For so long, the idea that one could condemn Israel’s military and political actions against Arabs while supporting the Jewish state’s right to existence seemed impossible, and Sanders’ statement finally makes it clear that being pro-Palestine doesn’t have to attempt to delegitimize Israel.
We need Bernie. We need optimism. We need a moral center, not just a strategy. Yes, we need to be pragmatic, but we can’t let it overwhelm our ideals. And we can’t let our commitment to a Jewish homeland (and against the hardcore anti-normalization of the official BDS movement) allow us to dismiss the need for outreach to Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians who are willing to dialogue with us.
What I was struck with is Bernie’s confidence. For him, Israel simply is legitimate. To acknowledge the Nakba and begin to work out what that might mean ethically does not in any way negate Israel’s legitimacy as a national home for the Jewish people, nor American support for its right to defend its citizens. This contrasts with the paranoia of Netanyahu, who constantly demands reaffirmation that Israel is legitimate and will be defended.
My hunch is that only Bernie has the political capital and rhetorical genius as both a pro-Palestinian progressive and a pro-Israel Jew to convert anti-Zionists to accepting Israel’s legitimacy, simply by declaring it–and the responsibilities that come with it–not by demanding it.
I'm an independent scholar with an MA in anthropology and experience working as an archaeologist in the Middle East. While I'm ethnically Jewish and was always somewhat interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a result of both my family background and my academic pursuits, the conflict became a passion of mine when the explosion of BDS activism on campus started to directly and negatively impact my ability to do my work. I have since changed my career trajectory, but my desire to end the conflict and pursue peace for both peoples remains. (In addition to clicking below, check out this Web address: http://thirdnarrative.org/bds-does-not-equal-peace-articles/what-israels-nightmare-trajectory-may-mean-on-campus/.)
Our TTN booklet responds to some of the most common and inaccurate accusations made against Israel from the far left by activists trying to appeal to those who are committed to human rights and social justice.
Scholars for Israel & Palestine (SIP) Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-Peace Scholars for Israel and Palestine comprises progressive academics who are pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, and pro-peace. We are committed to advancing a two-state solution to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, bringing peace, justice and dignity to both sides. Click here for background, statements by the SIP and an application to join.
The Third Narrative engages with people on the left who suspect that it is wrong to lay all blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict at the feet of Israeli Jews but feel that too many Israel supporters reflexively support –or passively accept—the Israeli occupation. When it comes to this conflict, the truth is rarely black or white; it resides in a gray area where advocates on either side typically don’t like to venture.. » read more