Photo: Inbal Zafrani
Israelis don’t always understand the meaning of the settlements in the eyes of the world: Outside Israel, the continuation of the settlement enterprise is no less than the ultimate proof that the Jewish State does not really belong to the enlightened world.
After all, those who look at us from the outside believe that while Israel’s government talks about two states, it does everything in its power to perpetuate its rule in the territories, where the Jews have the right to vote and the Arabs do not - Just like it used to be in South Africa.
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We’re a state with a stain on our forehead, and that stain is the settlement enterprise. We can assume that as long as we look like that, we will be boycotted and turn into a pariah. Not only bands and universities will boycott us, but companies too and eventually governments.
The settlers and their supporters tell us that there is no connection between the boycotts and the settlements. They always hated us out there, and now, when the Holocaust’s memory is fading away, this hatred is again rearing its head. After all, they tell us, we evacuated the Gaza Strip and what did we get in return? The Goldstone Report.
The above description includes some accurate facts, yet it’s misleading because of what’s left out. It’s true that they hate us, but not everyone and not always. It’s true that the Shoah’s memory is fading away, yet the support for Zionism’s righteousness did not only stem from the Holocaust. The world is not just anti-Semitic. There are large groups within global democracies that find a race-based discriminatory regime morally intolerable and view self-determination as a supreme value.
When we were perceived as a state that realizes the right to self-determination (of Jews,) most of the democratic world supported us. When we’re perceived as a state that deprived the right to self-determination (of Palestinians,) the world hates us.
Despicable indictmentThis is the spirit that toppled South Africa’s apartheid regime, and it’s not an anti-Semitic spirit. The settlement enterprise – the ultimate proof in the eyes of the world that we are heading to Jewish apartheid in the Land of Israel – will ultimately bring us to the same position as that of South Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s: An ostracized pariah state that will eventually collapse.
The chronological order described by the settlers is also misleading. The Gaza disengagement prompted an immense change in global public opinion of Israel, which was perceived as moving towards eliminating its colonial enterprise. The Goldstone Report did not follow the disengagement. It came after it turned out that Israel does not intend to finish what it started.
Expecting that the disengagement alone would change our global status is similar to expecting that South Africa would survive if it annuls apartheid laws in Cape Town, but keeps them intact in Johannesburg. This is what we look like: As though we annulled the military regime in Gaza, but are determined to maintain it in Judea and Samaria. The settlement enterprise is the proof.
So even if we get out of Judea and Samaria, with or without an agreement, the hatred for Israel won’t end. However, our haters will not have the ammunition to convince the entire democratic world that we’re the bad guys; the colonialist, racist, and oppressing side to the conflict. As long as we continue to settle, our haters will defeat our friends in the international debate regarding Israel’s status.
The truth about the Goldstone Report is as follows: Had we not been perceived as colonialist - the only state in the Western world that allows itself to keep another people another military rule - it wouldn’t have been possible to get the world to buy into the despicable indictment against a legitimate defensive operation. When you’re South Africa, you’re being accused even when you’re not guilty.