IfNotNow is an enigma. Who leads them? Who provides the funding for their orientation training sessions across North America? Their website does not provide any answers to these questions.
They claim to be idealists and I don’t question their fervor. They tell us “We are building a world in which American Jews use our unique position to fight for the liberation of all people”, but there is no reference on their website to any cause other than “end(ing) our community’s support for the occupation”.
Let me put my cards on the table. I too would like to see an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and control over the lives of Gaza’s Palestinians. However, I have a problem. Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal was reported as having stated last year: “Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project, not with the Jews because of their religion”.
Put simply, Hamas does not recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist. As Meshaal explained: “Hamas … wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine” and does not envision “any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea”.
There is not a hint of a two-state solution, or of the right of nearly nine million Israelis to an independent state of their own alongside Palestine.
Article 2 in the Palestinian National Charter states that “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit”.
Article 6 adds: “The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians”.
Those who argue that the Charter, which was adopted in 1964, has since been amended need to recognize that Palestinian officials including Azzam al-Ahmad and Nabil Shaath have stated categorically that the Charter remains unchanged.
IfNotNow‘s assertion that its strategy is “inspired by a long legacy of social movements in this country — from the Labor Movement to the Civil Rights Movement to Occupy to Black Lives Matter” is both incorrect and misleading.
Those who support them are not latter-day Martin Luther Kings or Alicia Garzas, but people who appear not to recognize that the Israel/Palestinian conflict is not a struggle for civil rights, but rather a territorial dispute between two peoples with competing claims over the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.
The fact that IfNotNow states on its website that it “do(es) not take a unified stance on BDS, Zionism or the question of statehood” is the clearest possible indication that they do not necessarily recognize Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state. With such friends….
Close to 50% of world Jewry live in Israel today. One would have expected IfNotNow to make a categorical statement in support of Jewish statehood. Their inability to do so places them in the worst possible position in terms of arguing for an end to the occupation. If we cannot rely upon them to support Israel’s very right to exist, why would we possibly listen to them?
Israeli soldiers are not manning check posts on the West Bank or lining our border with the Gaza Strip for fun. We know only too well that, if they weren’t there, Israel would be overrun by Palestinians, Iranians and Jihadists seeking to dismantle the Jewish State.
Now that may just be IfNotNow‘s endgame. If it is not, then they need to step forward with an imaginative and implementable solution as to how to bring this tragic conflict to a resolution rather than simply calling to “end American Jewish support for the occupation” (presumably they mean “for Israel”).
The best thing that those who support IfNotNow could do as an expression of their idealism would be to make Aliyah and make their contribution both to Israel and to the lively political debate within our country, but that just may be asking too much.