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There's good news and bad news on the Israeli-Palestinian justice front today.

The bad news is that neither 5 Broken Cameras, the Palestinian-Israeli documentary about nonviolent protests against Israeli land confiscation and daily life in the Palestinian village of Bilin in the West Bank, nor The Gatekeepers, the Israeli documentary in which former heads of Israel's domestic intelligence service reflect on their experiences and slam Israeli governments for not making peace with the Palestinians, won an Academy Award.

The good news is that they were both nominated; many Americans learned of them for the first time, and many more Americans will now get to see them. (5 Broken Cameras is on Netflix.)

And the other good news: by the end of this week, Chuck Hagel is going to be confirmed as our next Secretary of Defense, despite being attacked by Senator Lindsey Graham for having once allegedly used the A-word in talking about the dystopian future of Israel-Palestine if Israel doesn't make peace with the Palestinians.

This is a great victory for humanity, because if Chuck Hagel can allegedly speak plainly about the dystopian future of Israel-Palestine if there is no peace, then every American can do it. If such observations would become commonplace in the United States, then peace between Israel and Palestine would become much more likely.  

Of course, if you're in the in-crowd, then you know that many top former Israeli officials have used the A-word in talking about the dystopian future of Israel-Palestine if there is no peace agreement. But this is exactly why, by becoming our first Secretary of Defense to have allegedly used the A-word in talking about Israel's future, Chuck Hagel will have done the Israeli people a great service. If folks in Washington allowed themselves to make the same criticisms of the Israeli government's failure to make peace as Israeli politicians have routinely made, we could start to have a serious conversation about U.S. policy. Whether he meant to or not, Chuck Hagel has opened a door. We can all walk through it.  

Indeed, since Friday, twenty-three thousand Americans have signed petitions circulated by Just Foreign Policy and Jewish Voice for Peace to Senator Lindsay Graham saying: it's no foul to warn of Israel's apartheid future if there is no peace: prominent Israelis have done so.

This isn't just a matter of calling names. In 2008, while campaigning for the Presidency in Ohio, Barack Obama said:

"I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel," Obama said. "If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we're not going to make progress."

The prominent Israelis who have warned of the apartheid future of Israel have something in common: they are not Likudniks. They're Israeli leaders who want peace with the Palestinians. By pretending that Chuck Hagel isn't pro-Israel enough to be U.S. Secretary of Defense because he might have used the A-word, Lindsey Graham is saying that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak isn't pro-Israeli enough to be U.S. Secretary of Defense. Isn't that spectacularly absurd? There's a saying for this in Arabic: aktar maliki min il malik. More royalist than the King.

And this is what is really at stake. The hysteria about using the A-word is coming from people like Lindsey Graham, people who say that "unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel." Isn't that exactly what happened in Hagel's confirmation hearing? Lindsey Graham doesn't want to "make progress" towards peace. He wants to maintain the status quo in which Israel maintains control of the West Bank and expands Israeli settlements there, blocking Palestinian independence forever. He wants U.S. policy to be subordinate to Likud policy. And this is why Lindsey Graham doesn't want you to use the word "apartheid," because that would call attention to the fact that the Lindsey Graham agenda for the West Bank necessarily implies keeping two and a half million Palestinians in a permanent state of open incarceration, which is the antithesis of Jewish and democratic values.

So go ahead. Say the A-word. No-one can stop you now.

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.


It's not necessary for the U.S. Secretary of Defense to be more pro-Israel than Ehud Barak.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Want To Be Careful, Cause Anytime (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, AoT, elwior, Robert Naiman, alain2112

    I stick my toe in the I/P thing, well things don't always work well.

    Four of my five bosses, small businesses have been owned by a Jewish person. I was often 1,000 miles from home and they took me into their home. Not only did they give me a job, they welcomed me into their houses for their holidays.

    Something I will never, ever forget.

    First off they were the most liberal folks I ever met. I mean over the top liberal.

    Second, they seemed to be far more open, by leaps and bounds, for the chance of peace in the Middle East. They travel to Israel. They send their children to private, Jewish schools.

    But in my conversations with them the words that come out of their mouth about Palestine are the exact opposite of what I hear on TV.

    Maybe I am confused. My sub-sect isn't telling. But I go kind of wonder.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:59:24 AM PST

  •  You can call it apartheid (0+ / 0-)

    but it seems kind of silly when the two parties don't want to be together. It's kind of like complaining that there are seperate bathrooms for men and women.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 11:11:29 AM PST

    •  The difference of course is that (6+ / 0-)

      in this situation the Palestinians are being prevented from using the land they have historically lived on, and have more of it taken every day. It's apartheid because of the methods of control that Israel is instituting, but because they are separate.

    • are right...almost (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brasilaaron, Mr Horrible, corvo

      Apartied is like complaining that men and women have 'seperate toilet facilities'....and 'everyone else in that place have no facilities.

      Lets look at it like this.  The Zionists dont see the Palistinians as men and women.  The Zionists dont see them as people.  The Zionists dont belive that those who oppose them should have any 'bathrooms', because 'less than human's  dont go to bathrooms.

      That is what 'apartied' is EXACTLY, the belief that someone else is less than human, that they dont deserve rights, privilages and so on, and if they were given them, would be incapable of handling them because they are 'savage', (in this case) Zionists belive that they should 'pen' the Palistinians 'for thier own good', and kill those who oppose thier 'penning' like animals that escape from the wilds.

      The true strength of of an oath is forged in adversity.

      by Nur Alia Chang on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 11:25:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a disgusting comment. nt (0+ / 0-)
        •  I am glad you understand. (0+ / 0-)

          It is always discusting to dehumanise others, and what is worse, act as a nation to deny those people the legal right to even exist.

          Throught history we have let fester hate and bigotry (disquised as righteousness), than had to suffer the discusting consequenses of dehmanising  people, and have lost many cultures, religions, and millions upon millions of innocent human lives because of it.

          To me, just as a flower, or an animal becomes extinct, the world loses a part of the eco system, dehumanising people to the point in which their culture, language and even thier very existance (especially the oppressor being people who have suffered, and have been rescued from the same fate) makes our world less safe, less diverse, less beautiful, and less able to function properly.

          So yes, as a part humanity I understand.  It is discusting that I even had to make the comment, but, the discusting part is true.

          The true strength of of an oath is forged in adversity.

          by Nur Alia Chang on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:31:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  We Jews have another saying, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman, AoT
    More Jewish than the Jews.
    It is traditionally used for converts who learn Judaism with great enthusiasm, most famously when Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller and converted.

    Here it should be used for those vicious pseudo-Christian Armageddonist anti-Semites who pretend to be pro-Israel in order to get Israel to kill off all the Muslims, so that Jesus can come into his Tausend-Jahre Rei—Thousand-Year Kingdom, in which his first act will be to require all surviving Jews to become Christians because Look! He's the Messiah and he's ba-ack! for the rest of time.

    Apartheid isn't in it.

    As to the Diarist's concern with our I/P purity trolls, they have succeeded in getting themselves banned, one by one. We had a big dustup a few weeks ago in which the last one GBCWed and was thus autobanned because Kossacks suxor for gang HRing one of the nastiest comments I have ever seen on the site. (Please don't ask, at least not here in the comments. We did have an off-line discussion in the Courtesy Kos group. I'm working on a Diary about the rules and customs for HRs and banning.)

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:58:58 PM PST

  •  Israel is not an apartheid state. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, livosh1

    The future is always open to interpretation but the reality of today is clear.

  •  thanks!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman

    I've stepped a little gingerly in kos, because I still don't know all the rules, and I really don't want to upset people but I feel the Palestinians have been given a great injustice with not being treated well, and the Jews in the thrall of likudniks are actually endangering the long term survival of Israel, by  losing the long war. No real soft power strategy.
    So thanks for letting me feel comfortable with one of my heroes,  President Carter I think was a better friend of Israel than say the dark lord Cheney. OOHH! how tricky he was! You can't control me! I'm part of congress! no I'm executive! surprise by the time anyone sues him he's out of power. oh, and by the way read every ones private emails
    (in wh),
    wow, what a sneaky devil.    
    Many people accused Carter of being anti Israel though.
    I think he's pro peace and soft power.  That's why I think he's really cool.
    sorry rambling, a little tired today.

  •  democracy now did interview of directors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman

    of 5 broken cameras and the other nominated films

  •  Thank you, RN! (0+ / 0-)

    No regime change here, but maybe a little less patience with flaming hyperbole.

    It isn't nice to go to jail ... but if that's freedom's price

    by Rusty Pipes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:52:00 PM PST

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