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the tide changed

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One reason I started this site is that I go hiking with a group of friends from N.Y. City and about 10 years ago one of those friends, who had been to Palestine and was angered by what he saw, said I had a responsibility to speak out/show some leadership, because I’m Jewish and he’s not. I accepted the challenge.

Yesterday our group went hiking in the Hudson Valley and my friend said, "I don’t read your site religiously, but I go there, and my one criticism is that I see you have this kind of longing that a two-state solution might work out."

I said, "I was freaked out by my trip to Israel, how so many of them believe in the Jewish state."

He said, "I think it puts you a little out of touch. You’re just going to be going against the tide. The tide is changing. You can feel it. And the only reason to stick by the two-state solution is because you think that Jews are somehow a better people than other people."

I said, "My main feeling is that I don’t want my country connected with Israel any more. It’s been bad for my country, the confusion of interest helped drag us into the Iraq war, and I just want separation."

He said, "But there are historic connections between the two countries. For a whole lot of  reasons. And so Americans have a real reason to be involved in offering a better way out of this than religious supremacy."

I said, "There are a lot of screwed-up countries in the world. If we were separated from Israel, it would stop being my business what they do."

He shrugged and said, "There’s a connection. And it’s out of step with the times to insist on a state where Jews are on top. Of course I understand how it came about."

"Partition came out of the Holocaust," I said. "That’s why the world voted to create a Jewish state."

"Yes well that was based on ideas of victimization and colonization that in today’s reality are inappropriate. So there were other people there, and the west thought, they’re just like Indians, they’re sand-you-know-what’s, but the Jews are like us, and they can push them out of the way and who cares. Well, that is what is completely out of step."

Then something happened on the hike–two guys had gotten separated from our pack and we woke up to it and went off to find them. And that’s when the conversation ended.

Later I got home and at dinner I saw a portion of "Haifa Hoops for Kids," a dreadful piece of hasbara showing on an American sports network to promote Israel to Americans. I was agog that this s— is on my television. Then I went on this site and saw this video Adam posted, of Israeli soldiers brutalizing old women who are protesting the confiscation of their land and thought, this is how the Jewish state has worked out?

I was tired and went to bed. When I got up I reflected that the tide began to change last fall. It changed specifically when Hillary Clinton said that Netanyahu’s measures re the settlements were "unprecedented." Last fall, smart people who held out hope in the two-state solution recognized its failure.

The tide changed; and my friend’s question is more pressing than ever. Who will lead?

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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