Here is a stark reflection on the state of Israeli society. A liberal Zionist organization that was founded to end the occupation and preserve the two-state solution as an “existential” question for Israel’s survival, OneVoice, has dropped the two-state solution in its messaging to Israeli voters in next month’s elections.
“What the Election Should Be About?” is OneVoice’s title for a fundraising appeal it sent out yesterday describing its Israeli partner Darkenu’s campaign activities. Notice, no mention of a Palestinian state.
All across the country, both online and on the street, Darkenu is asking Israelis to complete a simple poll about what they want to see the next government focus on. Is it the cost of living, the crisis in the healthcare system, or the rising division and incitement within society? Politicians are elected to serve the people and, as our Israeli partner has done from the very beginning, Darkenu is using its platform to elevate the voices of everyday Israelis who expect more from their representatives.
But OneVoice was founded as a two-state solution organization focused on ending the occupation as a “moral” and “existential” aim. From its mission statement:
We believe that a negotiated and permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an end to occupation is not only a moral imperative, but an existential priority for both societies.
Darkenu is also committed to two states.
The necessity of a diplomatic agreement that will result in separation into two states and ensure Israel’s security.
An observer tells me that Darkenu’s predecessor, OneVoice Israel (Kol Echad), focused on the two-state solution whether or not Israeli society was interested in ending occupation. “In previous years, the Israeli branch was desperately trying to find ways to connect the occupation to the issues on the Israeli public’s mind (i.e. trying to raise awareness about the cost of occupation by drawing connections between the cost of security and the demands of the cottage cheese protests). The degree to which they were successful in drawing these connections and influencing public opinion is debatable, but at least they tried.”
Now it would appear that they are so afraid to talk about occupation/”conflict” that they won’t even try to raise it in the Israeli consciousness by including it in a survey. Even though on its website, OneVoice maintains that the Israeli public supports two states.
From its inception in 2002, OneVoice has focused on leveraging a critical but largely untapped resource within the Israeli and Palestinian public: the centrist mainstream who support resolution of the conflict through a negotiated and mutually-acceptable two-state solution.
You can understand why Darkenu has omitted the two-state solution. The only political parties in Israel that are speaking about a Palestinian state are on the margin, Meretz and the Palestinian parties. The new Laborite party doesn’t mention the occupation. “The Palestinian issue appears urgent to only 15 percent of the Israeli Jewish electorate according to a recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute,” writes Yossi Alpher. “The two-state solution is acceptable to most Israelis, including center-right, center and center-left Israeli voters, only if the Palestinians do not really get what they consider a state,” writes Shmuel Rosner.
The Israeli government is said to be moving toward annexation with the blessing of the Trump administration. The right wing messianic Israelis who dominate the political culture have chosen a Jewish state over democracy; they don’t care that apartheid is a crime against humanity.
Yesterday 25 former security officials in Israel penned a letter thanking the American Congress for keeping the two-state solution on the table for the sake of Israel’s “Jewish and democratic future.” They write, “anything that places this two-state vision at risk and undermines its prospects presents a real threat to Israel’s security. Most pressingly, we are mobilized to prevent any move toward unilateral territorial annexation – no matter how limited or incremental.” But these officials have very little political traction in Israel.