Our Man blogging in Jordan: James Watt

November 24, 2016 22:56

Well, if you were outraged by Francis Guy, take a look at this....

Do things start to get better from here?
Posted 28 March 2010 by James Watt | 15 comments
It's been an extraordinary week. The drama in Washington has been a turning point: if not yet of Israeli governmental attitudes, then of the US Administration's patience with them. No recognition, in the Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to AIPAC, that his government had just been put on serious notice by the Quartet in its Moscow statement. Or that the United States has been signalling with utter clarity for some time that Israel's policy of settlements, and in particular evictions in Arab East Jerusalem, is a critical obstacle to peace. This is the peace that the US - and countries such as Britain - regard as not only important for their own national security, but also essential in the interests of justice and the rule of law.

The AIPAC applause must have had its usual intoxicating effect. The hangover came later, in the White House. But the main problem continues to arise from arguments put forward by Israel itself. Whatever the emotional component, there has to be a link to facts, reason and shared ethical principles, if the arguments are to succeed with a non-Zionist audience. I think Israel has lost that audience. Israel too suspects it has lost it, but has not, in my view, worked out why, or what the answer is. Completely non-factual assertions - for example that a Jewish people was building Jerusalem 5,000 years ago - only serve to emphasise the absence of real content or reasoning. The strange thing is how long Western audiences tolerated such claims without challenging them: I think because they were hoping that a reasonable settlement with the indigenous Palestinian population would emerge in the course of things (and with some diplomatic heavy lifting). It nearly did, in the mid-nineties. But the disastrous reversal of the peace process that then followed has led, inevitably, to Western and other audiences challenging the Zionist discourse in its entirety. No one outside Israel is prepared - or very few - to take Zionist arguments at their face value any longer. The crisis for Israel runs deep indeed.

November 24, 2016 22:56

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