What Are the Supporters of the ‘Deal of the Century’ So Happy About?

Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann
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Trump speaks during an event with Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., January 28, 2020
Trump speaks during an event with Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., January 28, 2020Credit: Susan Walsh,AP
Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann

If Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, isn’t it a problem that the team of mediators negotiating a solution to the conflict between the Jewish people and the Palestinian people is made up almost entirely of Jews?

I can’t get out of my head the picture of right-wing journalists Yinon Magal, Shimon Riklin and Erel Segal singing about Jerusalem – on Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined them – in clips they’ve been posting on Twitter celebrating the so-called historic victory. But what kind of victory is it when the referee is a player on one team and the rival team hasn’t taken the field?

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After all, it’s impossible that Magal, Riklin and Segal watched the ceremony unveiling the plan at the White House and didn’t see what everyone saw: This is just a unilateral agreement.

The room was filled with people wearing knitted kippot, and the head of the team was Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner – alongside the Jewish-American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Trump’s Jewish special representative, Jason Greenblatt, and his Jewish replacement, Avi Berkowitz.

And the guests of honor of the United States and Israel – to the same extent – were donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, publishers of the free daily Israel Hayom, the mass right-wing project that sets new circulation records every year. What were they celebrating? Exactly whom did they defeat?

The right presents itself as a political camp whose guiding light is honor, pride and patriotism. But where is this honor when it’s clear to everyone that this victory was achieved through fraud? What are they proud of when it’s clear that the peace plan is unfair?

Where is the patriotism when Israel – a world power with glorious achievements in its past – is revealed after 71 years of independence as nothing but a spoiled protectorate of the United States, and its prime minister’s most glorious achievement is nothing but his ability to influence the lord, whose table he relies on, to grant Israel things that aren’t his to grant in the first place?

You call this national honor? And what are the people looking at the Jewish people from the outside supposed to think when they watch this performance in Washington? How is this move viewed from a non-Jewish perspective? Or maybe we’ve forgotten that such a perspective still exists around the world?

One must ask: If Israel is defined by law as the nation-state of the Jewish people, why is the demand to recognize it as the Jewish state included in the list of demands from the Palestinians as a condition for a Palestinian state? After the nation-state law, is there any justification to raise a demand that goes further than the recognition of Israel?

Israel passed a law unprecedented in the democratic world. It states – as Netanyahu himself has declared – that the country isn’t a state of all of its citizens but belongs only to the Jewish people. This implies that Kushner, Friedman, Greenblatt and Berkowitz are the legal owners of the land whose annexation to their fellow Jews they approved in their roles as members of the impartial U.S. administration.

It’s hard to think of a better example of a conflict of interest. But because during the years of Netanyahu’s rule his governments have implemented a sophisticated strategic endeavor in which such a simple description of this conflict of interest – or any criticism of these dual roles of Jews around the world, sometimes as Israelis, sometimes as Jews – will be defined as anti-Semitism, there’s no legitimate possibility to point it out today.

Give me Segal, Riklin and Magal and I’ll quote to myself Berl Katznelson on self-hatred and auto-anti-Semitism: “Is there a nation among the nations whose sons have arrived at such deception – intellectual and psychological – that everything their nation does, all its works and tribulations, are so contemptuous and hated?”

With your hand on your heart: Who’s the one here doing the deceiving?

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