Anti-Zionist Jews And Anti-Palestinian Arabs!
We know there are anti-Zionist Jews. Are there anti-Palestinian Arabs? If there are, are the two groups comparable?
To be anti-Zionist means to believe that Israel has no right to exist; that Jews have no right to a sovereign state of their own. To be anti-Palestinian means to believe, not only that a state of Palestine never existed in the past, but that the Palestinian Arabs have no right to a sovereign state of their own today or in the future.
What is interesting is that one can be well aware that there was never a Palestinian “people” or state in the past, and yet believe that a Palestinian Arab “people” exists today, regardless of how it came into being, and that they deserve a sovereign state of their own. In contrast, one can believe/know that the Jewish People is an ancient people, that it lived on the land that is now the modern State of Israel plus Judea & Samaria, that Jerusalem was always its capital and, yet, that the Jewish People have no right to sovereignty in modern times over at least some of these lands.
This latter opinion is an expression of antisemitism, whether it is voiced as a vote for a one-state solution in which Arabs would be the majority or a two-state-solution within indefensible borders and a Jew-free Palestine.
We hear anti-Zionist sentiments expressed by many Jews, both those in Israel and those in the Diaspora. Until recently, however, we have not heard anti-Palestinian sentiments expressed by Arabs, whether they are Israeli Arabs or Palestinian Arabs living in either the Palestinian Authority (PA) or elsewhere; in fact, until very recently, we have not heard anti-Palestinian sentiments expressed by any Arabs anywhere in the world.
What we are hearing from Saudi Arabia now, is not really anti-Palestinian rustlings, but an easing up on demands submitted to Israel in order to promote a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal. This is something all Arabs find difficult to set aside even with their increasing need for cooperation with Israel in view of the Iranian threat.
To be pro-Zionist means, simply, to believe that the Jews have the right to sovereignty on their historical indigenous homelands, the little piece of Earth upon which our culture, religion and peoplehood was born. One CAN be pro-Zionist without being anti-Palestinian. One can hope for a resolution of the conflict in a way that satisfies the dignity and proclaimed need for self-determination expressed by Palestinian Arabs without blaming Israel for the lack of such and without insisting on cutting Israeli wings in such a way as to make her future unsustainable. Mordechai Kedar’s proposal for an emirate solution is an example of this: The search is for a win-win solution.
To be pro-Palestinian does not mean anything so simple as the belief that the Arabs who have come to call themselves Palestinian in the past several decades merit a state of their own. It seems that being pro-Palestinian means being anti-Zionist as a necessary corollary, at least to some extent. It means that it is legitimate to expect that the future Palestinian Arab state will have no Jews (in contrast to Israel, in which the Arab sector comprises 20% of her population). If we have only past peace talks to go by, then being pro-Palestinian means that unless Israel capitulates to 100% of the Palestinian demands, then Israel is being unaccommodating and is to blame for the lack of a solution. Therefore, it appears that one CANNOT be pro-Palestinian without being anti-Zionist. They are looking for a win-lose solution.
Pro-Palestinians seem more interested in passing anti-Israeli resolutions in the UN, denouncing Israel’s so-called crimes against Arabs living under the Palestinian Authority (PA), and/or crying out for the destruction of Israel (“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”) than in actually doing anything to improve life for those very Arabs living under corrupt and mind-numbing PA leadership.
Pro-Palestinian Arabs? Anti-Palestinian Arabs?
There are a growing number of pro-Israeli Israeli Arabs who are simply pro-Israeli without feeling the need to turn on the propaganda taps against our neighbours, the Palestinian Arabs. We see them standing proudly with the Israeli flag, going to campuses overseas to help university students understand their lives as Israeli Arabs, or just living their lives as an integral part of this country; I have not seen evidence of them deriding Palestinian Arabs.
There are a few openly pro-Palestinian Arabs who are simply pro-Palestinian without feeling the need to enter the propaganda war against us, their Jewish neighbours (nor against pro-Israeli Israeli Arabs). That means that it is possible to be pro-Palestinian without being anti-Israel. But to qualify, then, as a true pro-Palestinian, one would need to promote Palestinian Arab well-being under their own government, a government that agreed to run their administration when they signed the Oslo Accords, and to recognize that Palestinian Arab well-being is consistent with normalization with Israel.
In other words, then, there are a small number of pro-Israeli-pro-Palestinian Arabs. It just means that they want to live and let live.
Consequences of Anti-Zionism? Anti-Palestinianism?
The anti-Palestinian does not seek to kill off all Arabs who identify as Palestinians. It just means that the individual does not believe in a sovereign Palestinian Arab state. The anti-Palestinian would like to see the Arab states take responsibility for the Arab refugees of 1948 in the same way Israel took care of the equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, in addition to those from Europe who survived World War II. In other words, being anti-Palestinian is not being anti-Arab. In spite of this, I have not seen any anti-Palestinian Arabs, whether they are anti-Zionist or pro-Zionist.
The anti-Zionist, however, would like to see the demise of the Jewish people, could not care less what happens to Jews or does not believe the consequences of giving in to all PA demands would be dire for the Jews. In other words, being anti-Zionist is, essentially, antisemitic. In spite of this, there are many anti-Zionist Jews.
When I reflect about why Arabs do not express anti-Palestinian views, I attribute it to their culture, which is a group-orientation culture. Jews, at least secular and non-Haredi religious Jews, are more individualistic. Our leaders do not demand adherence to a particular groupthink attitude. Arabs, on the other hand, are given less freedom to think for themselves. Differences of opinion can be seen as disloyalty and the punishment can be harsh.
We Jews are free to even be against ourselves – and we can really eat ourselves up from within. On the other hand, Arabs are dominated from without and they can be crushed by pressures to conform.
Our leaders need to consider the electorate’s potential reactions at the next election cycle. At the same time, anti-Zionist Israeli Jews can afford to voice their opinions loudly as it is clear they will never be given the reins and so will never bear responsibility for leading the country.
In contrast, Palestinian Arab leaders need to consider potential assassins who will not forgive a leader changing course without giving sufficient time for the population to be re-brainwashed. This is what happened to Egypt’s Anwar Sadat. Therefore, there is no chance that any Arab, leader or not, will feel free to express the opinion that there is no legitimate reason to set up a Palestinian Arab state and that the charade should be abandoned by now.