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.
I have listened very attentively to the contemporary discourse of the Israeli Right. Some of the speakers express remorse, others wonder “What has happened to us?” while yet others lament: “They are going against us, these youth who riot.”
They have one common denominator: the Left is a terrible, shady enemy, a cunning and elusive devil that controls the media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau and world diplomacy. Were it not for the Left, all the Right’s good would have been understood by everyone, the hooligans complain as they make themselves look wretched. It is interesting how long they will be afraid of this scarecrow which does not impress even itself any more.
For the better part of the past 30 years, the Right has controlled the government. The Labor Party freed it from its grasp only for a very short time. The historical Labor Party never would accept the fact that Israelis preferred the Likud and its satellites. It never agreed to give up being part of the government in order to become a fig leaf par excellence, the kashrut certificate for the failures of the right in every sphere – and the chief purifier of all its vermin.
The Right is there alone. All this dirt belongs to them and they must clean it up alone. That is what a right-wing party looks like when it doesn’t have a worn-out babysitter. This is their dream coalition – right-wing legislation, simplified nationalism and cruel economics. That is who they are. That is whom the nation elected and that is whom they got.
We must not disturb them. Let them go all the way until the end. Until the end of their legislation and until the end of their political understanding. Let them rule. Not only is it forbidden to interfere, one must refrain from any kind of conversation with them. When they bring their idiotic laws up for a vote, one must not be a partner to the voting. Let them not say that they passed the legislation by a majority over a minority. One must not collaborate with this democratic act of pulling the wool over our eyes. Those votes in the Knesset must take place without any of the minority present, only the religious right-wing dictatorship.
The opposition must no longer initiate peace moves of its own; they merely worsen the situation. They create an illusion at home or abroad that the present reality is temporary. That it is still possible to put the fattened genies back in their small bottle. But that is cynical deception because it’s not possible. Because we have crossed all the red lines and all the points of no return.
So enough of the illusions. There are no longer two states between the Jordan River and the sea. Let the right-wing MKs, the Katzes and the Elkins, travel around the world and show the beauty of their faces without the deceptive layer of makeup we provided.
Meanwhile we must consider how we can enter into the new Israeli discourse. It has intriguing potential. The next diplomatic formula that will replace the “two states for two peoples” will be a civilian formula. All the people between the Jordan and the sea have the same right to equality, justice and freedom. In other words, there is a very reasonable chance that there will be only one state between the Jordan and the sea – neither ours nor theirs but a mutual one. It is likely to be a country with nationalist, racist and religious discrimination and one that is patently not democratic, like the one that exists today. But it could be something entirely different. An entity with a common basis for at least three players: an ideological Right that is prepared to examine its feasibility; a Left, part of which is starting to free itself of the illusions of “Jewish and democratic”; and a not inconsiderable part of the Palestinian intelligentsia.
The conceptual framework will be agreed upon – a democratic state that belongs to all of its citizens. The practicable substance could be fertile ground for arguments and creativity. This is an opportunity worth taking, despite our grand experience of missing every opportunity and accusing everyone else except ourselves.