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Worst move ever? J Street opposes Palestinian statehood

J Street, the pro-peace Jewish lobbying group, has decided to join the US Administration in opposing the Palestinian’s bid for statehood at the UN. JTA reports:

“We believe that everything J Street stands for and what we do needs to promote the two-state solution and not just two states,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, the director of the dovish pro-Israel group, told JTA on Wednesday.

Palestinian statehood should come about through negotiations with Israel and not unilaterally, he said.

Ben-Ami said the group backs Obama administration plans to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution that would establish such a state and has urged Palestinian leaders to defer plans to introduce such a resolution later this month.

This is probably the worst move J Street has ever made. While past errors were political ones that could be expected from a young organization that has taken upon itself a tremendous task, this mistake is a moral one. It might bring short term gains – I am not sure, but I’m no expert on Washington politics – but in the long run, it’s likely to do more harm than good.

To be sure, I am not a huge fan of the UN bid. My greatest fear is that a Palestinian victory at the U.N. might actually backfire: Israel could simply recognize the Authority’s “independence”, thus getting the diplomatic pressure of its back and keeping the Palestinians locked up in their Bantustans. This might end up in a violent disaster.

Yet at the same time, opposing a move by the Palestinian leadership and not providing a real alternative that would end the occupation is wrong on every level. It’s wrong on tactical level, because it removes the leverage anyone could have had on Netanyahu and his extreme government; it’s morally wrong, because it makes the Palestinians pay for political mistakes done in Washington; and its even bad politics, because it won’t win J Street any new supporters but it would make people respect the organization less.

Having failed to get Netanyahu to seriously move to end the occupation or even simply stop the construction projects for Jews inside the territory of the future Palestinian state, the administration is now blocking the only diplomatic alternative the Palestinians have. Moving the debate to the U.N. is the route a Palestinian leadership has taken in its quest to gain freedom for its people. This is a non-violent effort, which turns to the international community through its most respected organization. How can progressive forces deny it? How can they keep on declaring that they wish to end the occupation, when they form a line with the neo-cons and the Israeli right against Palestinian leadership? These very questions led twenty Israeli intellectuals–representing a group of several hundreds–to meet with Abu Mazen this week and declare their support for his diplomatic effort.

Dictating the Palestinian path to independence as a pre-condition to dealing with them is the mistake the Israeli left has done again and again, usually with the help of the United States. The administration is repeating it now, and J Street follows. With both, it seems that it’s not the understanding of the current moment in the geo-political conversation which dictates policy, but rather short-term political considerations and the fear of a rightwing backlash. It’s partly understandable for the administration (especially near elections), less so for an organization which was all about opening up the debate.

Instead of expanding the conversation on Israel, J Street is reaching out to the consensus. This is the kind of political thinking that got Israel and its supporters in the United States to the impasse in which they are today. For the first time, I get the feeling that J Street has lost the desire to take a leading role in finding the way out of it.

UPDATE: J Street has released a position paper on its decision. Read it here.

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    1. Mati

      Noam writes that “J Street is reaching out to the consensus”. But, WHICH consensus? Interesting to note what appears to be growing opposition to West Bank Palestinian statehood from ’48 Palestinians and those in the diaspora who feel that such a move could endanger their rights. They say that only the PLO – not the PA – can represent all Palestinians and thus oppose the PA’s push for UN recognition of a state. http://electronicintifada.net/node/10248

      Reply to Comment
    2. With ALL diplomatic efforts, all decisions in fact, there are desired and undesired consequences.

      One likely consequence of the Palestinian petition is that the demand or scope of the right of return will be diminished if not closed. Also the insistence on reforms of prejudicial laws and applications guaranteeing Arab Israeli equality (in form and application), will also diminish.

      The BDS campaigns insistence on integrated simultaneous demands, will be muted.

      On the Israeli side, there are many risks obviously, most notably that the Palestinian government will become militant currently or at any time into the future, and allow violence directed at Israeli civilians or anyone from its soil.

      For settlers, the petition is a danger, as they would either have to move back to Israel, or remain as Palestinian citizens living in integrated elite communities, mostly not what they intended.

      The PA itself has assured that following the successful petition effort, they more than fully intend to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel. They need to.

      There is still the danger of internal Palestinian division between Hamas, Fatah and angry unaffiliated, comprising a likely significant minority that will never accept even the implication of an accepted Israel, and would conduct severe internal civil struggle to establish various doctrinaire Palestinian regimes.

      The idea of a federal state (Israel/Palestine) would be diverted to proceed through the path of two separate states, to two states with free trade and transit, to two states within a national federation.

      I think that Israel and the US should abstain or support the petition, confirming the intent to realize an actual peace.

      Its a burning of one’s ships though. One way forward, with many obstacles, in contrast to two ways forward each not taken in either the condition of confident calm or of pressure.

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    3. @Mati: I know the Palestinian opposition to the move and I touched these doubts in my post, but this is not the reason Jstreet is opposing the UN bid.

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    4. A further flaw of the petition/declaration sequence is that the populations do not have an opportunity to ratify the determination of borders and new status, neither the Palestinian legislature and/or populace, nor the Israeli legislature and/or populace.

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    5. Mati

      Noam: Certainly, both J Street and non-West Bank Palestinians have very different reasons for opposition to statehood. I’m not criticizing your column at all; in fact, I quite agree with what you write. I just found it interesting to discover unexpected opposition to the PA’s push for statehood from unexpected corners. Diaspora Jews should be able to recognize Diaspora Palestinian doubt regarding the double-edged sword of a UN-recognized state that removes them from the equation.

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    6. Ben Israel

      The question is: what is the goal of the “progressive/Left”? Is it for a compromise peace in which both sides end all claims against the other? Or is it simply to remove the Israeli presence from the West Bank and let the chips fall where they may after that? A lot of “peace” people don’t want the second scenario, as much as they might want peace. It seems this is what J-Street is saying as well. Deep down, I think all knowledgable people know the first scenario is impossible, and this leads to great frustration. As much as I oppose J-Street, I have to admit that this move shows a certain maturity on their part. After all, Obama and the American, as much as they may despise Netanyanu and the current government also know the second scenario is too dangerous and that is why they also will oppose the unilateral declaration of a state by the Palestinians.

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    7. bingoprof

      It has always been my impression that JStreet’s mission has been to mobilize liberal American Jews to support first the candidacy & then the presidency of Barack Obama using the A-I conflict as a backdrop. Never ever has JStreet turned against the policies of the Obama White House or Clinton’s State Department concerning the conflict. This decision fits perfectly with my interpretive model. Certainly therefore some of JStreet’s positions have been useful in providing a counterweight to the intransigence of the Netanyahu government, AIPAC, and the CUFI crowd, but that is not the same as a truly progressive approach to the conflict. Caught by the Abbas ploy at the UN between a rock and a hard place, JStreet followed form and came out in support of Obama’s policy. You misread the purpose of JStreet, hence your disappointment.

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    8. Has J Street jumped the shark on this one? As an American Jew, I’m beginning to sense the answer is “yes.”

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    9. Noam W

      There is another moral aspect to this issue. There is something very very wrong, in a very fundumental way with a Jewish organization telling the Palestinians whether they should be declaring independence or not.

      It is simply not our place to tell the Palestinians whether or not they ought to declare independence.

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    10. Ben Israel

      Noam W-
      The Palestinians, by rejecting the partition plan, were telling the Jews they couldn’t declare independence.

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    11. Deïr Yassin

      Wow, how come nobody thought of that. Ben Israel’s comparison is perfect.
      Those Jews who wanted to declare independance in Palestine were of course native Jews and not European settlers, and the Palestinians who then opposed ‘Jewish independance’ were living in New York and Orange Country, and had no other link to Palestine than a 2000 years old myth.
      As I said: the comparison is spot on …

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    12. J Street supporter

      J Street is not ever going to serve as the morality police/barometer of the occupation. It’s an American organization with an explicitly political mission, and has neither interest nor business in taking the side of an issue because it is the ‘right’ thing to do. That might be a good way to sleep at night, but it’s a lousy way to enact political change.
      The last time it ended up on the short side of a contentious issue at the UN, J Street was damaged in the Jewish American community – and that’s the community it’s trying to rally. My humble suggestion would be to read J Street’s position – including the ‘open letter to the Jewish community’ which it is printing alongside this position in every available media outlet – before concluding this is the ‘worst move ever.’
      J Street may not gain more supporters from this move (I disagree with that, but we’ll see), but they stand to lose *a lot* from taking the Palestinian side of this issue, regardless of the justice of that cause. Their positioning is pragmatic and sensible, and for that reason will ultimately do more to advance the two-state scenario.

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    13. Noam W

      J Street supporter, I’ve read the position paper and open letter.

      Both are very Obamaesque. A lot of pretty words and then a lot of excuses.

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    14. J Street supporter

      Noam W, by your standard any position will be ‘Obamaesque’ until the occupation is dismantled. If you are surprised that J Street did not end the occupation with the paper and the letter, I wager you will be knocked over backwards when the UN vote also does nothing to end the occupation.
      There seem to be two arguments against J Street’s position here. The first is moral: ‘the occupation is wrong, ergo anything done in support of it is wrong.’ This is a category error. J Street is not and has never claimed to be the arbiter of morality in Israel/Palestine. It is a lobbying group, which is almost the fundamental opposite of a ‘moral’ group. It uses money and political leverage to drive positive change. After more than three years of doing just this, no one should be surprised.
      I support the people protesting on the ground in the West Bank, and I even tentatively support the Palestinian UN bid, if only because it seems no one knows what will come of it, and shaking up the status quo can be a good in itself. I also support J Street, because I know there needs to be a credible voice for two states coming from within the American Jewish community. And I forgive them taking positions I personally disagree with for just that reason.
      The second argument seems to be that J Street’s move is not pragmatic because the Obama administration has failed thus far to move negotiations forward. One can hardly disagree with the second half of that statement, but does it then follow that J Street should cease to attempt to work with the administration? If they do, what exactly is the alternative? To fight both the Israeli right and the American left? To what purpose?
      Politics is hard and it takes a long time, especially when the case you are trying to make is nuanced, and not easily compressed into a sound bite. In the Obama administration, J Street might not yet have found progress, but it has found an open door and a willing ear, and squandering those things in American politics would be lunacy. The many hard-working Jewish Americans who have reached into their pockets for J Street deserve better than an organization that would burn its political connections in a fit of pique, and luckily they have such a one. Certainly it is better than the Israeli left’s august tradition of eating one’s own every electoral cycle.
      Noam Sheizaf, I love your work and will always read you, but on this particular wrinkle of this particular issue, with respect I think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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    15. Noam W.

      J Street supporter. Reducing my argument ad absurdum is not helpful.

      There are, as Noam Sheizaf says, good reasons not to support the Palestinian move, one of which is that it will most probably make very little difference on the ground.

      But especially when this is the case, and especialy since whatever J Street says will not move the administration one way or another, the best thing to have done would have just been to keep quiet.

      I reached into my pocket for J Street, and I think that if the organization does not want to gainsay the adminsitration when it is doing something that is morally wrong it should just keep quiet.

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    16. Mik

      @Jstreet Supporter-

      I don’t understand either of your points-

      1. Lobbying groups don’t stem out of a moral premise? really? Why are there pro-choice or pro-life lobbying groups? Why does Jstreet forward a two state solution? Why do they want to drive forward positive change, or more importantly, how do they decide what is positive?
      2. The problem for me with Jstreet on this issue is that they have become followers and not leaders. The unilateral declaration is not a side issue or something that one can pass over in order to make political gain- it is the ONLY game in town currently supporting the two state solution. So what if negotiations are better or if that is what the american (Jewish) left want. It is NOT AN OPTION at this point. Jstreet can’t choose to follow on this issue. They have responsibility to lead.

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    17. Another J Streeter

      Given that Obama would veto the resolution anyway, if it ever actually went to the Security Council, AND that even if he didn’t, it still would not create a two-state solution, it makes total sense for J Street to be taking the position it is taking.

      It’s an organization that is trying to pull together a broad coalition of people in support of urgent US leadership on a two-state solution. It has had tremendous success in that… 650 rabbis – many congresspeople, etc – many of whom would have to disassociate themselves with J Street if they didn’t support a US veto. I mean to say that J Street has political capital to spend – on areas where it can actually have an impact! Not here… on something that isn’t going to create a real change.

      Noam W – Do you think that J Street could have stayed quiet on this? I mean, every single organization is coming forward with a position…

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    18. J Street supporter

      Noam W: I think calling your post an ‘argument’ is pretty generous. Regardless, I didn’t need to reduce it as there was nothing there to begin with. If you would like to expand on it, please do.
      To your more substantive later post: this position is not directed at the Obama administration, which you rightly observe has already made up its mind. The position is directed at the American Jewish community, which the accompanying open letter makes abundantly clear.
      J Street cannot be silent on the single issue that is dominating the peace process, or lack thereof. The notion is preposterous. It is a lobby that is focused on Israeli/Palestinian peace, and it is to say nothing of this situation? Spoken like someone who does not have enough experience.
      MIK, of course lobbying sometimes proceeds from moral premises, but there is a world of difference between the premise and the technique. If all one needed to win a political battle was moral rectitude, there would be no lobbying industry. But in fact, one needs money, leverage, strategy, and grassroots support to enact ultimately moral change. This distinction is what you and others are failing to grasp.
      I agree that J Street cannot pass over the unilateral declaration in silence (see above), but I reject both the notion that it supports a two-state solution and that it is the only game in town. It *may* support a two-state solution, but until it is presented we have no way of knowing this. And while negotiations may be on hold at the moment, they are hardly non-existent; indeed reports were published just this week that Mr. Abbas, Mr. Peres and Mr. Barak were meeting secretly over the last month to try to work out a deal. And even as we argue American representatives are in Israel trying to pull a rabbi out of a hat.
      I’m not going to pretend these are promising alternatives, but I’d like you also not to pretend they don’t exist.

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    19. Another J Streeter

      I also wanted to mention that while I really respect Noam Sheizaf and read what he writes allll the time, the title here is totally wrong. Of course J Street supports a Palestinian state. And if we were wrong, and the UN bid actually created a workable “two state solution,” we’d probably all be thrilled — we just don’t see that happening, and therefore, will support the US veto in favor of a driven, urgent, focused, powerful US-led effort to achieve peace.
      Btw, @ J Street Supporter – interesting point about backdoor negotiations.

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    20. eGuest

      “the construction projects for Jews inside the territory of the future Palestinian state” — eh, maybe I’m too new here, but isn’t that called Occupied Territories?

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    21. Noam W

      J Street Supporter, I will ignore the ad hominem comments regarding my experience or lack thereof or the complexity of my first comment.

      Not taking a public stance is perfectly acceptable, as is taking a nuanced stance. There is enough talent among J Street staff to be able not to disappear and still not to tell an oppressed people that “now is not the time”.

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    22. dickerson3870

      RE: “It’s wrong on tactical level, because it removes the leverage anyone could have had on Netanyahu and his extreme government; it’s morally wrong, because…” ~ Noam Sheizaf

      MY COMMENT: Essentially, J Street has decided not to “beat its head against a brick wall” – with the brick wall being the Obama administration that will not dare antagonize AIPAC this close to the U.S. election(s) next year. Nothing anyone can do will change that reality, short of Netanyahu “calling off the dogs”, methinks.
      As that venerable gambler Kenny Rodgers once crooned: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” As unpleasant as it is to cede the moral high ground in the short term, sometimes that is unfortunately necessary if one is to have a chance of holding onto the moral high ground in the longer term. It’s a matter of “picking your fights” and/or “living to fight another day”.

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    23. Henry Lowi

      JStreet makes clear that it is not interested in 2 states, but in the 2 state solution. That could mean one of 2 things: a. They are in favor of endless diplomacy with the “2 state solution” permanently on the horizon, like a mirage; or 2. Their support for the creation of a “Palestinian state” is predicated on that “state” being a guarantor of the existence of the “Jewish state”. In either case, the supporters of the “2 state solution” conceive of it not as a realization of Palestinian rights, or even as a step toward the realization of those rights, but as the necessary political prop, and legal legitimation of the Zionist state proclaimed on May 15, 1948, and formed in the ethnic cleansing operations. All supporters of the “2 state solution” are conscious or naive supporters of Zionist domination of Palestine-Eretz Yisrael and deliberate or naive deniers of refugee rights.

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    24. Ben Israel

      Henry Lowi-
      By George, I think you’ve got it! Israel will never agree to set up a Palestinian state unless it guarantees the security and existence of Israel and Israel will NEVER agree to accept the Palestinian “right of return” of the refugees. Not only that but the international community (at least that outside of the Muslim bloc) accepts Israel’s view of this. Since the Palestinians will NEVER agree to this, the current situation will go on indefinitely. Why should Israel give up the territories on the conditions you state? That would be suicide.

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    25. weinstein henry

      @ Noam Sheizaf & Team +972
      I don’t mean to be brutal – even if I will be because of my limited english, apologize – but I don’t understand why you post so many posts about political gossips on +972: c’mon, the real issues are not J Street’s statement or the heckling of Israeli Orchestra in London, but Turkey vs Israel, Syria’s crackdown (an UFO on +972, like Lebanon & Jordan), what the Palestinians and the Israelis think about their respective leaderships’politics, and above all (at least for me) the aftermath of J14 Movement in Israel.
      There is a cultural revolution going on in the Middle East, have you noticed? Times they are a-changing, for real.

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    26. Ben Israel

      Henry Weinstein-
      You are right. The “progressives” refuse to face the real issues. The only way there is going to be peace is if there is a compromise peace agreement. The whole BDS thing is a way to avoid confronting that reality. It seems that all “progressive”/Left seems to believe is that somehow, a miracle in the form of Barak Obama or someone similar will wave a magic wand, and say to the two sides “here are the terms, either accept them or we will send in the 101st Airborned paraptroopers to enforce it”. This, of course, is not going to happen, so they spend huge amounts of time arguing about purely theoretical things like whether boycotting the Israel Philharomic will somehow motivate Israel to drive the settlers out of their homes, or whether J-Street can get enough American Jews to support Obama imposing a coerced agreement. These arguements will go on and on for decades more as the status quo remains in place.

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    27. And we all know the status quo is what you love the most.

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    28. Ben Israel

      Ami-It’s called “realism”. If you don’t like it, what’s your alternative path to get to a compromise agreement which I believe is what you want, unlike others we see posting and commenting here?

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    29. actually, the writers here on +972 and myself are constantly offering solutions for better or for worse – but we’re trying. Yet it is you who knock each one of them down systematically. It is you who has never, not once, offered a solution yourself to this conflict other than saying “that’s the way it is. unless they change and accept this and that, the status quo is here”. that is not hope. that is not change. that is defeatism.
      It is you who needs to answer the question you just asked me. I don’t ask you “what do you believe will happen”. You’ve made your asnwer here very clear millions of time. My question to you Ben Israel, is “what is your plan”?
      But if you would like to answer with the usual “nothing will change unless they blah blah” – spare me. Please.
      And on a personal note: “realism”, which you promote, won’t always get you very far.

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    30. Ben Israel

      I don’t recall ever seeing a laid-out plan for peace between the Palestinians and Israel by any writer here at 972. What I do see is endless complaints about Israeli policy, demands for unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, complaints that Israel is “racist” and not fit company for the “progressive” countries and forces in the world.
      I have stated it before and I will state it again…if the Palestinians were to say that they will give up the demand for the “right of return” of the refugees in return for a complete withdrawal to the pre-67 lines including redivision of Jerusalem accompanyed by some sort of “guarantees” of right of Jewish access to Jewish holy places in Jerusalem, NO ISRAELI GOV’T WOULD BE ABLE TO TURN IT DOWN. You know that. This is the peace agreement I think you want. So why don’t the Palestinians make such an offer? Everyone would say they are the good guys. There would be international hysteria, particularly in the media. I was here when Sadat came, I remember how everyone thought the Mashiach had come. Abbas would be a hero around the world (except in the Muslim countries). He would get the Nobel Peace Prize. Any Israel who refused the deal would be excoriated as an enemy of peace, a war monger, a threat to the safety of the world. The Israeli media, both print and electronic would overwhelmingly support the Palestinian demands.
      So please explain to me why this has not happened.

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    31. Nice try Ben.
      I’ll ask again: seeing as how the Palestinians will refuse everything, and that it’s all their fault and so forth – what is your plan?
      Simple question. What is your plan? Can you answer that? If not, fine. Because you didn’t answer in the last comment.

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    32. @ANOTHER J STREETER: The term “Palestinian statehood” is the common way to refer to the UN bid. I don’t think the headline claims that J Street opposes a Palestinian state as a policy (even though this political decision will help bury the 2 states solution).

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    33. And as for your claims about +972 not laying out plans – true. But we support a few of them out there. Don’t get so petty.

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    34. Ben Israel

      I have no plan. I believe we must work for an UNOFFICIAL modus vivendi, and this is indeed what is going to come about, eventually, it is in the works right now. The Palestinians will have autonomy, Jews will continue to exercise their rights to live on both sides of the Green Line. IF the security situation should ever improve (and this is not the situation now) then Palestinians can be given much increased freedom of movement, including access to Jerusalem. It was the Palestinian decision backed by public opinion to embark on the suicide bomber campaign that brought about all the restrictions on Palestinian movement. IIRC during the period of full “occupation” pre-Oslo, the Palestinians did have pretty free access around the West Bank, between the West Bank and Gaza and across the Green Line. It is the ‘peace process’ that poisoned the day-to-day relationship between Jews and Arabs across the Green Line. For example, I recall reading that there was a lot of daily contact between Jews in Sederot and Arabs in Beit Hanun before “peace broke out” and ruined it.
      There is no other option, so everyone might as well try to make the most of it.

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    35. Thanks Ben. I’m glad you finally said it. And I’m sure many Palestinians will be grateful for the huge amount of generosity that appears in your “non-plan”, or “status quo extension”. I couldn’t agree with you more that the best way to solve a conflict is simply… not to solve it! And even better, “not to solve it on my own terms!” Pure genius.
      You write: “There is no other option, so everyone might as well try to make the most of it”. Ah, the arrogance. Reminds me of a t-shirt I saw a few days ago, which said: “For time saving purposes, let’s just assume that I’m always right”.
      Shabbat Shalom.

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    36. I think the most important effort that can be made is to move away from the zero sum.

      Israeli incremental expansion into the West Bank is a “benefit Israel, harm Palestine” proposal. Continued terror, even threat of terror, on civilians (direct bombings, shelling of towns) is a “harm Israel” proposal.

      ANY solution proposed must include both political and social transformations. Political being definitions of boundaries, rights, responsibilities, a treaty. Social being the changes in hearts and minds from characterizations of unconditional rejection to conditional acceptance to invited relationship to realized friendship.

      ANY effort to change hearts and minds, has a positive reciprocal affect on the prospects of a more benign (less zero-sum) political result. And, some political efforts have benign affect on internal and interpersonal attitudes.

      Again, change that is worth its name must be in both terrains. A political solution that results in animosity is not one. A changing of attitudes that leaves a legal and political status of subordination is not one.

      There are elements in which realism, “making the best of what is”, will help both of those efforts.

      There is a dysfunctional cyclical relationship of excessive military or suppression feeds excessive violence in dissent (even ranting) which feeds the attitude supportive of seperation, which feeds the willingness to use excessive military or dissenting force, cyclically, amplifying each other.

      The additional force in dissent has not and likely will not yeild a change in Israeli public attitude.

      Repeating that is addictive in ways. By both communities, even the non-violent tactical ones that are not non-violent in ideology.

      The Palestinian petition is dangerous, but now it is invested in.

      And, as such, an Israeli realist view would seek to get ahead of the history, and assertively find cooperative bi-lateral solutions to the specific security and social risks to the Palestinian petition, and seek confident multi-lateral or third-party solutions to risks that cannot be addressed bi-laterally.

      There will always be some risk remaining from the actions of non-participants to the agreements. But, they can be minimized and then addressed.

      I think what we’ve got is a rising river, that we have to navigate. It is what it is. Lets do it well.

      The only legal way that Jewish settlement in the West Bank could continue is in the context of a federal Israel/Palestine, in which residents’ state association is determined geographically, even if their broader definition of nationhood is Israel/Palestine.

      That format could only happen after a two-state solution evolved through mutual acceptance of separate jurisdiction, followed by relatively open borders for transit and exchange, followed by an EU or US type confederation.

      My neighbors are citizens of New Hampshire and the US. My neighbors are citizens of Vermont and the US. And other of my neighbors are citizens of Massachusetts and the US.

      Some of those that live in Vermont, think of themselves as Vermonters, some think of themselves primarily as Americans. Both are ok.

      To get there is the question.

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    37. Ben Israel

      Ami-Everything you say about my supposed intrasigence actually applies to the Palestinians. They are the ones who have made no compromises (please don’t quote the supposed territorial discussions between Olmert and Abbas which were completely non-binding and which did not even touch on the major issues like the “right of return”) since Oslo in 1993. You assume they are going to agree to terms you like but there is no evidence of that whatsoever.
      Here, I’ll give you one more chance. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PALESTINIANS WILL FINALLY ACCEPT REGARDING THE RIGHT OF RETURN OF THE REFUGEES? Anything less that full implementation? Please provide evidence.
      I should repeat what I said regarding Israel’s possible reaction to a unilateral proclamation of a state by the Palestinians: Such a proclamation is a unilateral abrogation of the Oslo Agreements which prevent either side from unilaterally changing the juridical status of the Palestinian territories. Thus, Israel would no longer be bound by that restriction. Thus, if I were PM I would immediately announce full annexation of all territorcy classified as Area C by the Oslo Agreements inlcuding ALL of the settlements. All Arabs living in these areas (I have heard there are about 300,000) would be given full Israeli citizenship and rights, including voting rights, and this includes east Jerusalem Arabs.
      Israel would then open an embassy in Ramallah, the Palestinians would be invited to open an embassy in Tel Aviv (Jerusalem would be better, but I don’t expect them to be better than the Americans in this matter). I would then announce immediate opening of negotiations to settle all outstanding issues between the two countries. How’s that?

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    38. Ben Israel

      (1) Who says all problems are solvable? Why hasn’t the Kashmir problem been settled (it started the time ours did)? Why hasn’t the Cyprus question been solved? Why haven’t the Turks pacified the Kurds after 90 years?
      (2) Assuming that you view a “solution” to the Arab/Israeli conflict as being something along the lines of Beilin’s “Geneva” proposals, I can say with full certainty that they are just as insulting, abhorrent, arrogant and unacceptable to the Palestinians as what you say my attitude is. Did you read “Electronic Intifada’s” terms for peace in the link in the above comment?
      I’ll repeat it:

      Doesn’t sound like Geneva’s terms which talk about a “mutually agreed” solution to the refugee problem. You are miles away from what the Palestinians are demanding and these are the demands of the Palestinian negotiators. Deadlock.

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    39. Ben, like I said, your “cat” is out of the bag. You’re fine with not solving a problem. I think that says loads about you. In fact, I believe the other conflicts you mentioned ARE solvable. And for each of them, I’ll show you 10 that WERE solved. So, in your own words: “How’s that?”.
      You’re willing to live in a status quo. But of course, you are the side with the upper hand. Why shouldn’t you? Which also says much about you, as a person I think. This little back and forth has been quite enlightening for me, for I now understand you better. Your problem is much deeper than the normal Hasbara-ist. You have no hope. And you have no concept of fairness, or the simple reaching out to another.
      Don’t know about you, but that’s something I’m not going to teach my kids. My kids will never hear that nothing is solvable.
      Shabbat Shalom

      Reply to Comment
    40. Matt W.

      My main concern about J Street’s position is that it puts J Street in the same boat that the rest of the US Jewish community have all jumped into — the boat named “We Have a Solemn Responsibility to Protect Bibi from the Consequences of His Own Failed Policies Even Though We Don’t Particularly Like or Support Those Policies.” I had hoped that J Street might build a new boat, maybe one called “Let Bibi Pay the Price for His Own Failed Policies and Let Israelis Suffer the Natural Consequences of Those Policies Too.” I don’t see how it makes sense for us as American Jews to be supporting Bibi as he digs Israel into a hole that even we won’t be able to help him — and Israel — climb out of. Especially in a situation like this one, where Bibi’s efforts to thwart the UN vote are doomed to fail and our support of him is therefore pointless as well as harmful to Israel in the long term.

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    41. Max

      @Ami spoken like a Jew, bravo

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    42. Ben Israel

      Okay, Ami, you have “figured me out”.. I am a bad person (in the eyes of the “progressive”-Left). Guilty. Now answer my questions which you have steadfastly refused to answer.

      Reply to Comment
    43. @Ben – yes, I do have you figured out, despite your sarcasm and patronizing.
      And I owe you no answers, for 2 reasons: 1) I don’t owe Hasbarists anything. 2) All my opinions have been written on my blog since +972 was founded. Feel free to search for anything you need. Goodwill hunting, Ben! 🙂

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