Trending Topics:

Growing US public support for one democratic state in Israel/Palestine falls on deaf ears

on 11 Comments

Two years of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu as a Middle East peacemaking team appear to be having a transformative effect – and in ways that will please neither of them.

The American public is now evenly split between those who want a two-state solution and those who prefer a single state, shared by Israelis and Palestinians, according to a survey published last week by the University of Maryland.

And if a Palestinian state is off the table – as a growing number of analysts of the region conclude, given Israel’s intransigence and the endless postponement of Mr Trump’s peace plan – then support for one state rises steeply, to nearly two-thirds of Americans.

But Mr Netanyahu cannot take comfort from the thought that ordinary Americans share his vision of a single state of Greater Israel. Respondents demand a one-state solution guaranteeing Israelis and Palestinians equal rights.

By contrast, only 17 percent of Americans expressing a view – presumably Christian evangelicals and hardline Jewish advocates for Israel – prefer the approach of Israel’s governing parties: either to continue the occupation or annex Palestinian areas without offering the inhabitants citizenship.

All of this is occurring even though US politicians and the media express no support for a one-state solution. In fact, quite the reverse.

The movement to boycott Israel, known as BDS, is growing on US campuses, but vilified by Washington officials, who claim its goal is to end Israel as a Jewish state by bringing about a single state, in which all inhabitants would be equal. The US Congress is even considering legislation to outlaw boycott activism.

And last month CNN sacked its commentator Marc Lamont Hill for using a speech at the United Nations to advocate a one-state solution – a position endorsed by 35 percent of the US public.

There is every reason to assume that, over time, these figures will swing even more sharply against Mr Netanyahu’s Greater Israel plans and against Washington’s claims to be an honest broker.

Among younger Americans, support for one state climbs to 42 percent. That makes it easily the most popular outcome among this age group for a Middle East peace deal.

In another sign of how far removed Washington is from the American public, 40 percent of respondents want the US to impose sanctions to stop Israel expanding its settlements on Palestinian territory. In short, they support the most severe penalty on the BDS platform.

And who is chiefly to blame for Washington’s unresponsiveness? Some 38 percent say that Israel has “too much influence” on US politics.

That is a view almost reflexively cited by Israel lobbyists as evidence of antisemitism. And yet a similar proportion of US Jews share concerns about Israel’s meddling.

In part, the survey’s findings should be understood as a logical reaction to the Oslo peace process. Backed by the US for the past quarter-century, it has failed to produce any benefits for the Palestinians.

But the findings signify more. Oslo’s interminable talks over two states have provided Israel with an alibi to seize more Palestinian land for its illegal settlements.

Under cover of an Oslo “consensus”, Israel has transferred ever-larger numbers of Jews into the occupied territories, thereby making a peaceful resolution of the conflict near impossible. According to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, that is a war crime.

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the court in The Hague, warned this month that she was close to finishing a preliminary inquiry needed before she can decide whether to investigate Israel for war crimes, including the settlements.

The reality, however, is that the ICC has been dragging out the inquiry to avoid arriving at a decision that would inevitably provoke a backlash from the White House. Nonetheless, the facts are staring the court in the face.

Israel’s logic – and proof that it is in gross violation of international law – were fully on display this week. The Israeli army locked down the Ramallah, the effective and supposedly self-governing capital of occupied Palestine, as “punishment” after two Israeli soldiers were shot dead outside the city.

The Netanyahu government also approved yet another splurge of settlement-building, again supposedly in “retaliation” for a recent upsurge in Palestinian attacks.

But Israel and its western allies know only too well that settlements and Palestinian violence are intrinsically linked. One leads to the other.

Palestinians directly experience the settlements’ land grabs as Israeli state-sanctioned violence. Their communities are ever more tightly ghettoised, their movements more narrowly policed to maintain the settlers’ privileges.

If Palestinians resist such restrictions or their own displacement, if they assert their rights and their dignity, clashes with soldiers or settlers are inescapable. Violence is inbuilt into Israel’s settlement project.

Israel has constructed a perfect, self-rationalising system in the occupied territories. It inflicts war crimes on Palestinians, who then weakly lash out, justifying yet more Israeli war crimes as Israel flaunts its victimhood, all to a soundtrack of western consolation.

The hypocrisy is becoming ever harder to hide, and the cognitive dissonance ever harder for western publics to stomach.

In Israel itself, institutionalised racism against the country’s large minority of Palestinian citizens – a fifth of the population – is being entrenched in full view.

Last week Natalie Portman, an American-Israeli actor, voiced her disgust at what she termed the “racist” Nation-State Basic Law, legislation passed in the summer that formally classifies Israel’s Palestinian population as inferior.

Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s grown-up son, voiced a sentiment widely popular in Israel last week when he wrote on Facebook that he wished “All the Muslims [sic] leave the land of Israel”. He was referring to Greater Israel – a territorial area that does not differentiate between Israel and the occupied territories.

In fact, Israel’s Jim Crow-style policies – segregation of the type once inflicted on African-Americans in the US – is becoming ever more overt.

Last month the Jewish city of Afula banned Palestinian citizens from entering its main public park while vowing it wanted to “preserve its Jewish character”. A court case last week showed that a major Israeli construction firm has systematically blocked Palestinian citizens from buying houses near Jews. And the parliament is expanding a law to prevent Palestinian citizens from living on almost all of Israel’s land.

A bill to reverse this trend, committing Israel instead to “equal political rights amongst all its citizens”, was drummed out of the parliament last week by an overwhelming majority of legislators.

Americans, like other westerners, are waking up to this ugly reality. A growing number understand that it is time for a new, single state model, one that ends Israel’s treatment of Jews as separate from and superior to Palestinians, and instead offers freedom and equality for all.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is

Other posts by .

Posted In:

11 Responses

  1. eljay on December 17, 2018, 10:23 am

    … The movement to boycott Israel, known as BDS, is growing on US campuses, but vilified by Washington officials, who claim its goal is to end Israel as a Jewish state by bringing about a single state, in which all inhabitants would be equal. …

    Leave it to “no light between”, “shared common values” Washington officials and Zionists to hypocritically oppose/vilify equality and an end to supremacism.

    • Misterioso on December 18, 2018, 9:47 am

      Heads up!!!

      Zionism’s ongoing assault on the American Constitution:

      Short video:
      “School Speech Pathologist in Texas Terminated For Refusing to Sign Israel Oath”
      Dec. 17/18

      “A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told she can no longer work with the public school district after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she ‘does not’ and ‘will not’ engage in a boycott of Israel or ‘otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm’ on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf will be filed this morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas alleging a violation of her First Amendment rights of free speech and free expression.”

      Read the full story:

      Excerpts from the Intercept article:
      “When asked if she considered signing the pledge to preserve her ability to work, Amawi told The Intercept: ‘Absolutely not. I couldn’t in good conscience do that. If I did, I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust and thus, become complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully.’

      “In order to obtain contracts in Texas, then, a citizen is free to denounce and work against the United States, to advocate for causes that directly harm American children, and even to support a boycott of particular U.S. states, such as was done in 2017 to North Carolina in protest of its anti-LGBT law. In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the U.S., or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”


      Governor Greg Abbott at Signing of the BDS Bill into Law”
      “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy. Any boycott of Israel is considered to be un-Texan, and Texas is not going to do business with any company that boycotts Israel.” – Governor Greg Abbott

      This was said during the signing of Texas House Bill 89, the anti-BDS legislation. For more information go here:

  2. Ossinev on December 17, 2018, 1:54 pm

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.– That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

    Americans and especially the younger generation of Americans including the younger generation of American Jews are waking up to the fact that their Government has for decades been giving unconditional support together with currently in the region of 3billion + dollars a year to a foreign regime which basically urinates all over the fundamentals of the American concept of equality as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

    Tick Tick

    • Citizen on December 17, 2018, 10:43 pm

      $38 billion dollars + interest, and with no ceiling–now tucked in the Spending Bill

  3. edthespark on December 17, 2018, 3:39 pm

    The way this article reads you would think israel was an American state.40% of Americans want israel to have the political system they want.or else israel will be punished with equality for all.What a lot of shitzin stonken.

  4. Sibiriak on December 17, 2018, 3:44 pm

    ….according to a survey published last week by the University of Maryland…

    55% support two states, or indefinite occupation, or Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories without equal citizenship.

    35% support a single democratic state.

  5. WebSkipper on December 18, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Personally, I try to stay out of the 1-state vs 2-state business. Mainly because it IS none of our business (unless we’re actual Palestinians). I feel it’s up to us to support the Palestinians in whatever they choose to do, and and are able to do. I understand the arguments on both sides. But my point is that the Palestinians themselves are not monolithic. They too have their own divides (most of which were artificially created). If the Palestinians have anything approaching a unified political approach, it is one headed either by the imprisoned Marwan Barghouthi or by the democratically-elected Hamas majority in 2006, which is still the nearest they’ve come to a truly democratic, representative government. Abbas was the stumbling block then (aided and supported by Israel and the US, of course), and he remains the probable biggest stumbling block now, perhaps bigger than the Israelis themselves. They, of course, deliberately foment this divisiveness, which benefits them. But the bottom line is that the 2-state approach has international law firmly on its side, and that MUST be used to advance EITHER approach! If we choose to impose our own solutions upon them, that is just perpetuating the evils of imperialism, colonialism and, as Edward Said termed it, Orientalism.

  6. Misterioso on December 18, 2018, 12:32 pm

    Unrelated to the subject at hand, but important and good to know:

    “Gaza teacher among 50 finalists for ‘world’s best teacher’ prize” Middle East Monitor, Dec. 15/18

    “The Palestinian Ministry of Education announced on Friday that a teacher from Gaza has been nominated as one of 50 finalists for the ‘world’s best teacher prize’.

    “Maths teacher Rana Ziadeh is to compete for the prize as part of a competition organised by global education charity The Varkey Foundation, Safa news agency reported.

    “The Ministry said it was proud of Ziadeh, who won the title of First Teacher in Palestine last year.

    “Ziadeh has faced a number of challenges throughout her career, being one of the public servants in Gaza who lost half their salaries as part of the punishments imposed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Ziadeh also works in a school which was targeted by Israeli forces several times, during which dozens of her students have been killed.

    “Discussing the shortlist, The Varkey Foundation said that: ‘We have searched the four corners of the world to find 50 of the most inspiring teachers shortlisted for the US $1 million Global Teacher Prize.’ It added:

    “’From teaching in remote mountain villages and inner-city schools to teaching in some of the poorest and most violent regions in the world; our top 50 finalists are changing the lives of students around the world and we cannot wait for you to meet them.’

    “It is worth noting that Palestinian teacher Hanan Al-Haroub, from the occupied West Bank, won the same prize in 2016.”

  7. Vera Gottlieb on December 22, 2018, 3:35 pm

    One state will never work. And forget about ‘democratic’ too. There is just too much hatred between the two groups. A two-state solution would be much more peaceful for both parties.

  8. Mooser on December 22, 2018, 4:29 pm

    “A two-state solution would be much more peaceful for both parties.”

    Oh, I agree. Doubling the land area and resources of Palestine would go a long way towards reducing tensions.

Leave a Reply