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At Harvard conference, a one-state vision Israelis can live with

Concerned the Harvard-hosted One-State Conference would rationalize a call for the destruction of Israel, the writer was pleasantly surprised to take part in a creative and intelligent weekend that offered hopeful ideas for the future of Israelis and Palestinians. 

By Itamar Mann

Last week, I experienced some discomfort surrounding the One State Conference at Harvard, in which I participated this past weekend. As allegations that it is “anti-Semitic” or “seeks the end of Israel” surmounted, I felt my intestines gradually transforming into an angry knot. To try and relieve that, I resolved to air my indignation in an inevitably crass and self-righteous blog post (which I wrote in my mind only). Luckily, a good friend with a track record of Palestine campus activism told me to chill. “You might want to see what the conference is really like before making judgments,” he said.

But as the conference came closer and it gradually became clear that everyone on campus had something to say about this event, the advice got me even more worried. I thought maybe the friend was implying that there might be a grain of truth in these claims of delegitimization. The last thing I wanted was to end up being associated with positions that I would not be able to defend; or worse yet, being labeled a “soft eliminationist” – the term of the day to describe those who supposedly use rational arguments to destroy Israel.

In reality, the conference housed one of the most informed, nuanced, creative, and responsible discussions on Israel-Palestine I’ve recently participated in. It was by no means only academic, but rather a political event, aimed to mobilize and encourage sophisticated thinking about a place I care for. Granted, some of the speakers voiced their ideas in terms I found too shrill to be politically constructive. But during the two days, I felt the room was consistently filled with people who genuinely believe, as organizer Ahmed Moor put it in his concluding remarks, that “both Palestinians and Jews deserve better.” To say that Israel’s government doesn’t share this belief would be an understatement.

My main disagreement with many one-state advocates I met had to do with the relationship this unified Israeli-Palestinian state should or should not have with Jews abroad. In my talk, I tried to illuminate the opportunities for a bi-nationalist movement, with settler leaders now calling for a one state plan. Alongside recognizing the rights of Palestinian refugees, such a movement would seek to preserve relations with the Jewish diaspora. Other speakers, such as Nadim Rouhana, objected to this position. Like Ali Abuminah and Ilan Pappe, Rouhana believes that Israel is a colonial project. For him, such an extraterritorial idea of citizenship flows from its colonial nature, and should therefore be rejected. This analysis seems to me flawed. The reason why maintaining such a connection is important, is not to artificially preserve a Jewish majority. Rather, it would reflect recognition of Jewish-Israeli political culture and identity, which cannot be simply ignored if a one-state movement is to gain any serious support from Jews.

I found the most exciting idea in the conference to be Diana Buttu’s invocation of the need for a political party of Palestinians and Jews from both sides of the Green Line, and I tried to expand on that in my own talk. Such a party would have to use the Israeli Knesset as its institutional platform. The idea raises readily identifiable problems. Leila Fasakh pointed out its tension with the positions of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Perhaps more importantly, it would inevitably grant more power to those who already have Israeli citizenship – as only they would be able to vote and run for office under the existing regime.

But as party membership does not necessarily have to be attached to citizenship, there is room for creativity in its institutional design. Many seem to be interested in what a one-state constitution would look like, and particularly in how group rights would be protected under such a constitution. Should such a party appear, these imaginative energies could first be poured into the charter-drafting stage. It would be unprecedented but necessary to grant Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza voting rights in the mechanisms of a party running for the Knesset. That way a one-state apparatus could be operational and put into practice before the theoretical (and seemingly messianic) vision of one state for both groups is hopefully realized.

Apart from such bare-boned procedural proposals, it might be wise not to load such a party with more normative content than simply a call for universal suffrage. As much as conferences are important in envisioning a democratic and more just future, we shouldn’t pretend to be making too many decisions about this state before deliberation is possible on formally equal footing. This kind of normative humility would hopefully help garner support from whoever understands the current situation is no longer tenable whatever their own interests and motivations.

All this may sound to readers all too detached from realities on the ground. But this distance might not be all bad. It’s crucial in this context to emphasize the potential role of diaspora communities. In an age of radically extra-territorial nation-states – often with large expatriate communities remaining politically active – the one state movement can perhaps benefit from a nesting period overseas.

Itamar Mann is a doctoral candidate at Yale Law School.


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    COMMENTS

    1. David

      Anybody up for a conference on creating a One State solution for Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo?

      Let’s recreate Yugoslavia! After all, the Serbs feel really upset about losing territory.

      When that’s done, let’s reunify Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jazzy

      You’re right – it does sound too detached from realities on the ground. I’d also argue that, as far as diaspora activism is concerned, the problem is precisely that people have an exaggerated sense of how important their own conferences and debates are.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ohad

      I still do not hear any actual plan .
      I as an Israely might not be against a one state is my rights to self determination , my history and my identity will be observe not just Judaism as a religion , as I am not religious like many Israelis .
      but who I am as an Israeli !

      Reply to Comment
    4. HAYA

      @DAVID. Your sarcarsm is out of context. If only Palestine has a right like Bosnia or Pakistan like you mentioned to build its own country without any interfere, i bet everyone would love to see it happens. The fact, until now even the UN never admit Palestine as an exist country, with its own land, own government, own military forces, and the most importantly no occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    5. BOOZ

      Great vision Itamar!

      Cout me in the bi-national party.

      That is, after you have provided sufficient evidence of Omar Barghouti, Abunimah and their likes not to hold second thoughts.

      I am not holding my breath.

      Reply to Comment
    6. ANDY

      1SS will never work. For all the talk of a ‘secular democratic state’ you forget the huge numbers of fundamentalist Zionists/Islamists who would, in all probability, use whatever means necessary to implement their nationalist beliefs. Terrorist atrocities occurred in the name of Zionism and an independent Arabic state (with absolutely no Jewish immigration) from 1914-48, and I’d argue that tensions between the factions may have slightly increased since then. A one state solution would leave the region in an even worse predicament than it’s current one.

      Reply to Comment
    7. The idea that the post-Israel ONE STATE should continue to hold out guaranteed citizenship to all Jews (however tenuous the Jewishness) could make sense if it also held out guaranteed citizenship to all Palestinians (however tenuous the Palestinian-ness).
      .
      Would rabbis have a veto on immigration by a self-identifying “Jew”? Who would have a veto on a self-identifying “Palestinian”?
      .
      I have no intention (in what little remains of my life) to seek citizenship or residence in such a ONE STATE, but if I did, would I be accepted — as of Jewish blood or as of Palestinianism-by-marriage?
      .
      I was once part of an organization which changed its name from SEARCH FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY IN PALESTINE
      to SEARCH FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY IN PALESTINE/ISRAEL
      and when we changed the name, we lost a lot of old members — and then gained a lot of new members.
      .
      How many Jews now Israelis might be expected to leave a ONE STATE? And how many Jews-who-refuse-to-be-Israelis today would be encouraged to immigrate into the ONE STATE? (Ditto Palestinians!)

      Reply to Comment
    8. Cortez

      “Anybody up for a conference on creating a One State solution for Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo?
      Let’s recreate Yugoslavia! After all, the Serbs feel really upset about losing territory.
      When that’s done, let’s reunify Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.”
      .
      Or we can ask Switzerland, South Africa, the United States or India(is still very ethnically diverse without multiple ethno-linguistic-religious communities)…don’t have to look at all the bad examples.

      Reply to Comment
    9. XYZ

      You really don’t get it, Cortez, do you? We Jews have had the “pleasure” of living in multi-ethnic countries and empires for the last 2000 years. We gave all you Progressives plenty of chances to show how tolerant you can be to minorities. You all blew it. We learned the lesson the hard way. Our only safety lies in living in our own independent sovereign state. End of discussion.

      Reply to Comment
    10. XYZ

      I am mystified why many Palestinians are so enthused about a “one-state solution” with Israel which is populated by dhimmi Jews, but they absolutely reject a “one-state solution” with Jordan which is a state made up of the Arab/Muslim brothers whom they love.

      Reply to Comment
    11. aristeides

      XYZ – try again. Establish your own independent sovereign state someplace else, that isn’t already someone else’s property.

      .
      Zionists keep insisting that they can only be safe in their own state, then when they get it, they start to scream what a dangerous place it is and they’re under constant threat. Pick one. Establish a state somewhere you won’t be creating enemies by kicking people out of their homes. They tend to resent it. They tend to want to get their stuff back.

      Reply to Comment
    12. AIG

      “don’t have to look at all the bad examples”

      How true, we only want biased evidence and to put our head in the sand. How is the US a success in this regard given the plight of the indigenous population or the tremendous gaps between whites and African Americans? How is India a good example with its 140 million Dalits? Regarding South-Africa, you must be kidding. It is the rape and murder champion of the world and anyone with a little money lives in fenced communities.

      I agree, Switzerland is a huge success, perhaps the only one.

      Reply to Comment
    13. AIG

      ARISTEIDES,

      We asked for Bavaria but it was not available. Wouldn’t that be the epitome of justice? The Jews getting Bavaria as a state? I think the Palestinians should BDS the Europeans until they agree.

      When this option is on the table, we will consider it seriously. You might as well have suggested that we form the Jewish state on Mars.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Believe it or not the prophesied command and control structure for Jerusalem, the Holy Land, the Middle East and Planet Earth is actually a monarchy. What is happening now is that all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are falling into place. This is all part of G-d’s plan.

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      Yes, AIG, there would have been some justice in establishing a Jewish homeland in Bavaria. There was none in establishing it in Palestine.
      .
      I don’t believe, however, that Zionists did actually ask for Bavaria.

      Reply to Comment
    16. AIG

      ARISTEIDES,

      My point is that for all practical purposes there was only one option and your argument is basically that since it was unjust to found a Jewish state in Palestine, no Jewish state should have been founded. That discussion was over in 1948 and it is a waste of time rehashing it. The world kind of decided, whether it was just or not, that a Jewish state should be formed.

      Reply to Comment
    17. aristeides

      AIG – the world also decided Israel should allow the return of the Palestinian refugees, but Israel didn’t. Why shouldn’t the world rescind the approval?

      Reply to Comment
    18. Cortez

      “How true, we only want biased evidence and to put our head in the sand. How is the US a success in this regard given the plight of the indigenous population or the tremendous gaps between whites and African Americans? How is India a good example with its 140 million Dalits? Regarding South-Africa, you must be kidding. It is the rape and murder champion of the world and anyone with a little money lives in fenced communities.
      I agree, Switzerland is a huge success, perhaps the only one.”
      .
      Native Americans and Blacks are full citizens of the United States…..thats a big start….and you can see all the different policies that has emanated forth from that (i.e. Native American having special laws in their territories and policies geared toward socioeconomic rights for African-Americans and other minorities). It is still a struggle….but we are past the point of Jim Crow and Trail of Tears…that is something to be glad about. Plus the U.S. has a rich history of Civic Nationalism.
      .
      Same in India… and you’re talking about poverty…not specific government led action to suppress people. The Indian government is working hard to improve the plight of the Dalit people as well as minorities in the Bengali region of India and others. In addition, the Dalits have voices in the government as well. In addition, India’s constitution is pretty much about equal rights for all. Check it out it…its amazing. Yet still a country that prides itself on civic nationalism with a rich multicultural history. Still struggling but it has come a long way since the 1980s.
      .
      South Africa has rape and murder…so that must mean that we should go back to apartheid then or bantusans or what?…South Africa has come a long way and despite their problems…they’ve accomplished a lot in terms of their multiethnic history. Its definitely not perfect…as evidence by a simple walk through the outskirts of Capetown…but they’ve shown affirmatively in their constitution, laws, and culture that a multiethnic country can survive and be the most powerful economy on the South African continent…without getting into an internal civil war.

      Reply to Comment
    19. AIG

      “AIG – the world also decided Israel should allow the return of the Palestinian refugees, but Israel didn’t. Why shouldn’t the world rescind the approval?”

      Because that would be a double standard. Countries are not “revoked” because they do not implement a UN General Assembly resolution. Plus, do you really think the world can rescind the existence of any state? But of course, you are free to try to persuade the world of your position.

      Reply to Comment
    20. concertina

      I find there is some odd pretzel logic going on in this debate. Sure, a secular one state with equal rights for everyone sounds great but you don’t create reality simply by wishing it. The majority rules and there is no law or constitution on earth that can force a country to remain secular and equal for everyone if the majority does not wish it. If the majority believes homosexuality should be illegal, eventually it will be illegal. If the majority does not want a certain religious minority in their country, they can make that happen. So yes, I do find this idea completely detached from reality.

      Reply to Comment
    21. AIG

      CORTEZ,

      Assad is also proud about how advanced the new Syrian constitution is. In the end, what matters is whether the lives of Israelis will be better or worse. You want us to take a chance on a dubious social experiment that has failed much more than succeeded.

      It is a fact that African Americans score 100 points less on average than whites on the SAT. This has not improved in the last 20 years. This has happened even though the US has a great constitution. The point I am trying to make is that the constitution does not matter. What matters are the actual results.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Richard Witty

      The key characteristic that makes a state valid, is consent of the governed.

      The assertion of right of return (consent of the possibly governed) makes normal democratic process more difficult than it already is.

      For that reason, the marriage of the single state with BDS is a stacked deck, a “soft eliminationist” approach.

      In contrast, the proposal to form a political party, that makes its points in the electoral process, hopefully civilly and coherently, has the prospect of being supported, ratified, consented.

      I would live within a body that simultaneously advocates for “democracy” and “imposition” at the same time.

      And, if either of the communities reject the single state, in whatever form, then its not consented, plain and simple.

      Its a horrible dilemma for Palestinians, who currently don’t have a state nor enfranchisement to be able to ratify or reject any proposal.

      Still, there are parliamentary elections in both Israeli and Palestinian communities, historically free and fair elections, and the ability to express a platform civilly.

      Reply to Comment
    23. delia ruhe

      Anti-one-staters usually focus on the one-state failures instead of the successes. Switzerland is a trilingual country that works very smoothly. Canada is a bilingual, multicultural country that works, sometimes smoothly, sometimes not.

      It’s those periods of tension between Franco- and Anglo-Canada that keeps all of us conscious of our nation as eternally in process. There are, of course, prairie rednecks incapable of appreciating the ultra-sophistication of a truly international city like Montreal. But there are also Anglo-Canadians standing in very long lineups trying to get their 6-year-olds registered in (too few) French immersion schools.

      It’s good to have a little tension for each new generation to work through. That way, people can hang on to their differences and avoid homogenization.

      Reply to Comment
    24. aristeides

      AIG – recognition of a state can be rescinded. The ultimate delegitimization. Israel was originally recognized under false pretenses. The mistake can be corrected. If Israel wants its recognition back, it can welcome home the refugees.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Joel

      Why not try to address the fears of those who don’t believe in whatever solution you are suggestion, instead of trying to convince them how wrong they are? It might sound like it’s the same thing, but it’s not. The first approach acknowledges the valid fears the other has and tries to tackle those shortcomings, by adjusting the proposal accordingly. The second simply rejects the fears of the other as invalid and continues to promote the unchanged proposal with various arguments.
      .
      I don’t see a point in trying to convince people that a one state or two state model is correct. Instead, I hope we could come up with some variation of those ideas that actually could create the kind of hope the Oslo process (regardless if it was justified or not viewed in retrospect) managed to create back in the 90’s.
      .
      Too much effort is wasted in dwelling on the shortcomings and too little on trying to come up with more refined proposals. And in this respect I applaud this post; it is really trying to address the fears people have about a one state solution, however abstract those suggestions might be.

      Reply to Comment
    26. AIG

      “recognition of a state can be rescinded.”

      Do tell. Which UN state’s recognition has ever been rescinded? What is the procedure? I look forward to learning.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Kolumn9

      Given the experience of minorities (and Jews) in all Middle Eastern states I would say with a reasonably large degree of certainty that there is no one state vision that Israelis can live with. For one thing in no one state solution would there be a continuation of an Israeli identity since it would most certainly be undermined if not entirely banned by a majority Palestinian Arab Islamic government. For those that would like to pretend that it would be possible to legislate the protection of any Jewish rights within a one state framework I would point to Lebanon as example A for the complete failure of such a legislative approach.

      The one state approach is a smokescreen for calls for the delegitimization and eventual destruction of the state of Israel and the gradual removal of any Jewish presence in the land of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Cortez

      I don’t see a point in trying to convince people that a one state or two state model is correct. Instead, I hope we could come up with some variation of those ideas that actually could create the kind of hope the Oslo process (regardless if it was justified or not viewed in retrospect) managed to create back in the 90′s.”
      .
      Unfortunately the Oslo process has been destroyed by the growth of the settlements. If you visit the West Bank day it functionally works as a control system…but the plans for future development of two states are severely damaged by the extensive road, settlement, military enclosures and other barriers. This is nothing like Gaza…in terms of an imagined pull out.
      .
      “Given the experience of minorities (and Jews) in all Middle Eastern states I would say with a reasonably large degree of certainty that there is no one state vision that Israelis can live with. For one thing in no one state solution would there be a continuation of an Israeli identity since it would most certainly be undermined if not entirely banned by a majority Palestinian Arab Islamic government. For those that would like to pretend that it would be possible to legislate the protection of any Jewish rights within a one state framework I would point to Lebanon as example A for the complete failure of such a legislative approach.
      The one state approach is a smokescreen for calls for the delegitimization and eventual destruction of the state of Israel and the gradual removal of any Jewish presence in the land of Israel.”
      .
      But an Israeli or Jewish identity can’t contain Palestinian Arab or Islamic culture within it? Are they so different that it would be impossible?
      Or conversely can’t a new culture or form of zionism that is line with history be created just as it was done before? Does religion have to be the basis of the government?
      .
      Why does a one state approach have to be a smoke screen when it can be fact be an approach thats it line with history and not the myth? A one state solution would be in line with Jewish history…and it would make the 3,000 year old claim legitimate because it would include both Palestinians as the descendents of Jews and present days Jews. A modern culture not build off 19th century ideals of ethnic national nationalism from Eastern European but one that combines what is clearly an already existing diverse culture. One where Jewish identification extends to all regardless if their muslim, christian or actively Jewish. Obviously this is all conjecture…but this is what modern Western nations think about and act on once they move past the colonial stage of nation building (i.e. all of Western Europe and North America).
      .
      I understand the fears of destruction of Israel…but Jewish culture has a rich, expansive and malleable history (in the Middle East and in Europe). Like other cultures it can change and grow…and a lot of the basic steps towards preserving identity in mixed societies haven’t even begun yet…like desegregating schools where students of different ethno-religious groups actually become familiar with each other as people…or even more simple things like showing Israeli and Arab cables channels in East and West Jerusalem(that was one of oddest things I ever experience next to walking in Hebron).

      Reply to Comment
    29. Bill Pearlman

      In a one state solution the Jews are dead meat. And no amount of spinning can change that

      Reply to Comment
    30. Joel

      @Cortez: Thanks a lot for the constructive approach. This was precisely what I was calling out for, taking whatever idea one step closer to addressing the fears of skeptics.
      .
      I also agree with you completely that the Oslo process is dead today. I was just referring to it as an example of a novel idea (back then!), which created hope for a solution and for those short years gave the leaderships the political capital to move foreword with it.
      .
      Personally, I find the terms one-state or two-state solution mostly distracting, as most people hold so many preconceptions of them. The discussion isn’t even given a chance when everybody, almost as on cue, repeats their favorite for and against arguments.
      .
      I find this especially ironic, considering that any real solution based on either model will have the address the issues. The land, economy and politics is shared to such a high level between Israel and Palestine that co-operative arrangements needs to be implemented on almost all levels. At the same time, fear and suspicion runs equally deep so strong guarantees for self-determination and autonomy also needs to be given to both communities. so, in the end, how big is really the difference between a one- and two-state solution (that is implemented in good faith and guarantees a prosperous future for all communities)?
      .
      So, I think the kind of thoughts you brought forth on multiculturalism and preservation of minority-cultures in western democracies are completely on the right track. They would hopefully be implemented in all of Israel/Palestine in the future. So, this should definitively be the vision.
      .
      But at the same time, I think we have to pragmatically recognize the deep seated mistrust (to put it mildly) that plagues the conflict. Palestinians need to have real power (power they do not currently hold) to engage in the kind of multiculturalism you are talking about from an equal position. This is why I think saying that Palestinian or Islamic culture should fall within a Jewish identity probably raises tons of red flags, however seculary you thought of it. This multicultural identity would have be something far more neutral.
      .
      At the same time, some time Jewish Israel fear for retribution (and Palestinian fear of counter retribution) in the context of any form of multicultural society is also real. So, the kind of multiculturalism we can envision as a future ideal, is not going to be attainable over night. Security assurances for both sides will therefor play a crucial role in the process of getting there. And I think it is at this stage where many of the ideas from the two state solution can applied (for example international forces to guarantee safety and sovereignty for both communities).
      .
      In the end, Oslo might have mixed up means with ends (in addition to not addressing the most pressing issues at all). The goal should not be two-states, but one, which guarantees collective rights in a multicultural fashion. However, one of the ways to get there could be two-states with increased co-operative functions.
      .
      Take Jerusalem for example, it will more than likely have to be shared in one way or another, no one will be able to have completely sovereignty over it. And if it can (and it has to) work with Jerusalem, why couldn’t it with time also work elsewhere?
      .
      Just throwing some thought in the air here.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Richard Witty

      Again,
      How can one call themselves an advocate of democracy, if the intention is to impose, rather than persuade?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jazzy

      Is it just me, or does the title of this article not describe what’s in it? There’s basically no plan for one-state let alone a sentence or two about how Israelis are going to live it.

      Reply to Comment
    33. David Howard

      Good idea to keep it simple: organize around universal suffrage for Palestinians and Jews. The Settlers shouldn’t be seen as the problem. Let them stay. Just allow everyone to vote in Israeli elections. Keep the Knesset too.

      Zionism and real democracy are incompatible. That has become clear over the past 65 years. It’s also become clear that the 2-state movement is DOA. No one has to be blamed for the failure of 2-state: not Arafat, not Abbas, not Sharon, not Netanyahu. Nice try, but it’s no longer an option. Time to move on to post-Zionist democratization.

      Reply to Comment
    34. XYZ

      David Howard-
      Who says the option you give is the only one possible if the 2 state-solution is not viable? The Palestinians already have autonomy, maybe they could have a joint confederation with Jordan and Israel? The original partition plan the UN voted for called for a confederal plan where Jews and Arabs could live on either side of the border, maintain their citizenship with the state they identify but have free access across the line. There would also be a customs union. Why not?

      Reply to Comment
    35. Tal

      Joel , Cortez – Thanks for your constructive humanist approach. If only more one-state’ers adopted this approach, maybe i would have been less convinced that, as Kolumn9 expressed it: “The one state approach is a smokescreen for calls for the delegitimization and eventual destruction of the state of Israel”.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Joel

      Thank you, Tal. I very much agree with you, some suggestions for one state do in fact seem more like a smokescreen. But I think many of the suggestions for two states can’t be described as much more than a smokescreen either. It’s not about how many states are proposed, but about how genuinely the proposal tackles the hopes and fears of everyone. And I’m sure there are proposals involving two states that really does this too, but they also need to reach out towards the skeptics.

      Reply to Comment
    37. aristeides

      Joel – your “hopes and fears” mostly boils down to hopes of Palestinians, fears of Jews. In the meantime, for the Palestinians, the fear is now – fear of arbitrary arrest, fear of being killed, fear of losing their homes, possessions, livelihoods.

      .
      You will say I minimize Jewish Israeli fears. I do. Because essentially they boil down to fear of change. Fear of losing the advantages of racist priviledge. Liberal Israeli Jews may deplore the racism, but they cling to the privilege it allows, to the advantages.

      .
      I minimize these fears because change is inevitable. Israel has already changed profoundly. It will continue to change. Maintaining the apartheid regime out of fear of change won’t stop it.

      .
      Whites in the US used to fear integration. It would mean the end of white supremacy. Integration happened. Things changed. They survived. They used to fear the Yellow Peril of oriential immigration. People from Asia eventually immigrated. Things changed. Everyone survived.

      .
      In 1990, several European nations and Israel feared the reunification of Germany. Reunification happened. Things changed, and both Europe and Israel have benefitted from it.

      .
      FDR said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But fearing that Israel will change is simply futile. It’s going to happen, one way or the other. And the other may end up worse.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Richard Witty

      Aristedes,
      I think your assessment of privilege as primary motivation for consenting to Israeli current administration policies is out to lunch.

      I think the motivation for not sincerely pursuing a fair two-state approach is due to fears, confirmed by historical experience.

      It may be an enormous tragedy, but the consequences of the second intifada, significant executed and attempted mass murder, hundreds of times, was profound distrust of Palestinians, raised to the third power.

      It was that significant a period.

      Israelis and sympathizers hear the same language, the same logic, the same proposals, the same unwillingness to criticize any aspect of any Palestinian resistance, as more of the same.

      They conclude that Palestinians intent has not changed.

      In fact, Palestinian parents and elders, have for the most part tired of terror, even tired of animosity.

      You want to heal it, to reduce the fear of change, then try sympathetic persuasion, rather than judgmental animosity.

      Reply to Comment
    39. The author forgot to explain how “Jews would be better off” in his article. He forgot to tell the Israelis why they should love the idea of allowing Palestinians beyond the Green line to vote for the Israeli parliament…

      Today, the Jews practice self-determination in Israel, which is good. Palestinians might do the same if they achieve independence.

      Also, Israeli Arabs do vote and serve in the Israeli parliament, as the author suggests.

      But, under a unified state, which is neither a Jewish state nor a Palestinian state, both Jews and Arabs will not enjoy self-determination.

      What would be the glue that will stick them together?

      Why should anyone believe they will function well as one society under one democratic and secular rule?

      An easier goal would be to assist Gaza and the WB reunite. Another easy goal would be to give equal rights to Palestinians in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and in other countries where they are oppressed.

      If we can stand up to those easier and more pressing challenges, then maybe there will be reason to believe further unification might be possible.

      I don’t see how discussing fanciful ways of liquidating Jewish Israel helps any single Palestinian, in the real world, lead a better life.

      Please stop dreaming, stay practical, there isn’t time to waste.

      Reply to Comment
    40. aristeides

      What sticks the Jews together? Israeli Jews are totally segregated. Haredim put up fences wherever they can so they don’t ever have to SEE secular Jews.

      .
      If people could let go of their hate and paranoia, a lot of Jews and Arabs might find they have a lot in common with each other.

      Reply to Comment
    41. XYZ

      All nations have social frictions between different groups. Take a look at the countries of the Middle East….Israel has far more social solidarity than any of the Arab states.

      Reply to Comment
    42. aristeides

      XYZ – that’s probably not so. But consider WHY many of the Arab states lack solidarity. They were cobbled together by colonial powers explicitly attempting to minimize their solidarity, to split tribes and contain inimical tribes within the same boundaries, all the better to divide and keep conquered.

      .
      What’s Israel’s excuse? At the very least, a one-state arrangement would only put Israel on the same tribal footing as its neighbors.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Jazzy

      OHHHHHHH, I get it now. Itamar is lifting the ‘can live with’ line from FINKELSTEIN’S interview. The problem is that what Itamar is proposing is exactly, explicitly the OPPOSITE of what Finkelstein suggested Israelis could actually live with. Good subliminal arguing though!

      Reply to Comment
    44. XYZ

      I see, Aristides- the line is:
      (1) Israel is a bad, corrupt disfunctional state, unlike the Arabs who, unlike the Israelis, are a noble, loving, caring, sharing, tolerant people.
      (2) At same time, the Arabs are suffering terribly because of something the colonial powers did to the a century ago.
      (3) The proof that Israel is a disfunctional, corrupt, divided society is that it has won all its wars with the Arabs and has built a successful, prosperous economy. The proof the Arabs are much better people than Israelis with much more solidarity than Israelis is that all the countries outside the Gulf Oil states are poor and backwards and wracked by civil strife to one degree or another.

      Your Progressive propaganda is wearing thin. Instead of discussing the issues you have to lash out at a comment I make, regardless of the facts and say ” NO – Israel MUST be bad and the Arabs good”. However, you then shift gears and give us the old line “If the Arabs are messed up, it has to be somebody else’s fault”.
      The fact is what the Jews went through in the last century is a LOT worse than whatever the Arabs may claim they suffered and IN SPITE OF THAT put together a country of people with far more cultural differences than any Arab and succeeded far beyond what the Arabs have achieved.
      Do you really want to analyze the situation, try to find ways to bring peace and advance the Arab peoples socially and ecnomically, or do you want to keep spouting tired political slogans which aren’t even logically consistent, as I have pointed out?

      Reply to Comment
    45. aristeides

      “Lashing out?” XYZ?

      .
      You seem not to notice that your comment was in response to mine – “If people could let go of their hate and paranoia, a lot of Jews and Arabs might find they have a lot in common with each other.”

      .
      No one can deny that Israel is a segregated state, that Jews in Israel are disunified. But instead of acknowledging this simple fact, you have to hare off on a tangent blaming the Arabs, instead, for being more divided than Jews.

      .
      Well, if Arabs are divided, if they aren’t a single, homogenous, monolithic mass, the changes that some groups of them may have more in common with some groups of Jews is only increased. If you’d take my advice and let go of your hate and paranoia, you might realize this.

      Reply to Comment
    46. XYZ

      A-
      Your claim about Israel being “disunified” you ignored my point being if it was more (disunified than the wonderful Arab states, it never would have gotten off the ground).
      Okay, let’s say the problems with the Haredim are symptomatic of a disunified society. How do you describe the relationship of the Salafists to the “moderate” Muslims and your beloved secular Left? Remember they got 25% of the vote in Egypt and they are a force in the other Arab countries, including moderate Tunisia.

      Reply to Comment
    47. aristeides

      XYZ – you stray further and further from the issue at hand, and you can go there alone. As far as I know, no one is proposing a unified state of Israel-Egypt-Tunisia.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Cortez

      Tal: “Joel , Cortez – Thanks for your constructive humanist approach. If only more one-state’ers adopted this approach, maybe i would have been less convinced that, as Kolumn9 expressed it: “The one state approach is a smokescreen for calls for the delegitimization and eventual destruction of the state of Israel”.”
      .
      Well, its obvious that many one-staters people miss the whole anti-semitism issue which is real rears its head in the most cruel and tragic of ways. So the response of self-determination and separation from non-Jewish and threatening elements seems like the best response from those who have experienced the cruel effects.
      .
      There is also the fear of loosing various aspects of Jewish culture, including, language, religion and customs (I blame the Hebrews during the Roman era for changing the rule on conversions lol) which has occurred in various ways. This is not unique to Jewish culture and religion in Israel but also in the U.S. as well.(e.g. intermarriage kills).
      .
      However, I think when people cite Bosnia, Pakistan, Yugoslavia…as examples of why a one-state is bad, I think the wrong lessons are being drawn. I think all these examples are evident of why ethnic nationalism and/or theocratic-like states can be problematic.
      .
      In many ways the anti-anything Arab is myopic. I say myopic, because it ignores historical and existing evidence of Jewish culture and people surviving and thriving in different ways. There’s a reason why Jewish Arab people thrived for generations, there has to be reason why some Muslim bedouins in the Negev still maintain some practices from Judaism (thats over 1,000 years of holding on to elements of a past culture long superceded and dominated by Islam and Arab culture).
      .
      Maybe I’m advocating a Western European form of colionalism or cultural exportation but I think there is much more to be gained from expanding or reimagining Zionism or Jewish, or Israeli-Palestinian culture (or even calling Post-Zionism, or Pan-Semitisim, or Post-Modern Zionism or Arab Zionism squared) or conversely moving past ethnic nationalism(which I think is harder…then say having mixed schools). I personally prefer the maintenance of Hebrew history and Arab history together (ultimately because most of the inhabitants whether Palestinian, Samaritans and Ashkenazi, Sephardic all descendants of Hebrews anyway…DNA doesn’t lie).
      .
      Finally, I look at this from socio-historical-cultural perspective and also nation-building perspective (.e. desegregation has had perverse effects on both societies) because practically speaking, it doesn’t seem like the settlement growth will stop with the current demographic and political outlook. A map of the West Bank looks more like the Philippines than anything else. So it seems like its headed towards one-state anyway but I think efforts can be made to mix it up for the better.

      Reply to Comment
    49. aristeides

      XYZ – why don’t you go find a site for discussing Tunisia and take it there?

      Reply to Comment
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