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Zionism's priority: Defend and advance the Jewish people

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 Jewish State is irreconcilable with universal liberal values.

The raison d’être of the State of Israel is the defense and advancement of the Jewish people. For a Zionist, when universal liberal values conflict with this raison d’être, the latter must prevail. Though these conflicts do exist, they are not terribly widespread. Even Lee acknowledges that “Many of the inequalities…are not unique to Israel. If we look at education rates of young Arabs in France or Hispanics and Blacks in the US, we’ll find similar inequalities in situation and even opportunity [sic]. Likewise, for infrastructure.” He goes on to claim that what singles Israel out are its inequalities of citizenship, but doesn’t really go into specifics, aside from the poorly chosen example of military service. In choosing that example, he ignores the ongoing efforts to encourage more Israeli-Palestinians to do national service (efforts which have been predictably opposed by anti-Zionists).

Achieving full equality for Israeli-Palestinians in areas like education, employment, land and infrastructure would not threaten Israel’s raison d’être. In my opinion, there are only two areas that could truly pose a threat. The first is the primacy of Hebrew-Jewish language and culture. Second, the Law of Return, which allows all Jews to automatically take Israeli citizenship, a privilege denied to non-Jews.

Supporters of a one-state solution generally support allowing the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Even a commentator as critical of Israel as Noam Chomsky acknowledges that this would mean replacing a Jewish-Israeli state with a Palestinian-Arab one, even if the Law of Return (for Jews) were to be maintained. Indeed, this would be the outcome of any solution that involves granting Israeli citizenship to Palestinians living beyond the Green Line. Even if such a policy is compatible with universal liberal values, is it an equitable solution?

Here is the crux of the problem: Universal liberalism is not necessarily equitable. Accepting a one-state solution would be national suicide. There is no precedent in history of previously warring people being reconciled successfully in a single state, and there is no precedent for accepting the Palestinian right of return. Universal liberalism is inevitably assimilationist, primarily because individual rights always take precedence over collective rights and identity (a major exception to this might be India, whose constitutional arrangement those in favor of a one-state might consider if they were truly interested in an equitable bi-national arrangement). Liberalism  favors larger nations, into which it assimilates multiple groups.

It is therefore not a surprise that larger western democracies tend to be stronger on universal liberal norms than smaller states.  Universal liberalism, as described by Sean Lee, could only be in the interests of the Palestinians. It represents the idea that “The Jews should be denied everything as a nation but granted everything as individuals.” It cannot possibly provide for the defense and advancement of the Jewish people.

Alex Stein is currently in India working on a novel, but intends to return early next year to Israel for his second aliyah. He blogs at falsedichotomies.com and can be contacted at alex.stein@talk21.com

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    1. aristeides

      This is a particularly weak essay with nothing new to say, but at least the author accepts the contradiction between liberalism and Zionism. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that he is presenting an argument for the rejection of Zionism, as opposed to universal human values.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Mattiyahu Drobles

      People like this writer will probably be the last to realize the Zionism has nothing to do with defending and advancing the Jewish people. The goal is statehood and like other naysayers that believe that Jews have no place in the gentile world, Zionism is about the forced separation of Jews in the modern age. Even J Goldberg got mad about the utter contempt which Zionist leaders recently displayed for diaspora Jewry. This writer is living in a fantasy world defended by extremist rhetoric.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Volodinjev

      @Alex Stein “There is no precedent in history of previously warring people being reconciled successfully in a single state”

      Well observed. But, what is reality, objective history and the moral obscenity of putting millions of lives on the line when set against the lofty and ethereal anti-Zionist concept of “Justice”? What are the examples of Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur next to the battle-cry of “The universal values way or the highway” raised by the anti-Zionists? Surely you understand there’s no contest.

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      There are innumerable precedents in history of warring peoples being successfully integrated into a single state. This is the way large states and empires are formed.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Volodinjev

      @Aristeides

      He said “reconciled”, not “subjugated”. Thanks, though, for showing yourself as a warmonger (like all advocates of a binational state in Palestine).

      Reply to Comment
    6. aristeides

      The Palestinians have already been subjugated. Supremacist Zionism stands in the way of reconciliation and integration.

      Reply to Comment
    7. RichardL

      @Volodinjev (the lesser?)
      Hmm, so all advocates of a binational state in Palestine are warmongers. (As opposed to Zionists perhaps?) You are certainly generous with your insults.
      There are plenty of examples in Europe where borders have been redrawn and various peoples incorporated into new or other states. The United Kingdom is an interesting example. The troubles in Ulster were largely brought about by injustice. The stability that has lasted there for a number of years now is something that Israelis might care to think on. In the rest of the kingdom there are three former kingdoms that can live along side each other without apartheid, house demolitions, price tag operations and yes, suicide bombers. (The recent riots did not follow national divisions and even then children were not imprisoned and put on trial in military kangaroo courts without representation.) To spell out my point, separate nations of different ethnicity (in this case Anglo-Saxon and Celt originally – and the numbers were unequal too) can live together in a single state without injustice. Europe has many other examples.

      As for Mr Stein’s question concerning whether a policy based on universal liberal values is equitable, this has to be a no-brainer if taken literally. If it is not universally applied then it is inequitable. The implication is that only one group is of consequence here. Which takes us back to Ulster (and some would say to Tottenham too). If you have injustice and privilege you can expect strife. Mr Lieberman’s answer is to get rid of the underprivileged. Along with like-minded people he might succeed; or they might end up killing the Zionist project instead.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Sinjim

      How lucky for Alex Stein! When most Palestinians can’t even visit their homeland once, he gets to make aliyah twice. And for good measure, he lectures us on why it’s only practical to be denied our connection because our presence is akin to suicide.
      .
      With liberal allies like these, who needs enemies?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Bosko

      On another thread, I put the following question to Sinjim:
      .
      “What do you make of the following,Sinjim?
      .
      “Arab hate: A Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo’s most prominent mosque Friday turned into a venomous anti-Israel protest, with attendants vowing to “one day kill all Jews.”
      .
      He didn’t respond to me about it but this is what he said about it to Ami Kaufman:
      .
      “@Ami: “Jews” is often used in Arabic as a synonym for Israel since Israel and Israelis are the only Jews that people know in the Middle East”
      .
      And Sinjim calls me and us racist.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Volodinjev

      @Richardl “Hmm, so all advocates of a binational state in Palestine are warmongers.”

      Seeing as the binational state is a recipe for war and bloodshed, the answer is plainly yes. Your intentions regardless.

      “In the rest of the kingdom there are three former kingdoms that can live along side each other without apartheid, house demolitions, price tag operations and yes, suicide bombers.”

      For centuries, they had held on due to repression far worse than the Israeli kind. The Celts were browbeaten until they got tired of resisting, and today Wales and Scotland enjoy semi-autonomy, so it’s a moot point. This is a model you wouldn’t want to use here, because you (nor I) don’t want the Palestinians to be browbeaten, and the Palestinians aren’t going to be content with semi-autonomy.

      “If you have injustice and privilege you can expect strife.”

      I generally agree, but there’s an elephant in the room: the word “justice”, which means different things to different people. What counts for justice among the great part of +972 Magazine readership is considered quite unjust by the Israeli man in the street. That’s why I argue for the more objective goal of pragmatism, which can be carried out only by means of a strict two-state solution (one Jewish state, one Palestinian state, all enclaves of one ethnicity in the state of the other eliminated, their inhabitants moving to their respective states).

      PS. I removed “the Great” because, although I’d made it clear it’s about the historical figure behind my handle and not about myself, it has too much ad-hominem potential. I’m Volodinjev from now on.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sinjim

      Firstly, I was responding to a quote cited by Ami, and not Bosko, from an Arabic-language article which didn’t mention anything about killing “all Jews.” This is the quote:
      .
      “He also asked everyone to unite in order to fight the Jews, stressing the need to prepare for that day, pointing to the importance that we educate our children on a jihad against the Jews.”
      .
      This is the full paragraph of my response:
      .
      ‘“Jews” is often used in Arabic as a synonym for Israel since Israel and Israelis are the only Jews that people know in the Middle East. It’s not unlike how Israelis use “Arabs” to refer to Palestinians. This is sloppy language that betrays ignorance, for sure, but especially in the context of the previous paragraph which mentions the call to defend al Aqsa and to fight the Judaizing of Jerusalem, I don’t think it’s fair to interpret that [as] annihilating all the Jews. Rather it’s a “call to arms” (as if) against Israel.’
      .
      Not that anyone is interested in this stupid attempt by Bosko to malign me with two-week old comments, but here’s the link to the entire thread: link.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Bosko

      Sinjim: “Firstly, I was responding to a quote cited by Ami, and not Bosko”
      .
      Oh no you don’t Sinjim, I posted that post first. Ami then followed it up too. I can post the link if you want but it isn’t that important. Your response to it is the important thing. It puts a context to why Israel acts as it does. As for your attempt, Sinjim, to demonstrate what a humanist you are, by presenting your full response, you need not have done it. I know what a great humanist you are. I wasn’t commenting about you personally, no need to fret.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Henry Weinstein

      Bosko, PLEASE
      .
      Stop to hassle Sinjim who replies to EdithAnn with the following words:
      .
      “There is no excuse for words such as EdithAnn has to offer. She has demonstrated an unrivaled capacity to casually drop anti-Semitic nuggets like the one she did here.
      .
      Take it from this (a?) Palestinian, EdithAnn, we dont want or need the likes of you. There’s already enough hatred in this conflict without adding your own”.
      .
      See “On small humiliations: Israeli soldier shoves Palestinian woman” article’s thread, comment posted Sunday, December 4 2011 1:25 pm.
      .
      Bosko, you know from where I come from. So please my friend, pay attention.
      These words written by Sinjim are very explicit. There is no double meaning in his writing, never.
      I trust these words, His speech.
      I have no doubt he is a straight man. Totally sincere.
      Someone with whom we may disagree but with a smile.
      .
      Sorry Sinjim, a straight Palestinian man!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bosko

      Ok Henry, I hear what you are saying and I will listen to you. This was the last time I have “hassled” Sinjim. I recognize that he at least has some more balanced views than some of his peers.
      .
      I will say this though. He has pissed me off personally for calling me a racist for daring to point out that there is racism on both sides. For some reason he does not like me to remind him of that fact even though he acknowledged that to be so. Just for the record, I’ll statethat I am not a racist either, I wish he too would recognize that fact even though we disagree probably on most things.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Henry Weinstein

      Bosko,
      Thank you, it’s good to hear your voice.
      What I think is we probably disagree on most things, me, you and Sinjim.
      But if we had the opportunity to have a drink and chat together, I bet we would have fun.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Bosko

      Henry
      I am sure that’s true as far as I am concerned. But I doubt Sinjim would be prepared to have a drink with me. Never mind.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ben Israel

      Sinjim-
      What you say makes no sense “the only Jews they know are Israelis”. There USED to be Jews in Egypt and the other Arab states. In Egypt they were thrown out bodily and their property confiscated. Now, we are always told that “Muslims hole Jews and Judaism in the HIGHEST regard, they only have a problem with Zionists”. Then why did the “progressive, Socialist humanist” Nasser regime throuw these (non-Zionst) Jews out? Why can’t the average Arab in the street tell the difference? Because the truth is they DO NOT “hold Jews and Judaism in the highest regard” and antisemitism is widespread among the Arab population AND IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN in lesser or greater amounts.

      Reply to Comment
    18. aristeides

      Ben I – are you kidding? Are you not aware of what the Jewish State did in 1956?

      This is the problem with Israel. It thinks only of itself and not of the hostility towards Jews that its activities will create in the nations it attacks.

      In fact, Israel WANTS Jews to be thrown out of other countries. To add to its own population of cannon fodder and to add to its propaganda fodder so its apologists over and over and over again use the expulsions to prove “everyone hates the Jews.”

      Reply to Comment
    19. Ben Israel

      So why did Nasser play along? So why did Nasser play into the Zionists hands as you claim.? Why didn’t he say “we hold Jews and Judaism IN THE HIGHEST regard, we only have a problem with Zionists. We will treat you even better to prove you should stay with us instead of going to Israel!”.
      You are justifying collective guilt. You are saying the Egyptians were right to blame the EGYPTIAN JEWS FOR WHAT ISRAEL DID.
      You are proving to me why Zionism is so vital for us.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Ben Israel

      Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Now that all all almost all the Arab states are democracies (unlike Israel, according to many who post here at 972), what do you say that they, along with their support for the Palestinian “right of return” of the refugees, propose a RIGHT OF RETURN for Jews who left these countries? This would include citizenship AND restoration of ALL their property, and compensation for the losses and pain they have suffered, exactly like the Palestinians are demanding for Israel.
      After Muslims hold Jews and Judaism IN THE HIGHEST REGARD and no doubt true Muslims like the Muslim Brother and the Salafists would WELCOME a large influx of educated, productive Jews into Egypt. This would prove to the world that they have NOTHING against Jews, only Zionists. In fact, why don’t they go further and invite large-scale immigration of Jews to Egypt, particularly Israelis, to show that Muslims WELCOME Jews, have nothing against them, and want to prove to the world how MULTI-CULTURAL Muslim/Arab states are, unlike Israel?
      In fact, we do have a test case. After the fall of Qaddafi’s regime, a Libyan Jew who fled the country under Qaddafi’s rule to Italy (i.e. he is not a “Zionist”) came back to Benghazi and tried to refurbish the synagogue there. A mob formed and he was run out of town. Someone should tell them that Muslims HOLD JEWS AND JUDAISM IN THE HIGHEST REGARD and only have a problem with Zionists. I am sure once this is explained to the people in the mob, they will demand their gov’t invite all the Libyan Jews back to Libya and restore their property. We are waiting to see this demonstration of Muslim love and tolerance. Can’t wait!

      Reply to Comment
    21. Piotr Berman

      “Achieving full equality for Israeli-Palestinians in areas like education, employment, land and infrastructure would not threaten Israel’s raison d’être.”

      Hypothetically speaking. Because if the purpose of the state is to defend and advance Jewish people why should it do anything for non-Jewish people? First we set a general principle that benefits to non-Jews are OK as long as they do not threaten Jews. But then non-Jews are classified as enemies. This is how Israeli speak about Arab/Palestinian citizens.

      To give a wider context, my problem with religious morality is that either it leads to bizarre and grotesque conclusions like “you should not let homosexuals live because they are an abomination” or some lengthy convoluted reasoning shows that, well, upon thorough examination we can conclude that well, we do not HAVE TO kill homosexuals. In the framework of universal rights you have that conclusion right away.

      Zionist framework is similarly problematic. To the degree that rights given to minorities do not impede security and advancement of Jewish people they should be granted, but Jewish people are at war so their security needs are vast, compared to other nations, and resources are scarce, and the minorities are enemies or potential enemies (like Filipino children: can we truly, truly trust them?), so the case for less grotesque policies is weak, or, at best, requiring even more intellectual agility than a tolerant exegesis of religion.

      The case for Zionism in Israel Beitenu version, and a rather equivalent anti-Zionism in One State version is easy to understand. Zionism is incompatible with humane behavior, so we should dispense with one or the other.

      To be precise, I am not saying that the case for tolerant religion or liberal Zionism is wrong. But it really requires a better explanation that one given by Alex.

      Reply to Comment
    22. RichardL

      @ Volodinjev
      COD: “justice 1. just conduct 2. fairness 3. the exercise of authority in the maintenance of right”

      If the “Israeli man in the street” (whatever that means) choses a different interpretation then he is misusing the English language and we should correct this by applying a word which accurately describes his understanding. Meanwhile I stand by my statement according to its dictionary definition.

      I wonder if you are restating Alex Stein’s question implying that universal liberal values do not provide an equitable solution for Zionists. Something on the lines of ‘many Zionists reject the application of justice for Palestinians because it would impinge on their privilege’.

      Successive Israeli governments have worked towards making a Palestinian state impossible and the current government is working hard to push it well over that line. Pragmatism suggests that one state is currently more likely, and the future of the Jewish state depends upon whether ethnic cleansing is achievable. That would be warmongering. Working for a binational state would mean working for justice and a peaceful solution within the current Zionist creation.

      I suspect Palestinians in Israel would be happy with semi-autonomy right now. If it also meant the end of repression on the West Bank and the siege of Gaza it would greatly improve many people’s lives. Unfortunately I also suspect that criminal repression and the denial of human rights have got a long way to go yet.

      Reply to Comment
    23. AYLA

      @Alex–I appreciate the honesty when you say that existence of a Jewish State is irreconcilable with universal liberal values. From a certain perspective, which is not exactly mine (of course, as you are not exactly me) this is quite reasonable. I suppose that’s what bothers me about it. the heart mitigates the mind, and the mind mitigates the heart. While it will require reason and law and sharp, critical minds to hammer out any possible “solution” to this mess, we must envision something, from our hearts, beyond what is reasonable.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Bea

      Travelling in Israel/Palestine, one of the first things one notices is the way the words “Arabs” and “Jews” are constantly used by Israelis and Palestinians to refer to each other; it sounds utterly racist to outsiders, but one quickly discovers what the meanings are, and on the Palestinian side that is basically as Sinjim says; something Jewish activists on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza, who are accorded every bit as much respect as their non-Jewish counterparts (in my experience often more, as it is understood how much more sacrifice may be involved for them) know very well.

      Unfortunately this language usage has frequently made the job of those in the West wishing to paint Palestinian’s problems with Israel as arising from inherent antisemitism, rather than, say, the colonization and dispossession they have been treated to over the last century, a whole lot easier than it otherwise would have been.

      Reply to Comment
    25. AYLA

      @Sinjim–Yes–I think that if I had to choose one thing that offends me the most about the State of Israel’s policies and the effect of the state on Palestinians (and there are so many to choose from), it’s that so many Palestinians have never once been able to visit this land, including those survivors who were driven out in 1948. I also know non-palestinian Muslims, such as an Egyptian friend, who have not been permitted once to visit hist own holy sites in Jerusalem. More offensive is that most Jews either don’t realize this or haven’t thought about it or figure it’s somehow a price to pay for Israel. If that’s the price, it is too high.
      *
      I don’t care if there were times in history when Jews were also denied Jerusalem. I don’t care how bad Jordanian rule was. I don’t care if Mecca is holier to Muslims than Jerusalem (and I know that Muslims deny this anyway, and Muslims would know, especially since holiness is in the heart). This land is holy for so many; to keep this land sacred, we must protect it, and keep it open, for all its people.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Volodinjev

      @Richardl

      The dictionary doesn’t define reality, it only tries, with varying degrees of success, to describe the meaning of words as used by people. We wish words to be faithful to reality, but in many contentious subjects this simply isn’t possible. Even according to the definitions you gave, the Israeli man in the street can and does argue that the binational solution in Palestine violates all three definitions given.

      I don’t intend to restate. My argument is that the binational solution in Palestine is inherently unjust, if only for its nearly certain potential for more war and bloodshed. For me, justice consists also in minimizing the risk of war and bloodshed, crazy fellow that I am.

      “Successive Israeli governments have worked towards making a Palestinian state impossible”

      I agree. My proposal for a two-state solution definitely includes the dissolution of all the enclaves of one ethnicity situated in the territory of the other. The West Bank settlements will have to go, and so will the Palestinian enclaves within Israel’s pre-1967 lines.

      “Pragmatism suggests that one state is currently more likely”

      No way. Binationalism is Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur all over again. This isn’t Belgium or Switzerland, the two peoples hate each other. You’ll need at least a century of peace until you can seriously try it out, and that peace can only be maintained through a strict two-state solution.

      Reply to Comment
    27. aristeides

      Ben I: Zionism isn’t the solution, Zionism is the problem. It’s Zionism that identifies the Israeli state as the Jewish state, the state of ALL the Jews, that places a Jewish symbol on its flag and its weapons.

      .
      Yossi Gurvitz said this very well the other day. Israelis don’t just act as Israelis, they act as Jews, in the name of Jews. Zionist arrogance flaunts its Jewishness. If you’re Egypt and see a whole army of Jewish tanks invading your country, it’s not really surprising that you turn on the perceived 5th column inside.

      .
      And the Zionist state, of course, was very happy that this expulsion happened and never made it an issue in the subsequent peace agreement that these Jewish refugees be allowed to return to their Egyptian homes. This is how Zionism “advances” the Jewish people, by turning them all into exiles, into people who aren’t allowed to reside anywhere else but Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    28. RichardL

      VOL: There is certainly hatred there but I suspect that the two peoples fear each other more than hate. That is not so intransigent.

      But let us go back to the reality. You propose as a solution “the dissolution of all the enclaves of one ethnicity situated in the territory of the other. The West Bank settlements will have to go, and so will the Palestinian enclaves within Israel’s pre-1967 lines.” And you call other people warmongers! (I ironize.) This is a sure fire recipe for internecine conflict and civil war, and anything but pragmatic. No Israeli leader (present or future) will dare to tackle the armed fanatics dug in on the West Bank, and mass expulsion of Arab populations (a new Nakba) will enflame the whole Middle East.

      As Rashid Khalidi said this week “there is only one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, in which there are two or three levels of citizenship or non-citizenship within the borders of that one state that exerts total control.” That is the current reality that has to be mended. It is bad enough already. Don’t make it worse.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Volodinjev

      @Richardl “There is certainly hatred there but I suspect that the two peoples fear each other more than hate. That is not so intransigent.”

      Still not a good setting for gambling the lives of millions with a binational solution.

      “This is a sure fire recipe for internecine conflict and civil war, and anything but pragmatic.”

      If done unilaterally, I’d agree with you. However, I assume, like all civilized people thinking about a civilized way of conflict resolution, that the strict two-state would be achieved in the framework of a bilateral agreement, and then the only question to solve would be how to root out the fanatics on both sides (Jewish settlers in the West Bank as well as Palestinians who want Israel to stop being a Jewish sanctuary-state).

      “That is the current reality that has to be mended. It is bad enough already. Don’t make it worse.”

      The binational solution for Palestine would make it worse by a factor of infinity.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Greg

      The US Right: “Al-Qaeda attacked us, Muslims are evil, ISLAM is the enemy (not us racists, plutocrats, culture-warriors and corrupt politicians)”.

      The Israeli Right: “Arabs attacked us, Arabs are evil, ARABS are the enemy (not us racists, plutocrats, culture-warriors and corrupt politicians)”.

      The Arab Right: “Israel attacked us, Jews are evil, the JEWS are the enemy (not us racists, theocrats, sheikhs and corrupt generals)”

      The Israeli Left: “The racists, plutocrats, culture-warriors and corrupt politicians are the enemy (but we’ll still take them over the Arabs)”

      Reply to Comment
    31. Cortez

      “No way. Binationalism is Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur all over again. This isn’t Belgium or Switzerland, the two peoples hate each other. You’ll need at least a century of peace until you can seriously try it out, and that peace can only be maintained through a strict two-state solution.”

      Why extreme examples when you can use Liberia, the United States or South Africa? If Zionism is not be totally discarded it could at least be redefined to include Palestinians/Arabs/Bedouins.

      “The binational solution for Palestine would make it worse by a factor of infinity.”
      Why? I don’t see why a binational solution would be worse if people made the effort to do what progressive countries do with multiple ethnic/religious groups…have diversity in the schools (Israel and the PA are backwards when it comes to mixing in schools), redefine the national identity to include different minorities…Americans did it, UK and South Africa have done it among others, acknowledge the wrongs of the past…

      The hurdles are high but there is a clear precedent and clear lessons to learn from countries that have failed (Rwanda, Yugoslavia…which behaved just as Israel did in regards to housing demolitions and forced transfers before it was prosecuted for War Crimes)

      Reply to Comment
    32. Rankin Mike

      thanks Alex for this strong, sober article. A pleasant change to read a piece on 972 that isn’t based on hyperbole.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      Only two types of people advocate the binational state solution for the Arab Israeli conflict:
      .
      1. Foolish, wishful thinking dreamers
      .
      2. People with agendas who want to use such a solution as an interim step to establish their long cherished dream of Arab supremacy in the place they call Palestine.
      .
      This is how things would work out in reality:
      .
      1. Imagine day 1 with 5 million Jews “living side by side” with 5 million Arabs in “such a shining” new democratic state.
      .
      2. Give it several months and a riot will break out because someone from one group, would run over a member of the other group in a car accident.
      .
      3. Another scenario for a riot would be fraternisation by youngsters with members of another group invoking sexual relations, “bringing shame” to one family or another or even simple jealousies.
      .
      4. Within a few years, there would be elections, allegations of vote rigging, another source for riots.
      .
      5. Oh and during economic downturns, one group or another may weather the storm better than the other. More riots.
      .
      6. An Arab child may disappear. Rumours of a blood libel may spred. Ditto the other way around.
      .
      I could go on with very plausible scenarios because the fanatics on both sides will not rest. They will agitate for trouble. We have seen it all before in places like Lebanon, Iraq and the Balkans. Not to mention the Jewish people’s own bitter experience in history in many places where they were “tolerated” minorities.
      .
      And here is the elephant in the room which every Jewish dreamer who advocates for the binational state ignores: in a binational state, there won’t be a ZAHAL to protect them. There won’t be a jewish army. That would allow neighbouring Arab armies to march in anytime, ostensibly as a peace keeping force to quash a periodic civil unrest between Arabs and Jews. Once in, who do you think they would side with? Once in, do you think they will easily leave? Dreamers: Do you want to play with fire? Push for the binational state. But don’t be surprised if you and the rest of the Jewish Israelis would get burnt if you meet with success!

      Reply to Comment
    34. Cortez

      “1. Foolish, wishful thinking dreamers

      2. People with agendas who want to use such a solution as an interim step to establish their long cherished dream of Arab supremacy in the place they call Palestine.”

      You also forgot

      1) People who have a firm grasp of history…historians, anthropologist, sociologist, legal historians, non-ideological people, business people among others
      2) People who don’t see religion as litmus test for deciding one’s ethnicity or race
      3) People who have witnessed muslims and jews living in the same country without killing each other…

      Reply to Comment
    35. Bosko

      Cortez: “You also forgot
      1) People who have a firm grasp of history…historians, anthropologist, sociologist, legal historians, non-ideological people, business people among others”
      .
      You mean the history of the Balkans, Lebanon, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iraq? To name a few places?
      .
      Cortez: “2) People who don’t see religion as litmus test for deciding one’s ethnicity or race”
      .
      Who is talking about religion here? This is a conflict between two nationalist movements. Arab (Palestinian Arabs) and Jewish (as in the Jewish people).
      .
      Cortez: “3) People who have witnessed muslims and jews living in the same country without killing each other…”
      .
      To be sure, there were times when this was true. There were also other times when it wasn’t true. It depended on who the ruler was. There were as many bad times as good times. The Jews had a precarious existence under Arab/Muslim rule. They don’t want those times back, thank you very much

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    36. kuss ukhtu

      the day Alex Stein started writing for +972 is the day it lost credibility

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