Trending Topics:

Now that Israel has killed the two-state solution, will liberal Zionists support equality or ethnocracy?

NewsOpinion
on 93 Comments
Peter Beinart has a decision to make.

Peter Beinart has a decision to make.

Now that the Two State Solution has finally received belated, more-or-less official autopsy results, what will liberal Zionists do: move left to support a state of equality, or move right to support a state of permanent Apartheid ethnocracy? For a long list of self-identified liberal Zionists such as Peter Beinart, Jeffrey GoldbergThomas Friedman, Bradley Burston, Larry Derfner, and many others, that’s the obvious existential question.

Rebecca Steinfeld writes on her Haaretz blog (read it in full):

Whether to go right toward a Jewish one-state or go left toward a democratic one-state is a serious challenge for liberal Jews both inside and outside Israel, who are committed to liberal values such as equality and civil rights…

Liberalism stands for equality and individual rights; Zionism, by contrast, aims to maintain Jewish sovereignty in an area populated predominantly by Palestinian Arabs. It is impossible to square this circle: granting exceptional privilege to one group on the basis of their historical experiences and membership in an ethnic, national or religious group is inherently at odds with a political philosophy premised on universal equality and individual rights. It is illogical to claim that everyone is equal, yet some are more equal. A state founded by and for the Jewish people, living both within and outside of its territory, cannot also be a democratic state for all its citizens within territorial limits.

These contradictions undermine the neat spatial and temporal delineations of liberal Zionists who characterize Israel as illiberal only beyond the “Green Line” and liberal within it. As the Israeli political geographer Oren Yiftachel asserts, portrayals of the existence of “Israel proper” within the “Green Line” as “Jewish and democratic” are both “analytically flawed and politically deceiving.” Instead, he argues that the whole entity, territorially and politically, ought to be characterized as an ethnocracy rather than a democracy….

I say to liberal Jews who are genuinely committed to equality: Stop just hugging and wrestling. Recognize that assumptions about the possibility of a Jewish democracy have rested on sloppy or wishful thinking, with devastating consequences. Confront the logical impossibility of “liberal Zionism.” Demand civil rights for all. Go left.

As a former liberal Zionist, I proudly claim the only mantle that makes any kind of humanistic sense: Equality-ism (h/t Judah Magnes and Martin Buber). If you’re a former liberal-or-otherwise Zionist and ready to come out of the closet as an Equality-ist, please stand up and be counted here in the comments, and/or in the comments on Steinfeld’s piece.

P.S. – To the liberal Zionists who would still grasp at the two state straw in order to preserve Israel as a privileged ethnocracy on part of the land… “Two state solution” is nothing more than a talking point for the Israeli government, a P.R. smokescreen which if repeated enough times (“We want a two state solution. We want more negotiations without preconditions,”) is a way to buy time, avoid prosecution at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and human rights violations, maintain Israel as a state in good standing in the international community . . . and steal more land. In a time of moral crisis, staying neutral is not an option, and if you insist on staying put where you are and advocating for a two state non-solution, you will just be carrying water for the colonial regime’s agenda of naked aggression and conquest.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew A. Taylor is co-founder of PeacePower magazine, and author of "The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel," a chapter in the book Nonviolent Coexistence.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

93 Responses

  1. just on May 7, 2014, 2:43 pm

    Steinfeld nails it!

    “Confront the logical impossibility of “liberal Zionism.””

    Truer words were never written wrt Zionism. Thank you Matthew.

    • eGuard on May 7, 2014, 5:02 pm

      And replace it with Equality-ism? An “Equality-ist Zionist”? Say it ten times: “I am an equality Zionist”. Enough. Oh dear. Another five years lost letting the New Beinarts off the hook. Writing ten pages a day without having to choose.

      Why not solve the problem that is the problem: Zionism. Take a stand.

  2. bilal a on May 7, 2014, 3:01 pm

    A One State solution with a Jewish financial elite and an impoverished native majority living on reservations , commuting to work under Jim Crow, and shackled in federalist prohibitions on self determination; how ill that be better for Israelis , morally or otherwise?

    • W.Jones on May 7, 2014, 4:21 pm

      That would not be democracy. When they say One State solution, liberals mean egalitarian.

    • Marco on May 7, 2014, 4:23 pm

      Bilal – I agree. A one-state solution isn’t a cure-all for the Palestinians, far from it.

      It’s a massive first step, but it has to be followed by a generational civil rights struggle.

      Even in South Africa with an overwhelming black majority, whites still possess grossly disproportionate economic power. Imagine if white South Africans were half the population, if high security white gated communities covered half the country, how free would blacks there really be?

  3. pabelmont on May 7, 2014, 3:07 pm

    I don’t see the older generation (my generation and older) shaking off Zionism. But the young — if they maintain a concern for the problems of Jews — should flock to Equality-ism in regard to I/P as they’ve always done for all other problems.

    This article is wonderful. Some LZ’s will buy this, for it is wonderfully persuasive. Though not new. But Zionism has been sold hard, the LZ’s are victims of that hard-sell, and coming out of that Zionism-induced mental paralysis will be very hard for many of them, hard for most perhaps, because Zionism was a thought-suppressing addiction, what was once called a “pipe-dream” where the “pipe” was filled, instead of with opium, with rosy perceptions of Israel and hideous perceptions of the next holocaust.

    This essay makes plain (as we all know now) that 2SS as a talking point rather than as a real goal is merely a device for letting the clock run and run while Israel piles up its crimes.

    Hitler thought he had a Jewish problem and the holocaust was his solution. The Zionists agreed with Hitler, perhaps chiefly because Hitler had become the European Jewish Problem, and their solution to the Jewish problem was Zionism — transformation of European hate and discrimination against Jews into a Jewish hate and discrimination against Palestinians.

    The American Jews of 1933-1945 had a European Jewish Problem — they did not want the savagely treated Jews of Europe coming to America (and nor did the USA’s government) and therefore supported Zionism as a way to get them out of Europe — but away from America. (That is why the American Jews who supported Zionism for the most part did not go to Palestine. It was not a “solution” for the problem, if any, of American Jews, but for the problem (too plain to miss) of European Jews.)

    So older American Zionists have in addition to their addiction to Zionism a sort of holocaust-guilt (we did not want them here!) of their own.

    One last thought: Zionism “suckered” everyone. It promised a land without people to Jews to get them to come to Palestine. False! It promised democracy and non-discrimination in its declaration of independence. False! It intended “transfer” now called “ethnic cleansing” (aka forced expulsion and permanent exile) for the Palestinians and kept it a secret. A lie! It seemed to promise nicey-nice Jews, Americans and others, democrats, liberals, that Israel would be a kind and decent place, but the settlements and the price-tags and the unpunished pogroms against Palestinians and the on-rushing anti-democratic laws all belie that (seeming) promise.

    I should think that LZ’s would wake up, smell the coffee, take a look at reality — the game as she is being played, not as the promises promised — and oppose Israel (or at least join BDS’s liberal demands) just as they would in any other place.

    • Chu on May 8, 2014, 10:47 am

      And if Israel continues on it’s current trajectory, the image of Israel, the Diaspora the LZs are only look worse and worse. But the Zionists organizations continue to promote their violence and false peace plans, while the entire world knows that the racket just doesn’t want to end. What remains is a rotten reality that is not in sync with the rest of the just world, not matter how much hasbara whitewash remains out there.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on May 8, 2014, 11:41 am

      ”they did not want the savagely treated Jews of Europe coming to America”

      Is that true?

      I’ve read the late Peter Novick’s book, and he certainly claims that American Jews didn’t do much to help European Jews during the war, and didn’t seem to be all that worked up about it at the time. But is it true that US Jews actively tried to block the immigration of their fellow Jews? And for what reason?

  4. Citizen on May 7, 2014, 3:25 pm

    A really astute piece by Taylor, echoing Steinfeld. Time for Americans to face what their own elected government has been doing in the Middle East. There’s another recent piece on this blog about American values regarding the I-P peace process. If you want to know what those values are, or at least what they’ve always aspired to by the best of Americans, Taylor and Steinfeld capture it.

  5. NormanF on May 7, 2014, 3:32 pm

    A Jewish State means Jewish sovereignty and national self determination for the Jewish nation.

    It is this principle of national equality that Jews rightly insist on that the Palestinian Arabs reject.

    Liberal Zionists have no dilemma to face since the other side rejects two states for two peoples. Until that changes among the Palestinian Arabs and they accept Zionism as a legitimate expression of Jewish nationhood, liberal Zionists realize the most that can realistically be done is to manage the conflict.

    All that is possible with the Arabs for a long time to come is a detente but real peace with them will remain impossible.

    • annie on May 7, 2014, 4:18 pm

      A Jewish State means Jewish sovereignty and national self determination for the Jewish nation…. Zionism as a legitimate expression of Jewish nationhood

      ‘national self determination , jewish or otherwise, at the expense of another people (literally requiring another peoples ethnic cleansing, expulsion or death) is not “legitimate expression”, it’s also illegal.

      It is this principle of national equality that Jews rightly insist on that the Palestinian Arabs reject.

      there is no ‘equality’ in a “principle of national equality” when the ‘national’ is ethnic national as opposed to civic national. because a principle of ‘equality’ must relate to all the people living within a state. when only a certain ethnicity is granted national status (as in an ethnic national state) there cannot be equality among citizens.

      otherwise one could own slaves and claim one lived in a state where all men were equal under the law. as long as the law didn’t recognize slaves as being men, then the claim would be true. but could one then say the law reflected the “principles of equality”? i don’t think so.

      • Hostage on May 7, 2014, 9:34 pm

        That’s a really good answer Annie. I would add that there is a huge difference between 1) recognizing that there are two states between the river and the sea at the present time, and that one of them is a Bantustan victim state; and 2) acceptance of a permanent 2 state “solution”.

        We’ve witnessed the fact that Statism is an inescapable aspect of international law, i.e. only a victim state, not a liberation movement, can accept the jurisdiction of the courts or become a party to the relevant statutes of the ICJ and ICC. While Israel has worked overtime to cast doubts on the legal status of the territory on “the other side of the Green Line”, there is no precedent yet for a Buntustan that has been illegally deprived of its share in the exercise of territorial jurisdiction and popular sovereignty being allowed to delegate jurisdiction to an international court in order to pursue territorial claims against an aggressor or apartheid state.

        That’s because the South African situation was 1) resolved using a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that operated outside the scope of international courts; and 2) the adoption of a permanent two state solution to the conflict with Namibia by the mutual consent of the parties concerned. In the case of the illegal situations created by the Zionists, it’s unlikely that a non-adjudicated solution like the ones in South Africa or Namibia will come about, or that they would provide a just settlement for the millions of refugees who continue to suffer the consequences of Grand Apartheid.

      • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 5:32 am

        @ Hostage
        Re your comment on S Africa’s TRC–yes; I can’t imagine such a solution happening in Israel/OT: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/607421/Truth-and-Reconciliation-Commission-South-Africa-TRC

        I also can’t imagine anything like the Nuremberg Trials.

        Hence the importance of supporting as much as one can BDS and further efforts at expanding and solidifying Palestinian statehood via UN & associated international agencies.

        The American veto at the UN SC is a giant impediment and will be seen as such by future historians.

      • NormanF on May 8, 2014, 12:15 am

        Every Arab state defines itself on ethnocratic and religious principles.

        Jewish peoplehood is more than just a religion: its a way of life, a philosophy, a culture and a civilization. Any one can become Jewish.

        Every state on earth is a homeland for a particular people and yet those who who conform as Israel does, to Western liberal democratic values share a commitment to protecting minority rights.

        Israel has a far better record where the latter is concerned than its neighbors do.

        The principle of national equality means Jews have the same national rights the Arabs claim for themselves. This is not controversial at all.

        And this is not at the expense of the Arabs with whom the Jews have offered to share the land by dividing into two national states, one for each people. The Arabs have a problem accepting Jewish nationalism because they see the conflict in zero sum terms. Jews in contrast, look for a “every one can win” solution.

        If Zionism wasn’t open to compromise, there would be no liberal Zionists. On the other hand, liberal Palestinian Arab nationalists are non-existent.

        This is why one can in good conscience be a Zionist. Israel’s cause is just and by the way, its rated by Freedom House as the only “free” society in the Middle East.

        But we will have to wait a long time for things to get better in the Middle East and that means living with things as they are not as one would like them to be.

      • Shingo on May 8, 2014, 4:29 am

        That’s a really good answer Annie.

        Ditto. The example provided of owning slaves is an excellent one.

    • Woody Tanaka on May 7, 2014, 4:47 pm

      “A Jewish State means Jewish sovereignty and national self determination for the Jewish nation.”

      Which is all fine and dandy so long as you’re exercising it on your own land. Zionists aren’t. They’re committing their demonic crimes on land that it, at the least, land to which the Palestinians have no less a right to than the Jews. (In reality, they have a greater right.)

      “It is this principle of national equality that Jews rightly insist on that the Palestinian Arabs reject.”

      No, the Palestinians reject the right of the Zionists to steal the Palestinians’ land and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people.

      “Liberal Zionists have no dilemma to face…”

      LOL Then that person is either not really a liberal or is really lying to himself.

      “All that is possible with the Arabs for a long time to come is a detente but real peace with them will remain impossible.”

      Of course it’s impossible, because the Zionists don’t want peace, not a true just peace. They want the Palstinians to give up. That’s not going to happen, but the Israeli government is, frankly, too stupid and too racist or simply too bloodthirsty to take the steps necessary to secure a just peace.

    • RoHa on May 7, 2014, 8:17 pm

      Hostage and I have put hours of work into presenting legal and moral arguments to show that Jews, as a group, do not have a right of self-determination*.

      The Israel apologists do nothing to meet those arguments. Nor do they present any positive arguments for such a right. For them to keep on claiming it, as they do, is both nonsensical (they are claiming a right which has not been shown to exist) and dishonest, in that they are pretending that there is no dispute about the matter.

      So you, Norman F, are writing nonsense and lying.

      (Interpreted as the right to set up an independent state. No “ethnic” or similar group has such a right per se.)

    • eljay on May 7, 2014, 9:45 pm

      >> A Jewish State means Jewish sovereignty and national self determination for the Jewish nation.

      “Jewish State” is, fundamentally, a religion-supremacist construct. No people – not even Jewish people – have a right to a supremacist state.

    • Betsy on May 8, 2014, 8:57 am

      what is a “nation”? what is a “people”? both of these are fuzzy 19th c. notions of identity that are logically flawed because you can’t draw clear boundaries around either. If it’s based on ‘culture’ (as the French tried to do in their imperialism) people from other ‘nations/peoples’ can attend the Sorbonne & suddenly the French have to deal w/ really well educated Others who are claiming rights within the French state. If it’s based on ‘religion’ then Others can convert. And, these ideas of a ‘people’ that = a ‘nation’ ultimately tend to root themselves either in symbols of ‘blood’ (which eventually leads to deepening racism as political boundaries are confused or challenged or hard to maintain) or ‘land’ (which can justify any sort of land grab, without recourse to universalist principles of international law). But, beyond this, ultimately leads to magical thinking which needs to keep equating a “people” = a “nation” = a “state”.

      this is an inherently violent equation — leading to an inability to define the borders of the state in a rational manner consistent with international law, so the borders must be maintained with increasingly brittle, violent & magical cultural notions of emotionally charged ‘identity’, enforced with terror.

      it is also fundamentally opposed to American history & political philosophy that undergirds our State — our State is based on a ‘civic republican’ ideal which understands citizenship as the fundamental quality that hooks people into the State (not their culture, not their religion, not their ethnicity or race). Granted we constantly fall short of that ideal. But, the US will be in very bad trouble if we honor NormanF’s invocation of 19th notions of ethnonationalistic bases for the STate. We have enough troubles in the 21st c, without going back to such stale & diversionary ideologies to shore up our beleaguered State. Zionism as described by NormanF is fundamentally opposed to American values, but also distracts us from rebuilding our civic Republic based on free citizens claiming rights under natural & international law.

      Who woulda thunk that we’d have to be arguing about such questions in the 21st c??? Yet another reason that I/P & Zionism has become a huge & unnecessary burden!

      • Mayhem on May 9, 2014, 9:46 am

        @Betsy, this sums up your pathological views:

        the left has stopped believing in modernity and progress, and it sees Israel as the embodiment of those things. Its vitriolic hatred for Israel is really an expression of disdain and disgust for what we might call the Western project, the Western way of life, the old I deals of nationhood, sovereignty, economic growth, human expansion, social experimentation. Israel is seen as being at the sharp edge of all those once-positive but now hated values, and thus it is intensively loathed. The left, having lost faith in modernity, has turned Israel into a kind of punchbag against which it can express its own anti-modern, anti-progress, shallowly anti-Western feelings.

        Refer to this talk ‘There is nothing remotely progressive in today’s left-wing loathing of Israel’ given by Brendan O’Neill (a Marxist proletarian firebrand according to The Guardian) at http://brendanoneill.co.uk/post/55687542389/there-is-nothing-remotely-progressive-in-todays

      • annie on May 10, 2014, 8:11 pm

        this is so funny mayhen because O’Neill sounds so much like glick(not betsy*)! i was almost going to post this video of her rantings today ( as an article) because it really seems to me she’s on drugs. check it out, hysterical! especially the “genocidal bloodlust …the unifying force …“shoot lead into jewish babies” ” delusional! lol. you sure know how to pick em!

        * Betsy: our State is based on a ‘civic republican’ ideal which understands citizenship as the fundamental quality that hooks people into the State (not their culture, not their religion, not their ethnicity or race). Granted we constantly fall short of that ideal. But, the US will be in very bad trouble if we honor NormanF’s invocation of 19th notions of ethnonationalistic bases for the STate. We have enough troubles in the 21st c, without going back to such stale & diversionary ideologies to shore up our beleaguered State. Zionism as described by NormanF is fundamentally opposed to American values, but also distracts us from rebuilding our civic Republic based on free citizens claiming rights under natural & international law.

    • talknic on May 8, 2014, 10:07 am

      NormanF “A Jewish State means Jewish sovereignty and national self determination for the Jewish nation”

      Fine, go to it .. IN ISRAEL!

      “Liberal Zionists have no dilemma to face since the other side rejects two states for two peoples”

      Irrelevant. Israel already exists. Now if it would simply stop lying to its citizens and the rest of the world, get out of all non-Israeli territory as required by law, iron out its own internal problems, stop oppressing folk outside of Israel, stop illegally settling their territory, stop dispossessing them. Quite simple really.

    • justicewillprevail on May 8, 2014, 11:06 am

      How can you ‘self-determine’ (whatever that may mean) on another people’s land? And how is that a ‘right’? Facile statements which fall apart as soon as you subject them to scrutiny, or test them against the rights of other people. If you accept the concept of self-determination being somehow tied to specific land (which is not itself a given), then clearly the Palestinians have the overriding right to their own self-determination in their own historic land, much more so than recent immigrants with a different culture.

      • MHughes976 on May 8, 2014, 11:59 am

        Like RoHa I’ve been asking for some time for a statement of the alleged universal right of self-determination which makes sense. With a narrower focus I’d be interested in how Palestinian self-determination is conceived by those who speak of s-d in defence of Zionism. The general reply seems to have been that this is no problem, since the Palestinians are not a genuine nation. I very much agree with Betsy that we have no satisfactory understanding of ‘nations’ and ‘peoples’ either.

      • RoHa on May 8, 2014, 7:13 pm

        Your request is less demanding than mine. I ask for arguments; you just ask for a coherent statement of the alleged right.

        And yet the Hasabaristas cannot even provide that!

        What chance, then, that they will provide Betsy with a usable account of “nations” and “peoples”, or explain why human beings who are not members of a “nation” do not have the alleged right?

        It is, as I said before, just blatant lying to peddle nonsense.

      • Hostage on May 9, 2014, 12:49 am

        Like RoHa I’ve been asking for some time for a statement of the alleged universal right of self-determination which makes sense.

        It simply refers to the right of the inhabitants of a territory or region to help decide upon their form of self-government. It does not include any territorial entities, seeking an independent state, if they are part of an existing state in which they are fairly represented by a democratic government. That is to say: the right cannot be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind. http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/vienna.aspx

        There is a good discussion here, http://www.ejiltalk.org/national-minority-status-for-the-cornish-what-took-so-long/ which explains the view under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and the fact that there are no precise definitions in conventional law. The author notes that recognized “national minorities” have traditionally inhabited a specific area, and have been present in the State since the State’s borders were formed. The Zionists refuse to accept the view contained in the Balfour declaration that various dissenting Jewish “national minorities” exist and have adopted instead an extra-territorial “Jewish people” concept that can’t be reconciled with existing international law on the right of self-determination.

      • MHughes976 on May 9, 2014, 5:48 pm

        I can see that if the situation arises where an existing polity, formerly of wide extent, has met with calamity and cannot continue (Ottoman Empire 1919, perhaps) we might well say that it is best to replace it with such governments, province by province, as are most acceptable in each place.
        I can see that if a polity is or has become illegitimate to the point where it would be wrong for it to continue even roughly as it is – a very extreme point! – then it may be that reform of the whole is actually a worse option than attributing to the different provinces the right go their separate ways, each with the form of government that is most acceptable to it.
        Even this right, arising in emergencies only and therefore not a true or universal right, would be very hard to define plausibly and even a plausible definition might be nightmare when put into practice. Are the administrative boundaries of the defunct policy still valid – why? What if provinces and sub-provinces take very different views?
        The right to help decide, rather than to decide, would seem to be only a right to be consulted, which is fairly inoffensive: much less, surely, than what most people mean when s-d is canvassed. Even so, it would make a mockery of all polities of all kinds if all their groups and sub-groups, however small and however intersecting, had continually to be consulted about whether they want to change their form of government.

  6. DaveS on May 7, 2014, 3:34 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with Matthew’s opinion but not necessarily with his analysis. Why should this latest (entirely predictable) end to the umpteenth chapter of the peace process be seen as the final nail in the coffin? The next chapter is being planned as we speak, and will soon be coming to a theater near you. Most LZ’s who continued to foresee a two-state future despite all the evidence to the contrary are not going to be deterred by this latest disappointment.

    Of course, the infeasibility of the 2ss is only one of two huge reasons to oppose it. The other is simple fairness: the continued existence of the Jewish State has always been incompatible with the fundamental inviolable principle of true equality. LZ’s have managed to compromise their liberal principles in deference to their loyalty to the Jewish State idea, and they will not be compelled by any moral misgivings to abandon that position now.

    I don’t want to seem too pessimistic, however. Matthew calls himself a former liberal Zionist, as do I and many others. Each of us made the jump from hoping that Israel could mitigate its mistreatment of Palestinians to questioning the necessity and fairness of the Jewish State itself. I have no doubt that this latest episode will cause others to make the same leap. However, I would be extremely surprised if Peter Beinart, Jeffrey Goldberg, or Thomas Friedman did so, and somewhat less surprised if Bradley Burston or Larry Derfner did.

    • American on May 7, 2014, 3:54 pm

      Agree.
      I dont think many LZs will abandon the 2 States. They are hook, line and sinker into the necessity of and right of Jews to a Jewish State.

    • German Lefty on May 7, 2014, 4:54 pm

      The next chapter is being planned as we speak, and will soon be coming to a theater near you. Most LZ’s who continued to foresee a two-state future despite all the evidence to the contrary are not going to be deterred by this latest disappointment.

      I agree.

      The infeasibility of the 2ss is only one of two huge reasons to oppose it. The other is simple fairness: the continued existence of the Jewish State has always been incompatible with the fundamental inviolable principle of true equality.

      The Zionist version of the two-state solution is unjust. This should be the one and only reason to oppose it. Even if it were feasible, I’d be against it.

      Matthew calls himself a former liberal Zionist, as do I and many others.

      I think that most people have been “liberal Zionists” at first. This is simply because that’s the official position of the MSM, at least in European countries. People who don’t know or bother that much about a certain issue simply adopt and repeat the opinion of the MSM on this issue. And in case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the official mantra is “Two states for two peoples.”

      • pabelmont on May 7, 2014, 8:11 pm

        GL: But, try to remember, it is not for you (or me) to oppose 2SS or to prefer it (or to define it, etc.). If a mechanism exists for the Palestinians to ratify a draft treaty (and for the Israeli people or — gasp — Jewish Nation — to ratify the same draft treaty) and each side does so, then BINGO! they have a treaty. Let them each wear it in health!

        OTOH, I think we properly see ourselves as trying to educate our readers to what we see as the issues. We do our best.

        The Palestinians may be tireder of all this than we are, or more forgiving. Or maybe all they want is citizenship in a passport-issuing country so they can scatter around the world as nationals instead of stateless refugees.

      • Feathers on May 8, 2014, 9:35 am

        try to remember, it is not for you (or me) to oppose 2SS or to prefer it (or to define it, etc.).

        As noted above in a comment still in moderation, Madeleine Albright has become an ardent advocate for the Responsibility to Protect principle (R2P).

        R2P was invoked to kill Qaddafi and take over Libya (which is now in chaos). According to R2Pers, We ARE our brother’s keepers; we DO have a responsibility to Tikun Olam, repair the world.

        Why should not these liberal notions apply to Palestinians?

      • Hostage on May 8, 2014, 4:30 pm

        R2P was invoked to kill Qaddafi and take over Libya (which is now in chaos). According to R2Pers, We ARE our brother’s keepers; we DO have a responsibility to Tikun Olam, repair the world.

        True enough, but R2P doesn’t not require the use of force or Jewish theology. The Covenant of the League of Nations and the UN Charter have always provided for mutual defense and collective maintenance of international peace and security.

        Why should not these liberal notions apply to Palestinians?

        They do, that’s why Israel and the US are trying to overturn their own doctrines of self-determination, declarative recognition, & etc. to control the coming into existence of other states and the territorial integrity of their populations.

    • LeaNder on May 7, 2014, 6:28 pm

      However, I would be extremely surprised if Peter Beinart, Jeffrey Goldberg, or Thomas Friedman did so, and somewhat less surprised if Bradley Burston or Larry Derfner did.

      That was the only sentence where I felt a strong inner resistance.

      I wouldn’t want to put Larry Derfner and Jeffrey Goldberg into the same box, as we say, or category, so you understand what I mean. I doubt that Jeffrey ever drew CAMERA’s attention.

    • LarryDerfner on May 7, 2014, 6:29 pm

      From (one of) the horse’s mouths: If I thought the 1ss were easier to achieve than the 2ss, and the real choice were between the 1ss and the status quo forever, I think I’d take my chances and support the 1ss because for all my reservations about it, the status quo is insupportable. But I don’t see how anyone can say the 1ss is easier to achieve than the 2ss. If Israelis refuse to give up the settlements, you think they’re going to agree to give 4 million Palestinians citizenship and voting rights, so that the Jews and Palestinians are once again competing for power over one piece of land? I don’t see how the 1ss is supposed to come about. About the 2ss, I think it may be dead, it may have died decades ago, but I don’t think that’s proven yet. In another maximum 10 yrs, it will be, but in the meantime I think there’s a possibility that several years of Palestinian pressure in the UN and elsewhere, together with a growing, mainstreaming BDS movement, may bring about a “South Africa effect” on Israel and force it to give up the occupation and allow a truly independent, sovereign Palestinian state to come into being. If that doesn’t work out within a decade at most, then the 2ss is dead, but even then I don’t see how the 1ss is going to happen.

      • Talkback on May 7, 2014, 7:21 pm

        Don’t worry, Larry. Most people didn’t see it in South Africa, too.

      • Matthew Taylor on May 7, 2014, 7:47 pm

        Hey Larry, thanks for jumping into this and I appreciate your argument. I think the only way the dead 2SS could be resurrected as a legitimate option is, if (ironically enough), there is enormous pressure for one person, one vote, equal rights. When forced to choose between that and resurrecting the 2SS/partition, I think then Israel’s extreme right, in a last gasp to protect a part of the 60+ years of land conquest, could suddenly become serious about partition. However, I think advocacy of a 2SS is self-defeating for those who genuinely favor it because it plays into the Israeli regime’s talking points.

      • ritzl on May 7, 2014, 9:56 pm

        @MT- Well said. Totally agree.

        Two viable states will take some giant epiphany within Israel to happen. If and whether that comes as a result of some new wave of horrific violence from either/both directions (“unsustainable”) or the realization that 1S1P1V is the inescapable outcome/impatience-activated global pursuit (“Oh shit!!”), is anyone’s guess.

        It does seem, though, that waiting for an Israeli epiphany is not high on the Palestinian strategy list (even as they have kept all doors open for the possibility).

        And you’re so right that the only internal method that can move the GoI toward two states is for all LZs to advocate for collective Jewish Israel’s biggest nightmare – one state. But even there, it’s a coin toss (generously) whether the outcome is one or two states. That strategy could/probably will backfire (i.e. solidifying the call for one state) for LZs. But then they’ve been acquiescent for too long, so too little, too late. They’ve lost and it’s the only lever they have to work with at this point.

        Good article. Thanks.

      • LarryDerfner on May 8, 2014, 2:18 am

        About playing into the right’s talking points, that’s true for Barak and Lapid and the legions of others who advocate for 2ss because it will separate the Palestinians from Israelis – “them over there, us over here” as Barak loved to say. But that’s not what Meretz, for instance, is about at all. Meretz’s support for 2ss is based above all on the idea of ending the subjugation because it’s wrong, and its opposition to 1ss, it seems to me, is based on the idea that it’s unworkable – that it’ll return the situation to that of two peoples fighting for power over one piece of land. I guarantee you that Meretz is held in more than enough contempt in this country to know that it’s not playing into the right’s talking points.

      • ritzl on May 8, 2014, 8:32 am

        I think at least part of Matthew’s point was that playing into the right’s 2S charade doesn’t have to be intentional. It can be principled, as in Meretz’s case.

        Any support for continuing the 2S/peace process political veil for annexation (by whatever name) serves the same purpose. It yields threads of false hope that are spun into the rationalizations for “new” ongoing process over here in the US. The ongoing process is used to annex more land, and concurrently spike the [Palestinians are to] blame debate PRN. Etc…

      • irishmoses on May 7, 2014, 8:07 pm

        Actually, a single state reality has been in place since 1967. Despite a modicum of local control by the PA in small portions of the West Bank, and by Hamas in Gaza, Israel has controlled the entirety of Mandate Palestine since 1967.

        So, there is a single state solution in place. The only question is whether Israel can or will be forced to modify it from an apartheid-like single state to a democratic version, or whether Israel can be forced (or might volunteer) to relinquish 20 percent to allow the Palestinians to have a state of their own. Neither possibility seems remotely likely to me.

        Thus, we are faced with the current reality of an existing single state of Greater Israel in which half of the human beings are oppressed by the other half which believes the good lord somehow has chosen them more worthy.

        To suggest that we’ve been in some “negotiations” limbo state for the last several decades is to ignore reality. The game since 1967 has been to delay while transferring more and more Israeli Jews into the balance of Greater Israel which they consider permanently theirs to keep.

        There are no longer any “occupied territories”. Military occupation ends once hostilities cease and the occupiers can return the territory to its rightful inhabitants, The US militarily occupied Italy, Germany, and Japan after WWII. Its occupations (arguably the most difficult in history) lasted 6 years for Italy, 8 for Germany, and a year or so more for Japan. Israel’s “occupation” is now approaching half a century. It’s illegal annexations, population transfers, seizures of land and property, and eviction of rightful owners makes clear that its “occupation” is permanent and was always intended to be so.

      • pabelmont on May 7, 2014, 8:18 pm

        Agreed. But tho occupation s/b brief, it is not defined to be brief.

        What IS defined are the rules for conducting the occupation. I see the “key” or “leverage” for EU/UN to get something going is to begin to insist (with sanctions) on a legal occupation. The nations s/b able to agree to a set of goals (e.g., remove settlers, wall, settlements, siege) and with somewhat more difficulty to agree on a set of (perhaps gradually applied) sanctions for forcing Israel to do as it is told.

        Imagine Israel being strongly required to remove all the settlers and to dismantle all the settlements. And progressive sanctions beginning to come into force, a vise tightening, slowly and inexorably. Imagine the Israeli banksters and businessmen contemplating this, the sanctions moving onwards towards 9or into) trade cutoffs. I think there is room to be cautiously optimistic that there might be progress toward peace.

      • seafoid on May 8, 2014, 9:52 am

        “Actually, a single state reality has been in place since 1967. Despite a modicum of local control by the PA in small portions of the West Bank, and by Hamas in Gaza, Israel has controlled the entirety of Mandate Palestine since 1967. So, there is a single state solution in place”

        Exactly. But it is unstable and won’t make it long term. What will ?

      • mikeo on May 7, 2014, 8:26 pm

        But I don’t see how anyone can say the 1ss is easier to achieve than the 2ss. If Israelis refuse to give up the settlements, you think they’re going to agree to give 4 million Palestinians citizenship and voting rights, so that the Jews and Palestinians are once again competing for power over one piece of land?

        2ss requires Palestinian state to be a viable state. By any reckoning that usually require contiguity, control of borders and natural resources, military capacity. I don’t see how this can now be effected as it requires Israel’s leaders to choose this course of action.

        1ss requires all citizens to have votes and equal rights. This can possibly be effected by a civil rights movement and outside pressure.

        Which do you honestly think is more viable at this stage given the balance of power between the parties?

        I don’t see how the 1ss is supposed to come about. About the 2ss, I think it may be dead, it may have died decades ago, but I don’t think that’s proven yet. In another maximum 10 yrs, it will be, but in the meantime I think there’s a possibility that several years of Palestinian pressure in the UN and elsewhere, together with a growing, mainstreaming BDS movement, may bring about a “South Africa effect” on Israel and force it to give up the occupation and allow a truly independent, sovereign Palestinian state to come into being. If that doesn’t work out within a decade at most, then the 2ss is dead, but even then I don’t see how the 1ss is going to happen.

        None of the trends inside Israeli society point to “giving up the occupation and allowing a truly independent, sovereign Palestinian state to come into being”. That being the case and with the status quo being recognised as unsustainable by almost every neutral observer it seems most likely that change will occur due to outside pressures. At this moment outside pressures seem likely to result in a 1ss mainly because a viable 2ss has been all but destroyed by years of Israeli govt policy…

        My family are Chinese and love the apocryphal quote by Zhou Enlai regarding the effect of the French Revolution on Western history: “Too early to tell”.

        Taking that sort of long view Israel has not prepared good ground work for an enduring and prosperous future in its region…

      • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 11:12 am

        So, where do you think Israel’s overtures and meetings with China will go? Looks to me like, after France, followed by now bankrupt and war-weary USA, Israel is turning next to China to host it.

      • mikeo on May 8, 2014, 12:33 pm

        I think Israel will have a “normal” relationship with China. Both countries will operate on the basis of their own national interest. China cannot criticise the Israeli occupation too stridently – they have their own Tibet issue. But as we see with Chinese relations with Iran and Israel – China’s national interests necessitate attempting to be friendly with both countries and so that is what they try to do.

        If Israel can use its close ties to the US military to supply China with US military technology they will gladly take this and exchange something of equal value. China wishes to become a technology leader, I’m sure it will exchange access to markets for access to some of Israel’s vaunted technological prowess – China usually does this through joint-partnerships (Although Israel would be well-advised that the Chinese may do to them what they have allegedly done to the US on this front, and steal technology only to market it as their own – intellectual property and copyright violations are not well enforced in China…).

        The main differences Israelis will find dealing with China compared to the US is in the lack of a shared cultural framework. Although they are only a small percentage of the population, Jewish people and Jewish culture are an integral component of the US with an outsize influence compared to numbers. Jewish ideas are an intrinsic part of Western European thought from the religious and moral teachings of the Jewish faith which underlie Christianity to the modern ideas of Marx and Freud.

        There is no similar long-standing influence on Chinese thinking. The Chinese are by and large not a religious people and even when they are they tend to be synthesists (often professing to follow tenets of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism without any sense that this is problematic.) Hence any exclusivist “God gave us the land” arguments will carry little or no weight with Chinese politicians, they will assess these things in pragmatic terms.

        I don’t believe there will ever be a Jewish lobby that can act from within Chinese society because there is no significant Chinese Jewish population, no history of Jewish influence in China and very little confluence between traditional Jewish and Chinese thinking. But the Chinese also see much to admire in Jewish culture: a long history, a respect for study, a talent for making money (a flattering stereotype which can nevertheless skirt close to and sometimes morph into more negative stereotypes!) all in all a successful clever people who should be respected (but not done any special favours).

      • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 5:59 am

        @ LarryDerfner

        I agree with your “…there’s a possibility…”
        How will this happen unless the US stops penalizing Palestinians for grasping at increased statehood at the UN & associated agencies? Most especially, unless the US quits using its UN SC veto to block attempts all attempts to make Israel accountable? Unless the US comes out more forcefully against the illegal Israeli settlements? And, will the NYT ever come out in favor of BDS?

      • DaveS on May 8, 2014, 9:29 am

        Larry, I have a lot of respect for you and the brave columns that you’ve written in the past, including the one that got you sacked from the JPost, but I am disappointed in your response. Your least inoffensive point is that the 1ss is less achievable than the 2ss, and that point is not at all convincing. You treat the question of feasibility as a linear monetary issue that is wholly within Israel’s power to decide, like “We can’t get Israel to pay half a million dollars, so how are we to get it to pay a million?” That is stale thinking. Very briefly, what makes the 2ss non-feasible is the presence of hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers on land that would be part of the Palestinian State, and the impossibility of removing enough of them (without igniting a civil war) to make such state viable. That is not a problem for the 1ss, which would not require removal. As for Israeli intransigence toward any solution, it surely is correct that Israeli Jews will not give up their position of dominance over Palestinians, both citizens and the stateless, without pressure from the outside, and there is every sign that such pressure is building. As long as pressure is required, it should be applied to budge Israel toward the more achievable and more just solution of egalitarianism. You yourself see the growing South Africa-type pressure, so keep in mind that the ANC, and the world, demanded equality there, not some sort of less onerous inequality of the type inherently faced by Palestinian citizens of the Jewish State. Obviously there is much much more to say on this subject, but I am answering your brevity with my own.

        And, as I said, that was your best, least offensive argument. As for the Occupation, which you clearly and unequivocally oppose, I find two things you say troubling. First, you are willing to give it another decade before pronouncing the 2ss dead. Not only is that an unreasonable position with respect to the millions who are living under a cruel, racist military dictatorship, ten years is an entirely arbitrary time period that I suspect is quite vulnerable to entirely arbitrary extension as it nears expiration. You choose that number because it is far enough in the future that you don’t have to worry too much now, yet not so far — “only” one-fifth of what the Palestinians already have endured — that you don’t think your counsel of patience appears callous and indifferent. However, there is no reason to believe that a decade’s passing will magically reveal things that are not quite clear today.

        The other thing is that faced with a choice between the status quo and the 1ss solution, you only “think” you would opt for the latter. That’s something you really should know. You seem to recognize the status quo of occupation as “insupportable” but to you, it apparently is quite tolerable even if you vehemently oppose it. Just as bad, you will never have to recognize that that really is the choice (between status quo and 1ss), at least not for the next ten years, and even then, you can find some other reason to believe that your original ten-year prediction wasn’t long enough.

        Let me acknowledge that your position is different from mine. I live a very safe comfortable life in the US, and my fears of the 1ss are virtually non-existent. Your fears of the chaos and danger that might ensue are no doubt genuine and sincere. However, you are in a position that is less dire than that faced by white South Africans, who protected themselves from almost all dangerous intermingling with the “underclass,” and faced being a very small minority if apartheid ended. You Israeli Jews, on the other hand, already allow citizenship and frequent contact with a 25% non-Jewish population, and you would face about a 50-50 split with the end of Jewish privilege. At some point, you have to recognize that your fears of equality are sentencing millions of people to perpetual second- (or fifth-) class citizenship based on ethnicity and ancestry, something you truly would not find tolerable if imposed upon your own ethnic group.

        Larry, you are faced with a moral choice, and I cannot present it any better than Rebecca Steinfeld:
        Recognize that assumptions about the possibility of a Jewish democracy have rested on sloppy or wishful thinking, with devastating consequences. Confront the logical impossibility of “liberal Zionism.” Demand civil rights for all.
        and Matt Taylor:
        In a time of moral crisis, staying neutral is not an option, and if you insist on staying put where you are and advocating for a two state non-solution, you will just be carrying water for the colonial regime’s agenda of naked aggression and conquest.

      • LarryDerfner on May 8, 2014, 6:27 pm

        David, let me make a few points in response.
        1. I think the 1ss idea for Israelis and Palestinians is based on the idea that these two peoples seething with nationalism, in both cases an ethno/religious nationalism, will just put it aside and live together in some sort of post-nationalistic mindset. I think it’s completely divorced from reality. It doesn’t recognize what a nation is, why there are states, why there are borders, why there are armies, why there are wars. I think it’ll be a disaster, and as hard as it will be to get Israelis to agree to the 2ss, it will be infinitely harder to get them to agree to the 1ss – and I don’t blame them. Besides, there’s no int’l support for it.
        2. About my choice of 10 years, why do you try to psychoanalyze me? I choose 10 years maximum, as I wrote it, because I think it will take several years for the South African strategy to have the necessary psychological effect on Israelis – I think of six, seven, maybe eight years, but that’s just a vague sense, so why not just say 10 maximum?
        3. And this is not a response to your post, but something that gets me. Why do so many one-staters have this thing about 2ss’ers who genuinely want to end the occupation, such as Peter Beinart? Why are you so exasperated, if not incensed, with me? I understand being pissed off at Friedman, Goldberg, Shavit – I am too because as far as I’m concerned, they say they’re for ending the occupation, but when push comes to shove they always take a stand for it – they always support Israel’s military actions, they always oppose anything that has a real chance of changing things, like BDS. But that’s not Beinart, and it’s not Meretz, and it’s not me – and if Beinart and Meretz are a little to my right, I’m not going to quibble, I recognize them as allies – but you don’t seem to. And I think it’s a huge waste of energy – the status quo is so bad, so right wing that Netanyahu is on the left end of Israel’s ruling party, and you’re spending so much energy going after Beinart and liberal Zionists. BTW, I have no problem with you guys – as far as I’m concerned the issue at hand is knocking over the occupation, and we are allies in that fight. I find the 1ss vs. 2ss a very interesting argument, and it has great moral significance, but it has no political significance. The only thing that has political significance is fighting the status quo, and the status quo is awfully far to the right of liberal Zionism.

      • ritzl on May 8, 2014, 8:44 pm

        @Larry Derfner- I agree with David that you are one of the good guys. Your input here is troubling, but in a constructive sort of way. You ask great questions. Large questions.

        1) Israelis don’t have to agree to one state. They’ve already agreed through either acquiescence or outright support for assimilation. It’s happening. The question is whether, from your perspective, can that political inertia be stopped, let alone reversed. Even in 1o years.

        2) What will be different within 10 years? Why should the Palestinians wait? As you say, BDS may gain traction in that time, but is that enough of a prospect for Palestinians to hold their collective breath for a positive outcome? Would you? Sincere questions.

        3) I don’t think anyone’s “incensed” with you, for the reasons Samel laid out. What I believe is the source of exasperation is the counsel of courageous Israelis and ostensible allies for yet more Palestinian patience for an elusive outcome in the face of all the duplicity and double-teaming (US) that has gone before. Again, what’s different? Do you believe that BDS will ultimately make a difference? If so, are there more/enough like you in Israel capable of affecting that outcome from within, and in time?

        Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • American on May 8, 2014, 9:41 pm

        LarryDerfner says:

        May 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        David, let me make a few points in response.
        1. I think the 1ss idea for Israelis and Palestinians is based on the idea that these two peoples seething with nationalism, in both cases an ethno/religious nationalism, >>>>>

        I dont see that ‘seething nationalism’ or a lot of ‘ethno religion except for a few groups of Muslims, in the Palestines cause—I see more seething ‘for freedom’ and to live on their own land—-which was stolen and keeps being stolen from them.

      • wondering jew on May 9, 2014, 12:42 am

        A 2 state solution tempts because it is near. It is only missing 17 Knesset members, whereas a 1 state solution is missing 49 Knesset members. (My vote counting may be faulty, but I am counting: You can currently get 44 votes for a two state solution and you can get 12 votes for a one state solution.)

        It is interesting that Larry Derfner sets a time frame of 10 years. This may be a valid line in the sand for his own expectations, but it will be interesting to see how Fatah and Hamas develop over the next 10 years, whether there will be a sufficient Palestinian non Fatah non Hamas movement or party that will express the urge for voting in Israeli Knesset elections and how that movement would evolve.

      • irishmoses on May 9, 2014, 1:23 am

        Larry said:

        “I think it’s a huge waste of energy – the status quo is so bad, so right wing that Netanyahu is on the left end of Israel’s ruling party, and you’re spending so much energy going after Beinart and liberal Zionists.”

        You make a good point. There’s a tendency on this side to consume our own in occasional witch hunts that are often based on minor stray comments or errors that get blown out of all proportion. I still think the attacks on Gilad Atzmon were way over the top, particularly for someone of his background and former stature. The same happens on a lesser scale in the battles over who is an unreformed liberal Zionist. These debates seem to make sense when viewed internally by those in our choir. But, from the outside, when compared to the truly bad actors, this quibbling is pretty petty does nothing to advance the cause. As you say, a waste of energy.

        My personal view is that we are maybe a year away from a return to violence on the part of the Palestinians. If their international efforts prove fruitless, if BDS has only marginal effects, and if the US and the EU continue to vacillate rather than confront and sanction Zionist excesses, they’ll end up with no other choice. I hope it doesn’t go this way, but I see no realistic road to a democratic 1SS or 2SS which will leave us with the current single, apartheid-like state solution that has been in place since 1967.

        I think the fear of being dragged into a brutal, all-out, Algeria style revolution is what motivated the US and Kerry to put so much effort into trying to hammer out an agreement. I don’t think the motive was humanitarian. I think it is a genuine fear of how bad this situation could get, and how badly it could hurt US vital security interests if we remain glued to Israel and its actions. Incredibly, no one in our government has found the cojones to put their foot down and use the immense leverage we have to force a change in government and a radical change in its policy.

        In any case, thanks for joining in the fray. I remember reading your columns in the Jerusalem Post and wondering why they kept you on. Their loss, your (and our) gain.

      • Citizen on May 9, 2014, 1:58 am

        I think it’s disgusting that the US won’t use its considerable economic and diplomatic leverage directly on Israel and at the UN to help the Palestinians get a place under the sun; if we Americans continue to stay glued to Israel, given its increasingly negative nature, we will pay dearly in a few more years, say within three.

      • annie on May 9, 2014, 7:46 pm

        larry, wrt this ’10 years’, with all due respect (really!) it’s sort of irrelevant how long you would ‘give it’ because there’s no plan b at the end of ten years that would go into effect. as a mental exercise, just pretend that 10 years is up tomorrow. you see, you’re right back to where we are today only worse. this is why hanging in there for 10 yrs is pointless.

        you say, you don’t see how anyone can say the 1ss is easier to achieve than the 2ss. well to that i say .. there are just a lot of people who have come to the conclusion israel will never ever allow 2 states. they just will not ever agree to it. ever. not israelis mind you, i think a majority could be brought along. but no regime will agree to it, ever. and i say that because of the track record of the zionist regime to date. so given that, i will use your own words (reversing 1-2SS and say:

        If I thought the 2ss were easier to achieve than the 1ss, and the real choice were between the 2ss and the status quo forever, I think I’d take my chances and support the 2ss because for all my reservations about it, the status quo is insupportable.

        in fact i’d gladly support a 2ss if i believed in it. and i’d support santa claus if i believed in him too, but i can’t because i don’t. it’s not a choice i have. and when i try to think of solutions i am bound not by what i think is the best outcome (one can always support lesser options) but by reality. and as was pointed out before on this thread the reality i see is already one state. one apartheid state with one government making the rules and two people. so i have to start with that as a given. and from that place it seems like a logical (and of course moral) goal to aspire for both those peoples to have equal rights. it may seem like a pie in the sky but it seems like the only option given i don’t believe the government of israel will ever agree to any trajectory but expansion.

        i do believe it will require outside pressure and that pressure will take some time to achieve results that amount to a solution. now, i think if that day were tomorrow there may be some chance of a 2ss but clearly it is not. and given the amount of time it will take israel will just be more entrenched which lessens the prospects of 2ss every single day. iow, not more likely but less (iow instead of just believing in santa we’d be throwing in the flying reindeer).

        of course i hope there will not be a war. but i predict there will be much more discomfort for left leaning zionists inside israel in the interm, much more.

        and as an aside, i am not exasperated with you. and i even kinda like peter beinart even tho i don’t agree with him. i think he’s moving as opposed to being stationary and there are many things about him i like including his determination. i think he’s a good person. at least he doesn’t go off on tangents and start accusing people of being anti semites on a regular basis unlike other “liberal” zionists we know. (cough)

        A 2 state solution tempts because it is near. It is only missing 17 Knesset members, whereas a 1 state solution is missing 49 Knesset members.

        well yonah, there are more actors here that the knesset members. your idea seems grounded in the concept change will happen because a state is in agreement or consensus with 1/2 of itself, the half represented by 49 Knesset members. that’s foolhardy. especially when one takes into account outside influence. let’s put it this way, if america did’t matter there would not be a lobby. the reason israel and israel supporters care about what america thinks is because we matter. especially the children and kids at the university. once you lose american support (israel will) everything will change much faster. and like larry, i give the zionist regime about 10 years – max, and then i think will see an implosion and things will fall into place.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on May 8, 2014, 11:51 am

      Yup, I agree too.

      The ‘peace process’ has been ‘on its last legs’ for at least a decade now. Yet there’s always another chance, always another few years for more settlements to be built, more land to be stolen, more Palestinians to be killed.

      Granted, Kerry was fairly explicit about what a farce the ‘peace process’ is, and while the Zios won’t like that, they can easily live with it. If Obama were to say ”Enough. The 2 state solution is dead. We are withdrawing from the peace process and concentrating our efforts on a one-state solution’ THEN the Zios would be in high panic. But because that’s never going to happen, and they know it, they’re comfortable enough with the ‘false urgency of never’.

  7. weareone on May 7, 2014, 3:56 pm

    “Zionism suckered everyone.”
    No-not everyone. Only those morally bankrupt enough to ignore
    the genocide that was and is taking place to create Israel. Please-no more excuses. It’s sickening.
    There have always been courageous groups of anti-zionist Jews such as Neuteri Karta. http://www.nkusa.org. They made a choice long ago. The same choice was availabe to everyone.

  8. W.Jones on May 7, 2014, 4:18 pm

    “Equality-ism” = “Egalitarianism”

  9. peterfeld on May 7, 2014, 4:43 pm

    Liberal Zionism is the solar plexus of the occupation. It needs the hardest and most painful punches imaginable. Destroy liberal Zionism and remove the most crucial support Israel has. What will unravel it will be Netanyahu’s “Jewish state” fixation. He’s like the criminal whose undoing is his compulsion to reveal his own crimes.

  10. irishmoses on May 7, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Another great post Matthew, as is Peter’s long response.

    My view is that liberal Zionists don’t have the moxie, cojones, or commitment to make a difference. They have earnest discussions at the margins but not much more. I think you see this in all revolutionary or anti-colonialist struggles. The liberal middle becomes irrelevant as the struggle turns violent. Violence fills the vacuum when liberal solutions fail. Those in the middle are forced to take sides. Talk, as they say, is cheap.

    Peter’s reference, on another thread, to Norman Finklestein’s view that the only solution will be from a third intifada, I believe, sadly, is spot-on. Yet, as I think Krauss mentioned in another thread, it is difficult to see how the Palestinians could win an Algeria-like struggle as they face far more Zionist Israelis than the Algerian Muslims faced Algerian colons. Yet, it could happen if Syria and Jordan fall apart and become radicalized.

    I hope it doesn’t go that way but it is difficult to see any other realistic option for Palestinians faced with Greater Israel Zionist extremists.

  11. German Lefty on May 7, 2014, 5:02 pm

    OT: Tomorrow, there will be the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Israel will take part in it. I just wanted to look up something about Israel’s role in the Eurovision Song Contest and stumbled upon this piece of information:

    In 1978, during the performance of the Israeli entry, the Jordanian broadcaster JRTV suspended the broadcast, and instead showed pictures of flowers. When it became apparent during the later stages of the voting sequence that Israel was going to win the contest, JRTV abruptly ended the transmission. Afterwards, the Jordanian news media refused to acknowledge the fact that Israel had won, and announced that the winner was Belgium (which had actually come in 2nd).
    Because of Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, many Arab states that are eligible to participate decided not to do so. Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon are cases in point. Tunisia was about to participate in 1977, but decided not to do so in the end; Lebanon was just about to participate in 2005 when it withdrew (incurring a fine by the EBU) because Lebanese law does not allow recognition of Israel, and consequently Lebanese television would not transmit any Israeli material – which would have been a violation of EBU’s (European Broadcasting Union) rules; and Morocco is so far the only African country that has participated, doing so in 1980 when Israel wasn’t present.

    • NormanF on May 8, 2014, 12:23 am

      Your find illustrates the root problem of the conflict is the Arab refusal to acknowledge a Jewish State exists. It has nothing to do with territory, settlements, borders or all of the other excuses trotted out by Israel haters to obscure the real issue. Its an existential conflict. In such a case, no real compromise is possible. Well-meaning people look the other way but the pathologies evident in the Arab World preclude it. Which by the way, has not changed since 1970s.

      • Shingo on May 9, 2014, 6:26 pm

        Your find illustrates the root problem of the conflict is the Arab refusal to acknowledge a Jewish State exists.

        Stop the lies Norman. The PLO recognized Israel in 1993 and the Arab League has stated it is willing to recognize Israel and normalize relations within the 1967 borders.

        So yes, it has everything to do with territory, settlements, borders, expulsion, occupation and human rights. There is nothing existential about the conflict, it is very simple.

        The reason you and your fellow cultists like to deny it is about territory, settlements, borders, expulsion, occupation and human rights and insist it is about religion or ideology only is because you want to frame the debate as one that cannot be resolved so you can carry on stealing territory, building illegal settlements, ethnic cleansing, occupation and violating human rights.

      • eljay on May 9, 2014, 6:42 pm

        >> Your find illustrates the root problem of the conflict is the Arab refusal to acknowledge a Jewish State exists. It has nothing to do with territory, settlements, borders or all of the other excuses trotted out by Israel haters to obscure the real issue.

        It’s funny how Zio-supremacists say it’s not about the territory, settlements, borders or all of the other excuses, but they never want Israel:
        – to immediately and completely halt its 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
        – to withdraw from all of the territory it has stolen, occuped and colonized and back to within its / Partition borders; and
        – to honour its obligations under international law.

    • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 6:22 am

      @ GL
      Looks to me like Austria’s got a good shot at winning the contest.

    • Citizen on May 8, 2014, 6:37 am

      @ GL
      Here’s some light commentary on the politics of the contest: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/607421/Truth-and-Reconciliation-Commission-South-Africa-TRC

      PS: Does not mention Israel. Does mention how some other countries use the contest to boost their image when it’s been suffering due to domestic abuse, or simply because of being a small state.

      • German Lefty on May 8, 2014, 6:12 pm

        Um, are you sure that’s the right link?

    • German Lefty on May 8, 2014, 5:46 pm

      Incredible! I’ve just been called an anti-Semite by a German journalist for a tweet in support of Palestinian rights.
      Israel was kicked out in the 2nd semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
      A German journalist tweeted: “Sad for Israel.”
      I replied: “You’d better feel sorry for the Palestinians.”
      He replied: “What a boring, unwitty answer. Very anti-Semitic.”
      I replied: “Actually, I would expect journalists to know the difference between Jews, Israelis, and Zionists.” “You should look up people like Ilan Pappe, Shir Hever, and Max Blumenthal before you throw insults around.” “Respecting the human rights of Palestinians is not tantamount to disrespecting the human rights of Jews.”

      • German Lefty on May 8, 2014, 6:02 pm

        Discussion continued:
        He replied: “It’s all right. The usual twaddle from Pali sympathisers. I think that Palestine should take part in the Eurovision Song Contest. That would be good.”
        I replied: “Yes, that would be nice. However, this wouldn’t give them back their rights. Only BDS can do that.”

  12. annie on May 7, 2014, 5:05 pm

    excellent article matthew. thanks!

  13. Kathleen on May 7, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Apartheid ethnocracy hidden behind a wall of….we tried…we were part of the better late than never crowd and we really did try for,,,, awhile

  14. palijustice on May 7, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Why are people defending an ethnically supremacist state in the 21st century, where one group is entitled to privileges, under law, while another is persecuted under law? It should be universally condemned, and not debated over. Astounding really.

    • Kathleen on May 8, 2014, 10:32 am

      Illustrates how off limits this issue has been for decades and how special interest have built a wall of silence around this racist apartheid state. Peter Beinart and the better late than never Anti Zionist Zionist crowd have very much been part of keeping the wall of silence up until recently.

  15. wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 7:57 pm

    As long as Fatah and Hamas are still in the 2 state game and UN resolution 242 is still in the game, there is a 2 state game, but I agree it will not lead to a resolution. Israel will annex the West Bank and give citizenship to all residents. Gaza will not be part of Israel, but will be a separate state. I’d give this 36 years or so. I know you’re expecting it in 6 years, but 36 years is closer to how this will take place.

    • talknic on May 8, 2014, 10:20 am

      @ yonah fredman “As long as Fatah and Hamas are still in the 2 state game”

      Irrelevant. Palestine is represented by a neutral body, same as the Jewish People’s Council.

      “and UN resolution 242 is still in the game”

      More nonsense. UNSC res 242 was not about forming statehood or defining borders. It was to end hostilities between states. See the Egypt/Israel Peace treaty

      “Israel will annex the West Bank and give citizenship to all residents”

      Unilateral annexation is illegal.

      “Gaza will not be part of Israel, but will be a separate state”

      UNSC res 1860 try reading it.

  16. irishmoses on May 7, 2014, 8:33 pm

    “Israel will annex the West Bank and give citizenship to all residents. Gaza will not be part of Israel, but will be a separate state.”

    There are far too many Palestinians in the West Bank (2.5 million) to allow annexation and citizenship. I believe Area C is the next annexation goal (only 150,000 pesky Arabs). I agree Gaza is out of the mix (1.7 million pesky Arabs) as are the long-suffering, stateless external refugees in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan (3.3 million pesky Arabs, with about a million of these still living in squalor in refugee camps).

    • wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 10:30 pm

      irishmoses- It will require a revolution in thinking to annex the West Bank and give citizenship to its residents. That’s why I stated such a long time frame. (36 years, although 56 years is more likely than 16 years, although 26 years is more likely than 66 years.)

      As far as the current government as led by Netanyahu, I would bet heavily that Netanyahu will not annex Area C. Slow and steady settlement, yes, that’s Netanyahu’s path. Revolutionary annexation- that’s not his style. He’s from the Shamir, “hand it over as it was handed to you” school of thought and not from the Sharon, “I will leave my mark on the future with a highly visible move” school of thought.

      • wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 10:46 pm

        I could envision some future government in which the right wing power of a Bennett is increased that Netanyahu might do the bidding of a right wing faction, but not with the currently Knesset and coalition.

      • seafoid on May 8, 2014, 10:04 am

        Israel doesn’t have 36 years. South Africa couldn’t run apartheid forever.
        One can only imagine how ignorant Israeli society will be 10 years from now – how many secular Jews are likely to hang around ?

  17. talknic on May 7, 2014, 9:51 pm

    “Now that the Two State Solution has finally received belated, more-or-less official autopsy results..”

    Only if Palestine capitulates. The panic stricken knee jerk reactions by Israel and its lobby to recent legal moves by Palestine towards joining UN bodies and treaties indicate it is far from over.

  18. talknic on May 7, 2014, 10:03 pm

    The issue could be resolved immediately were Israel to unilaterally adhere to the law and its actual borders, sort out its internal problems however it sees fit, leaving Palestine independent of Israeli oppression.

  19. Henry Norr on May 7, 2014, 10:56 pm

    Rebecca Steinfeld’s post and Matthew’s framing of it are eloquent and moving, but with all due respect, I have to say I think it’s all horsepucky. We can hope that some of the liberal Zionists will “go left,” as she puts it, but if umpteen previous failed negotiations, plus the ever-clearer facts on the ground, haven’t shaken their faith, what reason is there to believe this latest fiasco will? After all, liberal Zionism, no matter how far removed from the realities of actually existing Zionism, continues to serve all the ideological purposes Steinfeld acutely dissects – basically, it lets people who don’t want to admit that they’ve abandoned liberal values for (perceived) tribal interests avoid facing the contradictions.

    Here’s an alternative scenario for the next few years: the Israeli and U.S. governments will continue to rattle on about their desire to resume negotiations (as soon as we have a “partner for peace,” the Israelis will say), about how two states are the only solution, and so on and so on, and as long as that continues, the Goldbergs and Friedmans of the world – I actually have a bit more hope about Beinart, since he’s shown more capacity to evolve – will continue to make nice livings peddling punditry to the same effect.

    Rebecca and Matthew’s belief that they can no longer continue to espouse the same drivel they always have evidently rests on the assumption that it’s no longer possible to maintain any hope for a two-state solution. But that’s true only of a particular kind of two-state solution. Forgive me for quoting myself at great length, but as I wrote on this site back in 2012:

    the kind of two-state solution liberal Americans, Israeli left Zionists, and Palestinian Authority loyalists have long imagined (and right-wing Zionists have feared) – that is, a state with at least many of the attributes of sovereignty along something close to the 1967 borders – is dead. But that’s nothing new: the whole idea was probably stillborn at Oslo, but if there was ever a possibility it would come to life, that chance ended years ago….

    But to acknowledge that one idealized version of the two-state solution is dead doesn’t necessarily mean that other versions of it aren’t possible.

    What seems much more likely is that the Israelis will seek to preserve the status quo as long as possible, while they keep expanding the settlements and quietly driving out as many Palestinians as they can (mainly by making their lives miserable and hopeless) – all the while blathering about the need for negotiations. Is there any reason to think that Washington and the Europeans wouldn’t let them get away with this little game, just as they have for so many decades?

    And if at some point, from somewhere, there did arise real pressure to resolve the issue – or if the Israelis succeed in so demoralizing the Palestinian population and corrupting its leadership that they can impose the terms they want – I’m convinced they’ll actually implement a two-state “solution.”

    It just won’t look anything like what the peace processors have pretended to discuss for the last 20 years. Forget the 1967 borders – Israel will annex the majority of the West Bank. What they’ll leave for the new state is an archipelago of minuscule fragments, including the main Palestinian population centers, all cut off from one another and surrounded by what will become officially Israeli territory.

    Specifically, in terms of the supposedly short-term administrative divisions originally laid out in the “Oslo II Agreement” between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1995, count on Israel to formalize its currently de facto but complete control of Area C, which represents 62 percent of the West Bank’s land area. It includes all the settlements, the buffer zones around them, the Israeli highways, the IDF bases and “firing zones,” and the entire Jordan Valley except the city of Jericho.

    In fact, Bibi Netanyahu and his cronies have long hinted at such a “solution.” In 1996, when he was first elected prime minister, he promised to implement the Oslo agreement, but compared the kind of entity he had in mind for the Palestinians to either a territory with the right to hold a referendum on sovereignty, like Puerto Rico, or a demilitarized state like Andorra. 

When David Bar-Illan, then director of communications and policy planning in Netanyahu’s office, was asked about statehood, he answered “Semantics don’t matter. If Palestinian sovereignty is limited enough so that we feel safe, call it fried chicken.” And just last year, when Moshe Ya’alon, Netanyahu’s deputy prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, was asked to explain his thinking about a Palestinian state, he put it even more clearly: “Our intention is to leave the situation as it is: autonomous management of civil affairs, and if they want to call it a state, let them call it that. If they want to call it an empire, by all means. We intend to keep what exists now and let them call it whatever they want.”

    Consider this scenario: suppose Netanyahu (or a successor) goes to the UN … and boldly declares that it’s time to end a stalemate that has gone on long enough. Since the Palestinians can’t get themselves together and won’t negotiate, he’ll announce, Israel is going to settle the conflict once and for all by recognizing a Palestinian state. That state will encompass, basically, Areas A and B; simultaneously, Israel will set setting borders for itself that include Area C.

    Instead of recognizing this maneuver as the grotesque landgrab it really would be, Washington (whoever’s in charge) and most of the media would undoubtedly hail him for his “boldness,” “courage,” “vision,” and “fairness.” They’ll declare his plan a “magnanimous compromise,” “the fulfillment of the long-held dream of a two states living side-by-side in peace and prosperity,” blah blah blah.

    If or when something like that scenario comes to pass, many of the liberal Zionists would surely join the celebrations; those whose liberalism is more sincere might acknowledge that the Palestinians were getting the short end of the stick and lament that it had “proved impossible” to negotiate something a little nicer, but does anyone really think they’d renounce their commitment to Zionism and the 2SS because the terms were so one-sided?

  20. Citizen on May 8, 2014, 7:18 am

    “If Palestinian sovereignty is limited enough so that we feel safe, call it fried chicken.”

    Chickens don’t have a right to self-determination, to national sovereignty, fried, baked, or roasted.

    But the Jewish people do. They have a right to do or not do anything if they think it will make them feel safer. I’m reminded of that Israeli rabbi who said they could kill little non-Jewish kids, for example. Next step, non-Jewish babies?

  21. Maximus Decimus Meridius on May 8, 2014, 9:27 am

    ”liberal Zionists who characterize Israel as illiberal only beyond the “Green Line” and liberal within it. ”

    I’ve always thought this to be a prime example of muddled lib-zio thought. Apart from the fact that it’s just quite simply false to say Israel ‘proper’ is at all ‘liberal’, it ignores the fact that what is going on in the OPT is controlled by Israel and Israelis. It’s a bit like saying, ”Oh at work I’m a bastard and treat everyone like shit, but at home I’m a sweetheart, so that’s OK, isn’t it?”

    Oh, and great article. Thank you.

  22. amigo on May 8, 2014, 2:01 pm

    The term “Apartheid Israel” is out of the box and nothing will put it back.All the whining by far right wing zionists or far left, ( how ever many–low teens) will not stop the growing international awareness of just what Israel represents and consequent pressure.

    Israel will only be brought down by outside pressure and when it does come crashing down those so called Liberal Zionists will disappear into the crowds and not mention Israel again.Or, will they join the chorus of Jews claiming it was Anti semitism and hatred of all Jews that destroyed Israel.Some people never learn.

  23. crone on May 8, 2014, 4:40 pm

    “Liberal Zionism”: A Contradiction in Terms –

    My thought exactly (what is usually referred to as an ‘oxymoron’); however Yousef Munayyer said it much better in March of 2012 than I can today.

    You see, liberalism and Zionism are by nature incompatible and those calling themselves “Liberal Zionists” misunderstand one or both of the concepts. Liberalism is by nature an inclusivist ideology; Zionism, by contrast is an exclusivist ideology. While liberalism is associated with equal rights regardless to ethnicity or creed, human rights, and free elections, Zionism requires maintaining a Jewish majority over territory even at the expense of the non-Jewish native inhabitants of the land.

    For many Americans who have Zionist and liberal inclinations, confronting this reality is both difficult and necessary. Yet “Liberal Zionists” choose instead to create and focus on illusions to avoid making the decisions, imposed on them by Zionism’s colonialist reality, that make them cringe.

    The use of myths to obfuscate the inconvenient truths of Zionism’s illiberal agenda is not new. Early leaders of the Israeli left advanced the notion of a “land without a people”: David Ben Gurion, for example, described pre-colonization Palestine as “in a virtual state of anarchy… primitive, neglected, and derelict,” willfully ignoring the land’s native Palestinians.

    The fact that Beinart’s call for a boycott of Israeli settlement products is on the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times is indicative of a changing discourse—and this is a good thing. Nonetheless, the discourse clearly has a long way to go. “Liberal Zionists” may find safety and comfort in putting off confronting the irreconcilability of liberalism and Zionism for another generation, but they aren’t doing the Palestinians or themselves any favors.

    Rather, what is needed today before tomorrow is for that confrontation to take place; one is either a liberal or a Zionist. Being too afraid to choose can no longer be an option.”

    It also seems to me that one who calls oneself a liberal Zionist also suffers with ‘cognitive dissonance’.

  24. jayn0t on May 8, 2014, 8:16 pm

    “Now that Israel has killed the two-state solution, will liberal Zionists support equality or ethnocracy?” Supporters of racial supremacy tend to support racial supremacy. Imagine if someone had written “Now that Germany has killed the pact with Chamberlain, will the SA (the ‘left’ of the Nazi party) support equality or ethnocracy?”

    • Citizen on May 9, 2014, 2:23 pm

      @ JAYNOT

      Yes. Just don’t expect influential jewish Americans to see your point.

    • Citizen on May 9, 2014, 4:24 pm

      In the historical German case, the answer was the Night Of The Long Knives. In the current Israeli case, we have, e.g., Haim Saban/Soros v Sheldon Adelson/Bill Kristol.
      The Germans did not have an underwriter like the US Congress. The truth is, the US taxpayer pays the financial price, about 20% of any Israeli choice, plus total diplomatic cover at the UN. This is a recipe for no accountability, either way, and actually a triangle of same from the POV of the victims, the Palestinian people, and secondarily, the average Dick and Jane in the current US economy. And the US mainstream press says nothing.

  25. Krusty on May 8, 2014, 11:37 pm

    I’ve noticed a dearth of actual liberal Zionist commentary in this thread, so I figured I should chime in:

    I don’t think the 2 state process is dead. If anything, I think it’s closer than ever. Look past Netanyahu (his coalition is fraying) and see the imminency of a peace deal for Lapid and Livni, the way Herzog is ready to agree to something along Arab League lines, al-Masri’s op-ed in Haaretz, and Abbas’ own acquiescence to a deal most of the Israeli center and left would find palatable (indeed, the Kerry/Peres offers are substantially quite similar to the Olmert offer, if you believe what you read.) International pressure, Palestinian applications to international treaties (and their subsequent compliance, one would hope), and internal secular Zionist pressure will lead to a deal.

    Tony Blair and the Quartet have a plan of action. The Obama administration is finally playing hardball. The Clintons (who made the most progress of anyone) are nearing the White House. There’s finally a burgeoning Palestinian unity government which might stick (and Hamas might actually be willing to be a partner in peace!)

    Any one state solution would be covered in ethnic strife and likely bloodshed that neither the Israelis or the PA want. 2 states for 2 peoples makes the best of a rough situation. It’s not lost on anyone that Abbas’ concessions are very significant, or that the Kerry Framework would be favorable to the Israelis, and I think it’s highly likely that a deal will emerge in the near future because it is the only really (actually) plausible, realistic path forward. Settlers at Kiryat Arba might stay in the new Palestinian state, but otherwise, most players on both sides see a better future with a peace deal (and would accept it if one came along.)

    It just so happens that the peace process is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

  26. amigo on May 9, 2014, 8:02 am

    Drip , drip,drip.

    Indyk: Settlements could drive Israel into binational reality !!

    U.S. special envoy to the Middle East peace talks Martin Indyk issued a strong condemnation of Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank on Thursday night, saying that it could “drive Israel into an irreversible binational reality.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.589724

    Livni: Settlements to blame for failure of talks

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.589764

    I failed to find this on any Intl MSM but that may be due to the time lag.

    I am taking bets it won,t get much attention in the US zionist controlled media.

Leave a Reply