Struggle for equal rights for Palestinians is 'right choice,' and will lead to 'significant exodus of Jews' - Henry Siegman
Date Written: 2018-01-27
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22485
Everyone should read Henry Siegman's long piece in the National Interest on the "Implications of President Trump's Jerusalem Ploy." Siegman is a great leader because he has bucked the American and Jewish establishment, of which he is a member, to declare that the two-state solution is dead and buried. He is also a prophet inasmuch as he is counseling American Jewry to give up its attachment to Zionism as a dead letter, no different from a Christian state here, and so prepare itself for a future in which Israel is isolated as a pariah state and there is a "significant exodus of Israel’s Jews." His words are astounding because Siegman, a Holocaust survivor now in his late 80s, was himself a Zionist, and head of the World Jewish Congress. His bravery in renouncing the animating political faiths of his life-- it's inspiring.
Siegman then endorse the struggle for equal rights and the end of Zionism. This is his conclusion. Notice the clarity of his phrasing. There are no evasions here. And: notice the repeated references to an exodus of Jews.
It is the right choice, for their struggle for a state of their own is one Palestinians cannot win, while a struggle to maintain an apartheid regime is one Israel cannot win.
If after what undoubtedly would be a long and bitter anti-apartheid struggle Palestinians prevail, they will be in the clear majority. Having established the principle that the majority can impose on the minority the religious and cultural identity of the State, Israel will not be in a strong position to deny Palestinians that same right. That will lead in time to a significant exodus of Israel’s Jews.
If Palestinians do not prevail, then the undeniable apartheid character of the state and the cost of the ongoing struggle will lead to the same result—an exodus of Israel’s Jews over time, creating an even greater demographic imbalance between the country’s Jewish and Arab populations. Palestinians will not leave because they will have nowhere to go.
Next, no tears for Zionism. And a warning to American Jews to abandon Zionism.
The outcome is therefore likely to be the end of Israel as a Jewish state. If so, it will be an outcome brought about not by BDS movements but by Israelis themselves, not only because of their rejection of the two-state solution, but because of their insistence on defining Israel’s national identity and territorial claims in religious terms. A state that fast-tracks citizenship through government-sponsored religious conversion to Judaism, as Israel’s government now does, cannot for long hide that it privileges its Jewish citizens—just as the United States could not have claimed to be a democracy if conversion to Christianity were a path to U.S. citizenship.
Of course Palestinians have been saying this for a long time, idealistic democracy-loving Palestinians like Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti and Linda Sarsour. Yes, but it is meaningful that a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Zionist leader is saying so, folks.