Another mainstream voice, Robert Wright, informs Americans that two-state solution is on ‘deathbed’

US Politics
on 5 Comments

Robert Wright says at the Atlantic that the two-state solution is on its deathbed, and he’s getting over 300 comments. Like Gideon Levy at Haaretz, he is moving the mainstream discourse forward. He quotes an important statement at J Street, by Menachem Klein, that trying to repartition the land would start a civil war: Yitzhak Rabin was killed not for evacuating a single settlement, but for an interim agreement.

And meanwhile two states is an article of faith in Washington, as Wright points out. The importance of his post is in the second paragraph below: “those of us who live at a safe remove from the conflict, and can in theory summon detachment, should try hard to see the situation clearly, succumbing neither to paralyzing fear nor cozy illusions.” This is a statement about religious attachment and empowering non-Jews. Americans must not be bound by Israeli fears, and they must consider one of the options– “a one-state solution, and for demographic reasons that one state won’t be both Jewish and democratic”– with our own lenses.

My point isn’t that we should blame the Israelis for the death or very-near-death of the two-state solution. It’s not surprising that people with their history and geopolitical predicament would let fear get the better of them. (They’re being no more irrationally fearful than Americans were in the wake of 9/11, which led us to launch two wars, one of them against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and that posed no threat.) By the same token, it’s not surprising that the Palestinians wouldn’t endure 45 years of subjugation, during which they’ve been denied basic human rights, without any eruptions of violence (which of course isn’t to say I support the violence). That’s the depressing thing about the Israel-Palestinian conflict: It results from the Israelis and Palestinians acting more or less the way you would expect people in their shoes to act.

But that’s why it’s crucial that those of us who live at a safe remove from the conflict, and can in theory summon detachment, should try hard to see the situation clearly, succumbing neither to paralyzing fear nor cozy illusions. And the most common cozy illusion is that, though the time may not be right for a two-state solution now, we can always do the deal a year or two or three down the road.

The truth is that a two-state solution is almost completely dead, and it gets closer to death every day. If there’s any hope at all of reviving it, that will involve, among other things, somehow delivering a shock to the Israeli system.

5 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 6, 2012, 10:09 am

    Let us pray that this and such articles move people to ACTION and not to go out for another six-pack because we, too, are powerless. But I really don’t expect AIPAC to “move over” any more than I expect BIG-OIL to do so.

  2. Sin Nombre
    April 6, 2012, 10:47 am

    Robert Wright wrote:

    “That’s the depressing thing about the Israel-Palestinian conflict: It results from the Israelis and Palestinians acting more or less the way you would expect people in their shoes to act.”

    Very largely true—*except* as to *the* big issue here, which is where Wright’s analysis/sentiment breaks down.

    Very largely true, that is, that the history of the jews and of course especially the Holocaust would condition them to, say, fight against having a Palestinian state that could pose any threat to them and to thus insist on cosmically defensible if not impossible borders that no-one else has.

    But what’s so special about jewish history that says that they alone are entitled to a (relatively) pure ethno-racial-religious state that they and they alone control? Simply because in some other states at other times those states have turned on them? Well, different states have turned on damn near everyone in the past and of course if you even so much as mention the idea in any other state today that it should enshrine this or that other ethno-racial-religious group as its permanent official overlords the very first screamers of the word “fascism” would be jewish groups.

    Wright’s analysis and sentiment stops short at providing any support for the rejection of a One-state solution.

  3. southernobserver
    April 7, 2012, 2:17 am

    Dear Mr Weiss,
    What is most striking to me about the comments is that the majority still repeat the same old lies. There was a long argument about ‘government land’; pointless even it wasn’t still a war crime.

    I would be very interested in your opinion. As somebody who has honestly and consistently the same views as Beinart and Robert Wright and Andrew Sullivan and MJ have now reached, what is your own view of the long-term outcome?

    I abjured monotheism long ago, but it is hard not to reach for the old bad stories. This is not S&G. Breaking the silence and the others show that there really are righteous Israeli’s. Just so few that I cannot now see how this can end except very very badly.

  4. Steve Macklevore
    April 7, 2012, 7:12 am

    Robert Wright’s article is excellent, but I’ve just spent a miserable time reading a hundred or so of the comments.

    They reveal the all the standard Israeli prejudices and legalistic arguments. The settlements are built in government land, Palestinians want to destroy Israel, you can’t negotiate with fanatics etc etc etc blah blah blah.

    I see zero sign that Israel is changing, and find it impossible to imagine any policy changes anytime soon. SIGH. Sorry for being so negative.

  5. Kathleen
    April 7, 2012, 2:12 pm

    “My point isn’t that we should blame the Israelis for the death or very-near-death of the two-state solution.’ Moving the conversation and awareness along but too chicken shit to put the majority of the responsibility for the failure where it is the continued building and expansion of illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem. Too bad such a weak kneed individual

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