This was originally going to be my topic for Monday, but I decided to put this discussion off for a few days and showcase it here. Our “Fame Days”, after all, aren’t just about celebrating achievements but include shining the spotlight on noble issues or events we believe should have more attention, and I’d be hard-pressed to think of any idea more deserving than the “One-State Solution”.
Chances are that you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s fine. Normally I rail against what I’d consider self-imposed ignorance when it comes to politics or foreign affairs, but this is a really, really obscure concept (heck, that’s the entire reason we’re talking about it today).
When we’re talking about either the “one-state” or (more common) “two-state” solutions, we’re referencing the debate over the future of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Pretty much every so-called “road map” to “peace in the Middle East” revolves around settling the question of the borders of Israel and what would eventually become the state of Palestine. Who gets what land, access to which resources, authority over which sites- you get the idea.
As you can see in that picture above, it’s a pretty tricky and contentious process. Exactly where do you restore the borders to? How do we account for the massive number of refugee Palestinians who would flood back into the newly created state? How would travel work between Gaza and the West Bank, if the two would be connected at all?
These are the questions surrounding the two-state solution, which in spite of its complexity, is viewed by pretty much every superpower (heck, pretty much everyone) as the default goal for peace in the Middle East.
Which is a shame, because the two-state solution is really ****ing stupid.
Not just dumb- immoral. The idea of slicing out a strip of land and saying “you can only live here if you have the right religion or race or culture” is simply reprehensible. I wouldn’t advocate for an “Arabs Only” state anymore than I’d advocate for a “Jews Only” one. Stop me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we dispelled all that “Separate-but-Equal” crap?
Fortunately the “two-state solution”, while dominating political discourse, isn’t the only idea out there. We’re here to talk about the one-state solution, after all, so let me break it down.
I. One Person, One Vote, One State
The beauty’s in the simplicity. We’re talking not about further partitions, but in the complete and utter removal of all barriers and borders. Gaza, the West Bank, and “Greater” Israel- they’re all merged into a single state.
Call it “Israstine”, “Pasrael”, “The State o’ Israel & Palestine”, whatever– the point stands that every man and woman within those borders, regardless of their ethnicity, culture, religion, or immigration status is granted full and equal citizenship. Everyone votes for the candidates who they believe best represent them, everyone can travel without harassment, everyone can worship or not worship however they choose, and everyone can be assured a fair and speedy trial by a jury of their peers.
Or as we call it “Democracy”.
But it gets better…
II. “One-State” Saves Palestine
I don’t know how else to say it at this point. I’ve documented time and time again the heinous offences and outright genocide that’ve been inflicted upon Palestinians. We can keep pointing to a desperate Palestinian state as much as we want, but the truth is, that’s bankrupt on a logistic and moral standard. As things stand already, Gaza and what little of West Bank still exists are dangerously overcrowded, and a single state suddenly allows a far more reasonable ratio of people to land.
One state further means that millions of Palestinians will be able to return to their ancestral homes. I’m not talking about that in some lofty, poetic sense, I literally mean their ancestral houses.
While we’ll occasionally hear about the death toll from Israel’s indiscriminate bombings, what we almost never hear about is the day to day struggle of Palestinians who lack such basic necessities as hospitals, farmland, and water. Shy of proving freedom of movement to the Arabs, there’s just no way a two-state solution could work without mass starvation, drought, and plague.
III. “One-State” Saves Jews
As ironic as that sounds, it’s the truth. I talk a lot about Israeli oppression of Palestinians, but what I often find myself leaving out is Israeli oppression of Israelis. It’s not a question of Jews versus Arabs but one of Ashkenazis over Sephardics/Mizrahi over Ethiopian Jews (seriously, click that last link). Yes, those are all different types of Jewish background and yes, there does exist a distinct hierarchy within Israeli society (hint: they don’t get lighter as you go down the totem pole).
The Israel Democracy Institute- the lead polling institute of Israel- found that “52% of Jewish Israelis identify with the statement by MK Miri Regev last month that African migrants are ‘a cancer in the body’ of the nation, and over a third condone anti-migrant violence…” This statement was made by a member of the Israeli Knesset (congress) and a former Brigadier General in the Israeli Army. Again- the person who holds this view is now a major politician and used to be in charge of of soldiers.
Not convinced? In 2011, the Israeli Knesset passed the “Acceptance to Community” law, granted communities of under 500 to deny entry to individuals on such criteria as “[being] Arabs, single parents, disabled persons, same-sex couples, Mizrachi Jews, religious people, new immigrants, and so on.” Further, a collection of 50 state-appointed Rabbis in 2010 signed a letter demanding that Jews should not “rent apartments to non-Jews”.
IV. One State Saves Democracy
Yeah, the very ability to live in a free, just, and equitable society hinges upon the creation of a single state. While Israel tries to style itself as the Middle East’s “only” democracy, we’re seeing continued and growing attacks on basic democratic freedoms within Israel.
Heck, Israeli Jewish leftists decrying the racist policies of their own state have been physically attacked by other Israelis. On July 18th of this year, a group of Israeli anti-occupation protestors were confronted and attacked by their fellow citizens. The following day, one of the protestors went to apologize to a local vendor whose shop was damaged in during the attack and was attacked again.
Likewise, there exist in Israel such groups as Yad L’Achim, a group whose goal- I can’t make this **** up- is to prevent interracial marriages and prevent religious conversions, with Messianic Jews being one their key targets.
Now in this country we do have people who decry race-mixing. They just can’t hold their heads in public because as a society, we don’t tolerate ****ing monsters.
Now there are people, like the guy who created this image above, who’d argue that the creation of Palestine would mean the end of any kind of Jewish state. Palestinians significantly outnumber Jews, meaning that the Jewish population would become a religious and ethnic minority.
To such people I say:
Who the hell cares?
America has, as of 2011, fewer white than non-white births. Do you see me throwing a tantrum? No- it doesn’t bother me. I could be the only white antinomian (or whatever my faith gets classified as) in the United States and I still wouldn’t give a damn. If I can marry who I want, practice my faith how I want, vote, write, and live where I choose, why would I give a damn?
Now you might respond, “But Gordon, you peerless iconoclast, the whole point of having a Jewish state is to protect Jews from attacks. Antisemitism is still very real- how will the now minority Jewish population be protected without a state of their own?”
I hear ya, but that’s just lousy logic. It’s in the same vein as saying women should get a state to protect against race or misogyny, rather than teaching people not to be rapists or misogynists. Racial and religious segregation is a validation of bigotry, not a protection from it. If we can’t have a multicultural and multi-ethnic society, then we simply can’t have a society. We live together or we don’t live.
To the advocates of the one-state solution- all those who have helped develop the idea and who have kept it alive all these years- to you we offer our applause and gratitude. Lord knows it’s been a long time coming.
Keeping fighting the good fight, comrades.