This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.
Like the Munchkin cult in Oz, many Palestine solidarity activists—not least on the Mondoweiss website—are celebrating the purported demise of the two-state solution. On the optimistic timeline of Ian Lustick, the unlikely guru pro tem of this group, the inevitable one-state solution will come to pass in just a little over a century from now.  The other day I was waiting for a subway for what seemed an eternity, when a young woman next to me muttered, “Jesus will come before this damn train!” The same might be said of one state. Meanwhile, far removed from the one-state love fests, and on a less cheery note, Palestinians themselves will on this reckoning have to endure for generations to come a vicious occupation.
In fact, no credible case has been made demonstrating the impossibility of two states. However, instead of arguing this contention,  I want to consider here the implications vis-à-vis the American Jewish community of pronouncing the two-state solution dead and gone, while it remains the only live and plausible option.  Pew’s just-released “portrait of Jewish Americans” provides a basis for informed speculation. 
The Pew survey plots what, prima facie, appear to be two contradictory trajectories:
Jews are committed to liberalism
Fully 70 percent of American Jews prefer the Democratic Party and 50 percent describe themselves as liberal (among Americans generally, the respective percentages are 50 and 20).  A majority still supports “big government” (among Americans generally, only a minority does). Although it’s obvious, it nonetheless surprises and redounds to their credit that most American Jews acknowledge that other minority groups, including Blacks, Hispanics, and even Muslims, suffer more discrimination than them.  On some indices, the liberalism of American Jews goes through the roof. Fully 80 percent support social acceptance of homosexuality (60 percent among Americans generally). If Jews held sway, Chelsea Manning would be a viable presidential candidate.
Jews are committed to Israel
Fully 70 percent of American Jews say they feel either very attached (30 percent) or somewhat attached (39 percent) to Israel. Yet, depending on how one clusters the same data, different conclusions can be drawn. It might also be said that fully 70 percent feel only somewhat attached (39 percent) or not very/not at all attached (31 percent) to Israel.  Still, it would be foolish to gainsay the American Jewish bond to Israel. The depth of this connection becomes yet more apparent when placed in the context of the Pew finding that American Jews overwhelmingly (75 percent) regard Holocaust remembrance as the essence of their identity. Justifiably or not, in the imagination of American Jews, an inextricable nexus exists between the Jewish catastrophe (Death) and Israel’s establishment (Rebirth), while Israel’s extinguishment would amount to a “second Holocaust.”
How does the contradiction between American Jewish support for liberalism, on the one hand, and American Jewish support for Israel, on the other, play out politically? Whereas American Jews feel attached to Israel as a State, they no longer blindly support Israeli policy as it impinges on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Just 38 percent believe Israel sincerely wants to resolve the conflict, and just 17 percent support the Israeli settlement enterprise. On a related note, fully 90 percent find no incompatibility between “strongly” criticizing Israel and being Jewish, and just 10 percent believe that anti-Semitism poses a serious threat to Israel.  Moreover, the investment of American Jews in liberalism trumps their investment in Israel. In the hierarchy of American Jewish values, “working for justice/equality” (56 percent) ranks much higher than “caring about Israel” (43 percent). 
All the same, American Jewish dissent does not cross, or even approach, the threshold of questioning Israel’s existence. 90 percent regard Israel as an “essential” or “important” constituent of their Jewish identity. The reasonable inference is that any hint that resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict entails the dissolution or disappearance of Israel will set off alarm bells among American Jews. Further—and this point warrants emphasis—liberal precepts do not intrinsically conflict with Israel’s existence. On a pair of quintessentially liberal criteria, Israel easily passes muster: it is a State under international law, and a member State of the United Nations. Indisputably, Israel is also a discriminatory State, which contradicts the broad American Jewish commitment to “justice/equality.” But extirpating this egregious feature would, on liberal tenets, require Israel’s democratization, not its elimination.
The Pew survey’s findings suggest that American Jews might be nudged from their current critical stance toward Israel to the international consensus for resolving the conflict: two states on the 1967 border, and a “just” resolution of the refugee question. These terms are squarely anchored in liberal tenets and are wholly embraced by liberal institutions, yet do not call into question Israel’s existence. If a mass nonviolent movement emerged among Palestinians demanding implementation of this consensus, and the solidarity movement abroad mobilized around it, the likelihood is that many American Jews could be won over, or embarrassed into silence. Either way, a significant obstacle to resolving the conflict would be removed.
If, however, the Palestine solidarity movement muddies the waters with the call for “One State from the River to the Sea,” American Jews will likely close ranks. 60 percent of American Jews seem wedded to a “peaceful two-state solution,” and among those under 30, who tend to be the most open-minded,  it rises to 70 percent. Pew did not ask respondents whether they supported a one-state solution, but it can be surmised that the percentage answering affirmatively would fall in the ballpark of Ultra-Orthodox Jews who celebrated Christmas (1 percent). It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to write off American Jews as a potential constituency. However, it is hard to conceive how the struggle in the U.S. can be won in the face of determined Jewish opposition. Jews might comprise only 2 percent of the U.S. population, but on this particular issue they constitute a—perhaps, the—decisive voice. It is also disingenuous to avow that you are trying to wean American Jews away from an intransigent position, yet advocate a solution of the conflict that, now and in the foreseeable future, will find zero resonance or traction among them.
“Arabs,” Abba Eban famously, and falsely, quipped, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.” The tragedy would be if the Palestine solidarity movement ends up vindicating his mendacious claim.
 A New York Times op-ed by Professor Lustick declaring the two-state solution dead (“Two-State Illusion,” 15 September 2013) received a rapturous reception from one-state advocates. He pointed to the 120-year-long Algerian war of independence as a relevant precedent for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
 Similarly, whereas Pew stresses that 40 percent of Jews believe Israel was given by God to the Jewish people, it might also be emphasized that 55 percent either don’t believe it (27 percent) or don’t even believe in God (28 percent).
 In addition, despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s counsel that President Obama is bad for Jews and bad for Israel, a robust majority of American Jews continues to support Obama, including (albeit by a smaller majority) his policy toward Israel and Iran.
 42 percent put a premium on “having a good sense of humor.” Triangulating these findings, one might conclude, rightly, that “working for justice/equality” while “caring about Israel” requires “having a good sense of humor.”