That title is just meant to indicate I’m blogging from a place of extreme ignorance.
…oto: Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo
Even for many Jews passionately opposed to Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, supporting Palestinian refugee return remains taboo. But, morally, this distinction makes little sense. If it is wrong to hold Palestinians as non-citizens under military law, and wrong to impose a blockade that denies them the necessities of life, it is surely also wrong to expel them and prevent them from returning home. For decades, liberal Jews have parried this moral argument with a pragmatic one: Palestinian refugees should return only to the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of whether that is where they are from, as part of a two-state solution that gives both Palestinians and Jews a country of their own. But with every passing year, as Israel further entrenches its control over all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterannean Sea, this supposedly realistic alternative grows more detached from reality. There will be no viable, sovereign, Palestinian state to which refugees can go. What remains of the case against Palestinian refugee return is a series of historical and legal arguments, peddled by Israeli and American Jewish leaders, about why Palestinians deserved their expulsion and have no right to remedy it now. These arguments are not only unconvincing but deeply ironic, since they ask Palestinians to repudiate the very principles of intergenerational memory and historical restitution that Jews hold sacred. If Palestinians have no right to return to their homeland, neither do we.
The consequences of these ef…
Look, I have always thought that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was one of those things that white Christian Americans should be a lot less loud about and a lot less confident about. And to some extent I still feel like it’s stupid for me to say my opinion on the topic should matter. But since I’ve become more aware of how it’s my government that’s funding a lot of really awful stuff, I’ve come to think that this issue is necessarily part of any American’s politics, even if through silence they endorse the status quo.
This paragraph is controversial for historically contingent reasons but also seems really, really simple. Is it actually more complicated than that because of things I’d be ignorant of, or is invoking complexity a veil people want to throw over something they don’t want to look at?
The rest of the piece is, weirdly, less bleak than you might expect.