Today, Of All Days? by Avraham Azrieli

Today, Of All Days?

By Avraham Azrieli

(Originally published on April 24, 2017)

In an Op-Ed in The Guardian titled: “The Democrats delivered one thing in the past 100 days: disappointment,” Harvard professor Cornel West calls for a new Sanders-inspired Progressive party, and lists the top 5 issues for American progressives: “The crucial issues of a $15 minimum wage and saying no to fracking, no to TPP, no to Israeli occupation and yes to single-payer healthcare …”

In other words, to save America from corporate greed and xenophobic populism, we must fight growing poverty, environmental pollution, unfair international trade, lack of healthcare and … Israel. Forget all the other painful challenges facing millions of Americans, such as mass-incarcerations, drug addiction, urban decay, failing infrastructure, immigration, veterans, etc., as well as all the dictatorial regimes rising across the globe, all the mass-killings, preventable epidemics, and deadly famines. All these problems are secondary to fighting “Israeli occupation.” Is this an example of an irrational hate of Israel, or what?

Any astute student of the past 100 years’ struggle of Jews and Arabs to co-exist in the tiny strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River knows the myriads historical animosities, social complexities and religious tensions underlying Israel’s inability to reach peace with its neighbors—and the Arabs’ inability to reach peace among themselves. Whatever one’s opinion about Israel’s presence in some of the territory it won in the 1967 war, it’s clear that, if it withdraws from the West Bank (as it withdrew from the Sinai in 1982 and Gaza in 2005), the level of violence in the Middle East will not diminish one iota. West’s choice to include this—the expulsion of Jews from land bursting with archeological remnants of ancient Jewish life—among the top 5 goals for American progressives is both laughable and scary. It’s especially jarring to hear this familiar theme (“Juden Raus!”) today of all days, on April 24, the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It’s no wonder that progressive-minded supporters of Israel find themselves politically homeless in the U.S. It’s also no wonder that “The ‘hotbed of anti-Semitism’ isn’t a foreign country. It’s U.S. college campuses, a new report says.” (Kristine Phillips, The Washington Post, April 24, 2017)

Link to West’s op-ed:

Link to Phillips’s report:

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