No peace without equality

(h/t to Adam Horowitz at Mondoweiss.)

When Israel defines itself as a “Jewish State,” it not only sees itself as the state of Jews worldwide. It also sees Arab identity in this homeland as a threat to that definition. That’s why the state sees discrimination against Arabs as part of its “job description.” — Hassan Jabareen, Founder and General Director of Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

One of the most insidious deceptions embedded in the concept of a two-state solution is the implication that once a peaceful Palestinian state comes into existence alongside a secure Israel, then the Jewish state will finally have established its international legitimacy. Israel will no longer be a state that disregards the political rights and aspirations of the Palestinian population. It will be vindicated in its claim to be a Jewish democracy.

The deception in that picture is that it glosses over the fact that even if against all expectations a Palestinian state was established in two years, those Palestinians who are also Israeli citizens and who make up a quarter of Israel’s population would remain as they are today: second class citizens. Indeed, in the event that a Palestinian state is created, it seems quite likely that the Palestinian citizens of Israel would come under pressure to leave Israel for the Jews and to move to “their own state”. In such an event, the two-state solution far from being the panacea that it is portrayed to be could well be the forerunner of another catastrophe.

If Israeli Jews cannot embrace the idea that non-Jews deserve equal rights, then there is no formula — two-state or otherwise — that will lead to a just resolution of the Middle East conflict.

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One thought on “No peace without equality

  1. pabelmont

    In the USA we are quite used to people and governments “giving themselves permission” to discriminate against parts of the population. We have passed laws against this practice and the better souls in the USA resist the practice. We even suppose that the blanket term “democracy” implies non-discrimination. I live in New York City, a place of very mixed population, and I value the mixture and what I hope is (generally) a lack of discrimination, particularly from the government.

    American Jews (or some of them) were in the forefront of the fight against discrimination here. I was proud of them in the 1960s. Nowadays far too many US Jews are supporting discrimination by supporting Israel in a sort of “my country right or wrong, my mother drunk or sober” manner which runs entirely counter to what would otherwise (I hope) be their standards.

    The younger generation seems to understand the argument. The popularity of J Street as an alternative to AIPAC — misplaced as it presently appears to be — is another sign that US Jews are “getting it”.

    It would seem high time that that Israel “got with the program” before it is abandoned by those who prize democratic institutions above unearned privilege and who detest undeserved discrimination adn deprivations of human rights.

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