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Total number of comments: 8 (since 2010-02-25 22:45:33)

I live in UK. Primary schooling in Israel 1947-53, lots of cousins still there. Being Jewish makes me feel implicated in the crime and crimes of Zionism. I support a single-state multi-racial democracy which would bring an end to Zionism without a shot or an eviction. It has to come, and when the Palestinians start to demand it, I hope the Israeli left will support them, and they will need our support big-time. (Sorry, more mission statement than biog!)


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  • The 'One Democratic State Campaign' program for a multicultural democratic state in Palestine/Israel
    • This is all missing something: how do we get there? In the ODS movement there was never any shortage of detailed plans e.g. a unitary state with a guaranteed "equality constitution" that could only be changed or overturned by an overwhelming majority i.e. by both communities together. What's needed is a vehicle to get us there.

      By focusing on the three main demands of Palestinians (as communities that are exiled, occupied or oppressed as a minority in 1948 Israel) BDS has unified the struggle irrespective of the end goal and made huge headway.

      Alongside that, we need to raise or prioritise demands that fit into the BDS movement but link it forward to the goal. To reach ODS it is necessary to switch from nationalist rhetoric and logic (i.e. the mantra of two states) and re-focus onto struggles for rights: rights of prisoners, freedom of movement (as in the current March of Return), democratic rights, equality for all under the law, freedom from arbitrary military or bureaucratic demolition orders, security from armed militias that burn and kill.

      Truly, these have been the demands of the grassroots Villages struggles for many years now. They need to be codified and packaged in the way that BDS has done.

      One other thing that might one day win a single state is the growth of a common struggle for it from both sides, with the same demands and the same methods of struggle. The 2SS has not only diverted the upper echelons up a blind alley, it also distracted and ultimately dissipated a soft opposition in Israel into the re-partitionist "land for peace" dead end. And if we are to hope for one common country, the form of struggle needs to be unifying, not violently divisive. The Palestinians have every right to defend themselves however they can, but strategically some methods are more effective than others.

  • The world's anger toward Trump gives Palestinians a clear path for action
    • On the South Africa model and already all in place for Palestine, the following are now the reality:

      1. No more fake, loaded negotiations, no more "peace process" fig-leaf.

      2. Civil insurrection against the Occupation including total non-cooperation and dissolution of the PA. When Apartheid South Africa became ungovernable Apartheid's days were numbered.

      3. BDS in the form of SANCTIONS and a breakthrough in international diplomacy to make Israel a pariah state and establish its total illegality both in its tearing up of UN legal decisions and in running an illegal apartheid system in both the Occupied territories and "mainland" Israel.

      4. International solidarity: BDS has so far been largely not so much about actual boycott but building a mass movement of support and solidarity, with thousands of front lines where activists demand the right to call for BDS and to tell the truth about Israel. This solidarity movement needs to support:

      5. A political programme to direct the rage and demand full, equal democratic, legal, religious, cultural, human and civil rights for all currently living between the river and the sea and full right of return with dignity and compensation for all those exiled since 1948.

      6. What form this will take will be a process involving a moral and communal re-birth and engagement, not Big Power intervention. About a quarter of Israelis (down from a third not long ago) and nearly half of Palestinians already favour a single democratic state: that's not a bad starting point.

  • How Avi Shlaim moved from two-state solution to one-state solution
    • Well if we are going to do DNA going back 2000+ years, we'd find that of the Jews living there in and around AD70, some left, some became Christians and others stayed put, such as an entire surviving Jewish village in the West Bank that has been Jewish and Palestinian forever, with no problems. But that doesn't fit the myth of "return", "exile" etc.

    • One state will not be led by negotiations or both sides agreeing to live together. It is best compared to other jim-crow or apartheid situations where the oppressed conduct a civil rights struggle that captures world-wide support and forces change.
      The change within Israel could, at some stage we can't now foresee, spread out from coexistence and bi-lingual projects and by increasing support for such a civil rights movement.
      At present, BDS is the closest thing we have to that. The PLO will not lead but follow, eventually. It has only just come around to BDS. One single secular democratic state is very popular among Palestinian students and youth, and for a while during the past decade some mid-ranking Fatah members were organising for this. Within Israel, opportunities were missed (when leaders of the 2011 Tent protest headed it off into cost of living grumbles) and this was followed by fierce repression and legal obstacles that have left only a few brave die-hards holding out for "boycott from within".
      The best thing we can do is keep up and extend BDS, and support especially any Palestinian struggles for rights, including the prisoner hunger strikes for rights, demands for freedom of movement and an end to barriers and so on: these focus on UN standards of universal human rights, rather than demands for a separate state, so are comparable with anti-apartheid/JimCrow struggles. Even the demands for recognition of Palestine as a state are less a means for establishing such a state than for strengthening the diplomatic position of Palestinians to bring Israel to account at UN agencies such as the ICJ: this runs together with, rather than against, demands for civil rights.

  • It is time to imagine how one state-- one person, one vote-- will work
    • What neither this excellent article nor any comments mention is the form and direction of the Palestinian struggle (other than its waxing and waning, and its international BDS dimension).

      The best part of this serious piece of work is that much of it matches very closely the sort of civil rights demands that have been envisaged as coming into play with the death of 2SS: freedom of movement, equal rights under the law, votes for all under a constitution for all, equal immigration ("return") rights, equal allocation of resources, equality of respect and esteem etc. And the "Ministry of Tolerance" has been prefigured by bi-lingual and coexistence projects, even against huge pressures and vigilante violence and arson.

      Such a civil rights campaign could be the link between where we are now and where the authors suggest we might one day arrive. See a proposed five-point Charter here:

      However, there seems little prospect of the Palestinian official leadership, so suborned by the 2SS trap, raising such demands or leading such a struggle, which unfortunately means that Palestinians have a double fight on their hands.

  • Hypothesis: Cappuccino Israelis will be radicalized against apartheid
    • The "liberal zionists" never had to come to terms with the nature of the Israeli State of Theft because they had the scaffolding and harness of the "peace" movement with its partition plan that would leave Israel not only intact but also absolved of its crimes.

      This blinkered them to the changing regime within Israel, which they viewed as a passive phase (that would atrophy after the map had been re-wound back to May 1967) and not as an active virus inhabiting a congenial host and dedicated to finishing the job that host began in 1948.

      The enchantment of this mythic distant prospect also enabled them to sidestep the immediate fight to hold Israel to account under international law, both in its general standards (e.g. on racism, apartheid, human rights, Geneva conventions etc) and its particular applications to Palestine such as UNGA194 on Palestinian Right of Return, or the original 1947 human rights conditions placed on the very establishment of the State of Israel.

      Once you cut loose from all that, what remains is platitudes and generalities, such that today which of them even senses the massive tragedy of Palestinians fleeing northward from Syria to Europe, when they should be coming southwards to their homeland, the land between the river and the sea now entirely occupied and controlled by Israel.

  • Munayyer and Beinart's historic debate on the solution to the conflict
    • The very simple answers to the "end of the Jewish state" anxiety are,
      a)that justice, equality and freedom for all will increasingly erode or modify the original nationalisms into political alliances regardless of history and ethnicity (e.g. a right vs. left axis, a secular vs. religious axis etc). Even here and now we have the Joint List as a living precursor and prototype. So all the calculations of the demographic percentages are irrelevant, and what could be a better starting point (after refugee return) of almost exact parity;
      and b)that instead of a Jewish state we will have a "very Jewish country". (Look at the US with just 5% Jewish population and influence: if Jews were 30%, 40% or 50% of a new Palestine, that would still be significantly different from anywhere else in the world.

      Beinart asks "what will the army look like?" and the answer must be, integrated at all ranks from Day One. How, he asks, will it respond to orders to evict individuals, villages and areas etc? Can he not imagine a country between the River and the Sea where there will be NO MORE EVICTIONS?

  • In 'naked attack on free speech,' Harvard Hillel bars Avraham Burg
    • You're absolutely right that a joint movement is the key, and that is exactly what is being created. Groups in Israel have joined up with Ramallah (which was initiated by some senior Fatah people). Early this month the second event, a study day, in Ramallah attracted 100 activists, and a joint Program has been adopted too, which clearly sets out equal rights for all from the river to the sea. It aims to reach a mass audience and the Palestinian group stated at the outset that it was thinking big and planned to start committees in the towns and refugee camps. As a movement rather than a party, they will have the flexibility to attract and influence the existing political and social institutions and infrastructure. Hopefully Avram Burg can play his part in this, and actively promote a better future for all in Israel-Palestine. The best way to allay fear and to answer the question of how a unified country can work is by example and the sight of good people working together to bring it about.

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