Millions of lives depend on it.
Israel has No Incentive to Comply
Yesterday, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry named some truths we haven’t heard from U.S. officials for quite some time, and probably won’t hear again anytime soon:
- That Israel’s practice of seizing Palestinian land while denying Palestinian people equal rights, from the nakba to the present day, cannot continue
- That indefinite occupation and democracy are incompatible,
- That criticism of Israel’s racist policies is not inherently anti-semitic,
- And that continuing to deny Palestinians rights (not just in the occupied territories but also inside the Green Line) is at odds with democratic ideals.
We fundamentally agree on those points. Even though Kerry is close to departing the stage, and even if this honest assessment is mostly about preparing for the Trump administration, it’s a big deal to see a senior U.S. official restate these basic principles so clearly.
That’s the good news. But Kerry’s plea to preserve a two-state solution sounded more like its eulogy. His “plan” offered no vision for how Palestinian human rights will be established and defended — so it’s no real plan at all.
The reality is that Israel has no incentive to comply with the moderate principles Kerry outlined — even if Kerry was going to be in power to try to implement them. Just a few months ago, the U.S. promised Israel billions more dollars in military aid, and that aid was met with rampant settlement construction. And that was under President Obama. Working hand in hand with his racist allies in the incoming Trump administration, Netanyahu is drawing up plans for an extreme future of xenophobia, violence, and annexation.
That’s the bad news. But I do have a slice of good news: our movement is growing to meet that challenge. Our work has never been more urgent that it will become under President Trump, and we need you to stand with us and make it stronger.
Because no matter who is in the Oval Office, we’re committed to building political power. We’ll double down on the thing we do best: grassroots organizing that moves the needle. Strategic communications that help us feel and share our core values about this issue. Alliances that makes our accountability to Palestinians real. That’s the kind of work we need – and part of what made it not just possible, but politically expedient for John Kerry to condemn settlement growth and the Israeli politicians who promote it.
And it’s our organizing that will, in time, build the future we deserve: of peace, justice and human rights for all the people of Israel/Palestine.
John Kerry’s speech was far from perfect. It explained why only justice can lead to peace, but still advanced a failed “plan” that wouldn’t come close to establishing Palestinian human rights. And the speech came only when Secretary Kerry has one foot out the door, on the eve of a new Presidential administration that sees justice as a punchline rather than a goal.
But yesterday’s speech was still a huge milestone — because the U.S. government’s most senior diplomat stated a plain truth: Israel must choose between apartheid and democracy.
It is up to all of us to pursue that vision for justice, dignity and equality for Palestinians and Israelis. We’ll be there in the streets, in Congress, on campuses, and in houses of worship. We’ll campaign through Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns, until Palestinian human rights are realized and respected the world over.
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