Jim Klutznick, the chairman of the liberal Zionist group Americans for Peace Now (and a political player in Chicago and an early Obama supporter), yesterday dismissed the idea of a one-state outcome in Israel and Palestine because Israelis will never accept Palestinians as equals.
Klutznick responded to Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, who said during a Peace Now podcast, that the “major driver” for Palestinian youth today is “democracy and equal rights,” not what has driven Palestinian politics for the last 50 years, the desire for sovereignty. Shikaki said these young Palestinians see a Palestinian state as a, a delusion, and b, just another “corrupt inefficient authoritarian state,” so they dream of equal rights with Jews in one state.
Klutznick dismissed the idea:
You brought up the word democracy. And I just wanted to make this observation… particularly as it relates to your youth who are interested in civil rights and democracy. It seems to me that democracy is the common thread between either of these two versions. The difference is that you will not get civil rights under one state. And the only answer here is an independent and sovereign state for the Palestinian people where democracy will have a chance to flourish within the context of Palestinan democracy. Because I don’t believe it will ever happen in one state, with Israel never allowing there to be civil rights for everybody and an equal vote.
Shikaki said that he agrees, but this is not an answer for young Palestinians:
I actually share your view on this. However, what would you say to those 18- to 22- year olds who basically say, You will fail to produce a two state solution. Why do you want to prevent me from dreaming about a one state solution, in which we all live in peace with equal rights. We know that it will be a tough battle. We know that it will not be easy and that Israeli Jews will not want to give up on their own state, but if we can’t get a sovereign independent democratic state, we have no alternative but to take this approach.
What you just said and what I also believe in, is that only if we can provide them with a viable process that can lead to a two state solution. If we can’t deliver on that, then our ability to convince the youth of our argument is very very weak.
Klutznick said the only hope is to reengage the U.S., though not under Donald Trump:
I agree with what you said. I think the answer lies in the fact that the United States has temporarily as we hope here lost its status as an honest broker. And I think the hope for both the Palestinian and the Israeli people is that the United States regain that status. That’s our job. Not at APN because we are not a political organization, but I think the hope has to be that the United States will come to its senses and the people of the United States will return to power an administration that will regain that role as the independent broker, and an honest broker, because I don’t see any other alternative to fill that position, and I think that’s got to be everybody’s hope.
Shikaki responded, “I share that hope, and good luck with that.”
If Klutznick really sees the two sides that way– one society will never support civil rights and equal rights — maybe Americans for Peace Now is working for the wrong side! Klutznick would never work with American partners who held such views. The young Jews of IfNotNow are sure to ask the same questions. They celebrate Ahed Tamimi’s slapping an Israeli soldier who was occupying her property– even as Ori Nir of Peace Now has come out against her.
As for Klutznick’s hopes, on January 3, he and Peace Now ceo Debra DeLee challenged leading Jewish groups to come out vocally against the “belligerent occupation.”
Reacting to several recent moves by Israel’s government that sabotage a future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Americans for Peace Now (APN) today called on fellow American Jewish organizations to join APN in vocal opposition to annexation and to unilaterally pre-judging issues that Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate to achieve a final-status peace deal.
But look at the most liberal group they reached out to and– the latest statements from the Union for Reform Judaism are entirely supportive of Trump on the Jerusalem decision!
We strongly commend President Trump and Ambassador Haley…
In other words, the U.S. Jewish establishment ignores Peace Now’s appeals, and by the way, the U.S. is not an honest broker, never has been, and the U.S. Jewish establishment loves it that way, and Peace Now stays on the board of the rightwing Conference of Presidents, another of the groups Klutznick wrote to, instead of voting with its feet. And Peace Now has nothing but contempt for BDS, boycott, divestment and sanctions, which all of those Palestinian youth support.