As many voices on this site mourn the two-state solution, I picked up Palestinian-American Ali Abunimah's book, One Country (2006). It tells a long-ago story that seems quaint today:
Drawing parallels between Israel-Palestine and apartheid South Africa makes some people very uncomfortable, as I learned [in 2002] when I spoke on a panel with Rabbi Arnold Wolf, a highly regarded Chicago community leader and early proponent of a Palestinian state among liberal American Jews. I compared arguments that were made to shield Israel from international criticism to those used to justify the actions of apartheid South Africa. Wolf was incensed. "The analogy is despicable," he roared. "The situation was never like it was in South Africa."
That was before: the Iraq war, Jimmy Carter's book, my own report on apartheid in Hebron, the settlers' pogroms of last year, Olmert's apartheid warnings, Steve Walt's apartheid warnings, Gaza, the rise of Netanyahu.
Would Rabbi Wolf still get incensed? Somehow I doubt it. Tell me, rabbi; what do you say now?
The clearest lesson from South Africa's example is that the Palestinian message and methods must make it clear that the target is not the Israeli people but an unjust system that denies one people their rights, identity, and dignity, and condemns the other to increasing isolation, fear, and moral corruption. The movement should not be framed around Palestinian nationalism, but should call for a democracy that will protect all people and emancipate them from the prison of communal interest and competition. While building international pressure against the current system and exacting a price from those who support it, Palestinians need to articulate a vision of the future in which Israelis can see themselves.
Beautifully stated. (All emphases mine.) This is also the great challenge to American Jews who understand in the age of Obama that Zionism is not the way. Let us join with others and chart the future.