Jewish Journal

Can a Settler Be Against the Occupation?

With mainstream Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, let alone the European Union, often shunning “settlers” (AIPAC, Jewish Federations, ADL, most Reform synagogues, etc.) becaue Jews who live beyond the Green Line are not politically correct, you gotta hand it to +972 magazine for publishing an op-ed by a proud settler. While pro-Israel activists often characterize +972 as anti-Israel, the editors were open enough to a new idea that challenges conventional thinking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the only way we can move forward in solving this mess.

It starts like this:

People who’ve read my op-eds in Arutz 7 might think that publishing an article with such a title — in such an outlet — means I’ve defected from the cause of the “settlements.” (I know, they’re Jewish communities.)

I have defected — from dogma, party lines, slogans and talking points that people invoke to make themselves feel righteous, or worse, to secure donors who like tough-talkers. Lately, leftists, centrists, rightists, pro-this, anti-that just play with themselves, convincing themselves they’re right so that political discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today amounts to ideological masturbation — or ideological prostitution.

Well, I’m here to have some forbidden intercourse, always more exciting.

Back to the title.

Yes, I’m a “settler.” I live in the city of Ariel. I became a settler for a job, because I’ve lived in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and I prefer the countryside, because rational values are at stake here. And because I want to see the West Bank with my own eyes, rather than pontificate, and work to make things better.

But what is a settler?