The Settlers Are Part Of The Problem

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 21 2012 @ 11:39am

Beinart rebuts criticisms of his book:

My friend David Frum insists, as hawks often do, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is existential not territorial. But in truth, it’s both, and the latter fuels the former. In both the negotiations that took place in 2000-1 and in 2008, there were huge territorial fights. Israeli leaders wanted to annex somewhere between six percent (Olmert’s 2008 offer) and nine percent (Barak’s 2000 offer) of the West Bank because they believed that annexing less was politically impossible. The Palestinians, by contrast, according to former Barak co-chief negotiator Gilead Sher and Ehud Olmert himself were willing to swallow a two to three percent land swap….

The second major critique is that boycotting the settlements represents a kind of gateway drug to boycotting all of Israel.

[But] right now, [Jews favoring a two-state solution] have no way to oppose Israel’s occupation without opposing Israel’s existence. Zionist BDS offers them that alternative. Without it, the Jewish organizations may pressure them into not boycotting Israel this year, but every time they go back and see the settlements expanding further, they’ll be more inclined to do so. And the more they see the one state reality that settlements are creating, the more they’ll embrace for practical reasons what BDS activists embrace for ideological ones: a future that dismantles Israel as a Jewish state.