WSW: Author Mark Braverman Says Israel's Current Course is "Not Sustainable"
“I wish it had never happened … that there was no Israeli state.”
Mark Braverman admits that for someone who was raised in a Jewish family to make such a statement “sounds a bit illogical to people, but in fact it makes perfect sense to me.” Braverman says Zionism was in his blood, and says that’s the reason that he became so interested in Israel and Palestine.
The interview with Braverman, who is Executive Director of Kairos USA was recorded on November 10th. He was in Kalamazoo to speak at an event sponsored by Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War. Braverman is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land and A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing and the Struggle for Justice in Israel and Palestine.
Braverman says he understands why the Israeli state was established. He says addressing anti-Semitism made sense at the time. But he says building a “fortress state” is something that can’t work in the world today. Braverman says Israel can’t be a democracy when one part of the population is favored over another.
The course that the Israeli state is on now is not sustainable, according to Braverman. He calls a two state solution a “political mantra.” Braverman says there is no way that a Palestinian state will ever exist under the current conditions. He says Israel is doing what a state founded on Zionism has to do. Braverman says it fits the definition of an “apartheid state.” He says the world decided that it would not tolerate that in South Africa, and won’t tolerate it long-term in Israel.
Braverman says there will still be violence. He says the violence ended in South Africa when there were free and fair elections, and violence ended in the Southern United States when blacks were allowed to vote and Jim Crow was ended. Braverman says there will always be extremists on both sides who try to stop that from happening. But he says the great majority of Israelis and Palestinians can live together.
“It will sound to a lot of people that I am anti-Israel,” Braverman acknowledges. Despite his criticism, Braverman says he doesn’t want Israeli society to go away. But he says the political culture needs to change.