Beinart and Shenhav battle it out over the two-state solution

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 118 Comments
Peter Beinart (left) and Yehouda Shenhav (right).

Peter Beinart (left) and Yehouda Shenhav (right).

It was a night of contrasts: the American Peter Beinart talking to the Israeli Yehouda Shenhav. The young pragmatist pitted against the older radical. The humble journalism professor from the City University of New York battling the righteously indignant sociology professor from Tel Aviv University.

But by far the most important contrast of the night was their dueling visions for ending the Israel/Palestine conflict. Beinart remains convinced that the two-state solution, while not a perfectly just one, is the most practical way to end the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians. On the other hand, Shenhav believes it’s impossible, that it reeks of separatism and that it’s fundamentally immoral.

Beinart and Shenhav, two Jews offering starkly different solutions to the same problem, faced off at Columbia University Monday night in a talk sponsored by the prestigious school’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. Over 100 people–the vast majority of whom were presumably Jewish–showed up to witness the respectful, though at times rancorous, debate over the question of whether there was a “way out” of the Israeli-Palestinian “quagmire.”

The backdrop to the debate was Ian Lustick’s New York Times piece on the death of the two-state solution, and, more broadly, the death of the Oslo peace process 20 years after it began. While Lustick’s article was only brought up sparingly, the themes the University of Pennsylvania professor touched on in the Times were prominent throughout the night.

Beinart began the event with praise for Shenhav’s work on Mizrahi Jews, and then launched into a spirited and compelling defense of the two-state solution. He was reserved for his prepared remarks, speaking of why an Israeli and Palestinian state living side by side was the “least bad solution.” Beinart dove head-first into his task: convincing the audience why the arguments against a two-state solution don’t hold water.

Beinart was frank in acknowledging that the two-state solution is not perfect, saying that it wasn’t a good solution for Palestinian refugees or Palestinian citizens of Israel. But he also argued that Israel was not alone in having a religious identity, pointing to countries which have crosses on their flags that still have full citizenship for minorities. On the flip side, he argued that it would be beneficial for Palestinians to have a state they can call their own, with their own national anthem and army.

“While I can see that there are elements of injustice in this arrangement, I also want to acknowledge there are deeply just claims that the two-state solution does fulfill,” said Beinart. “The Jewish desire to have one state in the world dedicated to Jewish self-protection–given the Jewish experience in the diaspora…culminating in the Holocaust–is just.” He added that Palestinians, who are dispersed throughout the globe, also deserve to have a state to protect their own.

And he forcefully took on those who say the two-state solution is impossible. Majorities on both sides support this solution, he said. The settlers can be removed, and those who warn of an internal Israeli civil war sparked by the removal of settlements are wrong, as the Gaza experience in 2005 showed. And while the two-state solution is less possible now than it was back when the peace process started, it’s “less impossible” than the alternative: a shared space for Israelis and Palestinians. Beinart also cast doubt on the viability of whether a joint Israeli Jewish-Palestinian army could work. His argument is confined within what he thinks is in the realm of political possibility, and a shared space just isn’t, according to Beinart.

Shenhav came out slashing, jokingly referring to himself as a “lunatic.” Where Beinart stood still, Shenhav walked all over the place, wagging his finger and speaking directly to Beinart. His talk largely rehashed themes in his book, Beyond the Two State Solution: A Jewish Political Essay.

Shenhav objects to the two-state solution because it’s impossible, and because solutions like “land swaps” are unworkable because there’s no land of value to swap. There is no viable land to swap between Palestine and Israel, he says, and a Palestinian state will be a Bantustan. He also argued that the two-state solution is based on separatism, which is “the disease, not the cure” and that separatism is the “crisis of Zionism.” He pointed out that the conflict is based around two different paradigms: the 1948 paradigm that Palestinians operate under and the 1967 paradigm Israelis–particularly liberal Zionists–adhere to. “We Jews…have to take responsibility for the Nakba,” he implored. Talking directly to Beinart, Shenhav said that Palestinian citizens of Israel will pay the highest price in a two-state solution–and that it’s a “recipe for major transfer.”

His forceful statement that most Jews in Israel/Palestine “are settlers”–including those in proper Israel–was a novel one to most of the people in the audience. “What is so unique about settlements over the Green Line?” he asked, before saying that the Israeli liberal left uses the settlements as a scapegoat to make themselves seem democratic and liberal.

Shenhav also asserted that the future of the Jewish people in the Middle East was bound up with reaching a just solution that atones for the Nakba. Shenhav doesn’t want to live in a Middle Eastern bunker, he says–what kind of home is that for Jews? His ultimate solution is premised on changing most people’s understanding of soveriengty. Wanting to do away with the Western–and “violent”–notion of sovereignty, he proposes a shared space with some kind of arrangement allowing for communities to organize themselves with equal rights for all.

By the time Beinart responded, he dropped his reserved stance. He said Shenhav’s solution was a fantasy, that the game of politics is filled with tragic compromises.

Beinart had a point: in response to a question from the moderator, Shenhav said he’s no politician and doesn’t know how to get from his proposed solution to the real deal.

But Shenhav said his role is that of airing ideas, churning out a radically different solution to an intractable and bloody conflict. He wants to open up the realm of possibility, to break through the tired and failed U.S.-brokered peace process. It may be fantastical at the moment. But 20 years after Oslo, with John Kerry still trying the same old thing without a different result, Shenhav’s ideas are a breath of fresh air.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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118 Responses

  1. marc b.
    September 18, 2013, 11:17 am

    what was the position of the Palestinian representative in the debate?

    • eGuard
      September 18, 2013, 12:59 pm

      Why the hurry, marc? First let the liberal Zionists sort it out, then the Palestinians can come along to hear the outcome. Come back in another twenty years.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 4:49 pm

        It’s like having 2 old white guys decide on female birth control.
        Absolutely insane.

        I mean, has Jewish steering of the conflict this past 80 years been anywhere near competent ?

      • eljay
        September 18, 2013, 5:46 pm

        >> what was the position of the Palestinian representative in the debate?

        Humble gratitude for whatever scraps Zio-supremacists decide to throw their way?

      • seafoid
        September 19, 2013, 5:48 am

        “Humble gratitude for whatever scraps Zio-supremacists decide to throw their way?”

        “And now the cynical ones say that it all ends the same in the long run
        Try telling that to the desperate father who just squeezed the life from his only son
        And how it’s only voices in your head and dreams you never dreamt
        Try telling him the subtle difference between justice and contempt
        Try telling me she isn’t angry with this pitiful discontent
        When they flaunt it in your face as you line up for punishment
        And then expect you to say thank you straighten up, look proud and pleased
        Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you haven’t got the whole disease”

    • Krauss
      September 18, 2013, 1:09 pm

      Brilliant comment, Marc.

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 18, 2013, 1:10 pm

      “what was the position of the Palestinian representative in the debate?”

      Oh, you silly man. When detailing how the millions of Palestinians are going to live their lives, you can’t expect that Columbia would give a spot on the stage to such irrelevancies as what the Palestinians’ own position might be.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 1:52 pm

        Yeah, Columbia is so anti-Palestinian it employed Edward Said and created a chair in his honor.

        Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2013, 2:25 pm

        Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

        Since you asked, the work of Uri Davis and Ilan Pappe in that area springs to mind – and Chomsky was invited to speak on that subject and take questions and answers during his recent visit to the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) for the university’s first International Conference of Applied Linguistics and Literature (ICALL).

        P.S. I forgot to mention that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) routinely sponsored lectures and discussions with Norman Finkelstein.

      • Cliff
        September 18, 2013, 2:30 pm

        Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

        Why would they? The power dynamic is master and slave.

        Why the **** would the slaves cater to your NARCISSISM.

        If a Zionist is asking the question you posed, it does not come from a place of sincerity and desire for MEANINGFUL and equitable peace.

        It’s just YET ANOTHER example of your self-obsession with Jewish this/that and being eternal victims whilst you ROB the indigenous Palestinians of everything they hold dear.

        Get lost.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 2:35 pm

        I’m not talking about Jews who adopt pro-Palestinian positions.

        We play that game too, with people like Khaled Abu Toameh. He regularly speaks at Jewish organizational events.

        By the way, as I’ve said before, when I organized a panel on the I-P conflict in college, I had Palestinians and Jews talking and debating from both one state and two-state perspectives. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

        Also, I think it’s important to point out that there is no bigger advocate of including Palestinian voices in discussions of this issue in the Jewish community than Peter Beinart.

      • marc b.
        September 18, 2013, 2:44 pm

        Yeah, Columbia is so anti-Palestinian it employed Edward Said and created a chair in his honor.

        really, hophme, and what do you think Said’s position would be on Jewish-only debates on the future of Palestine being held at Columbia?

        Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

        that’s one question, that hostage has seemed to answer. another question might be ‘would Bill Kristol accept an invitation from the SJP to speak at one of their events?’

      • tree
        September 18, 2013, 3:08 pm

        Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

        So you are claiming that Columbia’s Institute of Jewish and Israeli Studies is a Jewish organization? Only Jews can study or teach there? Maybe they should add in the word “Jewish” Israeli since they don’t cover the 25% of Israelis who aren’t Jewish? Kind of like having a Department of “White” American Studies, right?

        Your comparisons are faulty, hophmi, and even so, you are wrong, as Hostage points out.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 18, 2013, 3:09 pm

        “Yeah, Columbia is so anti-Palestinian it employed Edward Said and created a chair in his honor.”

        So then this insult was purposeful out of malice, rather than mere oversight.

        “Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?”

        So Columbia University is now a Jewish organization??

      • amigo
        September 18, 2013, 4:06 pm

        “Yeah, Columbia is so anti-Palestinian it employed Edward Said and created a chair in his honor.”hopknee

        At least Edward Said was never a member of the terrorist Gang Irgun as was your beloved Prof Eli Weasel.

      • Donald
        September 18, 2013, 4:16 pm

        “By the way, as I’ve said before, when I organized a panel on the I-P conflict in college, I had Palestinians and Jews talking and debating from both one state and two-state perspectives. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. ”

        That’s the best way to do it in a college setting–have both Palestinians and Jews and with all positions covered. Which is what should have been done at Columbia, though at least they did have the 1SS solution represented.

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2013, 4:17 pm

        I’m not talking about Jews who adopt pro-Palestinian positions.

        We play that game too, with people like Khaled Abu Toameh.

        I call bullshit. All of the people I mentioned support equal human rights in either a one state or two state outcome, while Toameh adopts the pretense that Arabs in Israel already enjoy equal human rights. Are we supposed to ignore all of the obvious examples of discriminatory Israeli laws, policies, and practices, the Prawer plan, and CERD reports, or believe this Zionist Institute fellow who sings for his supper?

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2013, 4:48 pm

        P.P.S. Chomsky rejects the notion of a Jewish state or national home, but not cultural Zionism. That view is not part of the pro-Palestinian position or agenda.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 4:51 pm

        Cliff

        The complete term is pathological narcissism
        Simultaneously channeling Jewish exceptionalism and Jewish victimhood

        Available on 96.7 FM in all US metros.

      • ritzl
        September 18, 2013, 6:47 pm

        @hophmi Mostly yes.

        But when they don’t, like at Brooklyn College, don’t they get threatened with funding withdrawal and the insertion of Alan Dershowitz? Doesn’t it turn into a big brouhaha?

        Shouldn’t this presentation be made into an issue under the same considerations?

        Or maybe two Jews discussing the fate of absent Palestinians is such a “normal” thing in some circles that it isn’t really defined as one-sided?

        These discussions about and without Palestinians always reminds me of the Christensen painting “Two Angels Discussing Boticelli,” minus all whimsy. link to bing.com

      • ritzl
        September 18, 2013, 7:25 pm

        @hophmi Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

        That question should be expanded to be, “Do Palestinians reach out to Jews to help solve this conflict?” Do they attempt to broaden their base of support for a solution, whatever that might be?

        The answer is an unequivocal yes.

        The opposite is true for center-left Jews/Israelis. This is always treated as an exclusively intra-Jewish issue.

        The problem with that is that at every turn, the “center-left” (e.g. Beinart in this context) Jews ALWAYS lose to the right/expansionist power base. It’s been going on since modern Israel was conceived.

        It seems to me that that dynamic/trajectory would be recognized and countered by broadening the base of support for the “center-left” Jewish position on the perpetual 1S/2S/”future of Israel at stake” dance. That two-staters would actively seek out and include Palestinians in these discussions, if only to try something new, but in the sincere sense to enlarge the consensus for their position and end their losing streak. It’s “now or never” they proclaim, yet they still pursue the intra-Jewish track.

        In entrepreneurial biz there’s often an investment decision point where you have to decide whether you want 100% of a very small pie, or 5% of a very big one. Right now the center-lefties of this debate are opting for the very small pie by declining inclusion/broader support. They do not want to share control of the debate or outcome. Classic, classic mistake, repeated over and over. They will lose everything (according to their definition of everything).

        marc b.’s question is as unanswerable as it is insightful and routine.

      • American
        September 18, 2013, 8:04 pm

        @ seafoid

        Damn, we might have found a Zio cure. The ncbi says ‘talk therapy’ might work with narcissist. Then I was casting about for something on ‘narcissist groups”……and found the ‘uncertain- identity theory’ about group joiners.
        So, should we try talk therapy first for their narcisssism or try to undo their identity -uncertainy first? And if talk doesnt work then try a course of hypnotism, and reserve lobotomies as last resort?

        link to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
        A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
        Narcissistic personality disorder
        Treatment
        Talk therapy may help the affected person relate to other people in a more positive and compassionate way.
        Expectations (prognosis)
        Outcome of treatment depends on the severity of the disorder.

        Collective or group narcissism
        Main article: Collective narcissism (or group narcissism) is a type of narcissism where an individual has an inflated self-love of his or her own ingroup, where an “ingroup” is a group in which an individual is personally involved.[34] While the classic definition of narcissism focuses on the individual, collective narcissism asserts that one can have a similar excessively high opinion of a group, and that a group can function as a narcissistic entity.[34]

        link to citation.allacademic.com

        ‘Collective narcissism and its social consequences’
        link to books.google.com of Theories of Social Psychology: Volume Two
        edited by Paul A M Van Lange, Arie W Kruglanski, E Tory Higgins

        UNCERTAINTY-IDENTITY THEORY

        ‘Uncertainty- identity is an account of how feelings of self uncertainty motivate people to identify with groups.
        They provide their members with a sense of who they, what they should think, feel and do……’

      • Mayhem
        September 18, 2013, 8:10 pm

        Do Arab organizations regularly invite Jews to discussions of the conflict that impact the future of Jews in Israel?

        In the great southern land Australia the answer to this question would be never EXCEPT for those select Jews who speak out against Zionism. Any association with Jewish Zionists is tantamount to collaboration with the enemy.
        Those handful who got involved in dialogue between Jews and Arabs under the auspices of a Peace Studies program at an Australian University always took great care to hide their involvement from their less accepting brethren.
        Of course there are these interfaith charades from time to time which are a joke beyond comprehension.
        Of note recently was an event held by the B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) which has as its motto ‘Promote Diversity’. This organisation, that was ostensibly established to defend Jews against ant-Semitism, today strives openly to promote dialogue and interaction with other ethnic and religious groups in our society.
        Their motives seem fine on the surface but when you observe what happened at this year’s annual oration, when a prominent international figure comes to speak, you start to wonder.
        Muslims from the community were invited to hear Professor Deborah Lipstadt speaking about the David Irving trial in the context of the Holocaust. Not one came.
        Benevolent, naive Jews are constantly getting involved in outreach organisations like the ADC but when it comes to the other side we are dealing with people who do not reciprocate, preferring instead to hold their cards very close to their chests.

      • talknic
        September 19, 2013, 1:33 am

        @hophmi ” when I organized a panel on the I-P conflict in college, I had Palestinians and Jews talking and debating from both one state and two-state perspectives. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. “

        We’re supposed to believe a propagandist for a state in breach of hundreds of UNSC resolutions? Some folk aren’t as naive as you are…

      • Shingo
        September 19, 2013, 7:40 pm

        In the great southern land Australia the answer to this question would be never EXCEPT for those select Jews who speak out against Zionism. Any association with Jewish Zionists is tantamount to collaboration with the enemy.

        I know for a fact that is a lie. Australians for Palestine have repeatedly invited arch Zio, Michael Danby, to debates and he has yet to take up their offer.

        Those handful who got involved in dialogue between Jews and Arabs under the auspices of a Peace Studies program at an Australian University always took great care to hide their involvement from their less accepting brethren.

        As someone who has studied at 2 major universities in Adelaide and Sydney, I know this also to be a lie. IN fact, interfaith dialogue of all persuasions is highly revered in these bastions of political correctness.

        Their motives seem fine on the surface but when you observe what happened at this year’s annual oration, when a prominent international figure comes to speak, you start to wonder.

        You have got to be kidding!! One has to wonder what the organizers of that conference were thinking when they invited a mass murderer like Brigadier General Gal Hirsch to give a speech, and how this would defend Jews against anti Semitism. To describe Hirsch, who was responsible for the Jenin massacre among others, as a prominent international figure would be like describing Hamas’ Ahmed al-Jabari as a world rewnowned military strategist. Hirsch should have been arrested at Sydney airport upon his arrival and whisked to the Hague.

        Muslims from the community were invited to hear Professor Deborah Lipstadt speaking about the David Irving trial in the context of the Holocaust. Not one came.

        Oh please!! It was reported that it was poorly attended anyway. And seriously, if Barghoutti were invited to gibe a speech by about the Nakaba, few Jewish leaders would attend. See Michel Danby above.

        Benevolent, naive Jews are constantly getting involved in outreach organisations like the ADC…

        The ADC is not an outreach program, it is focused on Jewish interests. Like I said, if they were remotely interested in outreach, they wouldn’t have ever considered inviting a fascist and racist war criminal like Hirsch to give a keynote speech.

        Have you ever even been to Australia?

      • RoHa
        September 19, 2013, 10:45 pm

        “Muslims from the community were invited to hear Professor Deborah Lipstadt speaking about the David Irving trial in the context of the Holocaust. Not one came.”

        Intentionally seeking death by boredom would count as suicide, and that is forbidden for Muslims.

      • Mayhem
        September 21, 2013, 8:16 pm

        I should be given the opportunity to counter Shingo’s baseless fabrications. For his information I happen to live in Australia. His unfounded retort that the Lipstadt talk was poorly attended is another one of his blatant lies; I was there and it was sold out.
        Like his Muslim mates he is not interested in anything to do with the Jewish Holocaust. For them the Holocaust is an obstacle to their pro-Palestinian ambitions.
        I remember when Shingo was quibbling about the death toll in Syria not being as high as others were suggesting. That was when it was just a tenth of what it is now.
        He has absolutely no credibility.

      • Mayhem
        September 21, 2013, 8:39 pm

        Gal Hirsh was a fine choice of speaker for the previous ADC oration as he has been seriously committed to the IDF’s high moral code. Jenin was no massacre as only 7 or 8 civilians died. It was a media beat up to put pressure on Israel at the time when Palestinian violence was running high due to the second intifada.

      • Shingo
        September 21, 2013, 11:53 pm

        Gal Hirsh was a fine choice of speaker for the previous ADC oration as he has been seriously committed to the IDF’s high moral code.

        The IDF commits war crimes and human rights abuses on a daily basis , and is employed to brain twin an illegal occupation in addition to violation violations of the GC.

        It’s moral code therefore is that of a terrorist organization.

        Jenin was no massacre as only 7 or 8 civilians died.

        Dozens of civilians does and was indeed a massacre. Even Shimon Perez admitted it was.

        Yet another war crime by he IDF. Hirsi is as much a war criminal as Sharon

      • Shingo
        September 22, 2013, 12:37 am

        His unfounded retort that the Lipstadt talk was poorly attended is another one of his blatant lies; I was there and it was sold out.

        No it was not sold out. I spoke to attendees and they said some seats remained empty even though Organizers gave tickets away – which doesn’t include the freebies they doll out to the high profile dignitaries.

        Like his Muslim mates he is not interested in anything to do with the Jewish Holocaust.

        Certainly not gratuitous events that exploit it to justify Israel’s criminality. Similarly , few members of the Jewish community are all that interested in the Nakba, unless the event is aimed at denying it or blaming the victims.

        And unlike the Holocaust, which had nothing to do with Muslims, it was Jews that carried out the Nakba.

        For them the Holocaust is an obstacle to their pro-Palestinian ambitions.

        And they would’ve right, because every time Netenyahu gives a speech, he invokes it as justification for Israel’s ongoing occupation and violation of Palestinian human right and self determination.

        I remember when Shingo was quibbling about the death toll in Syria not being as high as others were suggesting. That was when it was just a tenth of what it is now.

        No figures have ever been independently verified, and nor are they now. In fact, recent reports are revealing that:

        1. The majority of the death till has not been due to Syrian government forces
        2. At least half of the rebels are AQ

      • Annie Robbins
        September 22, 2013, 2:57 am

        Like his Muslim mates he is not interested in anything to do with the Jewish Holocaust. For them the Holocaust is an obstacle to their pro-Palestinian ambitions.

        what are you talking about? how far do i have to scroll up to find out what on earth the holocaust has to do w/this conversation?

        and why, pray tell, would the holocaust be an obstacle to palestinian activism????? seriously, you are starting to sound unhinged.

        oh well, i suppose context is everything.

      • Hostage
        September 22, 2013, 10:34 am

        I should be given the opportunity to counter Shingo’s baseless fabrications.

        Well now that you’ve been given one, you’ve simply removed all doubt that the Jewish Holocaust is nothing but a talking point you deploy when there’s nothing else you can think of to say.

      • Hostage
        September 22, 2013, 10:59 am

        Gal Hirsh was a fine choice of speaker for the previous ADC oration as he has been seriously committed to the IDF’s high moral code.

        The human rights and international human rights treaty monitoring bodies have reported that the IDF is guilty of gross violations.

        FYI, both the US and Israeli militaries have published perfectly fine codes of conduct, but neither government does a thing to enforce them or punish the many commanders and service members who have committed flagrant violations. They refuse to let other countries put the accused on trial, despite the fact that these other international courts offer defendants all the protections recognized by civilized peoples. So there’s really only the maintenance of a hypocritical pretense of the worst kind regarding this supposed ethical exceptionalism.

      • Mayhem
        September 23, 2013, 4:54 am

        unlike the Holocaust, which had nothing to do with Muslims

        Are you serious Shingo, do you want to see some pictures of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem meeting with Hitler link to collections.yadvashem.org?
        The Nakba and Holocaust are frankly incomparable. It’s like ranking the Israeli War of Independence on the same level as World War 2. I wouldn’t put it past you Shingo.
        All these prisoners that Israel is releasing to placate the Palestinians are war criminals.
        So we say 22 civilians died during the Jenin episode as proposed by HRW, how does this figure in the Syrian situation? A drop in a teacup.
        If you had accessed the website for the ADC oration in the week before it happened you would have been greeted with a ‘sold out’ message. The fact that the organisers misjudged the seating capacity ….

      • Shingo
        September 23, 2013, 5:35 am

        Yes I am serious Mayhem,

        Hajj Amin al-Husseini was exiled from Palestine by the British as of 1937, at which point he ceased to be the Mufti of Jerusalem. In fact, he only got he position because Samuel appointed him after he failed to even enough votes to come in 3rd.

        Not only that, but al-Husseini himself had NOTHING to do with the Holocaust.

        So my point stands. Muslims has NOTHING to do with the Holocaust.

        The Nakba and Holocaust are frankly incomparable.

        True, but they were both crimes against humanity. In terms of the experience of the victims, it matters little how one is killed.

        All these prisoners that Israel is releasing to placate the Palestinians are war criminals.

        No, most of them were put on trial in Israeli kangaroo courts. Most of them were arrested without charge.

        So we say 22 civilians died during the Jenin episode as proposed by HRW

        No, the UN says half the 56 deaths were civilians, which makes it 25-26, which clearly qualifies as a massacre. I know Palestinian lives mean nothing to you, but if 25-26 Israelis Jews were killed in a single attack, you nut jobs would be ranting about 1939 all over again.

        If you had accessed the website for the ADC oration in the week before it happened you would have been greeted with a ‘sold out’ message

        Which explains all the empty seats.

      • Walid
        September 23, 2013, 7:53 am

        Mayhem, you are disturbed by the Huseini/Hitler picture hanging in Yad Vashem ( I keep wondering what the picture of an Arab has to do with the holocaust other than for brainwashing purposes), but that museum has seen much worse when Rabin invited a Nazi and Hitler sympathiser to actually visit Yad Vashem; piece and photo about the event in The Guardian:

        … in 1976, Israel invited the South African prime minister, John Vorster – a former Nazi sympathiser and a commander of the fascist Ossewabrandwag that sided with Hitler – to make a state visit.

        Leaving unmentioned Vorster’s wartime internment for supporting Germany, Israel’s prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, hailed the South African premier as a force for freedom and made no mention of Vorster’s past as he toured the Jerusalem memorial to the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. At a state banquet, Rabin toasted “the ideals shared by Israel and South Africa: the hopes for justice and peaceful coexistence”. Both countries, he said, faced “foreign-inspired instability and recklessness”.

        Vorster, whose army was then overrunning Angola, told his hosts that South Africa and Israel were victims of the enemies of western civilisation. A few months later, the South African government’s yearbook characterised the two countries as confronting a single problem: “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.”

        link to theguardian.com

      • eljay
        September 23, 2013, 7:57 am

        >> “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.”

        Birds of a feather…

      • Shingo
        September 23, 2013, 8:21 am

        Rabin invited a Nazi and Hitler sympathiser to actually visit Yad Vashem; piece and photo about the event in The Guardian:

        Ironic isn’t it, that the same year al-Husseini was exiled from Palestine, Adolf Eichmann visited Palestine to discuss the possibility of large scale immigration of Jews to the Middle East with Arab leaders. Eichmann was also fluent in Hebrew.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 23, 2013, 8:50 am

        “( I keep wondering what the picture of an Arab has to do with the holocaust other than for brainwashing purposes),”

        It has no other purpose. It is there to scapegoat the Arab people, and to justify the most horrible acts against them. Nothing more.

      • talknic
        September 23, 2013, 10:08 am

        @ Mayhem “do you want to see some pictures of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem meeting with Hitler”

        Proves NOTHING except a photo was taken. al-Husseiniwas never elected to any position by the Palestinians to represent them, certainly did not did not represent the Palestinians post 1937 and no Palestinians served under him in the Balkans.

        “The Nakba and Holocaust are frankly incomparable.”

        In scale only. The Nakba morally far worse. With “Never again” ringing fresh in their ears the world community thru the UN and its Charter adopted Laws and Conventions based in large part on the treatment of our Jewish fellows under the Nazis. From day one, Israel under successive Governments has been in breach of the UN Charter, the Laws and Conventions and hundreds of UNSC resolutions reminding it of its legal obligations, making it no less culpable for its crimes than the Nazis of theirs.

        “It’s like ranking the Israeli War of Independence..”

        The war post Declaration (effective 00:01 15th May 1948 ME Time) was not for independence, the State of Israel already existed, was already independent and already OUTSIDE its proclaimed boundaries, busy usurping non Jews at 00:01 May 2013 (ME Time)

        “All these prisoners that Israel is releasing to placate the Palestinians are war criminals.”

        Been before the Hague have they?

        “So we say 22 civilians died during the Jenin episode as proposed by HRW, how does this figure in the Syrian situation?”

        Irrelevant. Syria has a civil war on its hands. Jenin is not in Israel. Israel has been acting in territories “outside the State of Israel” link to pages.citebite.com for 65 years.

    • Kathleen
      September 19, 2013, 2:16 pm

      nailed it

  2. Annie Robbins
    September 18, 2013, 11:51 am

    incredible! this is why i love mondoweiss. i was reading the forward’s “Is ‘Beyond the Two-State Solution’ Poised for Prime-Time?” earlier today about lustick’s article..
    link to blogs.forward.com

    which predictably came to the conclusion ‘no’ … based on the beinart/shenhav debate, w/no review of the debate at all. so i started googling around to see if anyone had written anything about it, went to the columbia site and googled it every which way. nothing! i was so curious.

    how wonderful to find it here hrs later. thanks alex!

  3. seafoid
    September 18, 2013, 11:58 am

    “The settlers can be removed”

    Yeah, and straight after Obama is going to take on Wall Street.

    Which IDF is going to relocate them?

    “Less impossible” than the alternative: a shared space for Israelis and Palestinians.”
    Why? The space is already shared.

    • pabelmont
      September 18, 2013, 12:39 pm

      Seafoid: “The settlers can be removed” -> “Yeah, right.”. Well, getting that done is a principal problem (not the only one — division of the territory, and especially the division of Jerusalem also come to mind), and today (TODAY) there is no solution for it.

      But, TOO, there is no solution to the problem of actually achieving democracy in any proposed single Israeli-Palestinian state. Or getting “return” for the Refugees of 1948 and 1967 into that state.

      The Israeli intransigence of 2013, in any case, means there will be no motion forward toward any alternative to the present single-state un-democratic multi-ethnic multi-confessional apartheid-style arrangement (love those hyphens!). Anyone see a reason to expect a change in that intransigence?

      Israeli intransigence will fall only before a superior force which has not yet shown its willingness to get into action. USA will not, UNSC cannot (due to USA’s veto, thus part of “USA will not”), EU is edging toward doing a small symbolic something which USA is trying to argue it away from, but that demo is far, far from a demo of determination to address the illegality of the settlers/settlements along the lines set forth in the (actually existing, but no-teeth) UNSC-465 (1980), which called (as I read it) for removal of settlers and the demolishing or removal of all settlement buildings (as they then were).

      So the Columbia debate was between Jews arguing to other Jews (I suppose) about the OUTCOME they prefer but without (I suppose) talking about the mechanism they prefer or can foresee for bringing about their vision.

      The destination is only part of the trip; getting there is also part of the trip, perhaps the larger part.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 1:21 pm

        An Impossible from Beinart translates as “Jews prefer status quo” but a fall in living standards would most likely change the dynamic.

      • Walid
        September 18, 2013, 3:36 pm

        Beinart picks and choses from the Zionist master plan, seafoid, he says “it would be beneficial for Palestinians to have a state they can call their own, with their own national anthem and army.” He doesn’t know that in the new Palestine that Israel is ready to accept, it will have NO army and NO navy, NO control of its borders and immigration, No control of its airspace, NO control of its economy or if its offshore gas.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 4:43 pm

        I was thinking the same, Walid. Beinart lives in a parallel universe where there are no settlements and it’s just a question of concentrating real hard to get the 2 state solution going. I wonder if there is anyone in the mainstream Jewish commentariat who is prepared to accept that Israel and Judaism have run out of choices and they are left with a total mess.

    • Walid
      September 18, 2013, 4:22 pm

      Seafoid, those settlers that Israel is saying aren’t moving anywhere are sitting atop of 90% of the West Bank’s water so it’s doubtful it would ever try to move them unless it’s ready to made do with 50% less water than it’s currently using. In the ongoing negotiations, Israel is jockeying to keep control of the Jordan Valley, the WB’s breadbasket and access to the Jordan River. So this Beinart talk is another smoke screen to help Israel continue whatever it’s been doing for 40 years.

      Mustafa Barghoutti who was defeated for the presidency by Abbas and the Israelis is gathering a million signatures on a petition to put an immediate stop to these futile negotiations that are being conducted in secret and keeping the Palestinian people in the dark about what’s being discussed. He wants to see undone the agreement by the PA to keep away from the UN and the ICC for 9 months in exchange for getting Israel back to re-start the talks. Barghoutti’s non-violent approach to the problem is to work with the other Barghoutti’s BDS movement.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 4:46 pm

        They should just go to the ICC. There is no euro support for apartheid. And tying Zionist oppression to the Holocaust is a beaten docket at this stage. I think Finkelstein is right. Israel is an easy target. And to think that it was supposed to be the culmination of Jewish history on earth. What an absolute crock of sh#t.

  4. American
    September 18, 2013, 12:28 pm

    ”“While I can see that there are elements of injustice in this arrangement, I also want to acknowledge there are deeply just claims that the two-state solution does fulfill,” said Beinart. “The Jewish desire to have one state in the world dedicated to Jewish self-protection–given the Jewish experience in the diaspora…culminating in the Holocaust–is just.” He added that Palestinians, who are dispersed throughout the globe, also deserve to have a state to protect their own.”

    Bullshit. Which is always going to be any rational, logical person’s response to the claim that the holocaust gave the Jews a ‘just claim’ to the Palestine’s land.
    This continuing bs smells more and more all the time and is why people increasingly just want to wash their hands of this cult and be done with Israel.

    • NormanF
      September 18, 2013, 12:57 pm

      Israel was not established because of the Holocaust! Peter Beinart keeps falling into the trap of reductionism. A Jewish State would have inevitably happened because of historical processes that made the Jewish independence the final stage of the national revolutions of the 19th Century.

      As a national liberation movement Zionism is more than an answer to the historic threat of anti-Semitism that persists even today around the world.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 18, 2013, 1:13 pm

        Well, there’s no doubt in the late 19th C. that a bunch of European Jews began to conspire to invade someone else’s land and take it over, ethnically cleansing the lands’ rightful owners. Whether that could have occurred absent the Holocaust is an open question.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 1:25 pm

        Antisemitism is dead, Norman . Watch the defamation movie. If a jew gets passed over for a raise due to poor performance the adl logs it as antisemitism.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 1:56 pm

        “Antisemitism is dead, Norman”

        It frankly is not, seafoid.

        “If a jew gets passed over for a raise due to poor performance the adl logs it as antisemitism.”

        That is not true, at all, and the suggestion is outrageous. And Jew is capitalized, buddy.

      • Cliff
        September 18, 2013, 2:31 pm

        Antisemitism is dead hoppy.

        Anti$emitism and the Holocaust Industry are very much alive thanks to the ADL/AJC/SWU/and real-life trolls like you.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 3:08 pm

        Norman lives in a parallel universe, Hoph. He think it’s the 1930s again.
        The ADL needs to “fight anti-Semitism” to keep the show on the road and there is very little evidence of systematic Jew hatred other than Jobbik in Hungary .

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2013, 1:34 pm

        A Jewish State would have inevitably happened because of historical processes that made the Jewish independence the final stage of the national revolutions of the 19th Century.

        True enough, but that only accounts for a Jewish state in the Pale of Settlement, not in Palestine.

        European interlopers, or protégés sponsored by one of the western consulates in Palestine, like Dr. Arthur Ruppin, found the indigenous Jews to be closely assimilated and indistinguishable from their Muslim and Christian neighbors. See “The Picture in 1907″ link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

      • American
        September 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

        NormanF says:
        September 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        Israel was not established because of the Holocaust! Peter Beinart keeps falling into the trap of reductionism. A Jewish State would have inevitably happened because of historical processes that made the Jewish independence the final stage of the national revolutions of the 19th Century.”

        Israel exist today because of the holocaust—without that no nations would have put their weight or any support behind a state for a small religious group, historcally discrminated against or not.
        Zionist at best without the holocaust would have been a ‘commune style Jewish community’ somewhere within some state or region, not a State.
        You arent a national revolution, Jews werent a nation of people, Jews are people of Judaism that share a religon and a religious cuture.
        You were never a ‘nation of people’, you were once upon a time one of the “tribes” in the ME held together by a specific religion…that does not a people nation make any more than Christanity made or makes a ‘People Nation’ of Christians.
        It is fantasy.

      • Shingo
        September 18, 2013, 6:11 pm

        A Jewish State would have inevitably happened because of historical processes that made the Jewish independence the final stage of the national revolutions of the 19th Century.

        In your dreams. There would have been nowhere near the necessary immigration of Jews to Palestine were it not for the flood of refugees escaping Europe. The Zionusts were so desperate in fact for head counts that they conspired to limit the Jewish immigrant intakes into the US.

        Prior to WWII, most Jews were opposed to creating a Jewish state.

      • RoHa
        September 18, 2013, 9:27 pm

        “As a national liberation movement Zionism”

        Except that Jews aren’t a nation and Jews in many – perhaps most – countries are as free as all the other citizens of those countries.

        Zionism didn’t liberate Australian Jews. Those who weren’t convicts were as free as any other white Australians.

      • eljay
        September 19, 2013, 8:07 am

        >> As a national liberation movement Zionism is more than an answer to the historic threat of anti-Semitism …

        Correct. Zionism is Jewish supremacism exalted and rewarded with the creation of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

  5. eGuard
    September 18, 2013, 12:42 pm

    It was a night of contrasts.

    Sure. Jews invited by Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies talking about jews. Two liberal Zionists with an opinion. So about the whole spectrum was covered.

    • Alex Kane
      September 18, 2013, 12:47 pm

      You do realize Yehouda Shenhav is perhaps the farthest thing away from a liberal Zionist?

      • NormanF
        September 18, 2013, 12:58 pm

        Shenhav is a Marxist post-Zionist and his views are out of the Israeli mainstream. He notion of a post-Zionist future is bizzare and pure science fiction.

      • tree
        September 18, 2013, 3:14 pm

        He notion of a post-Zionist future is bizzare and pure science fiction.

        Which is the crux of the problem. Equality for all, regardless of religion or ethnicity, is considered “bizarre” in Israel.

      • thankgodimatheist
        September 20, 2013, 3:02 am

        “his views are out of the Israeli mainstream.”
        “Mainstream”…Let me translate: Mostly Right to Far Right. Anything else to their marginal left is “dubious” or “Marxist”.

      • marc b.
        September 18, 2013, 1:02 pm

        alex, I appreciate Shenav’s bona fides and moral courage, but many of us have grown tired of the ethnic echo chamber. it hasn’t produced anything of substance, and is insulting. the continued exclusion of Palestinians is frankly bizarre. They couldn’t find a single Palestinian scholar in any of the boroughs willing to participate?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2013, 1:20 pm

        marc, i too would appreciate palestinian voices and other non jewish voices as well. that said, this was at columbia’s institute for israel and jewish studies. we have to make the venue if we want a voice in it, not expect jewish programs to include us.

        but i don’t consider shenhav primarily as jewish either. he’s also brilliant, iraqi and comes from an arab background within israel. albeit, i don’t know if he considers himself arab. but there’s something to be said for taking a person at their word, or by their ideas not their ethnicity. i really admire the man and would love to hear him argue or sit in at one of his lectures.

        also, this beats beinart representing the ‘left’ spectrum in a forum. the conversations moved when he represents the conservative voice within this particular enclave of jewish discourse. .

      • Alex Kane
        September 18, 2013, 1:53 pm

        Great point, Annie. He does consider himself an Arab Jew, and is very ardent about that.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

        “the conversations moved when he represents the conservative voice within this particular enclave of jewish discourse. .”

        He doesn’t represent the conservative voice in this “enclave of Jewish discourse.” He represents the liberal voice. He doesn’t morph into a conservative just because the guy he’s debating is to the left of where he is.

        I’ve seen others at Columbia who have deemed themselves “Arab Jews.” Hey, he can define himself however he wants. (Why not Iraqi-Israeli?)

        It’s funny how he’s not aching to return to his Iraqi homeland.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 18, 2013, 2:13 pm

        “He doesn’t represent the conservative voice in this ‘enclave of Jewish discourse.’ He represents the liberal voice.”

        He’s no liberal. Beinart’s on record saying that if forced to choose, he would ditch his liberalism in favor of ethnic nationalism. He’s a fraud who just hasn’t owned up to the fact that he has no real principles. Certainly no liberal ones, at any rate.

      • marc b.
        September 18, 2013, 2:37 pm

        I take your points, annie. unlike norman I don’t have any interest in trashing the science fiction Marxist. you’d think that the engine of peace having long since seized up, norman might welcome new perspectives. and right on to beinart as the false lefty. to paraphrase woody allen, beinart is a hair cut of a man. he’s the representative of a position because he’s soft-spoken and clean shaven and chooses his words discretely enough to avoid the appearance of being a racist. even his milque toast Zionism is too much to bear for some though.

      • Cliff
        September 18, 2013, 2:37 pm

        hoppy said:

        It’s funny how he’s not aching to return to his Iraqi homeland.

        When Jewish colonists stop starting wars in the Middle East and promoting death and destruction so Israel remains the #1 regional power, then perhaps Iraq and countries like it will be able to rebuild and maintain an environment that is friendly to Mizrahi Jews who descended from there.

        Until then, we ALL have to contend with Israel Firsters/right-wing loonies like you.

        He doesn’t represent a liberal voice.

        No Zionist Jew is a ‘liberal’. They are first and foremost Zionists.

        Mainstream ‘liberals’ are not liberals – they are Democrats.

        There are no ‘Arab Jews’ – being “Arab” is as much a political identity as it is ethnic/racial.

        For a Mizrahi to call themselves an ‘Arab’ whilst spewing Zionist propaganda is analogous to Walid Shoebat or Wafa Sultan or Nonie Darwish or the Touring Token Bedouin of the IDF calling themselves ‘Palestinian’/’Former Muslim’/’Muslim’/Bedouin.

        A people under occupation or under Western imperialism has it’s fair share of collaborators and ‘traitors’ and/or sellouts.

        But a Zionist Jew who is of Arab descent, claiming to be ‘Arab’ is WORSE than them because he/she knows full well that they have absolutely nothing in common with the VAST majority of Arabs living right next to them.

      • marc b.
        September 18, 2013, 2:49 pm

        ope. should read milque toast ‘prescriptions for’ Zionism. goodbye. au revoir. aufwiedersehen. do videnia. arrivederci.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 2:59 pm

        “When Jewish colonists stop starting wars in the Middle East and promoting death and destruction so Israel remains the #1 regional power, then perhaps Iraq and countries like it will be able to rebuild and maintain an environment that is friendly to Mizrahi Jews who descended from there.”

        Right. Because there were never any sectarian division in the Middle East before the yahoodis came. Yawn.

      • Walid
        September 18, 2013, 3:07 pm

        “His forceful statement that most Jews in Israel/Palestine “are settlers”–including those in proper Israel–was a novel one to most of the people in the audience. ”

        Annie, he once wrote that Arab Jews arriving in Palestine was a natural happening as the whole of the Middle East belonged to them from before the pencilling acrobatics of Sykes-Picot when Arabs and Jews drifted back and forth across the area that had no set boundaries. He also described the European Jews as aliens to the land. Made sense to me.

      • tree
        September 18, 2013, 3:18 pm

        …this was at columbia’s institute for israel and jewish studies

        As I pointed out above, “Israel Studies” should include the 25% of Israelis who are NOT Jewish as well as those who are Jewish. Would a Department of American Studies be acceptable if it excluded American minority voices?

      • Cliff
        September 18, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Before the Iraq War II, there wasn’t wide-scale daily terrorist attacks in Iraq. Yes.

      • Walid
        September 18, 2013, 3:24 pm

        “It’s funny how he’s not aching to return to his Iraqi homeland.” (Hophmi)

        Who said he isn’t? Either way, he was born in Israel but you can be sure that his parents, like mostly all Iraqi Jews continued longing for Iraq, especially after they realized they had been tricked into leaving Iraq by the Zionist enterprise.

      • tree
        September 18, 2013, 3:31 pm

        Its funny how you aren’t aching to return to your homeland, hophmi.

      • amigo
        September 18, 2013, 4:22 pm

        “It’s funny how he’s not aching to return to his Iraqi homeland.” hopknee

        It,s also funny how you are not aching to return to your Israeli homeland.

        Was that you said about people in Glass houses on another thread.

        hypocrite.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2013, 4:39 pm

        thanks again for your coverage alex, i really appreciate it.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 5:22 pm

        “As I pointed out above, “Israel Studies” should include the 25% of Israelis who are NOT Jewish as well as those who are Jewish.”

        And I’m asking you again, how do you know it doesn’t?

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 5:23 pm

        “It,s also funny how you are not aching to return to your Israeli homeland.”

        I’m not claiming to be an Israeli Jew. He’s claiming to be an Arab Jew.

        Read more carefully.

      • tree
        September 19, 2013, 2:53 am

        Hophmi, YOU are the one that implied that Columbia’s Institute of Jewish and Israeli Studies was solely a Jewish organization by responding with the question about whom “Arab organizations” would invite to speak, as if it was a comparable situation to the Institute inviting two Jews to discuss the matter.

        Later, annie implied the same thing in this comment:

        marc, i too would appreciate palestinian voices and other non jewish voices as well. that said, this was at columbia’s institute for israel and jewish studies. we have to make the venue if we want a voice in it, not expect jewish programs to include us.

        I would hope that the Institute does include the study of non-Jewish Israelis, and include Palestinian teachers and students, and if it does then it makes perfect sense and fairness for such a discussion as is mentioned here to include Palestinians, despite your attempt to claim that it does not.

      • tree
        September 19, 2013, 3:00 am

        I’m not claiming to be an Israeli Jew. He’s claiming to be an Arab Jew.

        You claim be a Jew. You also claim that Israel is the Jewish homeland. Therefore the question of why you are not “aching to return to your homeland” is a valid one, given your snipe about Shenhav supposedly not “aching to return to his Iraqi homeland”. My suspicion is that at some point in the future, hopefully a not too distant one, when Israel has come accept that “Arab” and “Jew” are not two opposing descriptors, many Iraqi Jews will return to Iraq- some for good and some as tourists. I would not be surprised if Shenhav were among them.

        And Shenhav does not “claim to be an Arab Jew”. He is one. From all that I have read from him, I would guess that he’d like most of all to have the artificial bifurcation of “Arab” and “Jew” that Israel has created come to a timely end.

  6. hophmi
    September 18, 2013, 1:15 pm

    “Wanting to do away with the Western–and “violent”–notion of sovereignty, he proposes a shared space with some kind of arrangement allowing for communities to organize themselves with equal rights for all.”

    “Shenhav said he’s no politician and doesn’t know how to get from his proposed solution to the real deal.”

    So, like the others, his vision is utopian and unrealistic. “Some kind of arrangement?” It’s a little rich to criticize the two-state solution as unworkable and then advocate “some kind of arrangement.” That says to me, “I have utopian ideas but no real explanation of how this would work.”

    That and $1 will get you cup of coffee. And I applaud Shenhav for admitting it. Now, if only the rest of the BDS movement would admit that they have no clue how their vision would work in reality, instead of just blasting everybody who advocates a two-state solution, the solution that is still the stated position of the international community.

    “But 20 years after Oslo, with John Kerry still trying the same old thing without a different result, Shenhav’s ideas are a breath of fresh air.”

    But they are NOT a breath of fresh air. The one-state solution is not new. People have been talking about it for many years now. Arabs leaders advocated some form of a one-state solution into the 1990’s; some still do. The Palestinians did formally until 1988. In the West, there have been groups of people advocating some form of a one-state solution at least since the collapse of Oslo in 2000, not to mention those critics on the left who pillorized Arafat in 1993 as a traitor to the cause.

    Buber and Magnes advocated versions of what Shenhav is talking about when they wrote about binational state. That was in the 1940’s.

    Whatever the merits of the one-state solution, it is not a breath of fresh air. It is an old idea. And so far, its advocates have not even proven that it is anything more than a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, let alone shown that it is the most just outcome. And far from assuming that a one-state solution will be some utopian liberal democracy, it’s far more likely that it will be the vision of the PLO and others from before the 1980s, and Hamas since then, that prevails; a violent, sectarian state that persecutes its Jewish minority (and not with the “second-class citizenship” that comes with welfare benefits, seats in the Knesset, free education, and enough to make most Palestinian-Israelis want to be in Israel rather than any Arab state) beholden either to a radical Islamist dictator or a secular military strongman.

    I’d note, finally, that Shenhav shows once again that radical extremists on both ends deserve one another. The everybody’s-a-settler argument is the argument used by the far-right in Israel to hold onto the territories.

    It’s also a corrupt argument. If people living in Israel for five generations and more are settlers, people living in Palestine for fifteen generations are settlers too. If everyone is a settler, no one is.

    • seafoid
      September 18, 2013, 1:27 pm

      Yesha is utopian and unrealistic. Like gd won the 1967 war and cares about kiryat arba.

      • hophmi
        September 18, 2013, 1:39 pm

        “Yesha is utopian and unrealistic. Like gd won the 1967 war and cares about kiryat arba.”

        Try, just try and put your feet on the ground instead of this political bluster.

        No, seafoid, that’s just it. Yesha is not utopian and unrealistic, because it exists, and it exists because people have settled land for thousands of years and have acquired that land by war or by abandonment. The same is true for the United States.

        And it makes much more likely that if there is a one-state outcome, it will be on Yesha’s terms, not on Shenhav’s. Yesha says the same thing: We’re all settlers. So let’s stop feeling guilty about it; everybody everywhere were once settlers, and deep down, they know it, and will never actually stop us.

        Liberal Zionists like me try to fight against this vision by advocating justice for both sides.

        Radicals on the left do nothing but help Yesha-types by making exactly the same argument they do for the Palestinians.

      • Shmuel
        September 19, 2013, 1:59 am

        Yesha says the same thing: We’re all settlers. So let’s stop feeling guilty about it; everybody everywhere were once settlers

        When I used to demonstrate against the occupation with Women in Black in Jerusalem, one of the most common things passers-by would shout (besides “Arafat’s whores” of course) was “Sheikh Munes!”, that is the Palestinian village supplanted by Ramat Aviv and Tel-Aviv University — bastion of the “Ahusal” Zionist left.

        Shulamit Aloni’s (I was a member of Meretz, at the time) standard response to the difference between Sheikh Muwwanis and Kiryat Arba was that the former was a matter of survival, the latter a matter of greed.

        If you read Shenhav’s Beyond the Two-State Solution, it is precisely the view of the sincere left that he takes to task, as entirely self-referential. It is relatively easy for the well-to-do, Ashkenazi, secular left to say “give back the Territories”. They are not connected to them religiously or dependant upon them economically, so it really is no skin off their noses to get rid of them. What’s more, it’s only a part of the problem from a Palestinian perspective (see e.g. Edward Said on the 3 components of the Palestinian problem), and not necessarily the most important part. Palestianians want to — need to — talk about ’48, the root of the problem, and not just ’67.

        Paradoxically — as you point out, but without the scorn — Shenhav finds himself in agreement with some of the Israeli right-wing, who recognise that all of the land was Palestinian, and Ramat Aviv or Hanita are historically, ethically and politically no different from Kiryat Arba or Beit El, just because they were ethnically cleansed by and for the benefit of Labour Zionists.

        I don’t agree with Shenhav’s assessment regarding possible alliances with right-wingers (he also discusses the settlers’ greater connection to the land itself rather than to a particular polity), but it does help when there is at least some agreement regarding the facts.

      • seafoid
        September 19, 2013, 8:13 am

        Hoph

        Yes, you are all settlers. Mustawtanah Tel Abib and all that. Well done. But thinking that because you are Jews you can run an apartheid system and that the land in the West Bank is yours – that is actually dystopian .

        Radicals on the left- like Jimmy Carter ?

      • eljay
        September 19, 2013, 9:05 am

        >> Liberal Zionists like me try to fight against this vision by advocating justice for both sides.

        Funny stuff, coming from a guy who advocates for a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine that gets to keep much (most?) of the land it has stolen outside of its / Partition borders, and which gets to be absolved of most (if not all) of its obligations under international law and accountability for past and on-going (war) crimes.

      • seafoid
        September 20, 2013, 12:48 am

        Shmuel
        Regarding the former being a matter of survival , did they need the full 78% to survive? Would 50% not have sufficed?

      • seafoid
        September 20, 2013, 4:59 pm

        Shmuel

        What do you think about Meretz now, looking back ?
        They couldn’t temper the madness, it seems to me.

      • Shmuel
        September 21, 2013, 6:52 am

        What do you think about Meretz now, looking back ?

        Meretz plays a tough gig – radicals to the moderates and moderates to the radicals. They had an important role to play in the 70s and 80s (and 90s, until Oslo), and still have a lot of good people, but they’ve missed the boat on so many issues that they’re at a political impasse — although the civil rights organisations founded and inspired by them over the years continue to exert an important influence on Israeli society.

        Meretz was my first taste of political awareness and activism, and I owe them a lot (especially the Jerusalem branch).

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 18, 2013, 1:37 pm

      “It’s a little rich to criticize the two-state solution as unworkable and then advocate ‘some kind of arrangement.’ That says to me, ‘I have utopian ideas but no real explanation of how this would work.'”

      Baloney. It is no more or less unworkable than the 2 state fantasy you push. The only difference is that Shenhav has enough character to admit the difficulties his ideas face while you have your head up your behind about the imposibilities your “solution” entails.

      “But they are NOT a breath of fresh air”

      Given the amount of hot air spread by those advocating the 2ss fantasy, this is indeed fresh air.

      “let alone shown that it is the most just outcome. ”

      It will end the israeli domination of the Palestinian people. That is justice enough.

      “it’s far more likely that it will be the vision of the PLO and others from before the 1980s, and Hamas since then, that prevails; a violent, sectarian state that persecutes its Jewish minority… beholden either to a radical Islamist dictator or a secular military strongman.”

      You only say so because you are an anti-Mulsim bigot and racist with a psychotic prejudice against Arabs. You’re like a Klansman or worse.

      “If everyone is a settler, no one is.”

      If that leads to everyone from the Med to the Jordan living in security, with each enjoying the vote and equal and full political, social and human rights, I’d be happy with that. You, on the other hand, only say that because you wish to continue the status quo of the ethno-religious Aparthied state oppressing the Palestinians, forever, and you think that position will get you that.

    • Donald
      September 18, 2013, 4:25 pm

      “a violent, sectarian state that persecutes its Jewish minority (and not with the “second-class citizenship” that comes with welfare benefits, seats in the Knesset, free education, and enough to make most Palestinian-Israelis want to be in Israel rather than any Arab state) beholden either to a radical Islamist dictator or a secular military strongman. ”

      The proper comparison to the hypothetical horror of a violent sectarian state run by Palestinians would be to the one currently existing. A nasty sectarian single state exists right now–it’s just that there are three classes of Palestinians. Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, who are second class citizens, and Palestinians living under apartheid in the WB and Palestinians living under a siege imposed by Israel and Egypt in Gaza.

      • seafoid
        September 20, 2013, 5:01 pm

        Donald

        I think it’s more like 5 classes

        1948 Palestinians
        East Jerusalem
        West Bankers who are not in EJ
        Refugees
        Gazans

      • Walid
        September 22, 2013, 4:02 am

        Seafoid, from another thread:

        Oslo gave Israel the power to divide the Palestinians into groups with different gradation of legal statuses and different security regimes depending on where they live. There are the Israeli Palestinians, Jerusalem Palestinians, Palestinians who reside between the apartheid wall and the green line, Palestinians in zone A or B or C, Gaza Strip Palestinians, the 1948 refugees, the 1967 refugees and the Palestinians who came with Arafat from Tunisia.

  7. Woody Tanaka
    September 18, 2013, 1:24 pm

    “But he also argued that Israel was not alone in having a religious identity, pointing to countries which have crosses on their flags that still have full citizenship for minorities.”

    Silly argument. Vexiological crosses are, in virtually every modern case, functionally non-religious, regardless of their religious origins, and has no effect on the treatment which the population enjoys. That is not the case with israel. If Jews and Palestinians were treated, in each and every aspect of public and governmental life, identically, with Jews getting no preference in any way concerning anything, then Beinart’s comparison might be apt. As it is, it’s nonsense.

    “The Jewish desire to have one state in the world dedicated to Jewish self-protection–given the Jewish experience in the diaspora…culminating in the Holocaust–is just”

    The desire may be “just” (if desires can be just or unjust), but the way it has been brought about — by the trampling on another people’s rights, the theft of their land and the ethnic cleasing and continued murder and oppression of their people — has been the opposite. Evil, even.

    “He added that Palestinians, who are dispersed throughout the globe, also deserve to have a state to protect their own.”

    Of course, the primary threat to Palestinians is israel. So unless this Palestinian state will possess an army and arms appropriate to take on the US-Taxpayer-Welfare-Army of the israelis, then Beinart is merely blowing smoke.

    • seafoid
      September 18, 2013, 1:28 pm

      Evil is right. Ethnic cleansing to clear a space for prayer is hypocrisy wrapped in madness.

  8. Annie Robbins
    September 18, 2013, 1:24 pm

    It’s a little rich to criticize the two-state solution as unworkable and then advocate “some kind of arrangement.”

    why? ““some kind of arrangement” is all two states is, with a long history of failed negotiations stacked up against it (and all those settlements!). It’s a little rich to criticize a one-state solution as unworkable under these circumstances.

    • seafoid
      September 18, 2013, 1:30 pm

      As if the status quo is sustainable.

    • hophmi
      September 18, 2013, 1:41 pm

      ““some kind of arrangement” is all two states is, with a long history of failed negotiations stacked up against it (and all those settlements!). It’s a little rich to criticize a one-state solution as unworkable under these circumstances.”

      Try, Annie, to separate the facts from the propaganda. The two-state solution is heretofore unsuccessful, but it is not ill-defined. The solutions have been concrete, and there are many different options. Again, I urge you to look at the maps at ispeacepossible.com.

      The one-staters have not gotten beyond platitudes, and they offer no specifics based in reality. What is worse, is that many of them seem not to care that there are six million Jewish Israelis that are part of the equation.

      • seafoid
        September 18, 2013, 2:00 pm

        The 2 state solution died when they built all those homes for Jews in the West Bank, Hoph, and you know it. If you believe in the 2ss get your miserable ass over to Kiryat Arba and start moving out your brethren with Kumbayas mixed with Tikkun Olam.

        One day Jews won’t rule any more over Palestinians in Palestine and it’ll be a great day.

        link to youtube.com

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 18, 2013, 2:03 pm

        “The two-state solution is heretofore unsuccessful, but it is not ill-defined.”

        LMAO. The israelis aren’t willing to agree to the 1967 lines and won’t do the Palestinians the courtesy of informing them of the minimum amount of their state that the israelis are going to steal. It’s completely ill-defined.

        And if it’s not “ill-defined” it’s only because the 2 state ruse was designed and planned as a way to permit the israelis to continue to steal Palestinian land and oppress Palestinian people forever. In THAT respect, it is perfectly defined.

        “What is worse, is that many of them seem not to care that there are six million Jewish Israelis that are part of the equation.”

        Nonsense. They don’t care to perpetuate the Judeo-supremacism of the current state.

  9. ritzl
    September 18, 2013, 2:07 pm

    “Shenhav said he’s no politician and doesn’t know how to get from his proposed solution to the real deal.”

    Does Beinart “know how to get from his proposed solution to the real deal?” Absolutely not.

    Why was Shenhav being defensive about that?

  10. ebertus
    September 18, 2013, 2:36 pm

    Thanks for this review!

    After reading Beinart’s “The Crisis of Zionism” some month ago actually I’m on “Beyond the Two State Solution” and will compare it later this year in german on my website.

    Understanding this review right, so Beinart is going slightly back from what he wrote and pointed out in his actual book, which cames out in spring 2012. At this time he said:

    “Make Israel, the West Bank an the Gaza Strip one country and you will resurrect the Jewish-Arab conflict of the 1930s, when Palestine was under British control. Except this time the British won’t be there to play referee. The result won’t be liberal democracy; it will be civil war.
    If, on the other hand, Israel occupies the West Bank in perpetuity without granting citizenship to its Palestinian inhabitants, it will remain a Jewish state, but become an apartheid one.”
    – – – – –

    And now the two-state -solution is not perfect, but “at hand”?

  11. edwin
    September 18, 2013, 2:40 pm

    “While I can see that there are elements of injustice in this arrangement, I also want to acknowledge there are deeply just claims that the two-state solution does fulfill,” said Beinart. “The Jewish desire to have one state in the world dedicated to Jewish self-protection–given the Jewish experience in the diaspora…culminating in the Holocaust–is just.”

    Why not just come out and support criminalizing sex between Jews and non Jews? Maybe for Beinart the thought is so disgusting as to be unimaginable so that it is not really necessary. All versions of the two state solution leave in place a state that must ultimately control marriage and sex. If you have a Jewish state you must have the means to keep it Jewish and you must have the ability to decide who is Jewish enough and who is not.

    At its very best Beinart is advocating a replay of segregation in the US.

    • seafoid
      September 18, 2013, 3:39 pm

      “If you have a Jewish state you must have the means to keep it Jewish and you must have the ability to decide who is Jewish enough and who is not.”

      That is where Tikkun Olam dies. The treatment of the African refugees in Israel is a good example of the real world decision making that kills all Israeli notions of being as a light unto the nations.

  12. German Lefty
    September 18, 2013, 4:54 pm

    But he also argued that Israel was not alone in having a religious identity, pointing to countries which have crosses on their flags that still have full citizenship for minorities.

    Yeah, right! As if the Star of David on the flag were Israel’s only religious connection.

  13. RoHa
    September 18, 2013, 9:52 pm

    “Shenhav believes it’s impossible, that it reeks of separatism and that it’s fundamentally immoral.”

    He’s right about that, if we read it as “impossible as things stand”.

    “Beinart remains convinced that the two-state solution, while not a perfectly just one, is the most practical way to end the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

    He’s right about that, if we read it as “the most practical way the high mucky-mucks can think of so far”.

    I prefer a one state, though I have offered my ingenious three-state solution, but I can see that simply leaping in to a single state could be catastrophic for all concerned. My own recommendation would be a complex deal involving at least the following:

    1. Two states on the ’48 borders, with explicit intent and timetable to combine them into a single state.
    2. Israel renounces the title and intention of being a Jewish state.
    3. Immediate removal of all legal and administrative disabilities on non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
    4. Public acknowledgement of the wrongs of Zionism, and an RoR deal.
    5. Similar explicit commitment to secularism in the Palestinian state.
    6. Public acknowledgement of the wrongs against Jews Palestinians have committed. (This won’t take long.)
    7. Israel to be permitted to trade and deal with the Arab League, Iran, and other countries which currently refuse to deal with Israel, but only through intermediaries in Palestine.

    But I doubt that the Israelis (as they are now) will be happy with much of that. And I see no sign of an outbreak of humanity among them.

  14. eljay
    September 19, 2013, 8:00 am

    >> “The Jewish desire to have one state in the world dedicated to Jewish self-protection … is just.”

    The solution to injustice is justice, not a supremacist state. The “Jewish desire” for a supremacist state is neither a just nor a valid reason to create one.

    >> … given the Jewish experience in the diaspora…culminating in the Holocaust …

    culminate: Reach a climax or point of highest development.

    Jews in the diaspora appear to be doing much better today than during the Holocaust. It’s a pity that Beinart doesn’t give his peer more credit.

  15. NickJOCW
    September 19, 2013, 9:37 am

    These dialectical exchanges may be interesting but they are of no real use to Palestinians, or Israelis for that matter.

    Solutions require two things; generally accepted agreement on precisely what the problem is, then equal agreement on an objective. With those in place the path between one and the other has a chance of being mapped rationally. Since we have neither, we cannot meaningfully talk of solutions. What is, however, possible is to make a start by progressively liberating Palestinians from specific oppressions. The Gaza fishing limits removed and a suitable border crossing opened for a start. As first steps, which anyone but a paranoid Israeli could surely accept, they could attract global support, make an unimaginable difference to many lives and inject hope into what so often fills one with despair. I’d lay any odds we’d soon see other young Palestinians like Mohammad Assad forging their way into the big wide world.

    Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

    • kamanja
      September 19, 2013, 11:28 am

      Assaf. Assad’s another story altogether!

    • Walid
      September 19, 2013, 2:29 pm

      “Solutions require two things”

      The most important is not mentioned here, it’s that the 2 parties negotiating have to be of equal strength. A “David” cannot negotiate with a “Goliath” in situations other than fairy tales. Palestinians negotiating with Israelis is a big joke, especially with the US in Israel’s corner.

  16. thankgodimatheist
    September 19, 2013, 7:05 pm

    ” is the most practical way to end the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
    Yeah, poor things, Israelis are suffering too. Occupation and theft are such a difficult job to carry on!

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