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Jewish binationalists predicted declaring a Jewish ethnic state would plunge Palestine into unending war

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More about Eric Alterman’s important piece at the Forward defending Zionism against Palestinian refugees’ claims of dispossession. This is from the great Jerry Haber, in the Forward comment section.

Professor Alterman, please drop the standard Zionist narrative of the “naivete” of the Ihud group [which supported binationalism before the founding of the state of Israel]. They were not “naive”; they simply were a tiny minority who saw that a) the Palestinian Arabs had no less a right, and in some sense, more right to statehood in Palestine than Eastern European Jewish settlers (of the over-forty Zionist signatories of the Declaration of Independence, only one was a native of Palestine);

b) the declaration of a Jewish ethnic state against the wishes of the native Palestinian Arab majority would plunge Palestine in an unending war — and the Ihud group’s belief has been borne out by history. The Palestinians were not a partner to Ihud because they felt that the Zionist settlers had no national claims on Palestine; at best they were willing to give the Jews collective minority rights. The Ihud group argued against statehood, and when statehood was a done deal, for federation with weakened national sovereignty.
Naive? Not any more. With the two-state solution long dead, the most probable scenario is the current status quo for a long time, followed by some sort of one-state binatonalist solution.

Judah Magnes wasn’t naive. He was simply ahead of his time.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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