Israel is already a binational state based on ethnic segregation. The struggle to turn it into an inclusive one must be fought by Jews and Palestinians — together. A response to Rami Younis and Orly Noy.
In their article, “Let’s stop talking about a false ‘Jewish-Arab partnership,’” +972 writers Orly Noy and Rami Younis criticize calls for establishing a Jewish-Arab party on what appears to be the ruins of the Israeli left following last week’s elections. While I identify with some of their arguments, their bottom line is problematic, and their criticism of other Israeli left-wing groups is wrong and often unfair.
Let’s begin by agreeing. It is true that for many Jewish Israelis, including on the left, Jewish-Arab partnership includes a division between “good Arabs” who are worthy of alliance and illegitimate Arabs. This, of course, is not real partnership, but rather an attempt to divide and conquer, and Palestinians have every right to be suspicious of it.
Yet I do not believe this claim applies to the entirety of the Israeli left. Younis and Noy’s article deliberately distorts reality, as if establishing a joint framework with some Palestinians delegitimizes all the other Palestinians. There are cases, of course, in which this is true. But there are many other cases in which it is not. It certainly cannot be used as a reason for invalidating the very idea of partnership.
Secondly, the idea that political partnerships reproduce societal power relations (which tend to favor Ashkenazi Jewish men) is nothing new. Power relations exist almost everywhere; the idea that one can circumvent them is the real fallacy. The solution is developing awareness, while creating mechanisms and a culture of equality within those frameworks.Read More