Not “Good for Palestine” — Sayed Kashua Responds to Netanyahu Re-Election


Hard, sad truths by Sayed Kashua, which I’m reading against the idea bandied about, mostly here recently by Yousef Munayyer in the New York Times, that all of this –Netanyahu’s re-election, the galloping occupation, the deepening racism, the contempt in the face of human suffering– is “good” for Palestine in the long run. The argument is either cynical or desperate. There’s nothing in this but bad for everyone, especially for Palestine. Once it’s over, there may be nothing left.

You should read the whole thing here, but I’m excerpting the remarks below that speak directly against the facile notion that only a catastrophe unfolding before us can redeem this fundamentally grotesque and rotten situation. Like Kashua, I’m expecting nothing good out of it.

Dear Mr Netanyahu: Sorry we dared to dream. Yours, Israel’s Arab population

“However, that’s an extremely problematic argument. The hope for a binational state that Israeli policy will bring about unintentionally, will be shunted aside for years by the racist separation that already exists in the occupied territories. Israel will continue to expand at the expense of Palestinian land, the Palestinians will continue to be squeezed into densely populated cantons encircled by walls, until the international community will ostracise Israel and force it to grant civil rights to the Palestinians – thereby perhaps bringing about a binational state.

That’s a dangerous process, grounded in the trampling of the Palestinians. And even if the situation does play out like that, what exactly will the Palestinian society look like after long years of poverty, distress, overcrowding and adversity?

What kind of people will these ghettos of Palestinians produce? What form of morality, national consciousness and hope will people be left with after so many years of stifling occupation and a sense of hopelessness? Will the Palestinian people still retain the strength to struggle for a binational state, or will we have become, by then, the fallout of a people barely able to stand on its feet?”



About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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1 Response to Not “Good for Palestine” — Sayed Kashua Responds to Netanyahu Re-Election

  1. oxforddphile says:

    I really enjoy your critique of the whole Bibi is good for Palestine travesty. It’s a terrible reversal of the same old good from evil argument. Only, instead of saying it retrospectively like Rav Cook (the Holocaust as a necessary tool for the foundation of Israel) people have begun to turn it around (all this suffering will bring about a Palestinian state). Not only is correlation not causation, the correlation hasn’t even happened yet! Things might just get worse and worse without ever becoming good. Many years ago, I met an Arab Israeli who voted Sharon because he was convinced that would aggravate the situation and thus lead to international pressure and a Palestinian state (and also, the destruction of Israel). So far his plan has not proved itself too successful. (A fact that I am at least partially thankful for).

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