Yet another Israeli rampage in Gaza and Occupied Palestinian Territories this month, not to mention the shameless barrage of hasbara apologias for the indefensible.
Probably one of the most revolting comments came from Cancel Culture Queen Bari Weiss, who authored such a noxious Substack column I immediately began to have second thoughts about my queer sexual/gender identity:
I am writing to you from the waiting room of my fertility clinic. Getting pregnant when you are gay is not so romantic, so we try to do little things to make it nice. Last night I took a bath. We watched “Mare of Easttown.” Nellie opened a bottle of red. Then she grabbed my stomach and gave me a shot to trigger ovulation… It appears that standing up for the right of innocent people to protect themselves from a genocidal terrorist organization has become extremely risky to one’s ‘brand’.
And here is Weiss blathering on two years ago with Evan Smith about her allegiance to (no word of a lie) Black, Brown, and Muslim people in opposition to the (undeniably grotesque) white nationalist terrorist upsurge of the past five years. The fact these terrorists are enthusiastic fans of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly escapes her:
There’s really nothing new to be said about this conflict. Zionism in historic Palestine is a settler colonial mission that seeks to create a garrison in the Middle East to serve larger Western financial and geopolitical interests. If you were to pick up Edward Said’s classic The Question of Palestine, published in 1979, not a single sentence would require modification. He summed it all up eloquently in 265 pages during the Carter administration.
However, there is one thing that has changed substantially and which does merit serious consideration.
As Dr. Norman Finkelstein has recently pointed out, a significant paradigm shift has occurred this year. On April 27, 2021, Human Rights Watch, a liberal NGO with a politically-mainstream Jewish donor base, published A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution. From the title onwards, HRW blasts Israel in ways never before seen and, most importantly, repudiates the basic coordinates of the Zionist project.
Automatic Jewish birthright citizenship in Israel? Deemed illegitimate!
Inside Israel, Israel’s Proclamation of Independence affirms the “complete equality” of all residents, but a two-track citizenship structure contradicts that vow and effectively regards Jews and Palestinians separately and unequally. Israel’s 1952 Citizenship Law contains a separate track exclusively for Jews to obtain automatic citizenship. That law grows out of the 1950 Law of Return which guarantees Jewish citizens of other countries the right to settle in Israel… This law creates a reality where a Jewish citizen of any other country who has never been to Israel can move there and automatically gain citizenship, while a Palestinian expelled from his home and languishing for more than 70 years in a refugee camp in a nearby country, cannot.
Israeli treatment of Palestinians? Constitutes apartheid based on international law!
Human Rights Watch concludes that the Israeli government has demonstrated an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the OPT. In the OPT, including East Jerusalem, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression of Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid.
Israeli Defense Forces conduct in the Occupied Territories? A crime against humanity!
Israeli officials have also committed the crime against humanity of persecution. This finding is based on the discriminatory intent behind Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the grave abuses carried out in the OPT that include the widespread confiscation of privately owned land, the effective prohibition on building or living in many areas, the mass denial of residency rights, and sweeping, decades-long restrictions on the freedom of movement and basic civil rights. Such policies and practices intentionally and severely deprive millions of Palestinians of key fundamental rights, including to residency, private property, and access to land, services, and resources, on a widespread and systematic basis by virtue of their identity as Palestinians.
Although radicals worldwide and governments across the Global South have been saying these things for decades, this is being said by a liberal NGO whose donor base, by and large, used to subscribe to Bari Weiss’s columns in The New York Times and support the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. The “threshold” in the title is not referencing a “red line” that Israel has only recently crossed — though this video below of Israelis rejoicing about a fire at the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest sites in Islam, does prove the polity has effectively lost their minds.
No, instead the threshold is in Jewish American opinion. Dr. Finkelstein succinctly described this in his 2012 study Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End:
The most spectacular defection among the younger generation of Jewish intellectuals took place in the heart of the establishment. In a 2010 manifesto-cum-declaration of independence that reverberated throughout the American Jewish community, Peter Beinart portended in the pages of the New York Review of Books the coming demise of American Zionism and pinned culpability for its untimely death on the American Jewish establishment. The liberal ethos of American Jews could no longer be reconciled with Israeli policy, Beinart contended, and when forced by apologetic American Jewish leaders to choose between them, American Jews have opted to keep faith with their homegrown values: “For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.”
What this means for the conclusion of the current round of carnage is difficult to deduce.
Yet it is impossible to deny the following: Except for extreme outlier Republicans like Jared Kushner, most American Jews have no desire to be associated with a crowd of fanatic racists who cheer while a house of worship is on fire. Most of them either personally or had forebears who were on the direct opposite side of the public discussion when such events took place in the Jim Crow South, and they would never dare besmirch that memory with such association.
Such a set of developments creates a massive opening for protest movements and policymakers across America and in Washington. The schism developing in the Democratic Party this week augers a wider opportunity for fundamental change activists have hoped to see for decades.
.@POTUS + @SecBlinken: If you support a cease-fire, then get out of the way of the U.N. Security Council and join other countries in demanding it.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 18, 2021
Apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu will not listen to anyone asking nicely. He commits war crimes and openly violates international law. https://t.co/KuDSbFStBv
That Bari Weiss does this, by contrast, makes clear that she is not just out of sync with American Jewish opinion but also the broad consensus of human decency.