The institutionalized and entrenched discrimination against Palestinians pursued by the Israeli government over the last 50 years is beginning to alienate more people than it doesn’t.
Of all the peoples of the world, the Jews are one who understand systemic oppression and the continued human rights violations that are practiced sit increasingly badly with the rational, the intelligentsia and with the young.
The Israeli government noting that the views of American Jews are of little value, commented that they don’t serve in our army. They are missing the point.
More than 2,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the ongoing struggles. Hundreds are kept in long-term detention without trial, being held under secret evidence in violation of human rights agreements.
The root of the conflict goes back to the settlement of Israel. The small parcel of land that was carved out as a homeland for Europe’s displaced Jews in 1948 was bitterly disputed by the Arab population at the time.
In 1967 facing attack on multiple fronts, the Israelis with a show of muscle few expected pushed back on all fronts and six days later had succeeded in expanding Israel’s borders including the West Bank. Later on, the Gaza Strip was deliberately cut off from Palestine.
Initially, the reaction of international Jews, who are mainly in America, was to support Israel. But as time goes on, more and more people begin to love the idea of Israel but hate what is happening there.
Perhaps more significantly, Israel’s own youth, the future leaders of the state, are unhappy with their government’s policy.
In a poll conducted in 2018, 25% of those questioned supported the Palestinians right to return. The question was phrased such that it was clear that the numbers of refugees who could be eligible to return would outnumber the Israelis, making them a minority population. Still, a quarter responded positively.
In America, where the number of American Jews just about equals the number of Israeli inhabitants, leading writers and thinkers are increasingly uncomfortable with the policies and now conflicted. Their unqualified support is no longer a possibility.
The international community led by the United Nations has proven itself incapable of finding a solution. The politics are too complex – there is no compromise which will work for all. Compromises which might work for some will not for others. The Arab world as a whole watches and waits. The West which was once so pro-Israel speaks out again and again for the Palestinians, but a solution remains at an impasse.
Both sides are agreed there must be some solution. The number of resources Israel has to pour into controlling a land it occupied is stretched to the limit. International capital dwindles metaphorically the longer the impasse remains.
If any demographic group understands that nothing remains forever it is the Jews. Their entire history is that of the displaced and that of a people who began again. Surely in the back of their minds, perhaps unacknowledged, is the idea this time it is Palestine’s turn.