Former Knesset Speaker Abrum Burg has an op-ed in Haaretz in which he not only endorses the one-state solution, but calls the entire left to do the same. Burg has flirted with the idea in the past, but he was never so explicit: So enough of the illusions. There are no longer two states between the Jordan River and the sea... we [the left] must consider how we can enter into the new Israeli discourse. It has intriguing potential. The next diplomatic formula that will replace the "two states for two peoples" will be a civilian formula. All the people…Read More... | 86 Comments
The discourse of segregation that envisions two units, one Arab-free and one Jewish-free, has worrisome implications for democracy and the relations between the two peoples. The Palestinian right of return must be part of a larger vision for the region, in which the regimes belong to all their citizens. By Muhammad Jabali Anybody claiming that state actions are legitimate from a perspective of power should be careful about the logic he legitimizes. For, according to this logic, the power and destruction of others is an essential and necessary part of a nation’s self-definition. This logic not only portrays past violence…Read More... | 41 Comments
Journalist and historian Gershom Gorenberg answers Joseph Dana and Noam Sheizaf's criticism on his recent writings ---This post was updated with responses from Joseph Dana and Gershom Gorenberg--- By Gershom Gorenberg I've recently read Joseph's piece mentioning me and Noam's piece responding to my book excerpt in Slate. Out of respect for +972 and its readers, and surprise at the imprecision of both these posts, I'm taking the time to respond. First, regarding Joseph's piece, "A Sad Commentary": In the course of criticizing an article by Bernard Avishai, Joseph, you also refer to a recent column I wrote in the…Read More... | 32 Comments
Any democratic process must start by admitting two unbearable atrocities: first, the exclusiveness that Jews have over political power in a shared space, and second, the Judaizing system that uses state resources to maintain a brutal colonizing process. By Muhammad Jabali Asking the Palestinians to accept the creation of a Jewish state back in the 1940s was unfair, insulting and even dehumanizing. It meant asking almost 40 percent of the population of this Jewish state to accept being underprivileged until the end of time. To accept living with fewer political rights than the ruling population, which in modern times means…Read More... | 60 Comments
The contradictions between liberal values of universality and Zionism may be exaggerated, but defense and advancement of the Jewish people remain Zionism's first priority. By Alex Stein In his article “How is Zionism different from other forms of nationalism?” Sean Lee argues that Israel is an “ethno-religious democracy” that must be opposed by universal liberals. I accept that there is a fundamental incompatibility between universal liberalism and Zionism, although I don't agree that the gaps are as vast as they're often made out to be. Leaving that aside, though, let’s work on the assumption that the continued existence of a…Read More... | 36 Comments
Professor and author Bernard Avishai published an article in Harper's Magazine that sparked a +972 debate on Zionism. Here, in a post that originally appeared on his blog, he responds to some of the charges against his positions that have since been sounded in the blogosphere. By Bernard Avishai At bottom, the question my Harper's piece tries to answer is deceptively simple and by no means relevant to the Palestinian right of return alone. It is this: how can a democratic state, a commonwealth of free citizens, be reconciled with the right of citizens, collectively, to sustain national distinction? How is an…Read More... | 54 Comments
There was nothing particularly new about the ads which so shocked American Jewry. They simply exposed a face of Zionism most American Jews rather not see. In the last few days there has been a hullabaloo about several ads published by the Ministry of Aliyah Absorption (not, as it is often referred to, “Immigration Absorption”; more on this below). Much of it was the result of Jeffrey Goldberg getting annoyed and claiming that “Netanyahu’s government suggests Israelis avoid Marrying American Jews.” Netanyahu, being Netanyahu, did what he knows best: He immediately ordered the ministry responsible to put down those ads,…Read More... | 25 Comments
Nationalism is inherently illiberal in its distinction between citizens and non-citizens. But are all nationalisms equally illiberal? And should we hold Israel to different standards than other countries that claim to be liberal democracies? By Sean Lee Two of my colleagues make the point that it is not only Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, that is illiberal, but rather nationalism in and of itself. I think that there is a lot of truth in this, especially given that much modern nationalism is rooted in 19th century European nationalism, which was decidedly illiberal in the way we define liberalism today. What I…Read More... | 43 Comments
After years of wrestling with Zionism, Gemma Oldman realized that whether liberal or extremist, Zionism is an exclusionary ideology. The challenge of our time is to advance a shared space solution. By Gemma Oldman I would like to respond to Abir Kopty's response to Larry Derfner's response to Joseph Dana's response to Bernard Avishai's piece in Harper’s (for full disclosure I will say that Bernie is my mother's first cousin). It has taken me quite a few years to reach this understanding, but Zionism, liberal or extremist, is an exclusionary ideology with strong historical as well as current colonial characteristics. Thus…Read More... | 53 Comments
An alternative understanding of Zionism sees no contradiction between liberalism and Zionism, and makes possible various political arrangements, which do not place the national aspirations of Jews ahead of those of Palestinians. By Jerry Haber Can one be a liberal (or: progressive) and a Zionist? The debate has been going on for some time now, and recent entries in the debate on +972 by Joseph Dana, Larry Derfner, and Abir Kopty, are worth reading. What’s interesting is that both the advocates and detractors of liberal Zionism agree that there is an inherent contradiction between being liberal and being Zionist. Derfner considers…Read More... | 69 Comments
A response to Larry Derfner's defense of liberal Zionism By Abir Kopty A piece posted earlier today by Larry Derfner, written in response to Joseph Dana, contains typical Zionist arguments, which normally do not prompt me to respond, except that this time, he called them "liberal Zionist" arguments. Honestly, I don’t know what is liberal about them. What Larry fails to see is that there is no such thing as extremist and liberal Zionism, or hard-core and light Zionism. Zionism is not about what you choose to think. Zionists are part of a colonialist ideology and movement that operates through institutions. Make no…Read More... | 85 Comments
Yes, Zionism is at odds with liberal values. But it’s less at odds than the alternative; moreover, it has the capacity to be liberalized almost without limit. I want to take issue with Joseph Dana’s claim that liberal Zionism is a “dishonest system of thought.” I don’t, however, want to take issue with his statement that “the Zionist ideology, in so far as it privileges one ethnic group over another, is at odds with liberal values.” I won’t argue with that second point because I’m an honest liberal Zionist, and I don’t think any honest liberal Zionist, such as Bernard Avishai or…Read More... | 254 Comments
(Cross-posted with Israel Reconsidered) I begin my series of debates with Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner. Larry defines himself as a member of the Zionist Left; I do not. In this post I attempt to explain why I would also not describe myself as anti-Zionist - and how anti-Zionism alone cannot be expected to overcome the Zionist insistence on uncontested Jewish-Israeli-only hegemony over Israel-Palestine. Larry first proposed we take on some significant and pressing current issue, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. While such matters need to and will be addressed in our future debates, I thought it would be…Read More... | 41 Comments
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