8. One State? Two States?

Adam Horowitz's insightful
comments about the issue of
one state or two states . . .


‘Mr. Horowitz, tell us what  

you think of the two-state  


by on March 15, 2009 

Adam Horowitz, the co-editor of this
site [Mondoweiss - ML], has done a lot of
speaking on Israel/Palestine and is
regularly asked, "But Mr. Horowitz, tell
us what you think of the two-state
solution!?" Recently, for instance, he
was asked this question by a pro-Israel
student at Temple University. What's
his answer? 

There is a short answer and a longer
answer to this question. The short
answer is that I don't take a position
on one state or two states. In the end
I'm not invested in one end product,
but in ending the conflict. For that to
happen, there are several principles
that any just solution will have to meet.

Some of those principles are equality
(in the personal and collective sense)
and self-determination. These are
principles that can be met in theory
in any configuration of solutions,
whether they be one state, two states,
a confederation, etc. I have heard
compelling arguments for the need
for one democratic state in
Israel/Palestine and for separate
states called
Israel and Palestine.
In the end it is up to people living on
the ground to find a solution that
works for them.


From our perspective in the US we
just need to know that regardless
of what the solution looks like, the
conflict will not end until these
principles are met. Also, it has to
be said that the current "two state
solution" that is being touted by the
US, the Quartet, and some Israelis
(ie Olmert and
Livni) does not meet
these conditions. Their
is being used to formalize
the unequal relationship between
Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, not
end it. It will only deepen the conflict.

The longer answer gets to the real
reason I think people tend to ask
this question, especially if they're
confrontational: they are asking if
I support a Jewish state.
The simple
answer is no. This is for the reasons 
stated above:  it is impossible for
there to be equality in Israel/Palestine
while there is a state that offers
special and exclusive rights to Jews
over other people. This is the case
inside Israel, where Jewish citizens
enjoy special rights over Palestinian
citizens, inside the
occupied territories
where Palestinians live under
and in the diaspora
where Palestinians' collective rights
are ignored while Jewish people are
offered incredible privileges. The
example I give for this is that, as a
Jew, I can move to Israel tomorrow
and become a citizen with incentives
and benefits from the state, while
my Palestinians friends who still have
the key to their family homes in Jaffa
or Haifa would be arrested at the
border if they tried to return.

That is currently the situation in
Israel/Palestine. The conflict, and the
suffering that comes from it, will not
end until this system ends.

Does this mean that the Jews will be
thrown to the wolves? No. I tell my
questioners if their real concern is for
Jewish safety, it is a concern I understand.
I also understand why people would think
that a Jewish state is necessary to ensure
Jewish safety. But in fact the opposite is
Setting up a system of perpetual
domination of one people over another
can only lead to endless conflict.
missiles hitting Sderot in southern Israel
from the besieged captives of Gaza is
one example of this.

finkeljl med

I tell them if they're interested in Jewish
safety, then they need to be working
for a just solution to the conflict in
Israel/Palestine because that is what
will end the violence. If they are
concerned about Jewish safety then
they need to be concerned about
Palestinian safety. Jews will feel 
safe in Israel/Palestine once everyone
feels safe, but not before.

If instead they are simply concerned
with there being a "Jewish state,"
then they are consigning the people
of Israel/Palestine to endless violence.
Right now the logic of a Jewish state is
leading Israeli politicians to propose
kicking non-Jewish citizens out of the
state and the ongoing ethnic cleansing
of the
occupied territories. This is the
process that has to be stopped. The
future of Israel/Palestine depends on it.

For the original article in Mondoweiss

[Highlighting and images added by
ML; credit for "Hope" drawing: Jewish
Voice for Peace; credit for image of
Joel F. holding sign: Laborbeat.]

⇧ Back to top 

MichaelLevin11@mac.com  I  © Michael Levin 2012