This is the only model Israel has been willing to even pretend to consider. But the "two-state solution" as discussed thus far by the world community - as represented now by "The Quartet" - might be more accurately called the "two-state scam." The 2-state model the world envisions is seriously flawed since it does not repudiate Israel's racist foundation, goals, and legal structures.
Moreover, even that is not what Israel is willing to offer. UN Resolution 242 has demanded that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, and UN Resolution 194 mandates the right of return of ALL refugees to THEIR homes. The Arab League, including Hamas, has agreed to accept Israel and guarantee Israel's security under these conditions, but Israel has steadfastly refused.
If Israel only wants security as they claim, why the refusal? The Zionist agenda from the beginning before 1948 through the explicitly stated objectives of Arial Sharon in 2000 has been to expel the Arabs and take all the land. The "peace process" in which they sporadically engage has been an insincere stalling tactic while they continue to expand the settlements, isolate Palestinian communities, and crush the Palestinian economy in an obvious effort to make Palestinian lives unbearable and drive them out.
Israel's "generous" agreement offers including the Geneva Accord and the Oslo Agreement fail to include the Palestinian diaspora and their internationally declared right to return and compensation, would limit Palestine to a scattering of confined and ghettoized bantustans isolated from each other by the "security wall" and a network of Jewish-only roads, with no viable economic institutions, no self-defense, and no political sovereignty such as control of their own borders and security forces.
The most recent offer, the Geneva initiative, would deny the new state a military or control of its own borders, airspace and water supplies, allow Israeli military overflights, electronic monitoring and military presence within its boundaries, and would include only limited right of refugee return with the where and how many to be determined by Israel unilaterally. This is entirely unacceptable to the Palestinians and entirely incompatible with international law and numerous UN resolutions, but their rejection is then taken as evidence of "no partner for peace."
Moreover, Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to rigid apartheid laws which would not be remedied by allowing Israel to continue its repressive, undemocratic and archaic policies of ethnic nationalism (Zionism), and this "solution" would predictably create pressure, opportunity and excuse to "transfer" non-Jewish citizens from their own lands and homes to the "new Palestine" - a further ethnic cleansing in violation of international law.
J Street: a Dead End for Palestinians
The two-state model aggressively promoted by "progressive" Zionists
The new Israeli lobby, J Street, is metastasizing nationwide, which may be more threatening to justice and human rights than AIPAC. J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami has stated that "J Street is proud of AIPAC's many accomplishments" and clarified that "the two groups have different priorities rather than different views." Pursuing essentially the same goal of Jewish supremacy in historic Palestine, they are twin wolves with the youngest costumed in lamb fleece. At least with AIPAC and the likes of Foxman and Dershowitz, what you see is what you get.
J Street bills itself as a dovish "alternative" to AIPAC to make Zionism acceptable to traditionally liberal American Jews and other "progressives" and provide cover for US politicians accepting Lobby money who can claim they are now supporting this "moderate" organization. It’s a game of good cop/bad cop.
Just as Democrats and Republicanss are two branches of the American Empire Party, AIPAC and J Street are two branches of the Zionist Supremacy Party. The J Street director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, is the son of an Irgun terrorist leader of the 1948 Nakba, with three generations deeply engaged in Israel and the Zionist project. They promote "the two-state solution" which is a solution not to the Palestinians’ needs and rights but to Israel’s goals of (1) a Jewish-dominated state cleansed as much as possible of Arabs, and (2) escape from the moral and financial burden of the occupation that has relegated Israel to pariah status in the world outside the US.
The "two-state solution" supported by J Street, (mis)using words such as "healthy" while avoiding words like equality, justice, rights, and international law, is a segregationist model. Significant differences between this and Mississippi white supremacists promoting segregation are difficult to detect.
The latest iteration of this, the Geneva Initiative, would create a helpless, demilitarized Palestinian bantustan on less than 20% of historic Palestine that was 94% Arab-owned in 1948, without control of their own borders, airspace or access to resources such as water, to which the several million Palestinian refugees could "return" if they so desired. However, international law establishes the right of all refugees to return to their homes of origin, not some other mini-state or another "Arab" state. In typical racist fashion, all "Arabs" and "Arab states" are viewed as interchangeable.
Moreover, this "solution" would leave intact the apartheid system within Israel that discriminates against non-Jews in virtually every area of life and would provide a pseudo-state into which Israel’s unwanted 20% Palestinian minority could be "transferred," thus completing the ethnic cleansing Ben-Ami’s father began.
This would closely resemble South Africa’s creation of bantustans into which their unwanted black populations could be herded to prevent a black majority and loss of their white privileges and control. It is a segregationist model, pure and simple. Under a single democratic state with equality for all and return of the refugees in compliance with international law, Israel would lose its Jewish majority and would have to settle for just being a normal country, a homeland not just for Jews but for the people whose homeland it has actually been for generations before Zionism intruded violently upon their lives, and for anyone else who wants to live there. But such real democracy is dreaded as an "existential threat."
No democratic right Tom Jefferson held as "self-evident" is included or even mentioned in their two-state model - not equality between or within states, not justice for those they have murdered and dispossessed, not the real freedom of a politically and economically autonomous state. To avoid the topic of justice, they address only the post-1967 occupation, not the crimes of the original Nakba, and are busy inventing imaginary Arab crimes of which there is no evidence to balance the moral ledger and evade accountability.
Israel would only allow a few Palestinians to return to their own homes and lands, selected on "humanitarian" criteria. (The burglar gets to decide how much of your stolen property he will return, dependent solely on his good will.) And this has all been negotiated with hand-picked quisling Palestinians. Hamas, the refugees, the foreign diaspora, and the 3rd-class Palestinian citizens of Israel were excluded. And the settlement would be final with no appeals presumably permitted by these unrepresented populations (since all Palestinians are interchangeable whether or not they so agree, disregarding the UN Charter's central political principle of self-determination).
Predictably, J Street opposes a democratic, egalitarian solution (see interview below) and the appeal by Palestinian civil society for an extensive, international BDS movement to bring the same pressure to bear upon Israel that forced change in apartheid South Africa (www.bdsmovement.net and www.pacbi.org). Palestinians have long been practicing non-violent resistance on a nearly daily basis but cannot prevail alone against Israel's overwhelming force. BDS is a powerful non-violent resistance method available to those of us in the international community who must help them by correcting the power imbalance. J Street has no interest in Palestinian rights and we must fill that void. There are good Jewish organizations addressing the issues of justice and human rights, but J Street is not among them. The best is probably the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (www.ijsn.net). How many synagogues include this on their lists of resources? And if not, would Jews opposing Zionism feel welcome?
J Street's agenda is clearly exposed in a recent CNN interview clip on the J Street website, which shows their executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami stating, "...I think the sense of urgency has never been greater to address the single greatest threat that Israel faces to its future as a Jewish and democratic state which is the demographic reality that within a matter of years there will be more non-Jews than Jews between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean and at that point Israel really can no longer remain both Jewish and democratic; therefore to avoid that we have to find some way to get to a two-state solution and do it as quickly as possible."
What would be our reaction if hearing white supremacists in power say this about people of color? Would we wait until they experienced a spontaneous change of heart or would we challenge segregation through civic action and enforcement of constitutional law? We ended Jim Crow with the latter.
Below are two excerpts from a recent Atlantic Monthly interview with Jeremy Ben-Ami. Key elements of the segregationist J Street position rejecting international law and demanding US military support are highlighted in red. "JG" is the interviewer, Jeffrey Goldberg, and "JB" is Jeremy Ben-Ami.
JG: Are you a Zionist?
JB: I am a Zionist personally. I am deeply committed to a Jewish home, to a democratic home, to a Jewish Israel. I'm deeply committed to that and you know my family background.
JG: Ben-Ami is a Jewish name, I think.
JB: Exactly. My great-grandparents were in the First Aliyah, my grandparents founded Tel Aviv, my father was in the Irgun. I've lived in Israel myself. I have 500 cousins there. I'm deeply committed to the safety, the sanctity and the security of a Jewish home in the state of Israel.
JG: Is J Street a Zionist organization?
JB: Well, we are unabashedly for a Jewish home in the land of Israel, that there should be a Jewish home that is a democracy, that has a Jewish character and a Jewish flavor andwhere the law of return is a fact -- I know you're having a disagreement with Bernie (Avishai) right now. I don't even know what he said about the right of return.
JG: That he wants it repealed.
JB: Well I don't agree with that, I certainly don't agree with that. I think that the notion is that there should be a homeland that is a Jewish homeland. That is the founding principle of J Street. The question is, how do we preserve it? That's where we seem to be getting attacked. Our view is that in order to preserve this, there just simply has to be an independent state for the Palestinians next door, and that's where they will live. And we live in Israel and we live there and there's always going to be a minority in Israel that is not Jewish and we need to treat them like equal citizens and value their participation in our democracy, but it is a Jewish home. This is the Jewish homeland. ...
J Street officially will not use the term "One-State Solution." That is an oxymoron because it is a one-state nightmare. That is the thing we are most opposed to -- moving in a one-state direction.
JG: A nightmare for practical reasons or a nightmare for moral reasons?
JB: A nightmare for the Jewish people. There would be no more Israel. One state is not a solution, one state is a dissolution.
JG: The thing I'm worried about with the conference is that I think most of your supporters are well-meaning, left-of-center Jews who love Israel and are tortured by the various dilemmas, who do stay awake at night worrying about this. But there are others who are glomming on to you guys as a cover, just using you to advance another agenda entirely.
JB: I hope that we have a very strong left flank that attacks us, that Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups that are consistently upset with us for backing Howard Berman's sanctions plan and for refusing to embrace the Goldstone report and for standing up for the right of Israel to defend itself or for its military aid -- I hope we get attacked from the left because I would characterize J Street as the mainstream of the American Jewish community.
JG: You believe that you're at the center of American Jewish thought?
JB: I believe that we are at the center. The Marty Peretzes and the Michael Goldfarbs and the Lenny Ben-Davids are on the right, to the far right, and there are people to our left, and we are in the middle trying to put forward a thoughtful, moderate, mainstream point of view about how to save Israel as a Jewish home.
Ben-Ami expresses a primitive, simplistic, pre-1789 (when the Bill of Rights was ratified as the first 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution) understanding of democarcy as majority rule, ignoring the fundamental principle of inalienable Rights that protect all minorities from the "tyranny of the majority." Despite Ben-Ami's lip service for legal equality with non-Jews, that is certainly far from the case now and would not change under the Geneva Initiative.
To maintain Jewish supremacy in Israel, non-Jews are subjected to legal discrimination in virtually every area of life, including segregated schools, separate citizenship ("nationality") status, severe limitations in property ownership, marriage restrictions, and lack of access to employment opportunities and basic public services. This disregard for civil rights of non-Jews, promised in Israel's declaration of statehood but never fulfilled, is increasingly threatened by growing international awareness and condemnation.
"Progressive" Zionists' (e.g., J Street, Tikkun, Brit Tzedek) are desperately pushing for a rapid "two-state" (segregationist) solution, coming not from belief in the sanctity of equality or justice, but quite the opposite - from fear of having to live on an equal basis as a minority with non-Jews (as Jews do in the US, quite comfortably, with about 2% of the population).
A veteran of struggles with another apartheid system, Nelson Mandela refused to compromise when it came to human rights, steadfastly resisting the segregated bantastan system. He recognized the clear parallel between his struggle and that of the Palestinians, stating, "...our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
Before deciding whether the U.S. should recognize Israel, Harry Truman feared that Zionist aspirations would lead to a racial or a theocratic state. Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann wrote Truman a series of letters including one of seven-pages, single-spaced, reassuring him that Zionists intended a thoroughly secular state similar to ours and the British. Truman confirmed that understanding in his May 14, 1948 recognition of the provisional government not of "the Jewish state" (words drafted by Israel that he crossed out) but of "the State of Israel."
Similarly, the oft-cited Balfour Declaration also rejected a Jewish dominant or supremacist state.
And certainly nothing in any of these early documents entitles Zionist militias to massacre and ethnically cleanse non-Jews and prohibit their return as has been the case for 61 years now, and the illegitimacy of their ethnic cleansing was recognized in UN Resolution 194 of 1948, with the restoration of Palestinians to their land a condition of Israel's 1949 admission to the UN.
A local synagogue together with Brit Tzedek recently sponsored Dan Fleshler, a J Street board member. Linked below is his advice on how to talk to progressive opponents of Zionism.
Martin Luther King often spoke of justice, equality and freedom, but rarely of "peace." He understood the issue well:
"The Negro's greatest stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice."
He understood the need to apply non-violent sources of power, not simply polite conversation:
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
And he understood the importance of law and its enforcement:
"It is true that behavior cannot be legislated, and legislation cannot make you love me, but legislation can restrain you from lynching me, and I think that is kind of important."
Demand Freedom, Justice and Equality in the Holy Land