The Professors Call for the Jewish State’s Destruction

May 10, 2023 | Elliott Abrams
About the author: Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and is the chairman of the Tikvah Fund.

In a recent article in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs, four highly regard professors of politics and international relations assert that “Israel’s system of structural discrimination is more severe than those of even the most illiberal states” and therefore—they contend—since a two-state solution has become impossible, the U.S. should lead an international campaign to undermine Israel. The argument, Elliott Abrams observes, rests in large part on ignoring the Jewish state’s large non-Jewish minority, and the opinions of its members. And that is not its only flaw:

The authors land in some very nasty places. Their arguments against normalization with Israel in essence call for a new form of the old Arab boycott of Israel. They urge that “Although Washington cannot prevent normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the United States should not lead such efforts.” The clear suggestion here is that if it were possible to “prevent normalization,” that would be a fine U.S. activity. They also urge that efforts against BDS come to an end: the United States “should not seek to stop or punish those who choose to peacefully boycott Israel.” . . . [T]hey don’t quite have the courage of their convictions and do not say what their article logically leads to—the belief that Zionism is indeed a form of racism. Their goal is . . . eliminating Israel as a Jewish state, because in their view it is irredeemably evil. It is fundamentally racist and repressive, and it is time for U.S. policy to punish it for those traits.

The “two-state solution” has never seemed as elusive as it is now, and the future of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza is a subject worthy of much debate. But it is not a contribution to that debate to vilify Israel, treat Palestinians as inert objects with little or no influence over their own future, and gloss over terrorism and the entire issue of security (for Palestinians, Israelis, and Jordanians).

The article calls for the end of the state of Israel as it has existed since 1948. By publishing this article Foreign Affairs has served only one useful purpose: to show us the state of the debate in academia. There, the view that one Jewish state is one too many is widely and indeed increasingly popular. Those who believe otherwise are well-advised to learn from this article that the goal of many of today’s academic critics is not to reform the state of Israel. The goal is to eliminate it.

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