PH Quickie: nothing matters except what Israel wants

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There are roughly two dozen pro-Israel bills and resolutions before Congress at the moment. On July 23rd,, one of them – H.Res.246, an anti-BDS resolution – passed by a landslide, 398-17 (with 5 voting “present,” 12 not voting). The resolution opens with a statement of America’s abiding loyalty to Israel:

Whereas the democratic, Jewish State of Israel is a key ally and strategic partner of the United States;

Whereas since Israel’s founding in 1948, Congress has repeatedly expressed our Nation’s unwavering commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state…

About half of the document lays out the US’s proud history of supporting boycotts and other forms of speech to promote justice; the other half condemns the Boycott movement.

H.Res.246 makes reference to the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 (now Public Law 113–296; 128 Stat. 4075), which contains provisions for many happy years of enhanced scientific and technological cooperation (read, “freebies”) with Israel in energy, water, agriculture, alternative fuel technology, civilian space technology, and security. The partnership of course includes $10 million per day in military aid to Israel. (Benefits to the US in this package? Unspecified.)

The resolution is completely silent on Israel’s illegal occupation, the illegal transfer of 600,000+ Israelis onto Palestinian land, the illegal demolition of homes and ancient olive trees, and the continuous detention, starvation, and slaughter of Palestinians.

While our own country grapples with crises on many fronts, our representatives took the time to craft this resolution that benefits Israel, promote and discuss it, and vote on it. This was our chosen priority as immigrant children died at our southern border and automatic weapons killed our citizens.

Not good enough

For all the effort and time Congress spent shielding Israel from criticism and economic calamity through H.Res.246, some Israelis were not impressed. Specifically, 21 right-wing members of the Israeli Knesset (legislature) sent a letter to US Congress members, complaining about one nuanced sentence that makes them feel uncomfortable. Specifically, they objected to the resolution’s statement declaring

strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state—living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.

Two states? No thank you. The years of US policy favoring two states? Forget it. Mutual recognition? A viable, democratic Palestinian state? Don’t be ridiculous.

A “democratic Jewish State of Israel” – that already exists. The non-Jews (a full 20% of the population) are treated as equals – pay no attention to those who make accusations of apartheid. They’re mistaken.

The two-state solution just doesn’t suit this group of Israeli lawmakers. In their words,

The establishment of an additional Arab (so-called Palestinian) state in the region would severely damage the national security of both Israel and the United States. Such a state would undoubtedly be a dysfunctional terrorist state…

[T]he affirmation of support for establishing a Palestinian state is so dangerous that we respectfully request that you take that into consideration, and in the future avoid determining that establishing an additional Arab state on territory that is the Land of Israel is part of the solution to the dispute.

A bit of commentary

The phrase “so-called Palestinian [state]” is arrogant and deeply offensive, as it effectively denies the existence of a Palestinian people. Palestinian people are not merely Arabs taking up space in a Jewish region of the world.

“Such a state would undoubtedly be a dysfunctional terrorist state,” suggests that Palestinians (er…Arabs) are innately incapable of any productive, nonviolent action. Terrorism is not just what they do, it’s who they are as a people. The word“undoubtedly” suggests some high level of discernment that is shared by Israelis and the US. (“We know this without a doubt, and we that know you know. It’s obvious to us civilized folks.”)

“The establishment of a Palestinian state would be far more dangerous to Israel than BDS”? This statement makes sense only within the terror-fantasy context of Israel’s right wing. BDS threatens not the existence of Israel, but merely its reputation as a democracy. A Palestinian state would not endanger Israel – it would simply inhabit land that Israel hopes to illegally annex. The best neighbor is a neighbor who is content. Self-determination would make Palestine happy, and that would make Israel happy – if Israel could be content with only 78% of historic Palestine, not 100%.

The Israeli legislators’ request to desist from talking about “an additional Arab state on territory that is the Land of Israel” is an example of Israeli willful tone-deafness. Their words echo their Prime MInister’s statement in March: “The Arab citizens have 22 nation states around them and they do not need another.” If “Arab” is a monolith, then a “so-called Palestinian” can simply become a Yemeni or Moroccan or Iraqi. rendering that “yet another Arab state” unnecessary.

Ultimately, in the viewpoint of these Knesset members, all that matters is Israeli sensibilities. “Palestinians” are a construct, a dysfunctional, dangerous band of terrorists, not a people group made up of families with hopes and aspirations. Certainly not a population deserving of, let alone longing for, self-determination, peace, and security. Those ambitions are Israeli-Jewish only.