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Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 05/25/2011

Time to redefine the term `pro-Israel’

Those who should be most pleased with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress yesterday are those who believe that “Israel should be wiped off the map,” argues Jeffrey Goldberg. He makes the compelling case that the reality of demographic change in the region, coupled with the refusal to reach agreement on a two-state solution, constitute an extential threat to Israel:

Netanyahu, who understands the existential threat posed by Iran, does not seem to understand the nature of this other existential threat. His five predecessors as prime minister — including Ariel Sharon, whose heart did not bleed for Palestinians — understood it. President Obama understands it, too.

“The number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories,” Obama told members of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, on May 22. “This will make it harder and harder, without a peace deal, to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.”

For too long, the term “pro-Israel” in the American political context been used to describe only those who minimize the suffering of Palestinians and actively enable the Israeli right’s attempt to bring the peace process to a halt, even as they offer rhetorical support for the idea of a two state solution. But political changes in the Middle East and demographic changes in the region have created a shrinking window of time for Israel to seek a resolution to the conflict on terms favorable to its long-term survival..

Any objective evaluation of what it means to be “pro-Israel” would mean applying the label to those who recognize the existential peril the country faces, both as a Jewish state and a democracy, as a result of the failure to successfully reach a two-state solution. Instead the term is used to describe those who enable Israel’s most regressive political actors, those whose actions endanger its continued existence. That’s deeply twisted — and tragic.

By Adam Serwer  |  10:51 AM ET, 05/25/2011

 
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