Challenging Israel’s exceptionalism in American politics

An Israeli soldier keeps guard near a Palestinian woman standing by a Star of David graffiti sprayed by Israeli settlers near an army checkpoint in the centre of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on May 18, 2009 AFP
Hebron has a notoriously heavy military presence to guard the Israeli settler population, which is set to increase (photo: AFP)
A new book explores why many on the left in the US exempt Palestinians from their value set.

By Khaled Elgindy | Responsible Statecraft | Mar 22, 2021

…not only are self-styled progressives silent on Palestinian rights, but many also actively support policies that perpetuate Palestinian suffering and dehumanization.

While support for Israel across the political spectrum remains strong in Washington, the traditional bipartisan consensus in favor of unconditional support for Israel has begun to fray in recent years. More than a half century of Israeli occupation, the rightward drift in Israeli politics, and shifts in the American political landscape, have led growing numbers of Americans, particularly left-leaning Democrats, to become more vocal in their support for Palestinian rights and in their opposition to unconditional support for Israel. This trend has been anything but uniform, however, as the bulk of American liberal and progressive politicians continue to adhere to the traditional pro-Israel orthodoxy.

It is this group that is the focus of the new book, “Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics,” by Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick. “Except for Palestine” is a timely and compelling treatise on the moral failings of U.S. policy and American politics in relation to Israel/Palestine.

The book’s central argument is simple: Palestinians are a subjugated and dispossessed group whose rights and humanity American liberals and progressives should have no problem openly and vocally affirming and advocating for. And yet not only are self-styled progressives silent on Palestinian rights, but many also actively support policies that perpetuate Palestinian suffering and dehumanization.

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