‘NYT’ columnist cites Congressional unanimity on Gaza slaughter–and embraces ‘J Street’ to ‘balance’ lobby

on 26 Comments

Nicholas Kristof has a column in the Times praising J Street as an antidote to the Israel lobby and warning that the two-state solution is slipping away. He sees J Street as bringing “balance” to our discourse, and calls Jewish Voice for Peace a “leftist group.” The piece is remarkable for its flat rendition of the totalitarian state of the discourse on Israel/Palestine, but stops short of a deeper understanding. But it also reveals the new liberal consensus: We have to take on the Israel lobby to bring about the two-state solution, in Obama’s second term. We will politicize the issue, somewhat, so that Obama will feel he has political capital to push Israel…. I don’t think it will mean anything in the end, but the piece is still a step forward for the mainstream. Kristof excerpts:

[T]he American House of Representatives voted 407 to 6 to call on the Obama administration to use its diplomatic capital to try to block the [Palestinian statehood] initiative, while also threatening to cut the Palestinians’ funding if they proceeded to seek statehood.

Similarly, when Israel stormed into Gaza in 2008 to halt rocket attacks, more than 1,300 Gazans were killed, along with 13 Israelis, according to B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights group. As Gazan blood flowed, the House, by a vote of 390 to 5, hailed the invasion as “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Such Congressional tomfoolery bewilders our friends and fritters away our international capital. It also encourages the intransigence of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reduces the chance of a peace settlement.

In the last few years, a former government official named Jeremy Ben-Ami has been trying to change the political dynamic in Washington with a new organization…

Ben-Ami argues that “the loudest eight percent” have hijacked Jewish groups to press for policies that represent neither the Jewish mainstream nor the best interests of Israel.
Some see this influence of Jewish organizations on foreign policy as unique and sinister, but Congress often surrenders to loudmouths…

26 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    August 5, 2011, 9:50 am

    “Leftist group.” As if that was supposed to be a bad thing.

    You know on a related topic, I’m very much enjoying MSNBC’s “Lean Forward” campaign. I’ll take blatant liberalism over covert conservatism any day. Objective media simply does not exist, so we need to stop pretending that “journalistic objectivity” belongs anywhere besides in a pot at the end of the rainbow where unicorns and compassionate conservatives cavort.

    • annie
      August 5, 2011, 10:14 am

      here’s what he says:

      “What happens as Israel continues to become more religious and conservative, more isolated internationally and less democratic domestically?” Ben-Ami writes. “What happens to the relationship between American Jews and Israel as the face of Israel shifts from that of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres to that of the national religious settlers and the ultra-Orthodox rabbis?”

      To put it another way: When Glenn Beck becomes the best friend of Israel’s government and is invited to speak to the Knesset, what do liberals do? Some withdraw. Others join leftist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports divestment campaigns against companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.

      jvp is growing and they know it.

    • Proton Soup
      August 5, 2011, 8:34 pm

      this idea of a “liberal” MSNBC is a bit of a joke. MSNBC/NBC fancies itself as the “Establishment”, whatever that means. but given the experience of Jessica Yellin and the treatment of Ashleigh Banfield, it would seem that the Establishment is a kind of corporatism that likes big wars and the big spending that goes along with that. sure, they’re not objective, but it’s not the sort of subjectivity you may think it is, either. it is simply a partisan-branded version of the powers that be.

      link to huffingtonpost.com
      link to alternet.org
      link to en.wikipedia.org

  2. teta mother me
    August 5, 2011, 10:14 am

    Some see this influence of Jewish organizations on foreign policy as unique and sinister, but Congress often surrenders to loudmouths…

    according to an excerpt seen the other day, seeing “this influence of Jewish organizations as unique and sinister” is NOT a new phemonemon — W Bradley Westerfield discussed it in a book he wrote in 1955:

    “Palestine is the classic case in recent years of the determination of American foreign policy and domestic political considerations. American Zionists showed themselves to be zealous, relentlessly determined to security intervention United States government on behalf of a Jewish state in Palestine. They had wealth to devote to the cause, and beyond that they had two peculiar advantages among the various pressure groups seeking to influence major American foreign-policy. First, the Jewish population for which they claimed to speak was concentrated in urban centers in the big industrial states, especially New York, Pennsylvania, and California; these states were closely divided between the two political parties, and under the existing ” general ticket” system of counting electoral votes for the presidency, Zionists appeared to be a dedicated group who might be able to swing all the many electoral votes in those key states to one party or the other and thus decide a national election; even state and local elections in these big states were up national importance for strengthening local party organizations which would be needed to help national campaigns. Second and equally important, they were virtually unopposed by any other pressure group and faced an indifferent or mildly sympathetic public. Anti-Semites, e.g., preferred to have the remnants of European Jewry go to Palestine than come to New York; American security interests in the Arab world were not understood widely enough or felt strongly enough to create substantial political resistance to Zionism.
    page 228
    the breakdown of diplomacy
    In these circumstances leaders of both parties had nothing to lose and everything to gain politically by competing for Zionist votes and Zionist money. In the years 1939-45 mistakes in this game much higher than before. Zionists developed a sense of greater urgency as a result of the decimation of the Jewish population of Europe and the threat contained in the British White Paper of 1939 that no Jewish immigration would be permitted in Palestine after 1945 (except with the unlikely consent of the Arabs). And during the war the main center of world Zionism moved from London to New York, where the politically strategic location of millions of Jewish voters, plus coolly calculated contributions to party campaign funds, were available to bring the pressure of the American government to bear on Britain.
    Anglo-American negotiations. In 1944 both national party platforms carry planks strongly favoring the Jews.1 Immediately after the end of the war Truman accepted the suggestion of Earl G. Harrison, United States Representative on the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, that the American government ask England to grant the Jewish agency’s request for 100,000 immigrants to Palestine. Britain replied with a stalling request for a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry. Its establishment was announced on November 13, 1945.
    However, the American Congress could not be put off so easily. On December 12 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported out a resolution, cosponsored by such opposites as Taft and Wagner, calling for American good offices to secure
    ‘free entry of Jews” into Palestine, “the Jewish national home.” Only Chairman Connally ventured to vote against this resolution in committee. In the Senate he pleaded for postponement till after the Inquiry Committee made a report, but Wagner sought immediate adoption of the resolution as a guide to its policy. Former Adm. Thomas Hart (then in the Senate on gubernatorial appointment from Connecticut), reflected the views of the Navy Department when he offered a watered-down substitute frankly intended to mollify the Arabs. But he was drowned out in a voice vote which passed the Taft- Wagner Resolution. In the House no one had to go on record either. New York Republican leader James Wadsworth didn’t have the courage (slightly less remarkable, since she came from upstate) to move to recommit the whole resolution on forthright anti-Zionist grounds; on standing vote he mustered 36 to 133 against recommital. The resolution then went through by voice vote.

    number of interesting points in the 1955 text — contributions were “cooly calculated;” Great Britain was trying the scrape the problem from its plate — with zionist’s inducements; New York was Ground Zero for zionist activism. etc

  3. Chespirito
    August 5, 2011, 11:00 am

    Sorry Kristy the Clown but J Street is not “balance”, it’s just a smoother, more passive-aggressive wing of the $3bn/year-in-military-aid-for-Israel lobby, and their bottom line is only minimally different from AIPAC’s. I wish it weren’t true and I hope that what Phil and many others optimistically predict comes true, that J Street will be a gateway drug that will swiftly bring people to a a JVP kind of place.

    And at least JVP got mentioned, even if as a –I’m clutching my pearls– LEFTIST group omigod. JVP you are awesome.

  4. Citizen
    August 5, 2011, 11:09 am

    It would be interesting to see somebody explain how Jewish Voices For Peace is a “leftist”group. I get their stuff via email all the time; they never engage in class warfare, nor do they extoll the cons of unfettered capitalism.
    In short, they are not into socio-economic “class warfare.” Are they leftist in the same sense Hemingway was? Gurenica, OP Cast Lead? Does one have to be a Marxist to be against Fascism? Was the US Marxist when it fought Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan? And was it fascist when it engaged in the cold war against the USSR? Is the analogy always going to be the reds and the blacks fighting in the back streets of Berlin while we watch Cabaret?

    • Real Jew
      August 5, 2011, 7:36 pm

      “It would be interesting to see somebody explain how Jewish Voices For Peace is a “leftist”group… they never engage in class warfare, nor do they extoll the cons of unfettered capitalism.
      In short, they are not into socio-economic “class warfare”

      Spot on with this one. I follow JVP as well and never have i seen them leaning toward “class warefare”. The Right is crafty. They do a wonderful job of villifying any and all opposing views. Especially what they consider to be the Left, often comparing them to Nazis.

      Anytime the Right attacks an individual or organization you can bet that they are doing something most decent people would agree with. JVP does awesome work and the incredible growth of their numbers and influence reflects that.

  5. Real Jew
    August 5, 2011, 12:06 pm

    It’s a truly sad day for US democracy and foreign policy when “leftists” aka truth tellers, are excited just to see one article in the media that contains even the slightest truth. What does that say about our media, the diminishing left, and our foreign policy.

    Americans nationwide should be protesting daily to stop the injustices committed by our govt perpetuated by our politicians greed, the Israel lobby, and their campaign funds. We the American people, have already paid a hefty price for allowing 5% of the population to have almost total control of our foreign policy.

    The “special relationship” we have with Israel has created unimaginable consequences. Beginning with bin Laden’s declaration that the 9/11 attacks was due to America’s blind support of apartheid Israel and subsequently their treatment of Palestinians. Since then it has made an enemy out of 1/6th of the world population (muslims) and destroyed US’ standing and credibility internationally and in the ME as an “honest broker”.

    And the worst part about it all is the majority of Americans are clueless to these facts due to the censorship and heavy bias in our media. And the neocons are pushing for yet another war in the ME on behalf of Israel. Quite disgraceful

    • Citizen
      August 5, 2011, 5:29 pm

      I agree with you Real Jew, and I am a Real Goy. I also happen to be a real American citizen and one who could be reasonably described as a “secular humanist.” I don’t think any citizen of the world or the USA can honestly disagree with your take.

      • Robert Werdine
        August 5, 2011, 7:00 pm

        I do.

      • Real Jew
        August 5, 2011, 7:47 pm

        You disagree? yet you havnt elaborated on what it is you actually disagree with….I’ll wait…

      • Chaos4700
        August 5, 2011, 7:53 pm

        Oh gosh, you’re in for a long wait. Assuming LaFever responds to you at all, it’s likely to be a Wittyesque wall of text full of standardized talking points that have absolutely nothing to do with what you put out there.

      • Real Jew
        August 5, 2011, 11:57 pm

        And I would be as surprised as a prostitute being informed by her doctor she had a venereal disease lol.

        The pro Israel argument has become so lame, repetitive, and ineffective. The only country in the world who needs to spend hundreds of millions (possibly billions) of dollars on “hasbara” to convince the world they are as moral as they claim.

        Fortunately the internet has allowed many to bypass the viciously pro Israel media and have exposed them to Israel’s intransigence. And since Rob doesn’t want to start things off I’ll begin with some statistics:

        Between March 2000 and July 2008
        Israelis killed by Palestinians: 67 Palestinians killed by Israelis: 4698

        Israelis killed by Palestinian civilians: 0 Palestinians killed by settlers: 144

        Number of registered Israeli refugees: 0 Number of registered Pal refugee: 1,764,012
        Total number of Israeli refugees: 0 Total number of Pal refugees: 4,503,226

      • lyn117
        August 6, 2011, 2:26 am

        Biorabbi, your March 2000 to July 2008 figures are off:
        Here are pre-cast lead (9/29/2000 to 12/26/2008) figures from btselem

        Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces:
        Gaza: 3000 WB: 1791 Total OT:4791 Israel:69
        Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians
        Gaza:4 WB:41 Total OT:45 Israel:2
        Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians
        Gaza:39 WB:200 Total OT:239 Israel:492
        Israeli security force personnel killed by Palestinians
        Gaza:97 WB:146 Total OT:243 Israel:89

        Since you can’t count adult settlers as not participating in hostilities, despite their civilian designation (and I’m not convinced you should count Israeli reservists as civilians either), the Palestinians actually did better proportionally at hitting “participants in hostilities” than did the IDF, despite the randomness of their aim. I of course judge my evaluation of settlers as participating in hostilities based on the Israeli government’s original argument for building the settlements, which was that they serve a military purpose.

      • Real Jew
        August 6, 2011, 11:12 am

        I think you’re missing the point Lyn. Instead of focusing on the technicalities of my post you should be focused on what these numbers indicate. Almost 5000 Palestinians have been killed compared to 67 I mean 69 Israelis. A little excessive don’t you think?

        Not to mention, as you pointed out, these figures are pre-Gaza “War” where 1500 more Palestinians, 60-70% women and children, were killed. Compared to 14 Israelis in which half of that was due to friendly fire.

        I put war in quotations because as Norman Finkelstein stated “this was not a war….but a massacre”. If you want to research the Gaza “war” in greater detail http://www.breakingthesilence.org is a good place to start.

      • Robert Werdine
        August 6, 2011, 4:08 pm

        Real Jew,

        Said you: “It’s a truly sad day for US democracy and foreign policy when “leftists” aka truth tellers, are excited just to see one article in the media that contains even the slightest truth. What does that say about our media, the diminishing left, and our foreign policy.”

        Probably that most Americans do not associate the words “leftist” with “truth teller.”

        “Americans nationwide should be protesting daily to stop the injustices committed by our govt perpetuated by our politicians greed, the Israel lobby, and their campaign funds. We the American people, have already paid a hefty price for allowing 5% of the population to have almost total control of our foreign policy.”

        I see you’ve been reading your Mearsheimer and Walt.

        “The “special relationship” we have with Israel has created unimaginable consequences. Beginning with bin Laden’s declaration that the 9/11 attacks was due to America’s blind support of apartheid Israel and subsequently their treatment of Palestinians. Since then it has made an enemy out of 1/6th of the world population (muslims) and destroyed US’ standing and credibility internationally and in the ME as an “honest broker.””

        I think it is more accurate to say that America’s support for Israel plays but a part in Al-Queda’s agenda. Al-Queda’s inventory of grievances are hardly limited to America’s support for Israel. They extend to the following particulars outlined in Saif al-Adel’s document “Al Queda’s Strategy to the Year 2020:

        1. Provoke the United States into invading a Muslim country.

        2. Incite local resistance to occupying forces.

        3. Expand the conflict to neighboring countries, and engage the U.S. in a long war of attrition.

        4. Convert al-Qaeda into an ideology and set of operating principles that can be loosely franchised in other countries without requiring direct command and control, and via these franchises incite attacks against countries allied with the U.S. until they withdraw from the conflict, as happened with the 2004 Madrid train bombings, but which did not have the same effect with the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

        5. The U.S. economy will finally collapse under the strain of too many engagements in too many places, making the world wide economic system which is depended by the U.S. also collapse leading to global political instability, which in turn leads to a global jihad led by Al-Qaeda and a Wahhabi Caliphate will then be installed across the world.

        It might be of interest to you that despite the heartfelt sorrow expressed by Hamas at Bin Laden’s timely passing, Palestinian leaders and others have actually criticized Bin Laden for his neglect of the Palestinian issue.

        As for America not being and “honest broker,” please. We have spent decades peace-processing and peace-planning ourselves to death, and pouring hundreds of millions into the PA’s bottomless rabbit hole only to be met with the stone-cold wall of Arab-Palestinian rejectionism. The US, like most Israelis, supports the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, some 97% of the WB and all of Gaza consistent with the Clinton parameters that were offered to the Palestinians in December of 2000, and which they rejected for not including an unlimited right of return to Israel, among other things. Abbas rejected a similar deal from Olmert in 2008. The US supports a Palestinian state, but not at the expense of Israel’s destruction as Jewish state. Do you really imagine that our agreement to drown the Jewish state in a sea of demographic subversion is the only way for us to be an honest broker?

        This “right of return” has no legal or diplomatic standing whatsoever, and no Israeli government, no matter how generous or liberal-minded is ever going to agree to drown the Jewish state in a sea of demographic subversion by letting the refugees “return.” I sometimes wonder how long the Palestinian leaders and their sundry supporters around the world will continue to taunt the poor, long-suffering Palestinian people with these cruel, lunatic fantasies of “return” that will never be, and finally sit down and make a practicable, workable peace that will put the Palestinians out of their misery and get them on the road to responsible statehood.

        I’m betting it’s not going to be any time soon.

        A right of return to Israel of the 1948 refugees and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would number about 4.7–7.5 million, depending on who’s counting. Such a return would mean that the territory of pre-1967 Israel would swiftly or gradually acquire an Arab majority. Meaning, no more Jewish state.

        If implemented, it would be a regional disaster, and a catalyst for instability the likes of which could scarcely be imagined. There would be instant pandemonium, as Arab and Jewish communities would vie for dominance and try to settle old scores, and as millions of refugees from 1948 and their descendants, now resident in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon would attempt to repossess lost houses and lands in pre-1967 Israel creating an Arab majority in the bi-national state. If that state were democratic (and that’s a very, very big if), the majority would determine its character, and in fairly short order it would become an Arab state with a gradually declining Jewish minority. The PA and, needless to say, Hamas, who have shown precious little concern for either democracy, freedom, rule of law, or human rights where the Palestinian people are concerned, would doubtfully confer any of these on Jews, of all people, living under their domain. I have little doubt that the Arab majority would soon pass legislation blocking further Jewish immigration into the country, making life for them increasingly untenable to the complete indifference of the EU and the UN, and soon enough, Jews would begin to leave.

        Both the Peel and UN Commissions of 1937 and 1947 understood that peaceful co-existence in a bi-national state was a non-starter. That was why they both recommended partition. Then the Arabs rejected both partitions, and the rejection of the latter led to the 1948 War, and, well, we all know where things went from there.

        Jewish self-determination did not need to come at the price of the Palestinians’ exodus in 1948. The Palestinians, who also had a right to self determination that the Jews never denied, certainly would have had it if they and the surrounding Arab states had accepted the partition. Their self-determination was not only suppressed by the surrounding Arab states in the 1949-1967 period, but spurned repeatedly by their leadership on multiple occasions afterward. They have been the principal impediment to their own self-determination because they continue to insist that it can only be fulfilled by blotting the self-determination of the Jewish people living in Israel. This is “justice.” Having voided the partition arrangement in 1947 by opting for war, the refugee problem caused by the war was never going to be realistically solved inside the new Jewish state except on a limited basis, which the Arabs rejected in any case. Opting for war instead of partition and compromise had consequences, and it still does.

        The whole framework of agreements with the Palestinians put the issue of the status of the territory and Israel’s settlements where it remains to this day despite over two years of the Palestinians’ willful neglect and intransigence: on the negotiating table. That Israel has entered into this framework, has made tangible, verifiable concessions and withdrawals from the territories, and still embraces the framework of a negotiated solution to its conflict with the Palestinians underscores the good faith of its efforts, and further disproves any intent to colonize or displace the territories and its inhabitants. Did Nazi Germany enter into a “peace process” with Poland or any other country it conquered? Did Imperial Japan? Please. How can you and others continue on and on with these spurious attempts brand Israel as an illegal aggressor and occupier/oppressor when it has been and remains open to a compromise solution?

        As for the Gaza war, it was a war, not a massacre, and a war in which Hamas’ culpability is total.

      • Citizen
        August 6, 2011, 7:05 pm

        Werdine, you totally ignore the simple fact that the Arab natives of former Palestine Mandate land were terrorized off their land by Jews mostly from Europe, and those Jews have not allowed those natives to return to this day, and also to this day Jewish Israelis are still taking the Palesinians’ land. Quit trying to put lipstick on that Jewish pig.

      • lyn117
        August 6, 2011, 8:41 pm

        Yes I agree Real Jew, the overview gets lost in technicalities.

        The overall point is that whatever the statistics, Israel has been killing the Palestinians in the course of invading and taking over their land. Whatever the status of the victims or legality (under the rules of war) of their death, the Palestinians are fighting an essentially defensive fight, the Israelis an offensive one.

      • lyn117
        August 6, 2011, 9:00 pm

        You obviously ignore the fact that zionists, from Herzl on, had been figuring out ways and means of getting rid of the native Palestinian Arabs from Palestine. As far as self-determination, the people of Palestine were never asked if they wanted the land divided. We don’t know what would have happened if the UN had proposed conducting a referendum on their partition recommendation, if every Arab voted against it and every Jew for it, it obviously would have failed. We don’t know what would have happened if the zionists had followed the part of UN 181 recommendation that required of granting full rights to the Arab minority within the proposed Jewish state either. It seems quite likely that many Arabs would have been fairly satisfied with full democracy and rights under a Jewish state, if that was their only option. However, they weren’t asked. The zionists started expelling them almost immediately, and had already conducted a number of terrorist attacks, mostly at British targets. There really was only one way of providing self-determination to the people of Palestine, and that was to put the various proposals to a vote. Through much of the history of the zionist movement the Arabs were demanding one-person, one vote regardless of creed in structure of government in their land, it was the British, at the behest of the zionists who denied them. It was the zionists who lobbied heavily for the partition, and they didn’t ask the people of Palestine what they wanted, neither did the UN.

      • Real Jew
        August 8, 2011, 4:41 am

        Weirdine said: ” I see you’ve been reading your Mearsheimer and Walt”

        As a matter of fact I have read M and W. Two very accomplished Harvard and U of C academics who put the entire pro israel movement in panic mode by successfully exposing the anti American foreign agent called the Israel Lobby. Not to mention their trademark behavior including but not limited to mass spying, black mail, stealing uranium for nuclear weapons, unscrupulous campaign donations, fraud, and extortion.

        Your nonsensical prattle pertaining to al qaeda is completely irrelevant. Other then the FACT Osama mentioned the Occupation as a primary reason for the 9/11 attacks, al qaeda has absolutely nothing to do with this debate. Typical tactic used by pro Israel folk, when you have no rebuttal change the subject to suit your arguments.

        Furthermore, your claim that after ” pouring hundreds of millions into the PA’s bottomless rabbit hole only to be met with the stone-cold wall of Arab-Palestinian rejectionism” is laughable. In case you missed Bibi’s major speech last month to congress allow me to summarize:

        Netanyahoo: “Israel is ready to make painful concessions for peace… give up parts of OUR ancestral homeland”. He goes on to say, no halting of settlement construction (illegal land theft), no to dividing Jerusalem, no to right of return, no to dismantling the wall no no no no.

        Every single topic the Palestinians (along with the rest of the world) intend to negotiate, Bibi has already said no. And the US congress is just an extension of Israeli occupied territory who does absolutely anything the Israelis want for fear of the Lobby’s wrath. Then they accuse the Palestinians of refusing to negotiate, as do you. You are either ill informed or intentionally ignoring indisputable evidence that counter your claims. My guess is the latter.

        Like Citizen said: “Quit trying to put lipstick on that Jewish pig”

      • Cliff
        August 17, 2011, 7:55 pm

        You are a pathological liar. So much bullshit in that one comment, it’s unbelievable. Even worse considering you’re a Zionist sock puppet claiming to be Arab and muslim.

        Btw I replied to your 63 paragraph pile of nonsense, in which you cited an IDF approved study on the lebanon war (authored by an IDF official)

  6. anonymouscomments
    August 5, 2011, 12:40 pm

    Let’s not knock all the STARK progress in this editorial…

    1- It calls out bias, Jewish influence, and AIPAC extremism, in the NYT, and is a most forwarded article.
    2- It gives weight to JStreet. At least JStreet is clearly for a viable two state solution. AIPAC is for insanity, expansion, and in the end some nutty stuff. Further, I know JStreet and they strategically want a large Jewish base, so have to lag on being progressive. In time, as Israel gets worse and moderate American Jews wake up from their slumber, JStreet could easily shift “left” and get tougher on Israel (likely short of BDS, but I assume targeted BDS might get on their agenda in time…)
    3- It mentions JVP and does not even explicitly deride JVP. Those who consider “leftist” a slander were never going to join JVP anyways, but now many Americans and American Jews are going to be googling JVP… can you imagine how many just heard of JVP, and not in a necessarily negative light?

    The refugees will be screwed if we want to be honest about what nuclear armed Israel will ever consent to. I prefer JVP by miles, but JStreet is at least a step. In time I do *not* think they will prove to be an enabler like AIPAC, but may actually shift into a force which can get a sane(r) policy pushed in DC (though unjust in some ways, namely refugees…. but again, that is a fight sober analysts concede is not winnable; we should not concede those rights, but in an eventual deal, they would likely get compensation and some token return… but nothing more can be hoped for coming from Israel).

    I know the principled among us would love a single secular state (me too, “ideally”). But if that is our only acceptable end-game, we are not analyzing how the single state would actually LOOK (it is NOT our secular dream state). Further, I repeat, many of my Palestinian friends WANT two states, if viable. They have hope that Israel and a viable Palestinian state can complement each other, grow their respective national cultures (which will be quite different), share tourism, and even fit economically. A single state might be a horrible mess, with Palestinians subjugated due to institutional and economic inequality; forget the prospect of a fascist Jewish gov that forms this single state unilaterally with another round of mass dispossession…. repeating history. Israel will not agree to single state ever, but they could IMPLEMENT it unilaterally. Not a good path, Let’s not make that their only viable option, as the right *wants* that to be their only option. We need to save the 2SS, cause if it really is dead or we are resigned to help kill it, I fear the eventual “resolution” we would see.

    • Citizen
      August 5, 2011, 5:40 pm

      How does Bibi’s version of a two state solution fit into your thoughts, anonymouscomments? I guess this is another way of asking, why does a rump Palestinian state seem potentially viable to you as a means of attaining at least somewhat lasting peace in the region? Local black regions sans any real power were seen by the world as not sufficient to achieve reasonably lasting peace in apartheid S Africa, remember?

      • anonymouscomments
        August 5, 2011, 6:46 pm

        believe me, i have lived in apartheid west bank…. bibi’s ideas for a “state” are disgusting, and basically, what we have now.

        i am just thinking we have two possible professed goals, and we can guess at the outcome of each thrust.

        1) a 2ss on 1967 borders…
        seems impossible now, but if the zionist lobby is (amazingly) reduced, we might get something close to it. i want ACTUAL 1967 borders, and what ever bones israel would offer re RoR/compensation; of course israel will play the power card and tweak the border. i “accept” that they de facto got away with ethnic cleansing, as they are now a state, with nukes, but further a racist state that will not cede much on RoR. very best case scenario, with a jewish and non-jewish worldwide shift in opinion, would yield ~1967 borders, but the old city under israeli rule. palestine with a capital in east jerusalem. some small trades to get a highway connecting to gaza i guess. refugees get screwed, but the occupation ends, and people get freedom.

        2) we insist on a single state….
        this freaks out israelis/jews who buy the whole xenophobia/fear thing. the status quo is *perpetuated* with settlement building continuing as always. biased media says “they” clearly want the “destruction of israel” or the “jewish state” and enough idiots buy it. in the main stream this relegates the palestinian movement as one which is racist/anti-semitic/anti-israel/etc. (with no basis). the movement we have been building fails to gain larger support, especially as the PLO signed oslo, yet now want “the whole thing”. time passes, and we see NOBODY getting more freedom or a better life. israel never reaches any point close to granting citizenship, and worst case we get nakba #3.

        further we need to DISCONNECT two grievances which are intimately connected, but truly DIFFERENT types of grievances. we need to note they are different, have different levels of urgency, and different likelihoods for amelioration.

        #1) the refugees israel created through ethnic cleansing
        #2) the occupation, now 43 years deep, and the associated colonization and land theft going on daily

        call me defeatist, but i think we get little on #1 (symbolic stuff and small change the best we could hope for), but #2 is more clear under international law and there is a global progressive consensus that #2 needs to be ended and rolled back. refugees, if expelled from what is a sovereign state, sadly just do not always get their rights.

        if we demand #1 AND #2 (which the 1SS perhaps represents; though israel will not ACCEPT the 1SS we envision so it is partially delusional), we get nothing out of the israeli goliath. if we demand #2 and something *negotiated* on #1, we have a base in israel that can grow, and we have a stronger international movement.

        really…. ask moderate palestinians… i have. many will state they just want a state and an end to the occupation. refugees thrown under the bus? yeah, i suppose, but they were thrown under the bus in 1948, and are still under it. want to give them false hope, while perhaps EXTENDING the occupation, which they also are further injured by? also, what if we miss a 2SS we could have achieved, as a global community with growing awareness exists, and instead israel goes nazi-like on those living under israeli control in time?

        bottom line…

        if you think the 2SS is dead and we can no longer fight, in time, to get a viable 2SS (and i agree it looks very tough), then WTF do you think you will get asking for a 1SS?

        really…. the 1SS is perfect in my mind, but i know israel, and things in the mind are not things on the ground. we try to right every injustice here and TPB may in fact use our principled stand as an excuse for MORE injustice. [do apologize, i really ranted and repeated myself 10x, but the possible flow if we are resigned to 1SS scares me…. and i am scared for the palestinians, not the israelis]

  7. PissedOffAmerican
    August 5, 2011, 11:00 pm

    “We have to take on the Israel lobby to bring about the two-state solution, in Obama’s second term”

    I’m not so sure the spineless piece of crap posturing fraud is going to have a second term. He has so disillusioned his “base” that Democratic turnout is going to be remarkably low. Of all the shit this coward has pulled, his legacy may well be that he was SO BAD that he greased the skids for one of these ultra-wackjob religious nuts from the right to slither on into the Oval Office.

    WHATEVER happens, it ain’t gonna be good. This inept backpeddling lyin’ sack of crap, in a second term, ain’t all the sudden going to miraculously turn into the person he was marketed as.

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