scenario you imagine has already happened.
You have left out the possibility I had principally in mind — actual nuclear war.