One-state realism

Dmitry Reider reviews sociologist Yehouda Shenhav’s book The Time of the Green Line.

That the notion of a one-state solution may be gaining some traction among diverse Israeli groups will be disturbing news for two-state solution dead-enders like J Street, though in this particular instance, Shenhav’s own vision may itself not garner wide appeal: a single state that looks like… Lebanon?

Still, as Reider notes, Shenhav’s book is “a conversation starter; it asks many more questions than it gives answers.” This is indeed a conversation worth engaging.

Rather than pinning his hopes for an equitable solution on the Israeli left, Shenhav actually looks to a coalition of Palestinians, non-Zionist leftists, and, most surprisingly, a few dissident settlers for a solution to the dispute. Unlike the Israeli left — bogged down in nostalgia for a mythically pure pre-1967 Israel — he argues that an increasing number of settlers are more in sync with the Palestinian timeline of 1948 and are opting to share sovereignty rather than give up their homes. Moreover, some appear to be more aware than “mainland” Israelis of the realities of occupation; Shenhav quotes a settler journal slamming the checkpoints and curfews, as well as a prominent settler educator saying that the military regime’s ongoing wrongs are “like Sabra and Shatila multiplied by a million,” in reference to the infamous 1982 massacre of Palestinians in the Lebanese refugee camps, perpetrated by a Christian militia allied with Israel. Shenhav also quotes poet Eliaz Cohen, resident of Gush Etzion, as saying: “Just as I have a right of return to Kfar Etzion, there’s no reason that Palestinians from Nablus shouldn’t have a right of return to Jaffa.”

Shenhav claims that the transition to one-state thinking will redraw the Israeli political map, currently defined by the right’s and the left’s positions toward Israel’s future role in the Palestinian territories. Although it’s far too early to speak of a movement, both left and right have begun realigning themselves: Leftists are beginning to use the racist jargon of demographics, while a new settler group calls for a one-state solution — with the right of return to boot. Quite apart from them, firebrand Likud Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely calls for the phased admission of West Bank Palestinians as Israeli citizens.

Curiously for a decidedly left-wing manifesto, Shenhav rejects out of hand the “one man, one vote,” “state of all its citizens” model as an alternative to a two-state solution.

This model, he says, “presumes the existence of a homogenous population motivated by individual interests and ignores the fact that most people in the contested space are religious nationalists with tremendous differences within both the Israeli and Palestinian communities.” He opts instead for a consociational democracy: a system in which religious, cultural, national, and economic considerations will be balanced by mutual agreement, within a power-sharing government.

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1 thought on “One-state realism

  1. DE Teodoru

    Zionism was a beautiful idea for its XIX Century times, even if there were then not a drop of the “original blood” within its secular European advocates. The Jews who started Zionism were honest intellectuals driven by a common need for a nation “to belong to”—a notion that only XIX Century Europeans raised to so sanctify that peculiar sense of “nationalism” and those who inculcated it can fully appreciate. For the Zionists their rejection and persecution by their fellow Europeans were paramount. Zionism was “mensch-hood” as the soil into which a giant oak cements its roots makes it majestic: it cannot be moved, indeed has not been moved by winds and storms. Alas, for the Zionists the Jewish Ethic always got in the way; so when the Vienna Rabbinate sent a commission to survey the issue of a Jews-only state in Palestine– they cabled back to their community: WE HAVE SEEN THE BRIDE. SHE IS BEAUTIFUL. BUT SHE IS ALREADY MARRIED. The Holocaust permitted not only a cynical rejection of the Jewish exaltation of God, (for if He is God and Jews his chosen people he would have never allowed the Holocaust to unfold– recall the ADL’s chief, Abe Foxman’s claim that CHRISTIANY inflicted the Holocaust on the Jews out of jealousy that the Jews are God’s chosen people– but also a psychotic adoption of the Nazi version of the Hero in History, crowned as “New Jew,” conquering with the brutality of an Iron Wall the insect-like (to their minds) local Palestinians. Since then the era of the “New Jew” began Zionazis controlled most of the planes, tanks, bulldozers and most of the guns ( but not all, for a lot of Zionists refused to be Zionazis and this should not be forgotten). The “New Jew” is really a hybrid of the rational and the angry in a schizophrenic mental incompatibility, hence the ever ballooning exaggerations of persecution and extermination to justify the massacre of those local “insects,” the Palestinians, so much in violation the Jewish Ethic. “I HATE ARABS” has become the anesthetic with which “I am bound to Jewish morality” is denied access to the soul. On one hand there is the “super Jew” who is super only in the sense that he is attached to an endless supply of American weapons that he uses on Palestinian “insects” liberally. On the other hand there is the religious Jew who indeed seeks to worship there where stepped God’s chosen prophets. But in between them there is this idea of “gelt” instead of guilt: pay Diasporics enough of a good deal that they’ll make facts on the ground in settlements that will render Greater Israel a reality, even if, for scriptural reasons, they reject the “state” as the Biblical entity they are supposed to be awaiting. Everything has been corrupted to a jumble of lies for “raisons d’etat.” And since Jews are very bright, their brains are like a violently rejecting immune system of anti-hasbara. In a famous Israeli poem a young Sabra fallen soldier speaks from under the ground to his grieving father, reproaching the old man for having ended all the boy’s dreams and potentials with his warmongering ideologies. This view will inevitably come to dominate as the idea of Jihad sacrificing youth similarly fades; both replaced by thinking about a future for the children of what historically is really is one family. It is then that advances of Biblical proportions will manifest in the common soil of both peoples– the tremendous God given potential of the Jew and Arab cousins that now only bloody each other fighting over the barren dunes.

    Please allow me to close on this synchronized High Holiday Season for so many faiths by noting how much Mr. Woodward self-sacrificed for the sake of responsible and informative “CONTEXT” that makes our current era seem more amendable to reasonable men&women of good will. His personal burdens and tragedies have not once allowed him to deny us this invaluable asset. WE should all thank him shamelessly for his self-sacrifice and pass on the good news to other men of good will that there is a place where the madness we are forced to live with is put “IN CONTEXT” in a constructive way. God bless you and your family sir, you are indeed doing God’s work!

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