Robert Wright has discovered a third way to Middle East peace.
There’s always something seductive about a third way — the way between extremes; the way free of dogma traversed by pragmatists with flexible minds.
Wright’s third way breaks the impasse on the road to a two-state solution by co-opting the one-state solution as a means to mobilize Israeli centrists — Jewish moderates whose worst nightmare would be to live in a state where they shared equal rights with Palestinians.
It’s a strange political landscape where a revulsion for the dismantling of an ethnocracy makes someone a centrist, but I suppose that’s because all “center” really means is the portion of the political spectrum where the largest numbers can be found.
Even so, the center usually has an understated vanity which is that it sees itself as the wellspring of moderation. It’s where people don’t stay up late at night, pay most of their taxes, don’t take illegal drugs and don’t take too much interest in politics.
This is the silent majority whose voice doesn’t get heard because they’re too civil — or, truth be told, too comfortable.
“For a peace deal to happen, Israel’s centrists need to get jarred out of their indifference. Someone needs to scare these people,” Wright says.
And what’s the scariest thing they could face? A one-state solution.
Of course a one-state solution isn’t particularly scary if it’s unlikely to happen and so Wright envisages the Palestinians — as usual the Palestinians are merely supporting actors in this Middle East drama — mobilizing to form an internationally supported non-violent movement demanding just one thing: the right to vote.
The more successful this movement becomes, the more eager Israel’s “centrists” will become in pursuing the only means that could thwart the dreaded prospect of equality.
And so, just in the nick of time, the two-state solution would ride to the rescue and save the Jewish state.
As for the mass movement that coalesced around the compelling idea of equality in a pluralistic secular democracy — they’ll happily give up that idea, knowing it was just a pipe dream, and settle for a Palestinian state which, who knows, could even include East Jerusalem.
Whatever keeps the Zionists happy…