This is trailblazing. Why isn’t the New York Times doing this every day in its op-ed pages? The Sun Sentinel publishes an op-ed by Bruce Warshal, a rabbi long associated with Peace Now and the Florida Jewish community leadership, titled “Peace or Apartheid: Approaching the Point of No Return,” which says that Israel is about to become a pariah state. Remember that when Jimmy Carter made the exact same argument, 7 years ago, he was demolished for it, as Rabbi Warshal says.
Also, note that Warshal gives greater weight to Yuval Diskin’s assessment of the situation than John Kerry’s, and then establishes Diskin’s bona fides by saying that he “directed the targeted killings of Hamas leaders.” That’s how you win points in the liberal Jewish community, by valorizing the Israeli security discourse over a discourse of human rights. Warshal:
Anyone who reads my columns knows that I am very pessimistic concerning the ability or the will of the current Israeli government to make peace. In Netanyahu’s coalition many key players are on record against a two-state solution…
Deeply buried within my pessimistic soul is a flickering optimism..
If there is to be a two-state solution it has to be now. In his seminal speech in June before the American Jewish Committee Kerry stressed that, “If we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance.” It’s one thing for an American diplomat to say that, but it is even more convincing when Yuval Diskin, the immediate past head of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service, comparable to the FBI) comes to the same conclusion…
[Diskin, who] directed the targeted killings of Hamas leaders…. lamented that Netanyahu has lulled the Israeli public into focusing on Iran rather than on the crucial question of peace with the Palestinians.
If in fact we have gone beyond the point of no return, Diskin points to the obvious conclusion that either Israel will become a democratic bi-national state with an Arab majority with the right to vote, or — and his language here is crucial — Israel will be an “ostracized apartheid state.” Yes, he uses the A-word. Remember when President Carter correctly used that word (in reference to the current situation in the West Bank, not Israel proper) he was pilloried by the conservative Jewish establishment as an anti-Semite.
Diskin maintains that “everyone knows what the parameters of settlement will inevitably entail” — A demilitarized Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with territorial swaps, dismantling of the settlements, a political partition of Jerusalem and “a creative solution regarding sovereignty over the holy sites in the Old City.” Everyone knows, except Netanyahu. At this point he publicly refuses to start negotiations based on the 1967 borders. Let us see if this changes in Washington when negotiations really begin.
The problem with the “everyone knows” solution is that when everyone knows it for 30 years and they don’t effect it, it has likely passed its sell-by date; and the viable Palestinian state has gone the way of the dial phone.
Jimmy Carter warned about this. Here again is Terry Gross in 2006 afflicting Jimmy Carter for arguing that Palestinian conditions merited the term apartheid. Carter said the whole world understands this but the U.S.:
Gross: Let’s start with the title. The title is already getting you in trouble with a lot of people. The title is Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. That’s a very provocative title. Why not call it something neutral like “The Neverending Middle East Crisis, What Each Side Needs to Do.” Did you want to be deliberately provocative with this title?… Are you afraid that by using the word apartheid in the title, that you lose a lot of Israelis and Israel supporters just in the title. I’ll read you a couple of quotes here. [She reads from House speaker Nancy Pelosi:] “It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously.” And [Congressman] John Conyers says the use of the word apartheid in the title “against the Jewish people in particular, who have been the victims of the worst discrimination – resulting in death, is offensive and wrong.” So are you concerned that even though you think Israel’s practices are a practice of apartness, that by using the word apartheid you risk alienating just the people who you want to convince?
Carter: What I wanted to do is express a fact that is almost completely avoided and not expressed in the United States but is well-known throughout the rest of the world…. I realized that when I chose this title that it would be provocative [and Carter said he hoped it would spur folks] to find out the facts, none of which have been disputed.
Gross: Alan Dershowitz the lawyer wrote an op-ed about your book and he calls your book one-sided. [Gross reads a Dershowitz quote] “Nor does he explain that Israel’s motivation for holding on to land it captured in a defensive war is the prevention of terrorism. Israel has tried, on several occasions, to exchange land for peace, and what it got instead was terrorism, rockets, and kidnappings launched from the returned land.” So what’s your reaction to Dershowitz’s criticism, that the book is one-sided, you’re not criticizing the Palestinians and you’re not explaining that Israel’s policies are reactions to terrorism?