June 01, 2009

Quote of the Day II

Jeffrey Goldberg, as arch an arch-Zionist as you'll ever find, on the settlers:

Since the United States partially underwrites Israel, it has the right to make certain demands; since this demand is something that the majority of Israelis, in any case, understand, it's hard to see this as something akin to slavery. Here's the thing: The settlers are arguing that their human rights would be violated if they were made to move to Israel. That's right. It used to be that a person could fulfill his Zionist destiny in a place like Petah Tikva, but no more: Now, it's a sin against God, apparently, to live anywhere but in a government-subsidized trailer on a barren hill in the mountains of Samaria.

I don't have any problem with the American demand for a settlement freeze; the settlements are an impediment to peace, they are a security burden, and they are petri dishes for the worst sort of fundamentalist messianism

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 1, 2009 04:49 PM

There were no "settlements" in 1937 when the Arabs rejected the Peel Commission.

There were no "settlements" in 1947 when the Arabs rejected the UN partition plan.

There were no "settlements" in 1964 when the PLO was founded.

Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria are not an impediment to peace. I would suggest that the utter lack of reliable societal institutions in the Palestinian community -- caused by decades of infighting and corruption -- is to blame.

Posted by: jabbett at June 1, 2009 05:26 PM

This article ignores two major points.

First, the claim that their human rights would be violated if they were made to move has nothing to do with religion. It is more related to the fact that the standard Palestinian demand for years has been a two state solution featuring a Jew-free Palestinian state and a Jewish state that must allow Palestinians the "right of return". Why should Jews whose families came from Judea and Samaria before 1948 not be allowed a right of return as well?

Second, Goldberg makes no distinction between people who live in big towns like Maaleh Adumim and Efrat and those who put up an outpost in the middle of the night on a barren hillside. Sure there are messianic fundamentalists among those who live in the West Bank (and even those who live in the undisputed areas of Israel), but lumping the hillside crazies with the majority of residents is akin to saying that all Texans are crazy religious fanatics because the Branch Davidians lived in Texas.

Posted by: Dan at June 2, 2009 10:44 AM
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