Chotiner’s interview with Israeli settler leader Daniella Weiss tells you all you need to know about the settler movement. And I mean, the level of blindness that Americans–even many American liberals–have toward just what really is going on in the settlements is really, really bad. Fuck Hamas, but anyone who supports Israeli policy, go ahead and try to defend this utter insanity, which is should be noted is effectively the policy of the Netanyahu government.
You said, “Settlement is the way to return to Zion”?
Yes. It’s the end of the dispersion and the beginning of the revival of the Jewish nation in this homeland.
What are the borders of that Jewish nation?
The borders of the homeland of the Jews are the Euphrates in the east and the Nile in the southwest. [This would include the territory of multiple Middle Eastern countries as well as the territory that Israel controls today.]
There’s a Palestinian slogan that has become very controversial: “From the river to the sea,” which means from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s controversial because it would include all the land that currently makes up Israel. But you’re saying from the river to the—
What is controversial?
Palestinians sometimes use the slogan “From the river to the sea.” But what you’re saying is that from the river to the Nile is the Jewish homeland, correct?
Of course. If someone decides to invent a new religion today, who will decide the rules? The first nation that got the word from God, the promise from God—the first nation is the one who has the right to it. The others that follow—Christianity and Islam, with their demands, with their perceptions—they’re imitating what existed already. So, why in Israel? They could be anywhere in the world. They came after us, in the double sense of the world.
If they accept it, should they receive full voting rights and things like that?
In the state of Israel, they have the right to vote for the Knesset, because Ben-Gurion gave them this right. He trusted them—and, even if he didn’t trust them, he didn’t have much of a choice. Three years after the Holocaust, he wanted to have a state for the Jews, and he knew the world would make problems with the issue of voting. But, in the seventy-five years since independence, the Arabs in the state of Israel and the Arab members of the Knesset showed in every possible way that their idea is to establish a Palestinian state. They are not working for the interests of the state of Israel. So I think the Arabs in Judea and Samaria have no right to ask for rights or take part in elections for the Knesset. They lost their right to vote for the Knesset. They will never get this right. They will have their own Palestinian Authority where they can run their civilian affairs in a logical way, but not as members of the Knesset. No, no, no.
So rights are not some sort of universal thing that every person has. They’re something that you can win or lose.
You’ve been part of the settlement movement during a lot of different governments. How do you feel that the current government of the past year has been treating settlers broadly compared with past governments?
I will say that it’s better under Netanyahu. It doesn’t satisfy my ambitions and my dreams and my plans, but there are eight hundred thousand Jews—or settlers, if you want. So this gives me a lot of encouragement that from eight hundred thousand we will become two million, then three million.
When you say that the government’s been better, but it hasn’t realized your dreams, what are those dreams?
Two million Jews in Judea and Samaria. More settlements, more farms, bigger cities.
From the River to the Sea, indeed.