The starting point was a talk I gave in 2009, at the Hampshire College conference on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
My talk predicted – with some accuracy – how Israel’s battle for legitimacy around the world would play out.
Then, as now, Israel retains immense power. But I argued that despite overwhelming military power, an ideological project that loses legitimacy in the eyes of the world would eventually crumble.
I described how Israel would try to win back declining support among young people in the United States and elsewhere by marketing itself as LGBTQ friendly and environmentally conscious – propaganda strategies known as pinkwashing and greenwashing.
All of this is designed to obscure and distract from the fundamental facts about Zionism, Israel’s racist state ideology which holds that Jews from anywhere in the world have a right to settle in historic Palestine and maintain a Jewish-majority state there that trumps any rights of the indigenous Palestinian people.
In our Tuesday webinar we also spoke about what Peter Beinart’s recent abandonment of the two-state solution and Jewish statehood portends for liberal Zionism in general.
Beinart, the author of the 2012 book The Crisis of Zionism, had over the last decade been the great hope of the liberal Zionist establishment that it could lay new roots for long-term, broad support of Israel.
But with Beinart’s defection and embrace of some form of one-state solution, it looks like liberal Zionism as it has existed for decades is in total collapse.
As the world goes through the pandemic, and the attendant political, economic and social crises, we are also seeing a resurgence of activism and radicalism – especially the Black-led uprising against systemic white supremacy.
Can this moment also deliver justice in Palestine? Will we see an end to Israeli apartheid and oppression in the next five, 10 or 20 years?
Our panel could not predict that with certainty, of course, but we had a lively and passionate discussion about what it might take to get us there.
Watch the video above.