The religious settlement movement is not just secular Zionism’s ideological adversary, it is a danger to its very existence. Terrorism is a hazard, but it cannot destroy Herzl’s Zionist vision. More settlements and continued occupation can.
If Taub is right, then it becomes reasonable to suggest that some Israeli anxieties about Iran’s nuclear program and other threats, as well as perplexing conduct on the part of successive Israeli governments and Israelier-than-the-Israelis friends of Israel, may reflect psychological displacement: Unable to confront the internal problem, which grows inexorably worse, the “patient” externalizes the threat, yet its attempts to lash out, to shield itself, to head off real and imagined dangers, can never be fully successful. They will and must tend to make matters worse, and increasingly risk total self-destruction, in a spiral of futility, frustration, self-punishment.
This diagnosis is only partial, however. It’s easy to point to the settlers, and they may even serve adequately as scapegoats, but they may also be mere symptoms. Taub dismisses “all one-state solutions” – whether binational/majority Arab/democratic, or binational/Jewish-dominated/apartheid – as leading to civil war, in the latter case also including advancing international isolation. Yet Israel’s secular right under Netanyahu is unwilling to accept a truly sovereign and independent Palestinian state, meaning that any terms of “settlement” will remain unacceptable to the Palestinians over the long term even if the negotiating partner can be pressured into signing up for peace in our time. What Israel believes it requires for security becomes, according to Taub as well to the increasingly vocal analysts who believe a bi-national future is both inevitable and desirable, the greatest real threat to its security.
The implication would be that the Israeli state as we know it is fundamentally unstable. That doesn’t mean that it is likely to disappear at any moment or on any particular schedule, but the prognosis remains unsettling, in the extreme.