Aslan says 2-state solution is dead, and Indyk calls him a liar

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments

“The future of relations with the Muslim world” was the UN-sponsored event hosted at the New York Times building in central Manhattan on 21 July. Filled with journalists from Egypt, China and Turkey and the foreign policy establishment, roughly 150 people came to hear Roger Cohen, Joe Klein, Martin Indyk, Reza Aslan, Dalia Mogahed and Marc Lynch chew over issues related to Barack Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009 and efforts to re-engage the Muslim world. The general consensus was that Obama had failed, even if his intentions were noble.

The primary focus was Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan were mostly ignored, Iran was briefly mentioned and Muslim views of America were highlighted.

Foreign Policy blogger and participant Marc Lynch wrote that it was disappointing but unsurprising that Israel/Palestine was the key area of discussion as his “main concern was the dangerous resilience of ‘clash of civilizations’ narratives in American and global discourse about Islam.” Such views remain disturbingly common in the US.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the evening and there was an air of unreality about the event, a troubling distance from addressing the crux of Washington’s problems in the Muslim world. The presumption of the evening was that America could noticeablychange its image while still occupying Iraq, Afghanistan and backing Israeli occupation in Palestine. Most Muslims would regard the premise as a joke.

As Rami Khouri wrote in this week’s New York Times: “One cannot take seriously the United States or any other Western government that funds political activism by young Arabs while it simultaneously provides funds and guns that help cement the power of the very same Arab governments the young social and political activists target for change."

Pollster Mogahed revealed that a forthcoming Gallup study of the Arab world finds Iraq still topping even Israel/Palestine in issues of concern related to US foreign policy in the region. The open wound of the Iraq conflict, the millions of internal and external refugees – the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948 –and daily brutality put paid to claims that America will soon be withdrawing. Just this week the Obama administration announced an expansion of paramilitary forces in Iraq to replace the forthcoming declining troop numbers.

Roger Cohen, a usually thoughtful writer who has sadly recently embraced Salam Fayyad’s economic “miracle” in the West Bank (essentially a police state with Western aid), was a considered moderator, probing the guests about the profound separation between rhetoric and reality. Time’s Klein was effusive in his praise for Fayyad, called for immediate engagement with Hamas, chastised Obama for not pressuring Israel far more and threatening to cut aid, vehemently opposed a “mad” attack on Iran, damned the colonies in the West Bank and the bullying Zionist lobby. Klein is a colourful and slightly arrogant speaker, proud of telling an audience he’s spent time in the Middle East and mixing with the people there.

The most revealing part of the evening was when Reza Aslan told the crowd, near the end of the event, that a two-state solution was dead due to ongoing Israeli colonisation. He urged consideration of a one-state solution. He wrote strongly months ago about the impossibility of a viable Palestinian state and this week urged more imaginative ways of framing a nation that “would be shared by both Palestinians and Jews.” Aslan also outlined the Likud charter, a racist document that does not allow an independent Palestinian entity in Palestine.

Former AIPAC employee, Vice President for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk shook his head and said these were “lies”. He argued that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said last year that he accepted a two-state solution and people should “wait until the end of Obama’s third year and you will see some major progress on Middle East peace.”

Indyk angrily rejected a one-state solution as “guaranteed to bring never-ending conflict” and said the two-state solution was the only game in town. Aslan didn’t give up, reiterating his request for Indyk to explain how two, viable states would develop. 

This testy exchange was symptomatic of the anaemic state of establishment thinking on the Middle East in America. Indyk was asking to be rewarded for ongoing failure, a man and idea that had been tried for decades and brought increased settlement activity. Like J Street, Indyk and his ilk can only conceptualise a racially exclusionary state, partition in the name of “two states for two peoples”.

I remember thinking during the J Street conference in Washington last year about the blind faith in Barack Obama bringing peace to the Middle East. What happens if he doesn’t deliver? J Street and Indyk have nowhere to go, no intellectual or moral framework from which to offer alternative perspectives.

For them, a Jewish state must be maintained at any cost. Democratic values will always come second.

Loewenstein, who blogs here, will be speaking at Revolution Books in New York on Sunday at 1, along with Michael Otterman, about Palestine and Iraq, two occupations.

38 Responses

  1. wondering jew
    July 23, 2010, 10:25 am

    When Loewenstein calls the Iraq refugee crisis “the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948″, I wonder why it is not considered a larger crisis, because the numbers are certainly larger. Maybe because in the long term the refugees will not be put in refugee camps but will instead be allowed and encouraged to resettle elsewhere other than in their original homes, unlike the Palestinian refugees who were encouraged to stay in refugee camps in the hope that Israel would disappear or else be forced to accept them back or so that they could be used as political pawns in the battle against Israel.

    • annie
      July 23, 2010, 10:34 am

      ‘since 1948′ WJ. iow, he is considering the larger crisis.

      thanks for a great write up andy. watched you on grit TV the other night btw good job.

    • Kathleen
      July 23, 2010, 11:02 am

      hell no one is counting. And the US MSM has completely ignored the numbers of dead, injured and displaced in Iraq. they have basically erased Iraq

    • potsherd
      July 23, 2010, 12:21 pm

      It is generally expected that most of the Iraqi refugees will indeed return to Iraq, if not to their original homes, because there is not an occupying foreign population prohibiting this.

      The exception is the large number of Palestinian Iraqi refugees, who are still not allowed to return to their original homes, or to Iraq. Their suffering has been profound, yet Zionist fatheads offer lame excuses and still refuse to admit this has been entirely the fault of Israel’s expelling them and refusing to allow them to return home.

    • sherbrsi
      July 23, 2010, 12:47 pm

      unlike the Palestinian refugees who were encouraged to stay in refugee camps in the hope that Israel would disappear or else be forced to accept them back or so that they could be used as political pawns in the battle against Israel.

      Yeah, it was just the Arabs using the Palestinians as political pawns that kept them from returning, nothing to do with the Zionist forces which expelled them and shot the Palestinians attempting return.

      Good to know that the only “reasonable” Zionist on the blog is a Nakba denier.

      • Psychopathic god
        July 23, 2010, 2:08 pm

        thanks for calling out the mendacity of WonderingJew– at WJ’s age, doesn’t know better than to blame the victim and fast-forward history to prove a zionist point.

        this is your brain on ziocaine.

    • David Samel
      July 23, 2010, 5:28 pm

      WJ, your use of the “political pawns” argument ignores the fact that the refugees always wanted to exercise their right under international law to return to their homes. Israel has always denied them that right. Sure, it would have been nice if they engaged in voluntary self-ethnic cleansing to allow a Jewish State to be created and maintained, but they did not willingly cooperate. It also would have been nice if neighboring Arab states had treated the refugees better, but the refugees themselves know who is entirely responsible for their forced dispossession and exile. They are not duped into thinking it is Israel. It actually is Israel.

      Numbers-wise, I think you are correct that the Iraqi refugee problem is bigger than the Palestinian one. I suppose the phrase “the largest since X” is often used inappropriately where the new event is even larger than X, but so what. Your interpretation – that it has something to do with the Palestinians as pawns while the Iraqis are treated better – cannot be serious. You used Loewenstein’s slightly mistaken phrase to make a well-worn, unimaginative, highly disingenuous point about the refugee crisis being the fault of the Arabs rather than the Israelis.

      WJ, obviously you write comments on this site in the hope that you will influence someone to agree with you. This is a very silly and clumsy attempt.

      • Psychopathic god
        July 23, 2010, 5:52 pm

        David Samel, I’ve heard this “well-worn, unimaginative, highly disingenuous point about the refugee crisis being the fault of the Arabs rather than the Israelis” repeated — four times — by Jews who first, asserted their Holocaust credentials, then, told IZZELDIN ABU LAISH that it was HIS fault, and the PALESTINIANS fault, that Palestinians were still refugees. “We Jews were made a prosperous state; you Palestinians chose to remain refugees.”

        “Why do they hate us.”

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 23, 2010, 7:10 pm

        Thanks David for this rebuke..I just woke up and saw WJ’s misleading, infuriating post blaming the victims again and then I read yours..Soothing, so thanks, you’re a champ..

      • wondering jew
        July 23, 2010, 7:32 pm

        David Samel- I was provoked by Loewenstein’s statement and I apologize for appearing to blame the Palestinians for the fact that Israel refused to let them return.

      • Chaos4700
        July 23, 2010, 7:44 pm

        Backpedaling won’t help you now, WJ.

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 23, 2010, 8:27 pm

        WJ
        The fact that Israel did not allow the return of the refugees is a fundamental issue of prime responsibility. For a newly formed country like Lebanon with such a fragile multiconfessional state of equilibrium, the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of expelled Palestinians created an apprehension within the Christian communities that those mainly Muslim Palestinians if naturalised would cause their position of power to be threatened and that’s an important significant factor in the quasi permanent crisis the country has been going through ever since..Lebanese Christians felt (rightly or wrongly is not the issue here), felt insecure, sitting on the edge of an abyss and started a process of further empowerment that created a tension easily exploitable by different factions from the outside and the inside..

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 23, 2010, 8:32 pm

        That’s why Lebanese Christians, a majority among them, were opposed to the naturalisation and the normalisation of their status..Had they accepted they would have accepted that numerically, their position would have been one of a minority rather than a substantial half of the population..Understandable..

      • potsherd
        July 23, 2010, 9:02 pm

        Most Zionists wouldn’t have apologized.

      • Psychopathic god
        July 23, 2010, 9:14 pm

        yes. impressive.

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 23, 2010, 9:16 pm

        Yes potsherd, to his credit..
        Now talking about most zionists, there’s one (jonah). He admitted making a mistake the other day, only to come back two days after and make it again..Purposefully of course! shtowqaszxw!!!..

    • Shingo
      July 23, 2010, 10:18 pm

      “I wonder why it is not considered a larger crisis, because the numbers are certainly larger. ”

      Whym, so that one in 1948 can be erased or forgotten?

    • DICKERSON3870
      July 24, 2010, 3:27 am

      RE: “..the refugees will not be put in refugee camps but will instead be allowed and encouraged to resettle elsewhere other than in their original homes, unlike the Palestinian refugees who were encouraged to stay in refugee camps…” – wondering jew
      MY COMMENT: It sounds as though you are channeling Bernard Lewis. He goes on and on and on about this and blames the UN for the Palestinian refugee problem. But even Israel’s favorite U.S. President (Harry Truman) insisted that the Palestinians displaced by the ’48 war should be allowed to return to their homes in Israel.

  2. Kathleen
    July 23, 2010, 10:59 am

    “that a two-state solution was dead due to ongoing Israeli colonisation.”

    Seems like the only way as Israel continues to expand illegal settlements, bulldoze American homes, and the MSM in the states ignores all of this as we type (Just listened to the Diane Rehm Shows weekly international round up..not a whisper about the ongoing illegal activity in Palestine by Israel..not a whisper) Nothing has changed well except the possibility of a two state solution based on the 67 border.

  3. Susie Kneedler
    July 23, 2010, 11:15 am

    “Time’s Klein was effusive in his praise for Fayyad, called for immediate engagement with Hamas, chastised Obama for not pressuring Israel far more and threatening to cut aid, vehemently opposed a “mad” attack on Iran, damned the colonies in the West Bank and the bullying Zionist lobby. ”

    Hmm, did I miss “Time”‘s cover story on the critical necessity that Obama act “immediately” to make peace? Judging by Klein’s vehemence, either “Time” should have exerted the very “pressure” it demands of Obama to:

    ensure a fair agreement,
    talk with Hamas,
    end Israel’s illegal expansion,
    and stand up to the “bullying Zionist” lobby,

    or Klein should have deluged readers with his campaign to change editorial choices, so that his mag could leave the lost past to join us in this “time.”

  4. Kathleen
    July 23, 2010, 11:42 am

    Great interview with Stephen Walt over at antiwar.com
    Netanyahu’s recently released comments, undermining of the Oslo accords, voting rights of Palestinians, illegal settlements etc
    link to antiwar.com

    • Kathleen
      July 23, 2010, 12:12 pm

      Walt ” it is quite clear that some of the same groups and the same people who dreamed up the idea of going into Iraq in the first place way back in the late 90’s are now the loudest voices calling for a very hard line including the possibility of using military force against Iran.”

      Same campaign going to be waged over the next six months

      • Surcouf
        July 23, 2010, 1:18 pm

        Thanks for the link Kathleen.
        Very interesting interview with Mr. Walt.
        As Walt is saying, the amateurish behavior of the Obama’s administration demonstrates that it had not thought out clearly the eventuality of Netanyahu digging his heals the way he did.
        What do you then? Well, you fold as they did. They never imagined that Netanyahu would stand up to this newly elected post-racial American President who was very popular then.

        On the topic of Iran, he is right in saying that the people involved now are the same people that advocated for the Iraq War then. M.J. Rosenberg was claiming this week on TPMCafé that IOF Corporal Jeffrey Goldberg ”was busy at work on a magnum opus for “The Atlantic” calling for a bombing attack by the United States on Iran.” This piece of hasbara propaganda should appear in the August edition.

        MJ Rosenberg : Get Ready for Iran War

  5. potsherd
    July 23, 2010, 12:16 pm

    Indyk – “lies” = “true stuff I don’t want to hear.”

    It’s good that this conference was not comprised entirely of Jews, that there were Muslims invited to speak.

  6. Les
    July 23, 2010, 12:38 pm

    Indyk is either wrong or the liar he claims Aslan to be.

    The Likud Charter on Palestinian self-rule:

    “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

    link to palestinechronicle.com

  7. Colin Murray
    July 23, 2010, 12:46 pm

    For [J Street and Indyk], a Jewish state must be maintained at any cost. Democratic values will always come second.

    …, and not only in Israel. Democratic values in the United States are to them also acceptable losses for maintenance of Israeli apartheid, military occupation, ethnic cleansing, and colonization. The permanent ‘global war on terrorism’ is promoted by neocons because it conflates nicely with Israel’s permanent war of conquest. Remember the words of one of the Israeli high-fivers arrested after being seen by outraged Americans in New Jersy celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” None of the hijackers were Palestinian.

    Were Israelis Detained on Sept. 11 Spies? ABC News 20/20

    • Colin Murray
      July 23, 2010, 1:15 pm

      We speak to the author of the article, Christopher Ketcham; Counterpunch editor Alexander Cockburn, and Marc Perelman, the Forward reporter who did one of the first reports on the story in 2002.

      Cheering Movers and Art Student Spies: Was Israel Tracking the Hijackers Before the 9/11 Attacks?, Democracy Now!, The War and Peace Report, February 08, 2007
      ***
      Israel Is Spying In And On The U.S.? Part 1

      Published: 12/12/01 FOX News. Part 1 of a 4 part series

      ***
      The end of the possibility of a two-state solution has been engineered by radicals from the same corrupt Israeli political, military, and intelligence establishment that brought us the high-fivers. “[Martin] Indyk angrily rejected a one-state solution as ‘guaranteed to bring never-ending conflict'” because he still hopes that the fantasy of a two-state solution will last long enough for Israel to finally solve its ‘Palestinian Problem’ at American expense.

  8. sherbrsi
    July 23, 2010, 12:53 pm

    As Ahmed Moor mentioned, the two state solution is only alive in the mind of fervent Zionists. It is a helpful fallback position to the Zionists, for it allows the legitimization of the Nakba (and the expulsion of the Palestinians and thus their rejection from any Israeli state), and the continuing colonization in EJ and the West Bank (parts or whole of which Israel has no intention of even negotiating on).

    All that remains is that the world wake up to the facade of this position, kept alive in the “peace process,” but never given any chance to materialize on the ground by the Israelis and their American backers.

    • Avi
      July 23, 2010, 6:03 pm

      Does anyone recall the last time Indyk spoke with honesty?

  9. Richard Witty
    July 23, 2010, 2:07 pm

    Interesting headline.

    Calling someone’s summary of facts “untrue” is now equivalent to Indyk calling someone a “liar”.

    Such are the prospects of discussion in the new political world.

  10. Charltonr
    July 23, 2010, 7:23 pm

    As do we all, Indyk mentions the facts and makes the points that accord with his basic underlying assumptions about the situation. We all do that, because one can’t ever report or even mention all the facts about anything..

    Of course, ca va sans dire, our facts are better than his facts. We are right; he is wrong. The old saying: “I may be misinformed, but thou art wrong, and he is pig-headed.” Ain’t that the truth?

  11. hayate
    July 23, 2010, 8:14 pm

    Apparently indyk is an old Liliputian spelling of goebbels.

  12. syvanen
    July 23, 2010, 9:17 pm

    I once thought that Israel was sincere in its efforts to solve the IP dispute with the two state solution. That was from 1992 -2002 or so. I also accepted the words of the many zionists that said this in this country. I knew that Martin Indyk’s and Dennis Ross’s primary loyalties were with Israel, somehow I still believed that they supported a just resolution of the dispute. Now it is completely clear to even me that the entire peace process was one big swindle. Indyk is deep into that swindle. After the role he played, how can he possibly accuse anyone of lying? His public life for the past 20 years is one big lie to advance Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

    Scott McConnel’s post yesterday had one statement that really struck me:

    His [Satloff's] answer surprised me: there has been a two state negotiation going on since 1937 (the time of an early British partition proposal) and it’s still ongoing. He could not have made it clearer that Israel and its American spokesman enjoy the pretext of a peace process—it can go on forever!

    That really made it clear that those of us who believed in the “peace process” were really being played for suckers from the very beginning. And Indyk is one of those American spokesmen.

    • thankgodimatheist
      July 23, 2010, 9:46 pm

      “That really made it clear that those of us who believed in the “peace process” were really being played for suckers from the very beginning.”

      Yes Syvanen, you and the American people more than any other people, have been taken for a ride..Even babies in Palestine and elsewhere in the Arab countries, are born with the sense that this “peace” process that Israel and the US are infatuated with, (more of the process than the peace itself) is nothing but a global Israeli swindle..

      • hayate
        July 24, 2010, 1:13 am

        Everything zionists do is a sodding swindle, to put it politely.

  13. lobewyper
    July 24, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Jerry Haber’s (Magnes Zionist) Aril 10, 2008 piece below succintly summarizes the history of the two-state concept from the standpoint of Israeli politics:

    “The Dove of Peace? Or Rather the Hammer of Justice and the Bell of Freedom?”

    link to themagneszionist.blogspot.com

    The article includes his take on the reasons for the collapse of the Israeli left. He concludes:

    When the discourse of justice, of self-determination is adopted, then the options are either two strong and equal states for both peoples, or no exclusive state for either. Either option entails reducing Israeli power for the sake of Palestinian power, a tzimzum (contraction) for the sake of promoting an equitable solution.

    This is not altruism.

    This is ordinary justice.

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