Against the Grain

Israel and the Progressives

Why do so many people who see themselves as progressive nonetheless support the state of Israel, considered an apartheid state for its treatment of the native Palestinian population? Scholar Saree Makdisi argues that the answer partially lies in the Israeli state’s cultivation of Western liberal support. He discusses campaigns designed to appeal to progressives — such as large-scale tree planting, creating museums to tolerance, and encouraging gay tourism — blocking from sight the ongoing dispossession of the Palestinians. He argues that support amongst progressives in the United States and Europe is slipping nevertheless.


Saree Makdisi, Tolerance Is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial UC Press, 2022


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