Far left Israel Middle East peace process Palestinians Progressive Jews

Why advocating a one-state solution does not help the Palestinians

Uri Avnery, a longtime dove and gadfly of the Israeli establishment, is often quoted by people on the anti-Israel far left and Arab intellectuals. There are few Israeli Jews who have fought harder for the Palestinians or have taken a more uncompromising stand against Israel’s treatment of them. So it is worth reading a persuasive essay on his website, which explains why efforts to push for a one-state solution or all-out boycotts of Israel are not only doomed to failure; these efforts do more harm than good to the victims of Israel’s occupation.

Avnery is way to the left of me; he is so far to the left he is on the Palestinian right. So please read carefully, International Solidarity Movement admirers, Jews Against the Occupation, fans of Phil Weiss and others who refuse to endorse a 2-state solution. You might not take left-wing, pro-Israel types like me seriously. Surely you need to take Uri Avnery seriously.

I’ll include a long excerpt and hope you will stay with it. After describing those who think there is a “one-size-fit all solution” that applies to both Israel and South Africa, he writes:

.THIS WEEK I listened to a lecture by Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, one of the leading spokesmen for [the idea of a boycott and a one-state solution] The audience consisted of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists in Bil’in, the village that has become a symbol of resistance to the occupation. He presented a well-structured set of ideas, expressed with eloquence and enthusiasm. These were the principles:

There is no sense in opposing just the occupation, nor any other particular policy of the Israeli government. The problem is the very essence of Israel as a Zionist state. This essence is unchangeable as long as the state exists. No change from the inside is possible, because in Israel there is no essential difference between Right and Left. Both are accomplices in a policy whose real aim is ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of the Palestinians not only from the occupied territories, but also from Israel proper.

Therefore, everyone who strives for a just solution must aim at the establishment of a single state, to which the refugees of 1948 and 1967 will be invited to return. This will be a joint and egalitarian state, like today’s South Africa.

There is no sense in trying to change Israel from the inside. Salvation will come from the outside: a world-wide boycott of Israel, which will cause the state to collapse and convince the Israeli public that there is no escape from the One-State Solution.

It sounded logical and convincing, and the speaker did indeed gain applause.

THIS THEORETICAL structure contains several assumptions with which I have no quarrel. The Zionist Left has indeed collapsed in the last few years, and its absence from the field of struggle is a painful and dangerous fact. In today’s Knesset, there is no effective Zionist party that is seriously fighting for real equality for the Arab citizens. Nobody is able today to call out into the street hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands, in order to pressure the government to accept the peace proposal of the whole Arab world.

There is no doubt that the real disease is not the 40-year long occupation. The occupation is a symptom of a more profound disease, which is connected with the official ideology of the state. The aim of ethnic cleansing and the establishment of a Jewish State from the sea to the river is dear to the hearts of many Israelis, and perhaps Rabbi Meir Kahane was right when he asserted that this is everybody’s unspoken desire.

But unlike professor Pappe, I am convinced that it is possible to change the historical direction of Israel. I am convinced that this is the real battlefield for the Israeli peace forces, and I myself have been engaged in it for decades.

Moreover, I believe that we have already attained impressive achievements: the recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people has become general, and so has the readiness of most Israelis to accept the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. We have compelled our government to recognize the PLO, and we shall compel them to recognize Hamas. True, all this would not have happened without the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and (sometimes) favorable international circumstances, but the contribution of the Israeli peace forces, which pioneered these ideas, was significant.

Also, the notion has lately gained acceptance in Israel and other countries, that peace will be achieved only if we succeed in overcoming the gap between the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives and in integrating them into one single historical account, which will recognize the injustices which have been committed and which are still going on. Nothing is more important. (Our path-breaking booklet “Truth Against Truth” was the beginning of this process.)

On the surface, it appears that we have failed. We have not succeeded in compelling our government to stop the building of the wall or the enlargement of the settlements, nor to restore to the Palestinians their freedom of movement. In short, we have not succeeded in putting an end to the occupation. The Arab citizens of Israel have not attained real equality. But beneath the surface, in the depths of national consciousness, we are succeeding. The question is how to turn the hidden success into an open political fact. In other words: how to change the policy of the Israeli government.

The idea of the “One-State Solution” will harm this effort very much..

It. diverts the effort from a solution that has now, after many years, a broad public basis, in favor of a solution that has no chance at all.

There is no doubt that 99.99% of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders.

The belief that a world-wide boycott could change this is a complete illusion. Immediately after his lecture, my colleague Adam Keller asked the professor a simple question: “The entire world has imposed a blockade on the Palestinian people. But in spite of the terrible misery of the Palestinians, they have not been brought to their knees. Why do you think that a boycott would break the Israeli public, which is far stronger economically, so that they would give up the Jewish character of the state?” (There was no answer.)

In any case, such a boycott is quite impossible. Here and there, an organization can declare a boycott, small circles of justice-lovers can keep it, but there is no chance that in the coming decades a world-wide boycott movement, like the one that broke the racist regime in South Africa, will come about. That regime was headed by declared asmirers of the Nazis. A boycott of the “Jewish State”, which is identified with the victims of the Nazis, just will not happen. It will be enough to remind people that the long road to the gas chambers started with the 1933 Nazi slogan “Kauft nicht bei Juden” (“Don’t buy from Jews”).

(The obnoxious fact that the government of the “State of the Holocaust Survivors” had close relations with the Apartheid State does not change this situation.)

That is the problem with the bed of Sodom: one size does not fit all. When the circumstances are different, the remedies must be different, too.THE IDEA of the “One-State Solution” can attract people who despair of the struggle for the soul of Israel. I do understand them. But it is a dangerous idea, especially for the Palestinians.

Statistically, the Israeli Jews constitute, as of now, the absolute majority between the sea and the river. To that, one must add an even more important fact: the average annual income of an Arab Palestinian is about 800 dollars, that of a Jewish Israeli is about 20,000 dollars – 25 times (!) higher. The Israeli economy is growing every year. The Palestinians would be “hewers of wood and drawers of water”. That means that if the imaginary joint state did indeed come into being, the Jews there would wield in it absolute power. They would, of course, use this power to consolidate their dominance and prevent the return of refugees.

Thus the South African example could come true retroactively: in the Single State, an apartheid-like regime would indeed come into being. Not only would the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not be solved, but on the contrary, it would move into an even more dangerous phase.

Pappe put forward an argument that looked a bit strange to me: that a Single State already exists in practice, since Israel rules from the sea to the river. But that is not so. There is no single state, neither formally nor in practice, but one state occupying another. Such a state, in which a dominant nation controls the others, will eventually disintegrate – as did the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

The One State will not come into being. Not only the Israelis, but most of the Palestinians, too, will not give up their right to a national state of their own. They can applaud an Israeli professor who advocates the dismantling of the State of Israel, but they have no time to wait for utopian solutions that could be realized in a hundred years. They need an end to the occupation and to achieve a solution to the conflict here and now, in the near future.

ALL WHO wholeheartedly want to help the occupied Palestinian people would be well advised to keep well away from the idea of a general boycott of Israel. It would push all Israelis into the arms of the extreme Right, because it would reinforce the right-wing belief that “All the world is against us” – a belief that took root in the years of the Holocaust, when “all the world looked on and kept silent”. Every Israeli child learns this in school.

A focused boycott against specific organizations and corporations that actively contribute to the occupation can indeed help in convincing the Israeli public that the occupation is not worthwhile. Such a boycott can achieve a specific aim – if it is not aimed at the collapse of the State of Israel. Gush Shalom, to which I belong, has for 10 years been organizing a boycott of the products of the settlements. The aim is to isolate the settlers and their accomplices. But a general boycott on the State of Israel would achieve the very opposite – to isolate the Israeli peace activists.

THE “TWO-STATE SOLUTION” was and still is the only solution. When we put it forward immediately after the 1948 war, we could be counted on the fingers of two hands not only in Israel but in the entire world. Now there exists a world-wide consensus about it. The path to this solution is not smooth, many dangers lurk on the way, but it is a realistic solution that can be achieved.

One can say: OK, we will accept the Two-State Solution because it is realistic, but after its realization we shall endeavor to abolish the two states and establish one joint state. That is alright with me. As for myself, I hope that in the course of time a federation of the two states will come into being, and relations between the two will become close. I also hope that a regional union, like the EU, will be established, consisting of all the Arab states and Israel, and perhaps also Turkey and Iran.

But first of all we must treat the wound from which we are all suffering: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not by patent medicines, certainly not by a bed of Sodom, but with the medicines that are on the shelf.

THE 18th CHAPTER of Genesis tells of Abraham trying to convince the Almighty not to obliterate Sodom. “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?”

God promised him not to destroy the town if there were 50 righteous in it. Abraham haggled and brought the Almighty down to 45, then 40, 30 and 20, finally settling for 10. But in Sodom there were no 10 righteous to be found, and so its fate was sealed.

I believe that in Israel there are many, many more than ten righteous people. All public opinion polls show that the great majority of Israelis not only want peace, but are ready to pay its price. But they are afraid. They lack trust. They are shackled by the beliefs they acquired in early childhood. They must be freed from them – and I believe that it can be done.

27 thoughts on “Why advocating a one-state solution does not help the Palestinians

  1. That was a very persuasive article. Thanks for posting it. I don’t have much patience or sympathy for Zionism but if you show me that people like Avnery agree with you, I am a bit more comfortable with defending a 2-state solution (I lean towards that anyway, but uncomfortably) However, isn’t he completely isolated? Even more marginal than Peace Now and your other organizations?

  2. Dan, I’m a little late in joining this discussion, but as a non-Zionist and someone who’s been quite critical of Zionism, I just want to say how much I appreciate that you’ve tackled this issue. Your posts are very well-reasoned, and I really respect the fact that you’re engaging a dialogue with those of us who question Zionism.

    I’ll have something more substantive to say when I have a bit more time, but, for now, good for you for diving in. This is an important dialogue that has been long wanting.

  3. Thanks, Andrew. I also like the work you are doing on “semitism.net” (http://semitism.net/), which is why I have just given it a plug.

    Please don’t wait too long before you join the conversation here. This blog needs more comments and traffic (so does yours, of course)


  4. The reasons that I came to reject Zionism are largely those outlined by the other people commenting here. I do think that the Jews could be said to constitute a nation; but I do not think that every nation needs a state of its own. As Dan pointed out earlier, there are many areas of the world where people who are quite distinct ethnically, culturally and historically intermingle – many of the African countries, the Balkans, and Iraq, to name a few. The notion that each of these nations requires an independent state has led to conflict over borders and resources; warfare, ethnic cleansing, and other violence and bloodshed. Needless to say, this has been the result in Palestine, despite what may (underline may) have been the high ideals of some of the founders.

    It seems to me that, appealing as ethnic nationalism may be in its idealistic moments (remember that Ghandi was a Hindu nationalist), what we need to work for are democratic states that offer security and equal rights for everyone within their borders, not ethnic states designed to protect the rights of individual peoples.

    Zionism embodies difficulties here that I’m not sure can be reconciled. For example, Dan, you talk about offering equal right to the Arab minority, which I think is wonderful; but will the state continue to take steps to prevent Arabs from becoming a majority? How far do we need to go, and what, exactly, do we need to do to ensure the Jewish majority?

    On the other hand, rejection of Zionism also poses some problems, and I think it is only fair to acknowledge this.

    How do we address the overriding concern of so many Jews that we have been the victims of persecution in societies where we were a minority, and that even apparently safe and demographic societies have become places for persecution?

    And, a point that resonates even more for me: if not through the collective political agency of a state, then how do Jews take responsibility for our historical destiny? Do we remain always outside observers and critics, standing powerless on the moral high ground, or do we role up our sleeves and try to act as a people to bring about positive change in the world?

    Having said all this, what I really fear is that we are letting intellectual and ideological differences blind us to some very solid common ground between progressive Zionists and anti-Zionists that could be the basis of real-world political action.

    I would challenge my fellow non-Zionists to a thought experiment. Just say that genuine, fair negotiations took place between the political leadership of Israel and a genuinely representative body of the Palestinians. Say that what came out of that was a mutually agreed two state solution, in which Israel withdrew from the West Bank, made an acceptable concession regarding the Palestinian right of return, involving, perhaps, a combination of Palestinian remigration and compensation, and the opportunity arose for a viable Palestinian state that was accepted by a majority of the Palestinian people.

    I am not saying that this is likely to happen, I am just asking, if it did, would you support it?

    I suspect that a lot of anti-Zionists would say yes, even if only as a provisional solution. For my part, I would like to see Israel evolve away from the ethnic nationalist model. I would like a unified Arabs/Israeli/multinational Palestine; but I would certainly not reject a full withdrawal from the occupied territories as a very positive interim step.

    The reason that I ask this question is that I think American Jews have a very important lever in our hands to bring about change. Israel is only able to maintain the current state of affairs because of American support. Right wing Jewish groups have been the dominant voice influencing American Mideast policy for several decades.

    There is a pressing need for an effective coalition to counteract the dominance of the right wing Jewish lobby. An organized progressive Jewish voice is starting to emerge. Small, local groups are coalescing in organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Brit Tzedek. Groups like Meretz/Peace Now have long been established. In my opinion, there in fluids has been diluted by participating in larger Zionist organizations with much more conservative goals.

    It is time for progressive Jews, whether Zionist or non-Zionists, to come together. We do not have to agree on every ideological point, but we can certainly establish some goals and ground rules for how to work together.

    I really applaud Dan for extending a hand, and I hope that those of us on the other side will take this very seriously. I would like to see the conversation move from intellectual argument, to practical strategizing. Let’s not allow cynicism to paralyze us. It is within our power to change American policy. Let’s start figuring out how we can work together to do this.

  5. Andrew,
    Your comments about which political association do progressive Zionists participate in, illustrates the Avneri point.

    That is that in an environment of demonization of Zionism, humanist Zionists are literally forced to emphasize the Zionist in their dual understanding, rather than the humanist.

    In an environment in which fanaticism or expansionism is the common enemy (not Zionists), then civilism becomes the unifying principle, the common cause.

    The issue of Zionism/anti-Zionism then becomes the dividing wall, the definition of “which side are you on”.

    I wish people like Saif, that describe themselves as humanists would refrain from invoking “Zionism as racism”, and instead invoke “we are all human beings”.

    The consequences of the two invocations are night and day.

    But that is also the difference between a politically constructed approach and an ethical one.

    Many for whom the math of political logic and rhetoric supercedes native humane sympathy cannot then choose to emphasize common cause.

    I agree with Avneri strongly that boycotts would only exagerate the feeling of Israel being attacked, as has been fanned during the last two years. And, that Israel would not turn tail, but would instead growl and then bite, as there is no possible escape route.

    (Especially given the appearance of never-ending non-acceptance, a burning continuum of memory of Palestinian objections to simple Jewish immigration in the 30’s, when hundreds of thousands could have simply taken refuge, without necessary permanence or statehood, creating the appearance of Palestinian collaboration in the genocide, regardless of whether the Palestinian/Arab fears were rational or just callous.)

    The suggestion of the two-state solution is merely a commitment as to means that the vast majority can co-exist even if we/they don’t seem to be able to reconcile to coexist more intimately.

    Just for reference, I last visited Israel in 1986 (a long time ago), before the intifadas. I spent some time in Arad with third cousins who were folk singers and had networked with Druze, Bedouin and some Palestinian singers associated with the annual folk festival that occurred there. Every night for a week we went out to cafes in Arad and Beersheva and often met non-Jewish friends. They often sang together, sometimes in Hebrew, sometimes in Arabic (limited).

    In 1989 I got a letter from them, in which they described that it was no longer possible for them to maintain friendships with the Bedouin and Palestinians that they had started to know. The intifada had driven the “which side are you on” line too deeply and aggressively.

    They were humanist Zionists, then forced to emphasize the Zionist political math rather than the more native sympathetic.

  6. Andrew,
    Gandhi opposed partition until it was inevitable and a fact, then he urged that Hindu India be a good neighbor to Muslim Pakistan.

    He was a Hindu who was a nationalist, not a “Hindu nationalist”.

  7. Does Zionism/not-Zionism need to be the dividing wall? Or is there an opportunity for progressive Zionists and anti-Zionists to develop some common goals and strategies, and form a coalition that can speak for progressive Jews?

    The issue of a boycott, as you frame it, is a tactical one. Your argument is not along the lines of “How could a loyal Jew conceive of boycotting Israel” but rather, “Would it be effective?”

    That framing, already, brings Jewish moderates and radical Jewish activists a bit closer: i.e. we can talk about grassroots action to exert pressure on Israel’s leadership to pursue peace; the question is what sort of action could gain support among American Jews and have an impact in Israel?

  8. As Uri Avnery suggested, boycotting Israel would likely be the OPPOSSITE of effective at either moderating internal Israeli politics, relaxing or eliminating the effects on Palestinians of the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, or later relaxing the distrust between the two communities sufficiently to form a functional federal or civil state.

    Boycotting Israel would be a cruelty, arbitrary and therefore a greater crime, an expression of powerlessness more than a expression the power of the civil.

    I will heartily stand in a demonstration with someone with a sign “Israelis and Palestinians are human beings worthy of respect”.

    I will not stand in a demonstration with someone with a sign “Death to Zionism” anymore than I will stand with someone with a sign “Palestinians are beasts”.

    The question of single-state is a distraction from 30 years of prior peace work.

    It serves opportunists FAR more than it serves Israelis, Palestinians, progressives, or justice.

  9. Andrew,

    One of the reasons I first plodded into the blogosphere was to test the possibilities of building the kind of coalition you are speaking about. Leaving aside labels like “non-Zionist” or “anti-Zionist,” I knew there were people on the left like you, who understand that there are two very different narratives at work here, and are interested in practical solutions to concrete problems rather than just railing at Israel and “the lobby” and American Jews..and, unfortunately, “The Jews” as a whole. That was one reason why I established this blog (there were other reasons, which will be conveyed on other posts). So thanks so much for weighing in.

  10. Sure. Thank you for tackling the issue. I’ll take it up on my site, too.

    I would be curious what other readers think about the idea of a formal alliance or umbrella organization of progressive Jews… Is there a tent that Meretz, Brit Tzedek and JVP could fit under? who else should be in it? What sort of platform could radical and moderate Jews embrace vis a vis Mideast peace?

  11. i too appreciate this post.

    i don’t really understand people who oppose zionism, as to me that means they are calling for the destruction of the state of israel (and the people living in it).
    but i know that most people (at least in the bay area) that oppose zionism don’t use the simple definition of “support for a jewish state”, and that conflicting definitions might be a source of confusion.

    and thanks for that correction about the mahatma. he was NOT a hindu nationalist (in the BJP sense). in fact, like Rabin, he was killed by someone of his own religion that was much further right than he, for trying to make peace with the other side.

  12. If Israel and Palestine were combined with the current political makeup, and assuming a similar parliamentary structure.

    The parties by loyalty might currently include:

    Hamas 26%
    Fatah 20%
    Left Pal 4%
    Likud 12%
    Kadima 12%
    Labor 12%
    Meretz 6%
    Orthodox 3%
    Left Israel 1%
    Beitanhu 2%

    With that configuration there is NO convincing coalition that could possibly form to govern the country. Even the civilist parties would not prevail, unless they morphed into one another.

    Neither the nationalist Zionist, nor nationalist Palestinian, nor religious Islamic parties would acquire a plurality even in coalition.

    The only possible result of a single-state solution would be civil war.

    And those that propose single-state solution but without simultaneously supporting the efforts of the existing moderate parties that are civil predominately (moreso than nationalistic or religious), strike me as negligent.

  13. A Link to the article below was placed on the Gush Shalom website in anticipation for the debate they are organizing:
    A public debate at Forum Gush-Shalom


    debate between
    former KM URI AVNERY
    and Dr. ILAN PAPPE

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 8pm
    in Beit Hakibutz Ha’artzi

    One state solution not abortive and dangerous illusions – Answer to Uri Avnery | Ilan Pappe
    Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
    Topic: ::: Zionism :::

    Uri Avnery accuses the supporters of the One State solution of forcefully imposing the facts onto the “Bed of Sodom” (22 April, 2007). He seems to regard these people best as day dreamers that do not understand the political reality around them and are stuck in a perpetual state of wishful thinking. We are all veteran comrades in the Israeli Left and therefore it is quite possible that in our moments of despair we fall into the trap of hallucinating and even fantasizing while ignoring the unpleasant reality around us.

    And therefore the metaphor of the Bed of Sodom may even be fitting for lashing out at those who are inspired by the South African model in their search for a solution in Palestine. But in this case it is a small cot of Sodom compared to the king-size bed onto which Gush Shalom and other similar members of the Zionist Left insist on squeezing their two states’ solution. The South African model is young – in fact hardly a year has passed since it was seriously considered – the formula of two states is sixty years old: an abortive and dangerous illusion that enabled Israel to continue its occupation without facing any significant criticism from the international community.

    The South African model is a good subject matter for a comparative study – not as an object for a hallow emulation. Certain chapters in the history of the colonization in South Africa and the Zionization of Palestine are indeed nearly identical. The ruling methodology of the white settlers in South Africa resembles very closely that applied by the Zionist movement and late Israel against the indigenous population of Palestine since the end of the 19th century. Ever since 1948, the official Israeli policy against some of the Palestinians is more lenient than that of the Apartheid regime; against other Palestinians it is much worse.

    But above all, the South African model inspires those concerned with the Palestine cause in two crucial directions: it offers a new orientation for a future solution instead of the two states’ formula that failed – by introducing the one democratic state – and it invigorates new thinking of how the Israeli occupation can be defeated – through Sanctions, Boycott and Divestment (the BDS option).

    The facts on the ground are crystal clear: the two states’ solution has dismally failed and we have no spare time to waste in a futile anticipation of another illusory round of diplomatic efforts that would lead to nowhere. As Avnery admits, the Israeli peace camp has failed, so far, to persuade the Israeli Jewish society to try the road of peace. A sober and critical assessment of this camp’s size and force leads to the inevitable conclusion that it has no chance what so ever against the prevailing trends in the Israeli Jewish society. It is doubtful whether it will even keep its very minimal presence on the ground, and there is a great concern it will disappear all together.

    Avnery ignores these facts and alleges that the One State Solution is a dangerous panacea to offer to the critically ill patient. All right, so let us prescribe it gradually, but for God’s sake let us remove the patient from the very dangerous medicine we have been forcing down his throat for the last sixty years and which is about to kill him.

    For the sake of peace, it is important to expand our research on the South African model and other historical case studies. Because of our failure, we should study carefully any other successful struggle against oppression. All these historical case studies show that the struggle from within and from without reinforced each other and were not mutually exclusive. Even when the sanctions were imposed on South Africa, the ANC continued its struggle and white South Africans did not cease from their attempt to convince their compatriots to give up the Apartheid regime. But there was not one single voice that echoes the article of Avnery who claimed that a strategy of pressure from the outside is wrong because it weakness the chances of change from within. Especially when the failure of the inside struggle is so conspicuous and obvious. Even when the De Klerk government negotiated with the ANC the sanctions regime still continued.

    It is also very difficult to understand why Avnery underrates the importance of world public opinion. Without the support this world public opinion gave to the Zionist movement, the Nakbah would not have occurred. Had the international community rejected the idea of partition, a unitary state would have replaced Mandatory Palestine, as indeed was the wish of many members of the UN. However, these members succumbed to a violent pressure by the US and the Zionist lobby and retracted their earlier support for such a solution. And today, if the international community alters its position once more and revises its attitude towards Israel, the chances for ending the occupation would increase enormously and by that maybe also help to avert a colossal bloodshed that would engulf not only the Palestinians but also the Jews themselves.

    The call for a One State Solution, and the demand for sanctions, boycott and divestment, has to be read as a reaction against the failure of the previous strategy. A strategy upheld by the political classes but never fully endorsed by the people themselves. And any one who rejects the new thinking out of hand and in such a categorical manner, may be less bothered by what is wrong with this new option and far more troubled by his own place in history. It is indeed difficult to admit personal as well as collective failure; but for the sake of peace it is sometimes necessary to put aside one’s ego. I am inclined to think that way when I read the false narrative Avnery concocted about the Israeli peace movement’s ‘achievements’ so far. He announces that ‘the recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people has become general, and so has the readiness of most Israelis to accept the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital of both states’. This is a clear case of amputating both the leg and the hand of the patient to fit him to the Bed of Sodom. And even more far fetched is the declaration that ‘We have compelled our government to recognize the PLO, and we shall compel them to recognize Hamas’ – now the rest of patient’s limbs were dispensed with (sorry for the gruesome metaphor but I am forced into it by Avnery’s choice). These assertions have very little in common with the position of the Jewish public in Israel towards peace from 1948 until today. But facts can sometime confuse the issue.

    But in order to stifle any debate on the One State Solution or the BDS option, Avnery draws from his magic hat the winning card: ‘but beneath the surface, in the depths of national consciousness, we are succeeding’. Let us thus provide the Palestinians with metal detectors and X-ray equipment – they may discover not only the tunnel, but also the light at its end. The truth is that what lies in the deepest layers of the Israeli national consciousness is far worse from what appears on the surface. And let us hope that it remains their forever and does not bubble to the surface. These are deposits of dark and primitive racism that if allowed to flow over will drown us all in a sea of hatred and bigotry.

    Avnery is right when he asserts that ‘there is no doubt that 99.99% of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders’. A successful boycott campaign will not change this position in a day, but will send a clear message to this public that these positions are racist and unacceptable in the 21st century. Without the cultural and economical oxygen lines the West provides to Israel, it would be difficult for the silent majority there to continue and believe that it is possible both to be a racist and a legitimate state in the eyes of the world. They would have to choose, and hopefully like De Klerk they will make the right decision.

    Avnery is also convinced that Adam Keller debunked most successfully the argument for a boycott by pointing out that the Palestinians in the occupied territories did not give in to boycott. This is indeed a fine comparison: a political prisoner lies nailed to the ground and dares to resist; as a punishment he is denied even the meager food he received hitherto. His situation is compared to a person who occupied illegally this prisoner’s house and who for the first time is facing the possibility of being brought to justice for his crimes. Who has more to loose? Where is the threat mere cruelty and where is it a justified mean to rectify a past evil?

    The boycott will not happen, states Avnery. He should talk with the veterans of the anti-Apartheid movement in Europe. Twenty years passed before they convinced the international community to take action. And they were told, when they began their long journey: it will not work, too many strategic and economic interests are involved and invested in South Africa.

    Moreover, adds Avnery, in places such as Germany the idea of boycotting the victims of the Nazis would be rejected out of hand. Quite to the contrary. The action that already has been taken in this direction in Europe has ended the long period of Zionist manipulation of the Holocaust memory. Israel can not justify anymore its crimes against the Palestinians in the name of the Holocaust. More and more people in Europe realize that that the criminal policies of Israel abuse the Holocaust memory and this is why so many Jews are members in the movement for boycott. This is also why the Israeli attempt to cast the accusation of anti-Semitism against the supporters of the boycott had met with contempt and resilience. The members of the new movement know that their motives are humanist and their impulses are democratic. For many of them their action are triggered not only by universal values but also by their respect for the Judeo-Christian heritage of history. It would have been best for Avnery to use his immense popularity in Germany to demand from the society there to recognize their share not only in the Holocaust but also in the Palestinian catastrophe and that in the name of that recognition to ask them to end their shameful silence in the face of the Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories.

    Towards the end of his article, Avnery sketches the features of the one state solution out of the present reality: and thus because he does not include the return of the refugees or a change in the regime as components of the solution, he describes today’s dismal reality as tomorrow’s vision. This is indeed an unworthy reality to fight for and nobody I know is struggling for it. But the vision of a One State Solution has to be the exact opposite of the present Apartheid state of Israel as was the post-Apartheid state in South Africa; and this is why this historical case study is so illuminating for us.

    We need to wake up. The day Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush declared their loyal support for the two states’ solution, this formula became a cynical means by which Israel can maintain its discriminatory regime inside the 1967 borders, its occupation in the West Bank and the Ghettoization of the Gaza Strip. Anyone who blocks a debate in alternative political models allows the discourse of two states to shield the criminal Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.

    Moreover, not only there are no stones left in the occupied territories with which to build a state – after Israel ruined the infrastructure there in the last six years – a reasonable partition is not offering the Palestinian a mere 20 percent of their homeland. The basis should be at least half of their homeland, on the basis of the 181 map, or similar idea. Here is another useful avenue to explore, instead of embroiling for ever inside the Sodom and Gomorrah stew that the two states solution has produced so far on the ground.

    And finally, there will be no solution to this conflict without a settlement of the Palestinian refugees problem. These refugees can not return to their homeland for the same reasons that their brothers and sisters are being expelled from Greater Jerusalem and alongside the wall and their relatives are discriminated against in Israel. They can not return for the same reason that every Palestinian is under the potential danger of been occupied and expelled as long as the Zionist project has not been completed in the eyes of its captains.

    They are entitled to opt for the return because it is their full human and political right. They can return because the international community had already promised them that they could. We as the Jews should want them to return because otherwise we will continue to live in a state where the value of ethnic superiority and supremacy overrides any other human and civil value. And we can not promise ourselves and the refugees such a fair and just solution within the framework of the two states’ formula.

  14. Dear Dan Fleshler,
    As I have noted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/05/one-state-final-solution-to-judenfrage.html you have unwittingly taken on board the assumptions of anti-Zionists, that Israel is an illegitimate state and that Zionism is an illegitmate movement.

    As I wrote in my comments above, you are doing a fine job in a very difficult arena, but it is very easy to get caught up in slogans of the other side and their logic, especially when trying to refute them within their own logical framework. If they keep telling you Jews are no good, Zionism is no good, some of the hate seeps in through the walls.

    Avnery’s “explanation,” labelled as “persuasive” by you, is based on the above premises. He just argues that it is impractical to perform the genocide right now, and therefore Palestinian Arabs should accept a two state solution.

    This is giving credibility to some rather vile and immoral ideas – that Jews are inferior to other people and do not deserve self determination, that Zionism is a monstrous “racist” movement (an idea that was based on the Soviet false science of Zionology), that Jews have no historic rights in Israel – either from ancient or modern times.. etc.

    As you can see from Pappe’s answer, arguments that are based on expediency rather than morality and international law are easily demolished, especially in the eyes of “liberals” who claim to uphold morality and international law.

    The net effect is to perpetuate the racist lie that Jews do not deserve a state. I expect that the Pappe-Avnery debate will serve to do the same thing.

    The real reason for opposing a one state solution is a no-brainer for right, left, center who are intellectually honest: It is genocide. Anyone who supports it is aiding and abetting genocide. Genocide is outlawed by an international convention and so is incitement to genocide. Look at the UN definition of Genocide and you will see that I am right. The one state solution will deprive the Jewish people of our right to perpetuate our culture, language etc. as well as our right to self-determination. Those who argue for Palestinian Arab right to self determination cannot logically argue against the same right for Jews.

    Kind regards,
    Ami Isseroff

  15. “They are entitled to opt for the return because it is their full human and political right. They can return because the international community had already promised them that they could.”

    I’m afraid (not really) that that is incorrect. This promise is predicated on the requirement of a desire to live in peace. The Palestinian people have voted overwhelmingly for war.

  16. veei [url=http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/]swarovski uk[/url] [url=http://swarovskijewellerystore.webeden.co.uk/]swarovski crystal uk[/url] xocv
    [url=http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/]http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/[/url] [url=http://swarovskijewellerystore.webeden.co.uk/]swarovski uk[/url] lwlc
    [url=http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/]http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/[/url] [url=http://swarovskijewellerystore.webeden.co.uk/]swarovski jewellery[/url] yaom
    [url=http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/]swarovski sale[/url] [url=http://swarovskijewellerystore.webeden.co.uk/]swarovski crystal sale[/url] fhyb

    htul [url=http://buyswarovskicrystal.webeden.co.uk/][/url] [url=http://swarovskijewellerystore.webeden.co.uk/][/url]

  17. jvzn [url=http://raybansunglassesstore.webeden.co.uk/]buy ray ban glasses[/url][url=http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/]ray ban wayfarer[/url] akdp
    [url=http://raybansunglassesstore.webeden.co.uk/]ray ban sunglasses[/url][url=http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/]http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/[/url] kdow
    [url=http://raybansunglassesstore.webeden.co.uk/]ray ban sunglasses[/url][url=http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/]cheap ray ban sunglasses[/url] kcao
    [url=http://raybansunglassesstore.webeden.co.uk/]buy ray ban sunglasses[/url][url=http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/]http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/[/url] mldo

    rxfb [url=http://raybansunglassesstore.webeden.co.uk/][/url][url=http://buyraybansunglasses.webeden.co.uk/][/url]

  18. Simply desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness to your
    submit is just nice and i can assume you are a professional on this subject.
    Well together with your permission let me to snatch
    your feed to keep up to date with drawing close post.

    Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  19. You actually make it seem so easy along with your
    presentation but I to find this topic to be really something which I believe I might never understand.

    It kind of feels too complex and very wide for me. I’m taking a look forward to your subsequent put up, I’ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

  20. You will get regional market forecasts to the vessel security market and also the seaport & facility security marketplace for each
    region within the period 2010-2020. The coming
    of Dish Network portals has reduced the cost of satellite TV channels greatly.
    “Windows Service technique” for the updates to help you out patients list and avoid
    eating piracy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.