There’s going to be a one-state conference at Harvard this weekend. One of the fascinations of my latest trip to Israel/Palestine was seeing how Palestinians have given up on the two-state solution because Israel has destroyed the possibility and the U.N. has pocket-vetoed Palestinian statehood, and people who are sick of occupation are desperately looking around for other ideas (including, inevitably, armed resistance).
The critics are going nuts. Carol Iannone of National Review Online writes:
however, as long as Harvard wishes to allow students to entertain different ideas, how about this — resettlement of the Palestinians now residing in refugee camps to Arab countries, with full financial compensation. Left-wing Israeli historian Benny Morris, whose earlier work often seemed to condemn Israel’s actions in 1948, has more recently argued that transfer even of Israeli Arab citizens residing in Israel proper cannot be ruled out if Israel one day faces an existential threat as it did in the year of its birth….
“Existential threat” from Palestinian babies? These people are off the rails. We can only hope that they are separating themselves from the American discourse with this type of speech. The dissociation is reflected in Caroline Glick, whom Iannone quotes. Glick seems to understand that her Jewish nationalist reality would be unpopular in the U.S. Because we’re Germany in the 1930s, or we’re liberals?
Now, writes [Caroline] Glick, ”anti-Zionism” has replaced anti-Semitism among the fashionable, and the “embrace of the cause of Israel’s destruction by so many celebrity professors today is part and parcel of the destruction of the U.S. higher education system.” But Glick gives the most compelling rationale for the existence of Israel when she tells how she read about the one-state conference “as I was feeding my newborn son. I looked out the window at Jerusalem and all I could feel was thankful to be living in the independent, free Jewish state of Israel. I am thankful that these pseudo intellectuals no longer can determine the future of my people, as they could in the 1930s.”
Alan Dershowitz also targets the conference, with another bogus analogy, suggesting that anyone who calls for one state is denying Jewish peoplehood. There’s not really a connection:
What would Harvard do if a group of right wing students and faculty decided to convene a conference on the topic, “Are the Palestinians Really a People?” and invited as speakers only hard right academics who answered that question in the negative?…
They will claim that the “one-state solution” is a serious academic subject, whereas the question “are the Palestinians really a people?” is not. This is a pure rationalization. The question regarding the Palestinians was raised by a candidate for President of the United States and has been the subject of debate and controversy in the media and in academic writings. Both subjects are essentially political in nature and both have similarly phony academic veneers.