Now that the two-state-solution is all but dead, it is vital for Americans to hear the voices of Israelis and Jews and Palestinians who are imagining a different future. And maybe we are witnessing in that the end of Zionism. The important thing though is the strength of the voices, and the moral and spiritual vitality of them, and their potential leadership. Here is Miko Peled, an Israeli, the son of a war hero, uncle of the victim of a suicide bomber, writing a month ago:
Setting aside for a moment the argument of whether dividing historic Palestine into two states was ever a good idea, clearly forty years ago it was a viable solution. Today as liberal Zionist Jews and others call for this solution, it is a sad and pathetic sight.
In 1967, after the IDF completed the conquest of Palestine, great men like Dr. Nahum Goldman, Dr. Yishayahu Leibovitch, General Dr. Matti Peled and other prominent Jews called for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. However, Jews in Israel, America and elsewhere around the world were basking in the messianic glow of the conquest of historic Israel, bewitched by the sounds of biblical names now made accessible. Names like Hebron and Bethlehem, Shilo and Bet El, all of which who were now within reach drove everyone, including secular liberal Jews to believe that there is a God and that he was really on their side.
Never mind that a solution whereby half of the population receives barely 20 percent of its historic homeland while the remaining half receives the rest had little chance of success to begin with. Now the West Bank is riddled with towns and malls and highways built on Palestinian land for Jews only and Israeli cabinet members openly discuss population transfers, or rather transfer of its non-Jewish population. The level of oppression and the intensity of the violence against Palestinians has reached new heights and so the questions that begs to be asked are: who exactly will allow Palestinians to establish their mini state? and where will this state exist? If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind, Israel has no intentions of ever letting go of any part of historic Israel.
Discussing the two state solution now under these conditions shows an acute inability to accept reality. As one learns about the history of the Zionist movement and the early years of the state of Israel one will understand that parting with any portion of historic Israel is not something Israel will ever do. Liberal Jews in the US (see J Street) and in Israel (see the Zionist liberals like David Grossman who recently received a peace award in Germany) all of a sudden realized that there was a problem. They all claim that the solution is partition and segregation via the creation of a tiny and impotent state for the Arabs of Palestine. They do claim that Israel must be reprimanded for its treatment of Palestinians and they even condemn the siege on Gaza. These are commendable statements coming from Zionists anywhere particularly in the US where criticizing Israel is a mortal sin, but this is just talk.
There is an illusion that a liberal, forward thinking government can rise in Israel and then everything will be just as liberal Zionists wish it to be. They will pick up where Rabin and Arafat left off and we will have the pie in sky Jewish democracy liberal Jews want so much to see in Israel. This illusion is shared by American Jews, liberal Zionists in Israel and around the world and in the West where guilt of two millennia of persecuting Jews still haunts the conscience of many. If only there were better leaders and if only this and if only that… But alas, reality continues to slap everyone in the face: Zionism and peace are incompatible. I will say it again: Zionism is incompatible with peace.
A serious study of the history of modern Israel will show that the emergence of Netanyahu and Lieberman was perfectly predictable. They are the natural successors of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. As one looks at the political map in Israel one can see that future Zionist leaders, be they from Labor, Likud, Meretz or the religious nationals, will be no different and offer no change. The problem is Zionism and the solution is dismantling the Zionist framework and instituting a secular democracy that does not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. In other words, no one nation will rule over the other but the rule of law will govern everyone equally.
Zionism has created a state that wants nothing to do with peace or reconciliation. The problem is not Benjamin Netanyahu and Lieberman and the solution is not Yossi Beilin or David Grossman who represent the Zionist liberals. The problem is that the basic premise on which the Jewish state was founded, Zionism, is flawed.