A couple of weeks back, Mikhael Manekin of the liberal Zionist Israeli thinktank Molad spoke to J Street’s Women’s Leadership Forum, whose Nancy Bernstein asked at minute 38, Does Molad have a position on a one state versus a two state solution? Manekin:
Sure. We have a very distinct position which is that we think a one state–I don’t even know if the word solution is relevant– but that a one state fantasy is unbelievably dangerous toward Israelis and towards Palestinians. I think the only thing that it is more than dangerous is not serious.
It’s also an issue of ideology and identity but it’s also an issue of just practicality and security. I think the idea of fantasizing out of the box solutions to two peoples who are at this point engaged or at least for the last 100 years are engaged in a very very serious conflict on every level and say let’s play out some alternative narrative, is unbelievably dangerous to Israelis and Palestinians. To add on to that fact that there are virtually no Israelis who are interested in it, at least not in the way that progressives in the world are interested in it, and there are virtually no Palestinians interested in it, at least in the way that you know, post-colonialists in the world are interested in it. I think it’s highly highly dangerous. It’s a highly dangerous solution, and I think the case needs to be made that first and foremost, before we talk about whether this holds up our identity as a Jewish democratic state and all of that– it’s dangerous for both people.
If one doesn’t know– and I’ve read quite a bit on this whole one-state jazz– I’ve never read one op-ed or policy paper or book which asks what a military will look like in a one-state context. And if one can’t envision how I can be secure with my family or how Palestinians can be secure with their family– so I don’t think it’s fair to even call that a solution. I would just call that a not-well-thought-out idea.
When it starts affecting politics, when it starts affecting, you know, intellectual elites and so on and so forth, then that becomes very dangerous, because that means that minds around the world are wasting their time and wasting our time on trying to be creative instead of trying to focus on what can be better here, for people.
I think that was pretty straightforward!
Peter Beinart made a similar argument at Open Hillel last October:
To support a binational state you have to tell me what the army of Israstine is going to look like, you have to explain to me in a situation of massive land claims. Because after all the land difficulties of a one state solution are significantly greater than a two state solution– you have to tell me that the joint Jewish and Palestinian brigade of Israstine is going to go and evict a Jewish Moroccan family that’s been living in its house since 1953 to replace it with a Palestinian family because they have the right deed, and when the violence breaks out as it surely will, you have to believe that army will hold together because it’s more loyal to Israstine than its members are to being Jews and Palestinians.
How do you answer them?
(P.S. I think it’s a very good question. And my own answer to this is, Tell me what the army of Israel looks like right now? And the answer is that it looks worse than the U.S. army before 1948. Our army was segregated before Truman’s great executive order of 1948, below. The Israeli army is almost entirely Jewish Israeli and Druze. It includes hardly any Palestinians. Yet it claims to serve a country that is 20 percent Palestinian; and is an occupying force over another 4 or 5 million Palestinians who have no right to consent to the government that controls their lives and often brutalizes them by means of that army. This is a constitutional matter of grave import that produces considerable violence and tension and that threatens many people’s security, including mine in the west. And it’s one reason that western intellectuals and others seek out-of-the-box solutions, and other jazz: because we observe power-sharing arrangements in Israel and Palestine that look like Algeria in the ’50s. I don’t seek the Algerian solution; but to equivocate about these conditions by fretting about what, yes, ultimately should be an integrated army seems like a form of conflict management proposed by the topdog. I imagine that segregationists came up with very good reasons not to integrate our army in 1948.)