Tonight is the first of two Democratic presidential debates; and you can be sure that when Israel comes up, everyone will be for a two state solution. Two states is the talking point for Democratic politicians whenever anyone asks them about Palestinian human rights. Israel lobby groups on the Democratic side enforce the orthodoxy about two-states (both the rightwing group and the left wing group).
Mainstream Democrats may be the only folks who are pushing two states, though. The Trump administration “refused” to use the phrase—
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo… was asked if current U.S. policy prefers a one-state solution or a two-state solution. “You’ll see our plan shortly,” was Pompeo’s response.
Trump is heeding the Israeli discourse. And Israeli Jewish politicians from center-left to right are steering clear of the two-state formulation like rat-poison.
Guy Ziv of the American University surveyed former Israeli security officials, including many entering politics, and says they are for a two-state solution by 9 to 1, but can’t say so publicly. There’s too big a risk.
Many of the interviewees told us that those who aspire to join the political arena are very cautious about endorsing a two state solution publicly because it would be seen as a political risk, so they’ve kind of avoided discussing it altogether. [Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz of Blue and White] haven’t talked about it since they decided to run. We know that they support a two state solution, but they’re not talking about it…
[T]hey’re afraid of losing support from the soft right or the mainstream public… The key obstacle here is the zeitgeist of the times. The word occupation hasn’t even been used in god knows how long. Sharon and Olmert were the last prime ministers to even utter those words. We haven’t heard it from Netanyahu…
One of the ways we see the politicians from the security community try to address it is to use code words, such as “separation from the Palestinians, divorce from the Palestinians,” ways that they believe are more palatable to the public or in some cases avoid this issue altogether.
As for the Israeli right wing, it is all for one state. Ziv told the Israel Policy Forum that the right will “embrace apartheid”!
They have a messianic vision of a greater Israel, a kind of a theocracy…. What they have in common is this push towards a Jewish state over the democratic state. If you’re forcing them to choose between a democracy and a Jewish state, they’ll easily take the Jewish state and they’ll forgo the democracy, and if you want to call it apartheid, they’ll embrace apartheid, that’s fine with them, that’s OK with them.
Liberal Zionists and those security officials are worried that Netanyahu is fostering a “binational nightmare” that “would be the end of the Zionist dream.”
The two state solution [is] the only way to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, there’s no other way to do that.
Liberal Zionist hero Amos Oz used the phrase “divorcing” Palestinians all the time. Though Ziv points out that the true left in Israel, the small community of human rights activists, doesn’t like the discourse of “separating from the Palestinians, divorcing from the Palestinians,” because they’re for coexistence.
Back in the U.S., there is a report that the Democratic leadership is actually trying to signal that it might support Netanyahu’s position, and not oppose annexation of portions of the West Bank. The one-state reality indeed!
And meantime, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman in Congress, says that the two-state discourse is “separate but unequal,” something that didn’t work in the U.S.
She offered her vision of a one-state outcome in an interview with teenage Palestinian journalist Janna Jihad, posted yesterday. One state is preferable, and it’s also the most practical idea, Tlaio says.
I’m a person that does believe in a one state solution. I know a lot of folks are still– I just think we’re past that. I was your age and I believed that two states was possible…
So people believe I obviously believe in self determination. I can tell you. If If folks believe they can have the two states, and have equality and true freedom– I’ll be completely supportive, Janna, but I feel like we’ve gone past that. That it’s been destroyed by the current rightwing government right now of Israel. I mean Netanyahu is not supporting the two state. No matter how much they say, it’s not happening.
For me more and more I see that the only way is to integrate schools, is to integrate neighborhoods. That’s what we learned here in the United States… Even freed slaves believed, Oh, there was a movement, well maybe the south can be for African Americans, right… And the north — but that didn’t work. So separate but equal doesn’t work. And I feel like in this case it doesn’t… However I’m still an American so I’m not going to impose my beliefs onto a whole people. They can decide what they want but right now I don’t see a two state being possible.
It would be nice if politicians could discuss these ideas openly, but Tlaib is of course the exception. The Israel lobby groups in the Democratic Party seek to redline her position. Democratic Majority for Israel is outraged by Tlaib’s stance.
Facts: Rashida Tlaib specifically stated her opposition to a 2 state solution “One state. It has to be one state.“ [Link to an Electronic Intifada quotation]. The leaders of the BDS Movement oppose 2 state solution
In fact, Americans are actually open to the idea. A response to Democratic Majority cites Shibley Telhami’s polling of last year.
If the 2SS isn’t possible, 64% of Americans would choose a binational state with equal rights for all as opposed to permanently occupying & subjugating Palestinians in a separate, but unequal state. The fight is against Netanyahu & the Israeli Right.
So Israeli politicians embrace apartheid. US pols embrace separate-and-unequal. And we’re still hoping for an open discussion about Zionism and equality…