We Are All BDS

The left must begin preparing for life in a new political reality, with Israeli citizens and Palestinian subjects in one apartheid state

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A BDS protest in Tel Aviv.
A BDS protest in Tel Aviv.Credit: Moti Milrod
Dmitry Shumsky
Dmitry Shumsky

Based on the map of the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, it is clear that the attempt to implement the mega-annexation plan of stolen Palestinian land blocs, recently proposed by MK Eitan Cabel (Haaretz in Hebrew, May 25), would lead to a dramatic escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Applying Israeli sovereignty to the bulk of the settlements, which from the beginning were built as “blocs” to ensure that a Palestinian state would never be established, would permanently dash the Palestinians’ hope of ever winning national independence, and would greatly increase their daily oppression and humiliation.

As a result, the Palestinians’ understandable resistance to national servitude under Israel will be more violent than in the past until it develops into the mother of all intifadas. It is reasonable to assume that Israel’s response to such developments will be more lethal than ever, and may even include expelling part of the Palestinian population and tightening the noose of military rule around the necks of those who escape the fate of transfer.

When the resident of the White House is obligated to messianic evangelicals who support the occupation of the land of the Bible by the people of the Bible; when the European Union is weak and divided from within, and when Russia, as usual, refuses to lift a finger on behalf of the Palestinians, the scenario of a second Nakba, or at least some sort of ethnic cleansing, is unlikely to exact too high a price from Israel. It may even pass without a particularly harsh international response.

Indeed, in view of these international circumstances, which benefit the occupation and apartheid in Israel/Palestine, and given the apparent support for the right wing government’s annexationism among Labor Party members who identify with Cabel’s plan – to which the Israel-lovers of Yesh Atid will surely subscribe – the scenario of annexation-apartheid-expulsion doesn’t seem all that unrealistic.

This means that the remnants of the left that oppose the occupation and the settlements must begin preparing for life in a new political reality, one in which there is no longer a semblance of temporary military rule over the occupied Palestinian territories, but a South African situation for all intents and purposes, with Israeli citizens and Palestinian subjects in one apartheid state.

In such a reality, the left will no longer have the excuses to explain why it should not publicly, openly support boycotts of and sanctions on Israel until it releases the Palestinian people from national enslavement in their own land. On the contrary, if this horror scenario materializes, every decent Israeli who sees how the state that Theodor Herzl imagined as a model of justice and equality between Jews and non-Jews becomes a bastion of military-theological colonialism will have to stand behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions program. This would necessarily require a reform of the movement’s goals: from BDS’ unacceptable attempt to destroy the self-definition of the Israeli Jewish nation, to a demand to realize both Israel and Palestine’s equal rights to self-determination.

It would be better, however, for the Israeli anti-colonialist left not to wait until apartheid in the occupied territories is legally validated by the Israeli occupier and its evangelical ally. The left must now produce an organized civic group that, out of patriotic concern for Israel’s national-moral image and for the Zionist enterprise, will begin to publicly and forcefully denounce Israel’s terrorist policy against the Palestinian people, and make its voice heard both domestically and in the international arena.

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