Zionism Remains a Freedom Struggle

(Sapir) Bret Stephens - Most of the new states established since World War II were born from the twin processes of decolonization and national-liberation struggles. Among the first was Israel. Israel is a decolonized nation, liberated from imperialism just as surely as Kenya or Indonesia was. The allegation that Israel is a white, racist, illegitimate, colonialist regime is unserious. Jews are not "white" to start with, a plurality of Israel's Jewish population is of Middle Eastern descent. A state whose right to exist was affirmed in one of the UN's first resolutions may be many things, but it is not illegitimate. A nation whose ties to a land are millennia-old and continuous is not colonialist, particularly when the territories it is supposedly colonizing were acquired in wars it did not seek and include land it has repeatedly tried to give back. As for the argument that Palestinians experience apartheid because they don't get a say in Israeli politics, the entire point of the 1993 Oslo Accords was to provide Palestinians with a separate polity in the form of the Palestinian Authority. The principal reason that Palestinians don't live in a state of their own is that Palestinian leaders have repeatedly rejected one. Israel cannot be expected to agree to the immediate creation of a Palestinian state if Israelis have good reasons to fear that ending the occupation is a prelude to ending Israel itself. The Jewish state is expected to conduct its battles with greater regard for the safety of its enemies than for that of its own people. It is expected to make diplomatic concessions that put the lives of its own citizens at serious risk. It is expected, when struck, to turn the other cheek. The writer, a New York Times columnist, is editor-in-chief of Sapir: A Journal of Jewish Conversations.

2022-05-26 00:00:00

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