My Jewish interlocutor the other day suggested to me that J Street — the progressive and decidedly politically liberal — advocacy organization was “too soft” on Israeli policy, the implication being that the “tough” positions pushed by AIPAC were far more approrpiate. Unfortunately, it’s my view that the current state of affairs in the middle east has basically rendered the luxury of aesthetics moot. Rather, if the “tough” course is maintained, it will lead only to continual conflict and worse outcomes, and however unpalatable some Jews may find the notion, peace can only come through making some concessions, like, I don’t know, enforcing international law with respect to illegal settlements. Anyway, this all a long way of introducing a really good read on the complete impracticability of the “tough” route by prominent Jew hater, Steve Walt. Here’s a snippet.
The real threat to Israel’s future is the occupation, and the conflict with the Palestinians that it perpetuates. To see that, all you have to do is look at current demographic trends and poll results and then ponder the consequences for Israel. There are presently about 5.6 million Jews in “Greater Israel,” (i.e., the 1967 borders plus the West Bank) and about 5.2 million Arabs (of whom nearly 1.5 million are citizens of Israel). Palestinian birth rates are substantially higher, however, which means they will be a majority of the population in “Greater Israel” in the not-too-distant future. To put it bluntly, it is Palestinian wombs and not Iranian bombs that pose the real threat.
And a bit more…
Netanyahu ought to be equally concerned by signs that the Zionist ideal is losing its hold within Israel itself. There are reportedly between 700,000 and one million Israeli citizens now living abroad, and emigration has outpaced immigration since 2007. According to Ian Lustick and John Mueller, only 69 percent of Israeli Jews say they want to remain in the country, and a 2007 poll reported that about one-quarter of Israelis are considering leaving, including almost half of all young people.
I mean, I just don’t see how optics are really relevant if the goal is to actually create peace. The post itself goes into specifics of various policy options, as well as likely outcomes of Netanyahu’s preferred course. Definitely check it out.