By Virginia Tilley
28 April, 2007
is no reason simply to assume that Avnery is right about this analysis,
which is much circulated these days. It is full of reversals, contradictions,
and deliberate distortions: for example, when he cites Adam Keller's
question, "Why do you think that a boycott would break the Israeli
public, which is far stronger economically, so that they would give
up the Jewish character of the state?" (There was no answer.)"
In fact, Adam Keller addressed this question not to Ilan Pappe but to
Omar Barghouti, who shared the panel and who answered the question at
length, and whose answer triggered loud sustained applause from the
audience. Avnery is also greatly mistaken about the nature of the anti-apartheid
struggle in South Africa, about which he knows next to nothing and which
he uses and distorts only to serve his efforts to defend Israel from
serious and effective international repercussions.
Avnery has opposed a one-state
solution from the very beginning; his first strong statement against
it was issued immediately after the PLO issued its formal support of
a democratic unified state, in 1968. Over the decades he has used every
argument to defeat calls for democracy and he knows exactly why: he
has never escaped his early romance with and loyalty to Jewish statehood
or his nostalgic memories of his own fighting with Zionist forces in
1948, although his own battalion was directly involved in forced expulsion
of Palestinian villages and was implicated in the massacres that took
place as well. He is indeed a sharp critic of Israel's worst racist
abuses. But the basic abuse which necessarily gives rise to all the
others, which is the tenet that Israel must remain a state with an overwhelming
Jewish majority, is one he has always worked to defend.
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