If President Obama is keen on ending the impasse in the Middle East, he should start at the heart of the problem. Apologists for Israel contend that the Jewish people have a right to political self-determination and statehood in Palestine.
Sixty-one years ago, Zionists founded Israel in a world mired in racism. We came to repudiate racism. Israel defines itself by it.
A claim to privilege based on ethnicity was wrong in the Americas, wrong in Europe, wrong on every continent. If we have learned anything from our past, we know it is wrong in Palestine. No one has the right to maintain an exclusionist state in the homeland of Palestinian peoples of various faiths.
I won’t defend the past and present crimes of my own country. But we’ve given the people whose land we conquered the right to vote as equal citizens. And we no longer confine them to reservations. We have been dismantling institutionalized racism and are seeking to repair its pernicious effects.
Above all, we no longer claim that European white folks had an exclusive right to political self-determination and statehood in another people’s homeland. That would be racism, of course. And our past shames us.