I have recently come across a short Haaretz article by Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua*.
I must admit that Yehoshua’s stand is well argued and totally valid. However, it means that all comparative models such as the colonial paradigm are doomed to crash. Jewish nationalism doesn’t fit into any available template, it formulates a model of its own.
According to Yehoshua, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not really about territorial issues. “Territorial issues can be resolved” he says. “In our conflict, both sides, struggle over national identity of the whole country.” Yehoshua offers here a very interesting insight that cannot be uttered within the boundaries of the Left discourse. For both parties, especially the Palestinians, he says, “it is unclear what is the size of the people it is up against, is it only the Israelis or is it also the Jewish Diaspora as a whole.” Yehoshua raises here an issue I myself have been stressing for years. It is far from being clear to anyone (including Israelis and Jews) where Israel ends and the Diaspora starts. It is also far from being clear where the Israeli ends and the Jew starts. I guess that for most contemporary Jews it is even far from being clear anymore where Zionism ends and Judaism starts. In the contemporary Jewish world there are no clear dichotomies. We are dealing with a spineless elastic metamorphic identity that shapes itself to fit every possible circumstances. This may explain how come the Jewish state can dually operate as an oppressor and a victim simultaneously.
The Israelis, according to Yehoshua are also subject to a similar confusion. They also cannot figure out whether it is just the Palestinian people they are up against or is it the whole Arab nation or even the entire Muslim world. For Yehoshua, the conflict “lacks a clear demographic boundaries. This fact alone creates an initial deep distrust between the two peoples that prevents a possible solution.”
Yeshoua is far from being a brilliant mind, yet, he manages to analyse the conflict correctly just because he is free to think out of the Leftist box. Being a proud Israeli Jew he is free to say what he thinks without the need to appease half a dozen so-called ‘progressive’ Jews. Yehoshua’s analysis makes a lot of sense to me though we draw the complete opposite conclusions. I believe that the Palestinian solidarity discourse better liberate itself of any form of dogmatic political thinking. It is about time and look at the conflict for what it is. We must engage in a true plural debate and emancipate ourselves of any traces of rigid and anachronistic thinking.
* The article has now disappeared from Haaretz site. You can upload an Hebrew version here.
The English version just appeared here.
In case you missed it: Truth in Stuttgart