Bernard Avishai Dot Com: Keep The Heat On

There are only two political parties in Israel, really, the party that dreads the loss of Greater Israel, i.e., the party of settlements, and, the party that dreads the isolation of global Israel, i.e., the party of America.

There is a culture war in Israel now, and the only way the liberal side of it can mount an offensive is if America keeps the heat on. It is futile to treat Israel as if it were the embodiment of some big Jewish psyche in need of reassurances to trust the world. In fact, Israeli governments refuse to depart from the status quo because a large and hardened minority, perhaps a third of Jewish Israelis, regards peace as an end to the divinely self-enclosed way of life they have established in and around Jerusalem. The squishy, declining, more cosmopolitan and secular majority is unwilling to confront them for the sake of Palestinians, that is, not unless they have to. Israelis have to see that there is something to lose.

there is now an expectation across the West Bank, and the Israeli political class, that Washington has, in effect, finally told Israel to stop all settlements, period, even in East Jerusalem. If ever Obama needed the realism and nerves that Eisenhower had when he told Ben-Gurion to vacate Sinai, this is the time.

via Bernard Avishai Dot Com: Keep The Heat On.

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