Set a century in the future, the Egyptian miniseries The End imagines a future where Israel has been destroyed, its Jews “have returned to their countries of origin,” and the U.S. has fractured into several smaller states. A characteristic response to the show’s critics, writes Nervana Mahmoud, is “Don’t we have the right to dream?” Indulging them, Mahmoud tries to imagine the realities this dream would entail:
None of [The End’s fans and defenders] will ever address the tough questions about their future beloved Palestine. How will they reconcile their conflicting views on the future Palestinian state? How will post-Israel Palestine avoid the fate of post-Saddam Iraq or post-Arab Spring Syria? Will the allies of the various Palestinian factions leave the Palestinian people to decide their fate, or will they try to impose their vision in exchange for financial and political support?
Will Hamas, Fatah, and the other Palestinian factions that failed to unite under occupation reconcile their differences after “liberation”? Will prominent [figures] of the Palestinian diaspora, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and the activist Linda Sarsour, leave their prestigious careers in the U.S. and “return” to campaign relentlessly for the “right to return to Palestine” and to serve their beloved new state?
I once asked a hardcore pro-Palestinian Islamist those questions. He was angrily dismissive. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “What matters is that we destroy the Zionist state first, then think of the day after.”
[A]lthough all the factions within the pro-Palestinian camp are united in their contempt for Israel, the demise of the Zionist state is the last thing they want. Without Israel, . . . Hizballah will have no excuse for maintaining its military empire in Lebanon. . . . And without Israel, the identity-politics chorus in America will run out of slogans and excuses for their emotional outbursts, . . . and [Middle Eastern] drama producers will run out of fancy populist ideas for their fancy movies and soap operas. It may come as a shock to many, but Israel is a golden asset for every faction within the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian camp.