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Israel Must Understand It Cannot Be Like America


The labyrinth of interchanges and roads on the way to Jerusalem tells of planners, ministers, mayors and contractors who "think America." We have gotten used to dimensions that dwarf anything that is not asphalt – people and trees, for example. We have gotten used to "transportation solutions" that gobble up nature. Moreover it's as if, without meaning to, these so-called solutions are tearing apart the existing social fabric.

If it were only a matter of ministers, planners and asphalt, so be it. But thinking America has become a character trait. Thinking America guides Jewish-Israeli society in its policy toward our very own red Indians. Why should we be less successful than the United States, Canada or Australia, which, as they came into being and gained world eminence, wiped out – to differing degrees – the societies and communities that lived there before? When it comes to us, why should people not forget what they have forgotten about those countries, which now present themselves as bastions of enlightenment?

Now, when the remnants of the first peoples in those countries dare to demand rights, a share in resources and compensation, they no longer endanger whites and their hegemony. And this could be just as true for us. We will hold out another 20 or 50 years, continue robbing the goat and the hill and grinding down the poor, encouraging emigration, buying off and suppressing the leadership, arming and going to war. Until this nuisance of a national, cultural and political entity that is demanding its rights all but disappears.

This train of thought is so logical that most Israelis are not even interested in discourse about solutions. And of course most are not interested in any of the facts and details that are weaving together an obscene, despicable, contemptable reality of Israeli tyranny. What interests most Israelis is that their personal security is not threatened and, if it is, how strong the Israel Defense Forces is and how many Bible verses prove our ownership of the land.

But happily, and to our relief, the Palestinians are one people (unlike the hundreds that were in America ) and the process of Jewish settlement did not wipe them out. We are in a different age and a different region. Thinking big makes us forget that, unlike the model we admire and seek to emulate, we are a minority in the region. And the region is evolving and demanding a change in the rules of the game that have been so convenient for the United States and Israel.

The real question is not whether the solution is "two states" or "one state." History in any case does not recognize end points – every stage leads to another. Visions are also not lacking. The visions must develop and change during the struggle for equality and justice, otherwise they will become gulags. The question was, and is, how much more bloodshed, suffering and disasters will be needed until the Jewish regime of discrimination and separation, which we have created here over the past 64 years, crumbles.

The Palestinians provided us, the Israelis, a ladder that would have saved us the kind of suffering and loss that we have caused them. A ladder that we could have climbed to a historic rung where we could have been accepted in the region as neighbors who also have roots in this place and rights – not only as aggressive invaders. But successive Israeli governments, with the backing of their voters, have knocked the ladder over. They knew only too well why they must thwart the two-state solution (in its original, pre-1967 borders format). It would have led to different ways of living together and sharing the land. But the basic logic of these ways of life requires giving up Jewish hegemony and superiority.

This must be said: For the sake of hegemony, Israel is mortgaging the well-being of its children and the lives of its grandchildren, together with the well-being and lives of children and grandchildren throughout the region.  

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