The Two-State Solution is Dead…but that’s not necessarily a “bad thing”

Two Cheers for Democracy, Three for One-State

The two-state solution is dead. There are a few who haven’t gotten the memo, including Tony Blinken, Joe Biden and most of the Democratic Party.  Also including liberal Zionists, meaning most of the Israel Lobby i.e. all the leading UK and American Jewish organizations

There’s a reason one-state is especially attractive that’s rarely if ever, noted. Currently, Israel is not a democracy. It is at best an ethnocracy and at worst a theocracy, in which the religious parties and the settlers essentially control all major levers of power.

Defiling Al Aqsa: in a religio-supremacist state, privileged religions suppress others through violence

 

In this, it shares much in common with other religio-supremacist states like Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Despite the latter being a monarchy and the former a republic,  all three privilege a single religion over all others; and reject many,  if not all,  the bedrock principles on which true democracies are founded: religious tolerance,  full equal rights for all citizens,  representative democracy with power deriving from the will of the people.

It also shares much in common with other religious exclusivist movements like the Christian evangelicals and the white Christo-supremacist parties in power in Poland and Hungary.

Despite (or because of) my strong Diaspora Jewish identity, I abhor defining Israel as a Jewish state. I do so for one reason only: the only form of Jewish state on offer is a Judeo-supremacist apartheid state. It privileges Jewish Israelis and offers Palestinian citizens inferior rights. This is a racist, anti-democratic, even anti-Semitic (since Palestinians are, like Israeli Jews, Semites) state.

We must continually drive home to liberal Zionists that their dream of a “Jewish democratic state”  is a chimera.  It will never happen. Jews and Palestinians can have a joint homeland for two peoples.  But any state that is dedicated to one people, as Israel currently is (or another) is doomed to be anti-democratic.

Israel must be a secular state,  but one which recognizes and respects the rights of all religions; while permitting none to dominate or oppress the others.  A single state would dilute the power of religious parties, whether they be Palestinian Islamist (Hamas, Raam) or Orthodox (United Torah, Shas, Yamina, etc.). The combined numbers of secular Palestinians and Jews would far outweigh the religious.

The Orthodox and Islamist parties would have a great deal in common and perhaps try to form their own alliance. But their numbers would not match the secular parties. This would in effect remove religion as an inciting force splitting the population and setting it against one another.

Of course, the secular Jewish and Palestinian parties would not automatically have common interests, since there is so much dividing them. But a single state would permit the coalescence of a secular progressive alliance among Jews and Palestinians, which currently is not possible due to Jewish-Palestinian fear and mistrust.

Another factor to consider is that normally Israeli Palestinians do not vote in the same numbers as Israeli Jews because many see politics as “fixed” against them. Why vote when your party has no hope of entering a governing coalition, where true power is concentrated? Why vote when your MKs will be interrogated by police and either thrown in jail or lose their Knesset privileges merely because they represent your interests as Palestinians? But in a single state, Palestinians inside Israel, the West Bank and Gaza would have tremendous motivation to vote and participate. This too would strengthen the secular parties.

It would also set the formerly exclusivist Jewish parties (Likud,  Labor,  Blue and White,  etc.) on a new path, because they would need to find allies among Palestinians if they wished to form governing coalitions. It would especially weaken far-right ultra-nationalist parties like Likud, whose platform clearly rejects cooperation with Palestinians.

One state offers hope for a truly democratic future. Two-states, even if it were not rejected by Israel, offers to duplicate in the Palestinian state the same level of dysfunction, intolerance,  and corruption found in Israel itself.

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