A prominent Israel lobbyist has conceded that Zionism may have “failed” and that the Occupation State is in “far bigger trouble than anyone understands.” The remarks were made by Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum. The pro-Israel lobby group says it is “dedicated to advancing the goal of a two-state solution in order to preserve Israel’s future as Jewish, democratic, and secure” state.
Koplow is thought to be an intellectual leader of the Israel lobby. Like countless other Israeli lobby groups, Koplow’s job is to provide the US establishment with a positive spin on Israel in order to maintain ongoing American support for the Apartheid State. Their carefully curated image of Israel as a democracy and a vital US ally facing an existential threat, has preserved decades of unwavering support in Washington.
This image is beginning to shatter not least because of the consensus amongst major human rights groups that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid. Koplow appears to also be resigned to the fact that Israel may have passed beyond the point of redemption. Throughout history many justified their support for Zionism through the hope that the racism and ethnic cleansing entailed by the ideology of Jewish supremacy would be redeemed through the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine and the creation of a flourishing democracy. Instead, Israel has morphed into an Apartheid State.
In his article, Koplow comments on a bill in Israel banning the raising of Palestinian flags. “If waving a flag threatens Israel’s existence, then not only is Israel in far bigger trouble than anyone understands, but Zionism itself has failed,” said Koplow. “Protestors waving Palestinian flags and mourners displaying them at funerals does not threaten Israel’s sovereignty or security in any tangible way, and to think otherwise betrays a deep and unwarranted sense of insecurity about Israel’s durability and legitimacy,” he added.
Though Koplow expresses dismay at the Israeli overreaction to the display of Palestinian flags he does not mention that this is part of an ongoing attempt to criminalise expressions of Palestinian nationhood and symbols of their identity which began through the ethnic cleansing of 1947/48 and crystallised seven decades later into an Apartheid State.
“The Palestinian flag is a display of ideology and emotion and treating it like a weapon will make it more potent and more popular a symbol,” Koplow continued, pointing to an obvious double standard highlighted by the so-called right-wing Flag March. “There was a particular irony at work this week with Israeli arguments that marching through the Old City with Israeli flags is nothing but a demonstration of legitimate Israeli pride and should not be construed in any way as incitement or threatening toward Palestinians, while at the same time insisting on multiple fronts that Palestinian flags are inherently illegitimate and should be construed as incitement and threats toward Israelis.”
Koplow also acknowledged that it is an error to view Israel’s occupation of Palestine as a conflict between two equal forces; a view which Palestinian advocates have sought to convey all the time in the US and the Israel lobby seeks to obfuscate: On one side is a nuclear state with the most powerful military in the Middle East, on the other a people under occupation with boys with slingshots.
“Israel has a state and is operating from a position of power, and Palestinians do not have a state and are operating from a position of weakness,” Koplow argued. “That structural imbalance should in theory make Israelis less sensitive to the symbolic aspects of Israeli and Palestinian nationalism, but it doesn’t. The fact of Israel’s existence and Israel’s strength—not only relative to the Palestinians but in absolute terms—has not appreciably lessened Israelis’ insecurities, and Palestinian flags are still treated in many instances as physical threats that somehow have the ability to snuff out Zionism or Israel’s existence.”
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