The schism between the left and the right has grown massive, exemplified by the recent presidential election, possibly the most contentious in US history. In fact, both candidates rubbed me the wrong way to such an extent that I couldn’t feel comfortable voting for either of them. I later realized that my distaste for both candidates reflects my resentment for the growing political schism I feel as a centrist, and the lack of a political home I feel as even supposedly nonpartisan groups like ADL become political to the point where I no longer feel comfortable supporting them (though I still support a lot of their activities).
In this crazy political climate, right before Shabbat fell in houses across the United States, the UN launched a sneak attack on Israel’s settlement policy, and the legitimacy of Judea, Samaria, and even the Western Wall in Jerusalem, as part of the Jewish homeland.
This resolution passed almost unanimously, with 14 votes for and one abstention.
Not only was there the shock of a few of our purported allies co-sponsoring the resolution, such as New Zealand, and Israel aid recipient Senegal, there was the even greater shock at the US – our sworn, long-time ally, our best friend – abstaining.
To everyone but me, anyway. I totally saw that abstention coming, and the fact that most of my Facebook friends did not highlights just how wide the schism between the right and the left has gotten.
As a former radical leftist who would have been mostly behind this resolution until a couple years ago, let me say that I doubt most of those who supported it, especially from the West, saw their decision as anti-Israel. After all, it doesn’t deny Israel’s right to exist, or sovereignty over the land they had between 1948 and 1967. In fact, they see it as not only an important compromise, a logical “middle way” to solve a contentious conflict, but also pro-Israel, because although it indeed singled out Israel, the mainstream media and now general consensus, among nearly everyone who isn’t an Evangelical Christian or an Orthodox Jew, is that the “settlement enterprise” is the number one impediment to peace, and ruining Israel’s future.
Basically they see it as a giant “Eff-You” to the Palestinians by radical right wing extremists, and therefore something that must be dismantled for everyone’s own good. They see the fact that support of the “settlements” has grown among Israelis reflects our rightward shift to the extreme, rather than our deeper understanding of the conflict.
They see the popular portrayals of settlers as rowdy hilltop youth who mess with Palestinians for shits and giggles.
Because guess what? That’s the “settler” stereotype that is ubiquitous in the media and in people’s minds.
Do people like that exist in the settlements? Absolutely. Are they a tiny microscopic minority? Definitely. However, portraying them as normal people who just want a better quality of life for less money and believe Jews are allowed to live on their ancestral homeland, on territory given to Israel in the Oslo Accords, isn’t in line with the “poor poor Palestinians at the mercy of the Big Bad Israelis” narrative that is so enticing to underdogma-infected leftists.
They are people who can’t see the hypocrisy and double standards inherent in the idea that Arabs should be allowed to live on Jewish land but it’s totally okay if Jews aren’t allowed to live on Arab land as a minority in a future Palestinian state.
How could you blame the poor Palestinians for being bitter? The Jews stole their land and expelled 700,000 of them. Of course they are bitter.
There you have it – their train of thought. The belief that this double standard is totally acceptable is simply impossible and completely unfathomable when not in tandem with the other totally mainstream, almost unanimous belief among nearly the entire world, including the West, that the Palestinians were living peacefully until the Israelis “stole their land”.
This idea isn’t only mainstream among non-Jews. Most Jews I know believe that notion that we stole their land, or at the very least, all 700,000 Palestinians were expelled at the hands of Israel. Indeed, this discussion reminds me of the time my little brother told me completely nonchalantly “Lexie, why are you so hard on the Palestinians? We stole their land…” as if it was as common knowledge as the sky being blue. This was a kid who was raised modern orthodox, in the Jewish school system, who is part of a Jewish fraternity. Needless to say, I schooled him.
But oh, we aren’t against Israel, the mainstream media claim, because we think the Jews need a land after what they went through in the Holocaust, to make sure it never happens again.
There we have it. For too long, we Jews have been too accepting of the notion that Israel stole Palestinian land but that’s okay because of the Holocaust. The ubiquity of this view is what is giving rise to our current situation today.
No, I do not agree with with UN resolution, obviously, and I think it reflects a sad turn of events, as well as a growing trend that too few pro-Israel pundits have noticed.
However, I totally saw it coming, and if any of you had been paying attention, you should have, too.