Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

How Could Israel Change?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 24th August, 2010

The Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy — one of the sanest Jewish voices in Israel today — is in Britain at the moment to promote his new book The Punishment of Gaza (Verso), an impassioned account of the one of the latest and most grotesque aspects of the prolonged Israeli policy of belligerency and occupation. I met Mr Levy along with a number of other journalists and area specialists for an informal session in London and he is a very impressive performer. He reminded us starkly that Israel has been an occupying power for more than two-thirds of its existence, during which it has invaded and occupied every one of its neighbours: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, as well as so far preventing the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Yet still Israel presents itself as a victim. Most Israelis, Gideon Levy argues, are indifferent to this situation. They live the good life — especially if they are in Tel Aviv — and largely ignore what is going on in the occupied territories. Settlement building continues, despite the fact that the presence of 500,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem now make a two-state solution virtually impossible. The main Israeli political parties are virtually alike and the small liberal ones of yore have died out. Israel is demonstrably an apartheid society, Mr Levy argues, and that situation can only get worse. He is pessimistic that change can come from within Israel itself, particularly after the influx of Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union, may of whom swell the ranks of the far right and often racist political forces. And as the only voice Israel listens to is Washington’s, the only hope is if the United States puts its foot down. But President Obama, beholden to Congress and the more conservative Jewish lobbying groups — appears incapable of living up to early promise in promoting a just peace. On the gound, new mooted negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are likely to deliver nothing of real substance.

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3 Responses to “How Could Israel Change?”

  1. John Oakes said

    All of which sounds as if the international community is just waiting around for a non-aligned power-bloc or single nation to emerge and take a decisive interest in the situation……

  2. Danny said

    This is as one sided as it gets. “Occupied every one of its neighbours”????
    The arab countries ALL invaded Israel on numerous occasions. They did their
    very best to destroy Israel each and every time and failed.
    Now they cry poor as if they were innocent. What rubbish! All Israel did was win
    the wars at a terrible cost to her Jewish population. Don’t forget that.

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