The Unbridgeable Gulf between the Israeli Left and the American Left

In a recent book, the Israeli-born philosophy professor Omri Boehm argues that the Jewish state should be dismantled and replaced with some sort of confederation of Jews and Arabs as a means of preserving “liberal Zionism.” Having read a review of Boehm’s book by the American scholar of Ḥasidism Shaul Magid, Daniel Gordis is struck not so much by the poverty of the arguments themselves, but by the strangeness of the very discussion: an American Jewish post-Zionist who lived in Israel during the 1980s is examining the views of an Israeli post-Zionist who likewise hasn’t lived in the country for over a decade. Gordis writes:

I understand how [Boehm’s proposal] (temporarily) saves liberalism. I’m not entirely sure how it saves Zionism in any way. And I’m definitely not clear on how it saves the lives of the Jews who live in the Jewish state, but that issue didn’t quite come up in the review. . . . But I found myself wondering—other than fueling hatred against not only Israel, but Jews (for example: “The ‘Jewishness’ that Israel seeks to protect is not culture or religion, ‘but Jewish ethnicity, Jewish blood’”)—what is this book supposed to accomplish?

Note that it was written in English, and that Boehm, born in Israel, could have written it in Hebrew. (I could find no mention online of a forthcoming Hebrew version.) So why English? Because there’s exactly zero audience for it in Israel. Even the Israeli left would pay it no attention; it is adamantly opposed to the occupation, it objects to all sorts of Israel’s policies—but overwhelmingly, [it’s made up of] Zionists. The idea of taking apart the country in which they live, in which they’re raising their children and grandchildren, that they’re working to save—well, it just doesn’t grab them.

So what policy needle is Boehm trying to move? He’ll have no impact on Israel. He’s not going to change President Biden, obviously. He’s not going to affect most Republicans. He’s not going to influence the traditional slice of the Democratic party. And as for the progressive Democrats, he doesn’t need to move them. [The “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization] J Street became irrelevant when the progressives leap-frogged it.

Read more at Israel from the Inside

More about: American Jewry, Israel and the Diaspora, Israeli left, post-Zionism

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority