Zionism Today Is an Illusion

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Palestinians wait to cross an Israeli army checkpoint on July 3, 2016 at a road next to the Palestinian town of Al-Fawwar south of Hebron.
Palestinians wait to cross an Israeli army checkpoint on July 3, 2016 at a road next to the Palestinian town of Al-Fawwar south of Hebron.Credit: Menahem Kahana / AFP

Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken is right when he says “The only acceptable Zionist position is that Israel must make every effort to eradicate the anti-Zionist apartheid regime in the territories and promote an accord with the Palestinians by diplomatic means” (“A Zionist Response to Uzi Baram,” Haaretz, August 18). But is this realistic? In other words, on the assumption that it is agreed that this is “the only acceptable Zionist position,” is Zionism a realistic position?

It seems that Schocken himself is realistic enough to understand that Israel will never make “every effort” to end the occupation (in fact, it is making no effort to eradicate it and only invests efforts to deepen it by expanding the settlements) because, in the same breath, he repeats the well-known argument that “only international pressure will cause Israel to give up its apartheid regime in the occupied territories.”

This is a contradiction in Schocken’s Zionist position. He bases his position on a supreme Israeli effort to eradicate the occupation, and at the same time concedes that such an effort will not be made and only international pressure will make Israel give up the occupation.

Thus, Schocken himself refutes his Zionist position and, in fact, refutes Zionism entirely — because that is “the only acceptable Zionist position.” Schocken essentially recognizes that, in the summer of 2016, it is no longer possible to be a Zionist.

Moreover, since Schocken bases his belief that the end of the occupation is a realistic possibility given effective international pressure on Israel, the question must be asked whether this belief is realistic. Probably not. It is more wishful thinking than a practical plan of action.

“Anyone who is counting on American pressure to push Israel and the Palestinians into the pipeline that will lead to two states ought to wake up,” Nitzan Horowitz wrote from Washington ("The Messiah Won't Come to Israel from Across the Atlantic," Haaretz, August 24). Unfortunately, the latter’s reasoning is persuasive.

Indeed, as Horowitz wrote, “The alliance with Israel has near-sacred status” in Washington, and “nor will salvation come from Europe.” His comment that “there’s no cause for illusion. There will be no such pressure, certainly not pressure strong enough to truly get the ball rolling” closes the door on Schocken’s Zionism.

Zionism today is an illusion. Israel will not give up the apartheid and the occupation. Israel will not reach a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians. And the world will not make it do so.

Schocken bases his Zionist perspective — once again, rightly so — on “the historical experience of Jews as a minority, and the realization that the solution that must be given a real chance is a national homeland for the Jews, where they will control their own destiny” (Haaretz Hebrew, August 23).

The problem is that most Jewish eyes in Israel are blind to the apartheid, and to the fact that the occupation and apartheid will necessarily lead to the creation of a binational state — one that is, in essence, anti-Zionist.

Their blindness is so complete, so fatal, that they do not understand that the binational state they are creating with their own hands cannot serve as a “national homeland for the Jews.” Neither will it be democratic. And they will not control their own fate there. They will control another people. And that control will lead to their downfall. This is self-destructive, hubristic folly whose outcome is known in advance.

The only chance of eradicating the apartheid and occupation is to be found in renouncing the Jewish homeland and declaring the emerging binational state — that the right wing is creating in its historic, diplomatic stupidity — as a state of all its citizens. And any Jew who believes this binational state will necessarily be a hell of religious, tribal and fundamentalist war will just have to go back to the Diaspora.