Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brad Rothschild on Zionism

"Independent filmmaker" Brad Rothschild has taken to the Huffington Post to write about everyone's favorite national movement, Zionism. He starts off with a discussion about the recent film The Gatekeepers but quickly heads off the reservation.

Rothschild leads off with a fairly accurate summary of Israeli policy towards the West Bank, but he leaves out something critical:
"One of the film's themes is that since the Six Day War, no Israeli Prime Minister, with the exception of Yitzhak Rabin, has had any real strategy about what to do with the West Bank and its Palestinian inhabitants. Everything that's been done has been purely tactical. In this regard, one former security chief claims, there was no difference between Golda Meir (Labor) and Menachem Begin (Likud)."
This is true, but Rothschild gets the reason wrong. Rothschild claims it's because of "Zionism's commitment to controlling the Land of Israel," but that's not the case. It has to do with the fact that Israel doesn't know how to handle people that want to destroy it and won't take defeat as a sign to stop trying. I don't think any other country in that position would do any better. But far be it for Mr. Rothschild to mention that inconvenient fact. Rothschild seems to be under the impression that "Zionism," a term with an ever changing meaning, is the root cause behind everything Israelis do, and this is a trend that will continue throughout the article.

Next, Rothschild takes a meandering review of the history of Zionism and all its various facets before he shows his ignorance about what motivates settlers:
"The settlement enterprise, consisting of non-religious elements as well -- security hawks and people simply looking for affordable housing -- was adopted by religious Zionism and has become the foundation of its Zionist identity."
Religious Jews want to live in the West Bank because it's Eretz Israel, the land of Israel. They also want to live in Israel "proper" because it is part of Eretz Israel. Some religious Jews, if given the opportunity, want to live in places like Hebron because it has historically been inhabited by Jews. They don't necessarily live there because they want it to be part of the State of Israel (although of course a lot of them do). Most of the settlers don't care if the political state of Israel controls the land they are living on, as long as they can keep living there in peace. What I'm trying to say is settlers have nothing to do with Zionism. Rothschild provides no evidence that "religious Zionism" has anything to do with the settlements, nor that they are the foundation of any kind of "Zionist identity." This is another classic example of Huffington Post bloggers writing something that sounds good but doesn't actually make any sense.

Next, Rothschild continues his slide away from reality with a "creative retelling" of history:
"To greater and lesser degrees, the various governments paid lip service to the notion of peace, but Israel's commitment was more to continued settlement building than to a repartition of the Land. When forced to choose between peace and territories, Israel has time and again chosen territories. "Shalom bayit," peace in the home, was deemed more important than peace with its external enemies."
This point of view simply does not stand up to the facts. Israel withdrew from the Sinai peninsula to make peace with Egypt and was willing to withdraw from the West Bank in order to make peace with Jordan, both of which are clearly "external enemies." Israel also withdrew from Area C of the West Bank after the signing of the Oslo Accords and Gaza. When forced to choose between real peace and territories, Israel has chosen peace. When given the choice between giving up territory for nothing and not doing that, they choose to not do that. Apparently Mr. Rothschild isn't educated enough in history to know what's actually going on.

Then Rothschild straightforwardly repeats Palestinian propaganda:
"Netanyahu is on record in support of a Palestinian state, but under his rule Israel has continued to build settlements, keeping the religious elements of his coalition satisfied, but rendering a Palestinian state a near impossibility. "
Yawn, we've seen this lie a thousand times, and it's still a lie. The settlements are not "rendering a Palestinian state a near impossibility," because a settlement is just a house. Anybody can live in a house. But the Palestinian's choice to continue their warmongering and terrorism is making a real state ever more of a distant possibility. And they are doing that all by themselves.

Where does the Huffington Post find these bloggers?

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