The great South African black poet Dennis Brutus once told me an anecdote that summed up this smug view. Brutus, who passed on in 2009, was the man who encouraged me to go to southern Africa and see for myself. He had been imprisoned on Robben Island in the 1960s, alongside Nelson Mandela and other national leaders. “One day one of the white warders approached,” Brutus said in his mellifluous voice. “He said, ‘Brutus, you seem like an intelligent man — why do you fight against a system that you will never be able to change?’ He was a decent sort, so I answered, ‘And why do you think you will keep dominating us forever?’ He answered simply, ‘Because America will never stop supporting us.'”
The same self-confident attitude shines through in Weiss’s reports. The settlers are absolutely certain the Israeli government will never uproot them, and behind that is the unspoken conviction that the United States will never put significant pressure on Israel.