Bernard Keane on Adam Bandt, Israel and the double think solution

Right at the outset of this conflict, I worried that Israel was overestimating the strength of its hand. In the US, the Israel lobby’s lobbying has been as successful as the NRA’s lobbying. And it follows a similar strategy — zero tolerance. It holds a very tough line and then goes after those who break ranks. It’s been incredibly successful at this.

Just as Republican Congresspeople know that the NRA will target their preselection as the Republican nominee if they step out of line, even to the extent of saying background checks on gun purchases mightn‘t be a bad idea, the Israel lobby has successfully marginalised those who want to push back against Netanyahu’s excesses. goes after after those who deviate from their preferred position. I think they’ve been way too successful for their own good. As John Mearsheimer has argued, American politicians underwrite Israel’s security while being apparently unable to have much of a say on Israeli policy — in contrast, for instance, to Ronald Reagan’s influence a generation ago.

The Israel lobby defends its red lines and goes after the chant ‘from the river to the sea’ as genocidal. But when did you last hear a protest chant that was well considered? In any event it’s essentially the position of a good portion of the Israeli cabinet, including, as you’ll read below, Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is hypocritical of course, but that’s not my point. I think Israel has begun walking into the night. Moreover those who are leading the process are quite deliberately encouraging developments — like expansion of West Bank settlements — and so ramping up the difficulty of ever changing course. That’s how adversarial politics works.

Little Israel is not Big America. I remember my economic history teacher telling me that, America’s economic history wasn’t very interesting. “It’s just big and rich”. In other words with such a big, free market it could make many mistakes and still grow its living standards faster than other countries. Likewise America’s foreign policy can afford many hypocrisies. Little Israel has now got the youth of the world against it. It might take a decade or two, but that’s all it took for the condemnation of the world to liquidate those who occupied all the commanding heights of power in Apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South once they became international pariahs.

Already the mainstream support for Israel that remains in Western countries is a product of muscle memory and fear of the Israel lobby. But numbers make their weight felt pretty quickly in electoral politics and, there are many more muslims in the electorate than Zionists. So, the risk for Israel is that, at some stage in the next three decades things will collapse quite quickly. Those moving from pro-Israeli to anti-Israeli stances will deploy the traditional vehicle for effecting 180 degree reversals. The bandwagon.

Here’s Bernard Keane:

But while Bandt was caught out when pressed to give details of his claim that Australia is exporting weapons to Israel, his unwillingness to endorse a two-state solution represents a rare example of politicians refusing to engage in the standard double-think on Israel and having the guts to challenge what is a facile media assumption by editors and journalists.

If the likes of David Speers, The Australian and Labor have a problem with people who don’t back a two-state solution, here’s a good place to start. As Crikey pointed out when Benjamin Netanyahu visited Australia in 2017, the Israeli prime minister doesn’t believe in one. When asked about a two-state solution, the alleged war criminal and corruption defendant replied that he’d prefer “not to deal with labels but with substance … if Israel is not there to ensure security, then that state very quickly will become another bastion of radical Islam … we have to ensure that Israel has the overriding security control of all the territories, all the territories.”

And of course we know that Netanyahu has worked assiduously to prevent a two-state so

lution during his lengthy time as PM, using a vast expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land to create “facts on the ground” that will prevent any meaningful Palestinian state. Indeed, his efforts to support Hamas to undermine a two-state solution were a key factor in that depraved terror group’s capacity to launch such an horrific attack on Israel on October 7. Netanyahu’s relentless opposition to a two-state solution is widely and uncontroversially acknowledged in more grown-up countries than Australia.

Netanyahu has been enormously successful in this endeavour, to the general disinterest of the Australian media and mainstream political class, even when Israeli settlers engaged in a savage campaign of terrorism against Palestinians in the West Bank over the past two years.

Continuing to assume that a two-state solution is the default reasonable position on Palestine-Israel reflects both ignorance and an unthinking complicity with Netanyahu’s agenda: let the West endlessly talk about a two-state solution while Israel slowly but surely reaches a point where a meaningful Palestinian state can’t exist, given the extensive infiltration of Israeli colonists across Palestinian lands, the infrastructure of apartheid that “protects” them, and their relentless attacks, backed by the Israel Defence Forces, on Palestinians.

More (Behind Crikey’s paywall) here


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Not Trampis
17 days ago

Firstly can I congratulate Nick for yet another thoughtful article and if you do not get his weekly e-mail you are missing out on a great e-mail.
A couple of thoughts.
From the river to the sea is essentially what the Likud’s policy platform says only only for Jews. They do say it has been given to jews eternally showing Jews do not read very well. It was not. It was given to believers of which only a few Jews were believers a less
I wonder what Jews think of when God has not spoken to them since Malachi! He has but they missed it!
There will never be a two state solution. Israel will not build any of the buildings it has destroyed and just who will so Gaza is a no go,
There are around 750,000 jews living illegally in the west Bank. Hands up all those who think Israel will allow “Palestine’ to govern those people.
I always find it hypocritical of Israel to criticise terrorist groups because it was Jewish terrorist groups that were very influential to creating the Jewish state and were very much the reason behind nakba.

meika loofs samorzewski

Israel is or was a mistake. Or series of errors. It is not the only mistake out there, of course, but is a good example of how not to create a polity. Israel is a complete failure.
Vatican city is another mistake, perhaps with an error or two shared with Israel, but one made by Mussolini that we all have to live with for some reason.
One solution is all sides to admit that Israel is a mistake and come to a economic-based re-negotiation.
Or everyone convert to X. Or the other one.
The biggest mistake is military force of course. With one eye on Ukraine, we have learned in the ghetto of Gaza that tanks are mostly for controlling unarmed humans and not for fighting another military.
Currently, the pathway which is turning Gaza into a ghetto of rubble is one heading towards a final solution.
Given that Netanyahu is an narcissist, and so much more likely an unpoliced psychopath, with the reigns of power, who are always given to binary solutions they must win, any considerations of rational actor based diplomacy or politciking will be fruitless.
No country has a right to exist. Killing people does not make it so.

14 days ago

Isn’t the only likely longer term alternative to 2 states a ,” wasteland called peace” ?