I am old enough to remember when Israeli kibbutzim looked like settlements (“a small village or collection of houses” or “the act of peopling or colonizing a new country,” Oxford English Dictionary)
He's upset. In his opinion, as expressed in the welcoming host pages of the New York Times (ever read a piece by a "settler" there?):
Israel needs “settlements.” They are intrinsic to the image it has long sought to convey to overseas admirers and fund-raisers: a struggling little country securing its rightful place in a hostile environment by the hard moral work of land clearance, irrigation, agrarian self-sufficiency, industrious productivity, legitimate self-defense and the building of Jewish communities. But this neo-collectivist frontier narrative rings false in modern, high-tech Israel. And so the settler myth has been transposed somewhere else — to the Palestinian lands seized in war in 1967 and occupied illegally ever since.
Silly Tony. Bringing Jews home to the Land, a major ideological, nay, psychological, tenet of Labour-Socialist Zionism (see here), not to mention the religious interpretation of the Kookian approach (see here and also here), is what drives Jews to reside on the Land and make it flourish.
But there is something else disturbing Judt. Even stereotyping our enterprise with a pejorative term, linked to "colonising", indicating something temporary and foreign, is not enough for Judt. As he explains warpedly:
It is thus not by chance that the international press is encouraged to speak and write of Jewish “settlers” and “settlements” in the West Bank. But this image is profoundly misleading. The largest of these controversial communities in geographic terms is Maale Adumim. It has a population in excess of 35,000, demographically comparable to Montclair, N.J., or Winchester, England. What is most striking, however, about Maale Adumim is its territorial extent. This “settlement” comprises more than 30 square miles — making it one and a half times the size of Manhattan and nearly half as big as the borough and city of Manchester, England. Some “settlement.”
In other words, in a backward technique, the media is serving our interests in labeling our communities "settlements". But, of course, this serves his larger purpose: Israel must go, disappear, beam up, devolve into binationalism. So, "settlements" serves him as a weapon to chop away at Israel pre-1967.
According to him,
If Israel is drunk on settlements
Well, I attended the Plenum Session of the Yesha Council last night at Karnei Shomron and most of the communities informed us that they needed more housing to accommodate the returning children and others wishing to exert their natural growth rights.
It is nice to read Judt claiming:
Despite all the diplomatic talk of disbanding the settlements as a condition for peace, no one seriously believes that these communities — with their half a million residents, their urban installations, their privileged access to fertile land and water — will ever be removed. The Israeli authorities, whether left, right or center, have no intention of removing them, and neither Palestinians nor informed Americans harbor illusions on this score.
But notice how one is left with the doubt, well, I am, - when he writes "settlements", does he mean only post-67 communities or...?
the president could break with two decades of American compliance, acknowledge publicly that the emperor is indeed naked, dismiss Mr. Netanyahu for the cynic he is and remind Israelis that all their settlements are hostage to American goodwill. He could also remind Israelis that the illegal communities have nothing to do with Israel’s defense, much less its founding ideals of agrarian self-sufficiency and Jewish autonomy. They are nothing but a colonial takeover that the United States has no business subsidizing.
One never knows with Judt just what area he considers not to be an Israeli "colonial takeover".
And as for the defense element, quite simply, the prevention of the establishment of an independent Arab Palestine would be the major existential security contribution we could make for all of Israel and its future generations. The raison d'etre of such a state is not the betterment of so-called Arab Palestinians, an improvement in the status of their human rights and civil liberties, their economic development, etc. No. They are a mobilized populace to be wielded, from age 6, as a potential human Qassam to destroy and obliterate the Jewish state of Israel. They possess no independent existence of Zionism. "Palestinianism" as I have written previously at this blog, is solely the negativism of Zionism.
And Judt can't avoid a little slide into antisemitism: America is Israel's
Did he write to Obama to use the Cairo speech to condemn the state of democracy in Egypt? Did he suggest the President cut off funding to Mubarak the Dictator whose son will take over soon, establishing a new dynasty in the Arab Middle East? No, that he wouldn't do. He's just Judt the Jew, descendent of Lithuanian Rabbis,
doing his best to fulfill his fantasy of dissolving the Jewish state of Israel.