"Q. But those in Israeli society who oppose two states don’t care about the international consensus, and their dreams have become real."
I had the pleasure of attending a conference that took place a few years ago in which Prof. Finkelstein was the guest speaker. The conference was entitled Gaza and Egypt Intertwined and since the audience was permitted to ask questions at the end of the conference, I put the following question to Prof. Finkelstein:
I just wanted to get a better understanding about your refusal to support the BDS movement. I believe it all turns on which solution is more viable – the 2SS or 1SS. At a recent book tour you indicated that the 2SS is twice as dead as the 1SS. My question is a simple one: How many more cycles of violence (commonly referred to as “mowing the lawn”) must the Palestinians endure before you are prepared to embrace BDS. What the Palestinians need more of is people of your stature and influence to breathe life into the BDS movement, which will finally lead to a liberated Palestine.
Here is how Prof. Finkelstein responded (it is not verbatim):
But what’s your (BDS movement) stance on Israel? They say they don’t take a stance on Israel…
So if you say you want the enforcement of international law, you can’t then say we take no position on Israel. That’s the law, Israel is a state. If there’s an answer to that, I’m curious to hear it.. but I have not heard it so far…
But when I hear people from BDS, there’s no discussion about the politics, it’s just: This is what we want! It’s like a child having a rattle and the rattle says “One State.” And you keep shaking the rattle. Where is the political force supporting One State? There are 195 countries or so now in the UN. Is there one state in the world that currently supports One State in Palestine? They all support two states. Is there a single human rights organization that supports One State? There’s no political support for it in the world! So even if it is in principle correct, … that is not what political people do. They don’t hold to political principles at the expense of assessing political forces – what’s possible, what’s not possible. Because at the end of the day, isn’t the goal to improve people’s lives, to make the situation better… or do you want to just sit here in the comfort of the West and hug your political principles while the suffering continues over there? That doesn’t make sense to me… and that’s my problem with the BDS. (emphasis added)
I didn’t get the opportunity to respond to his response but if I had, I would have simply said that your response sounded like a paean to political expediency! While it’s true there is little support for the 1SS today, this doesn’t mean it will always remain so. How politically viable did a liberated South Africa, an independent America, the abolition of slavery, or even a Jewish Homeland for that matter, appear in the early stages of their development?
But what you fail to recognize is something the great Nelson Mandela once said: “It always seems impossible until its done.”
That’s why I still call upon you to do the right thing and endorse BDS.
"Like you could have one without the other!! "
Based on your previous post, I'm curious to get your take on Finkelstein's argument about the 1SS.
At a recent book tour, he made the following comments about the 1SS:
THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT AND I THINK IT'S A FINE IDEA. I ALSO THINK IT'S A FINE IDEA THAT 30 MILLION ... CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES ARE OF MEXICAN ORIGIN. HALF OF THE ENTIRE MEXICAN ECONOMY, A LARGE CHUNK OF THAT IS DEPENDENT ON REMITTANCES FROM MEXICANS LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES. WE STOLE... HALF OF MEXICO SO I THINK IT'S A FINE IDEA AND CERTAINLY RISES TO THE STANDARD OF JUSTICE. IT'S A FINE IDEA IF WE ELIMINATE THE BORDER BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO. [APPLAUSE] IT'S ALSO A FINE IDEA. IT'S ALSO JUSTICE. BUT THEN WE HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES, POLITICALLY DOES IT HAVE ANY POSSIBILITY? THERE IS A SERIOUS ISSUE ON OUR BORDER. SEVERAL HUNDRED MEXICANS ARE KILLED EACH YEAR TRYING TO ENTER THE COUNTRY. THERE'S ALSO A SERIOUS ISSUE HERE OF UNDOCUMENTED MEXICANS AND THERE IS TALK ABOUT WHAT IS CALLED IMMIGRATION REFORM. DOES ANYBODY TALK ABOUT ELIMINATING THE BORDER, ONE STATE? THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUSLY NOT. POLITICALLY IT'S JUST BESIDE THE POINT. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT JUSTICE IN THE ABSTRACT. WE ARE TALKING WHAT IS POLITICALLY POSSIBLE AND THERE IS NO BASIS WHATSOEVER IN THE REAL WORLD. THERE IS ... EXACTLY ZERO SUPPORT IN THE REAL WORLD FOR A ONE STATE RESOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT. LET'S START WITH BASICS. CAN ANYONE IN THIS ROOM NAME ME ONE STATE, ONE STATE IN THE WORLD THAT SUPPORTS ONE STATE IN PALESTINE? NAME IRAN. NO, YOU DON'T NAME IRAN BECAUSE EVERY YEAR IRAN'S VOTES IN THE U.N. ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD FOR TWO STATES. IRAN IS A MEMBER OF THE ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION. 57 ISLAMIC COUNTRIES. IRAN IS A MEMBER AND IRAN AS A MEMBER OF THE ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COUNTRIES ENDORSED THE TWO STATE SETTLEMENT. THERE'S NO SUPPORT FOR IT SO WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I'M NOT AVERSE TO THE IDEA. I THINK IT'S A FINE IDEA. I'M LIKE RODNEY KING FOR THOSE OF YOU OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER. WHY CAN'T PEOPLE GET ALONG? YEAH I BELIEVE THAT. I BELIEVE PEOPLE CAN GET ALONG BUT THAT'S A PERSONAL BELIEF. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS. I THINK ONE OF THE PROBLEMS OFTEN AFFLICTING THE PALESTINE QUESTION IS THAT PEOPLE CONFUSE THEIR OWN PERSONAL CONCEPTS AND SENSES OF JUSTICE WITH WHAT IS POLITICALLY POSSIBLE IN TERMS OF JUSTICE. YOU CAN MAKE ANY KIND -- OF COURSE AS A PERSONAL BELIEF YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HARBOR ANYTHING BUT YOU HAVE TO THEN ASSESS WHAT POLITICALLY IS REALISTIC AND POSSIBLE. NOW I KNOW THE OBVIOUS ANSWER IS, THE OBVIOUS ANSWER TO WHAT SOME OF YOU ARE THINKING IS THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION IS NOT REALISTIC AND POSSIBLE ANYMORE. THAT'S THE STANDARD ARGUMENT BUT THERE'S JUST SUCH AN OBVIOUS ANSWER CRYING TO BE SAID. IF ISRAEL WILL NOT ACCEPT A FULL WITHDRAWAL FROM THE TERRITORIES IT OCCUPIED IN JUNE 1967, IF THAT'S TRUE, IS THERE ANYONE HERE IN THE ROOM WHO COULD POSSIBLY BELIEVE THAT THEY WOULD BE MORE WILLING TO DISMANTLE ISRAEL THAN TO WITHDRAW? DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE? THAT ISRAEL WOULD BE MORE WILLING TO DISMANTLE ITSELF THAN TO WITHDRAW FROM THE TERRITORIES IT OCCUPIED? SO WHEN PEOPLE SAY THE TWO STATE SETTLEMENT IS DEAD AND THEREFORE THE ONLY OTHER POSSIBILITY IS THE ONE STATE, THE OBVIOUS RATIONAL ANSWER IS, IF TWO STATES IS DEAD THEN ONE STATE IS TWICE AS DEAD.