Jeffrey Goldberg, the Netanyahu apologist, thinks that the Palestinian Authority should abandon its plan to seek non-member observer status in the United Nations and should instead petition for the right of all occupied Palestinians to vote in Israel. Of course, his goal is to stop tomorrow’s vote which he can’t do. Tomorrow the Palestinian Authority will finally do something right: defy Israel and the United States and begin the process of achieving statehood. Bravo.
Here is Goldberg’s explanation of why seeking the vote inside Israel would be more effective.
Reaction would be seismic and instantaneous. The demand for voting rights would resonate with people around the world, in particular with American Jews, who pride themselves on support for both Israel and for civil rights at home. Such a demand would also force Israel into an untenable position; if it accedes to such a demand, it would very quickly cease to be the world’s only Jewish-majority state, and instead become the world’s 23rd Arab-majority state. If it were to refuse this demand, Israel would very quickly be painted by former friends as an apartheid state.
In other words, Israel would have to accede to the demand for Palestinian rights or be “painted by former friends as an apartheid state.”
Except that would never happen. Israel will never voluntarily give Palestinians democratic rights and it does not have to because U.S. policy, dictated by AIPAC, will never hold Israel to the rules it applies every where else. If Israel absorbs all the territories and denies the people who live there voting rights, 90% of Congress will support that position. So would President Obama. So would Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Elizabeth Warren. Of course the Republicans would too. In fact, I have written the statement liberal Democrats would use in defending Israel’s position of not permitting Palestinians to exercise their rights.
We firmly reject the United Nations call on Israel to extend the vote to Israel’s five million Palestinian citizens. We would remind the United Nations that for Israel to grant voting rights to this group would end Israel’s standing as the world’s only Jewish democracy. Democracy is an elastic concept. What applies to Brazil or Germany or even the United States does not necessarily apply to Israel, located as it is in a very dangerous neighborhood. If nothing else, the Holocaust taught us that. We also reject calls to link aid to Israel to its compliance with the United Nations resolution calling on Israel to grant voting rights. We oppose that idea just as we applaud our government’s use of the veto to block its passage. No, we will stand with the people of democratic Israel as it continues its struggle for peace and democracy for all.
Bottom line: so long as the White House and Congress depend on AIPAC and its associated donors for campaign funding, Israel will neither grant Palestinians voting rights nor be ostracized by the United States. Palestinians need to do what they need to do. Counting on the United States to help is ridiculous.