Goldberg shrieks Jarrah

Actually, he is not shrieking at all, but he is weighing in pretty finally on a dispute that involves a lot of shrieking and factual distortions.

Jeffrey Goldberg:

Let me also stipulate, however, that the settlement of Jews in Sheikh Jarrah — even if it is what God allegedly wants (I’ve submitted the question, but haven’t heard back) — is not necessarily in the Jewish self-interest. If a Jewish person’s only concern as a Jew is the acquisition of every square inch of biblical Israel on behalf of the Jewish people, then I suppose it is a Jewish interest.

In this case, the parcel of land has been part of an Israeli settlement for over 30 years. There is no extra square inch.

But if a Jewish person has other interests as well — such as in peace, or in the idea that Palestinians, though a much newer people than the Jewish people, deserve a state just as Jews do, or in the continued survival of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state — than the slow takeover of Sheikh Jarrah is not in the best Jewish interest.

Peace will not come without the birth of a Palestinian state on the West Bank which has its capital in East Jerusalem. I’m as sure of that as I am of anything in the Middle East. Of course, peace may not come even with the birth of this state — I’m no longer quite so sure in the possiblity, or at least in the availability, of peace — but it will surely never happen without it. This is why, of course, certain right-wing Jewish groups, aided and abetted by different factions in Israel’s chaotic government, are seeking to populate East Jerusalem with Jews: to prevent the birth of a Palestinian state. These particular Jews operate under the delusion that Israel can keep control of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem forever, and most of the West Bank forever, without negative consequences. They are drastically wrong. Eventually, something is going to give. At a certain point in the not-so-distant future, Israel will either cease to be a Jewish state, or it will cease to be a democracy. Attempts to abort the birth of a Palestinian state only hasten this moment of decision.

The hotel is contiguous with a Jewish neighborhood, and has been owned by a Jew and waiting for construction permits for 30 years.

Is Goldberg suggesting that the pure symbolism of building at the edge of a territory that has not expanded is giving into territorial maximalism and Israel’s destruction?

Peace will not come without the birth of a Palestinian state on the West Bank which has its capital in East Jerusalem. I’m as sure of that as I am of anything in the Middle East. Of course, peace may not come even with the birth of this state — I’m no longer quite so sure in the possiblity, or at least in the availability, of peace — but it will surely never happen without it. This is why, of course, certain right-wing Jewish groups, aided and abetted by different factions in Israel’s chaotic government, are seeking to populate East Jerusalem with Jews: to prevent the birth of a Palestinian state. These particular Jews operate under the delusion that Israel can keep control of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem forever, and most of the West Bank forever, without negative consequences. They are drastically wrong. Eventually, something is going to give.

Yes, there are such people, and they are drastically wrong.

At a certain point in the not-so-distant future, Israel will either cease to be a Jewish state, or it will cease to be a democracy. Attempts to abort the birth of a Palestinian state only hasten this moment of decision.

I think it’s not so imminent. And Palestinian statehood is desirable but not necessary for Israel’s Jewish democratic future. Attempts to abort the birth of a contiguous area in the West Bank without settler colonies hasten disaster.

That area is what the Palestinians will declare it a state, and probably demand more territory — but as a state, not as subjects.

Israel will survive without the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

We agree on that much. But much of the world and virtually all of the Palestinians aren’t thinking about East Jerusalem as defined by Arab neighborhoods — but as defined by the 1948 armistice.  This problem should be made more explicit.

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