However wrong Rupert Murdoch was about the Jewish media in his infamous tweet last weekend, he’s right about The New Yorker. The magazine is owned by Jews, the Newhouse family, and many of its writers and readers are Jewish, and its editor David Remnick, the Princeton-educated son of a New Jersey dentist who is said to reflect the views of the Upper West Side, has made a point of writing a lot of the articles about Israel himself. When Walt and Mearsheimer bashed the Israel lobby in ’07, Remnick mocked that if only we could solve the Israel/Palestine crisis, Osama bin Laden would go back into the family construction business. Before that, he supported the Iraq war and ran articles by former Israeli soldier Jeffrey Goldberg saying that Saddam Hussein had close links to al Qaeda and possessed chemical weapons.
In recent years, though, maybe burned by his neoconservative expedition, Remnick has shown depth and thoughtfulness about the conflict. He has turned with anger against the occupation and said bluntly that the American Jewish community is tired of holding the bag. So it is a glorious thing that last night Remnick published a piece by Yousef Munayyer that brings the great new truths of the Israel/Palestine conflict to an elite American readership: Zionism failed in its execution, the Israeli policy of bludgeoning Palestinians will never work, and the two peoples live in one state and must learn how to live together democratically. Yesterday I said that this war has cooked Israel’s goose in the American conventional wisdom, and has pushed the divorce between American Jews and Israeli Jews; and this piece is further proof. So let’s celebrate the New Yorker!
Acknowledging that the Iron Wall strategy only yields perpetual war is problematic for Zionism. The ideology claimed to be about ensuring the safety of world Jewry through a Jewish state. The paradox—and tragedy—is that the terms on which a Jewish majoritarian state was created, in a territory overwhelmingly populated by native Arabs, resulted in coexistence that could not be peaceful.
Moving forward, what is needed is a fundamental change in the way Israelis view their relations with Palestinian Arabs….
The two-state solution that has long been the focus of would-be peacemakers has been fatally undermined by the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories. The tripling in the number of Israeli colonists in the West Bank and the entrenchment of the settlement enterprise under the Oslo “peace process,” which began in the nineties, merely had the effect of processing the proposed Palestinian state into pieces. And so a shift toward a new paradigm must take place, one that is based on equality for all the people in the land from the river to the sea. Today, we are left with the options of occupation forever—meaning continued conflict within an apartheid state—or a representative and democratic single state.
Jabotinsky and his modern-day disciples might say yes to apartheid—dismissing the values of equality and democracy—in the name of maintaining Israel’s identity as a Jewish state above all. But his century-old thinking is as morally debased as it is antiquated. In the twenty-first century—and that is the century we are living in, despite Halutz and Yishai’s attempts at time-travel—Jabotinsky’s values are unacceptable. The road might be long, and it will certainly be difficult, but only two things are certain at this point: the trajectory toward a one-state outcome becomes clearer by the minute and the use of force will not help Israelis get there safely.
Beautiful. The New Yorker is changing the American paradigm, right before our eyes.