Due to a conflict between those wanting to focus on legal approaches and those preferring to dwell on idealistic platitudes, the first One State meeting in Boston was canceled before it happened.
It seems like whether you talk about a two state solution or a one state solution, certain folks are always willing to concede rights on behalf of the Palestinians that they would never cede for themselves under American or international law. I think that’s why they like to keep it a Jewish-Arab issue or a “bi-national” issue, to leave majority of the world population out of the conversation, to leave the Arabs without back-up.
There is also a split between those who want to wait until “someday” when Israelis can be convinced to accept their neighbors as “equals” – as long as they don’t try to demand from Jews what Jews expect from the Germans (like putting aging prison guards in prison, getting their former houses back, demanding reparations and social security benefits) – and those who believe that we must have a plan that takes into account the possibility that some Jews are not going to like being treated like equals to non-Jews, and some of them will perceive the enforcement of international law as “vengeance.”
My point of view is that until Zionism is declared a criminal ideology and prosecuted as such, there is not much hope of any useful compromise since Zionism gives certain folks rights over others and that’s not fair.
Any solution based on human equality has to also take into account that giving Jews “equal rights” with Palestinians discriminates against all non-Palestinian Gentiles. Why should an American Jew have more stake in what goes on in Palestine than say, an Irish American or a Chinese Malaysian? A Jewish State is unfair because it favors Jews over Palestinians, but a bi-national state is unfair because it favors Jews over non-Jews worldwide. Before Israel’s existence, Palestine used to accept peaceful immigrant communities from all over the world who were not Arabs nor Jews. Why should Jewish residency permits be placed above others? Why not use other methods of preferring groups of immigrants over others?
I believe the Palestinians should have the right to decide who gets to live as an immigrant in Palestine, and maybe they should give a chance for non-Jews who want to immigrate there with the Palestinians’ permission. The idea of Palestine as a safe haven for childlike Jews is also insulting to Jews.
I think it is healthy to go back and forth between the extremes of idealism and justice-thinking to come up with a workable plan. So I guess it shows you what you are up against when trying to fight for justice for Palestinians, because there is still a lot of resistance from older Jews especially – using human rights language to tell Palestinians what they need to give up next. Claiming to want peace and reconciliation while excluding those who want to talk about what specific legal actions will be necessary for peace, by slurring them as full of “hate” or “vengeance,” is really no different than the approach that the Zionists are already using.
In any case, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the One State group was supposed to be. If what is required is a discussion group, then maybe we should just throw it out there and let the Palestine discussion groups fight it out. So that is why I am making this an open letter. I really think that no One State Solution is possible without the majority participation of non-Jews.
I tend to view this from a psychological perspective. I see that liberal secular Jews do not have a tradition of gut-wrenching repentence in front of God, although this does exist in Rabbinical Judaism where you say to God, “I deserve to die for what I did, but please forgive me.” The resistance within the secular mind to getting to this point of spiritual abasement is what I view as a primary obstacle to dealing with “terrorist populations.” Muslims and Christians do have “sorry” and “accepting punishment” as a cultural philosophy and tend to view these two actions as a prerequisites for forgiveness of sinners.
What we are seeing with the Secular One Statists, is the imposition of secular values onto a non-secular society, where they want Jews to just be accepted as equals with Palestinians while they want Jews to be exempted from having to make reparations and especially exempted from prosecution for their crimes. And as I see it increasingly clearly, we are dealing with a sociological issue that is deeper than racism.