Netanyahu is defending his measures as “a wise, aggressive and responsible reaction, a natural response that makes it clear to the nations of the world that what took place at the UN is unacceptable to us.”But his reaction is causing disquiet even among hardline supporters of Israel’s anti-Palestinian policies. Dov Weisglass, a former senior advisor to the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is notorious for saying a decade ago that Israel would restrict food to Gaza “to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger. ”Now Weisglass is calling Netanyahu’s reaction to the UN resolution “ridiculous.”“The attempt to create symmetry between us and the rest of the world and to punish the 14 countries that voted against us is actually making the Palestinian dream of isolating Israel internationally into reality,” Weisglass said.Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, also expressed misgivings. She argued that rather than canceling diplomatic visits, Israel would be better off trying to explain its position to the world.“We need to get rid of this false term, the phrase ‘occupied territory.’ This is Israel’s territory — the Land of Israel,” Hotovely said in reference to the West Bank. Hotovely may not have noticed that Israel has been trying to do that for decades, with elaborate marketing and propaganda schemes. The vote in the UN showed that all Israel’s efforts to convince the world that it has the right to steal as much Palestinian land as it pleases have come to nought.Experience shows, however, that it is Palestinians who will feel the real brunt of Israel’s revenge: Israel is already vowing to build thousands more settler homes on Palestinian land in direct defiance of international law.The question is whether world governments, having provoked Israel’s rage, will have the courage at last to hold it accountable.
With Democrats and Republicans standing virtually unanimous in their willingness to run roughshod over the fundamental rights of Americans to advocate for Palestinian freedom, there can be little doubt Republicans will be able to push through even wider abuses of the rights of Muslims, Latinos, women and the LGBTQ community. If Democrats are not willing to stand up for the First Amendment when it comes to Palestinian rights, we can expect it will be all too easy for Republicans to peel away Democrats on other issues.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama participate in a wreath-laying ceremony aboard the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 27, 2016. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters