I was driving home from Geneva, New York, today and heard an episode of the radio program “Democracy Now!” a public radio program I had never heard before. Today’s program featured an interview with long-time Jewish leader Henry Siegman, a critic of Israel’s policies regarding Palestinian. (The interview can be seen or read here.)
First, the U.S. could cut off financial and moral support for Israel. Our “special relationship,” he said, is based on common values, but, as things now stand, we are complicit in the “oppression and permanent disenfranchisement of an entire people.” At some point, America could say enough is enough and tell Israel that it is on its own. Of course, Israel cannot survive without American aid.
As much as I would like to see the U.S. cut Israel loose (or demand the complete dismantlement of all Jewish settlements intended to create facts on the ground), I am not going to hold my breath waiting for this to happen. The Israel lobby, after all, is even more powerful that the NRA. It owns Congress.
Siegman’s second possibility is a lot more interesting. Let the Palestinians surrender. Let them declare that Israel has won and can have all of Palestine. Then begin a civil-rights campaign demanding equal treatment by the Israeli government. (Siegman cautions that this move must be sincere, and the campaign must be non-violent.) Israelis will not stand for a democratic state that is no longer a Jewish one and will be forced to carve out a state for the Palestinians. (Or, better still, in my opinion, will be forced to dismantle the thinly disguised theocracy for a secular state.)
One more thought (this is my own): It is often said that Israel is our staunchest ally in the Middle East. Alas, Israel is also the reason we need such an ally.