[News] Toward a Single State Solution

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Fri Jun 18 12:54:30 EDT 2004

June 17, 2004

Toward a Single State Solution

Zionism, Anti-Semitism and the People of Palestine


Zionism as a political movement developed in the late 19th century. Its 
founder, Theodore Herzl, was influenced by two phenomena: the extent of 
French anti-Semitism revealed by the Dreyfus Trial, and nationalist ideals 
then popular in Europe. Herzl held that Jews cannot be assimilated by the 
nations in which they live, and that the only solution to the "Jewish 
question" was the formation of a "Jewish state" in which all the Jews would 
come together. The early Zionists contemplated as the site of the future 
state Argentina or Uganda, among other locales. Herzl favored Palestine, 
because, although an agnostic, he wanted to make use of the custom, 
widespread among Jewish mystics, of going on pilgrimages to the "holy land" 
and establishing religious communities there.

In 1868, there were 13,000 Jews in Palestine, out of an estimated 
population of 400,000. The majority were religious pilgrims supported by 
charity from overseas. They encountered no opposition from the Muslims, and 
their presence led to no clashes with the Arab population, whether Muslim 
or Christian.

In 1882, Baron Rothschild, combining philanthropy and investment, began to 
bring Jewish settlers from Eastern Europe to build a plantation system 
along the model the French used in Algeria. They spoke Yiddish, Arabic, 
Persian, and Georgian. Significantly, Hebrew was not among the languages 
spoken. The outcome of Rothschild's experiment was predictable: Jews 
managed the land, while Arabs worked it. This was not the result the 
Zionists had in mind; a Jewish society could not be based on Arab labor. 
Consequently, they began to encourage the immigration of Jews to work in 
agriculture, industry, and transport.

In 1917 British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour, seeking support for 
Britain's efforts in World War I, issued his famous declaration expressing 
sympathy with efforts to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The 
Zionists immediately seized upon this statement, which they interpreted to 
mean support for a Jewish state. At the time of Balfour's declaration, Jews 
comprised less than 10% of the population and owned 2.5% of the land of 

The problem of building a Jewish society among an overwhelming Arab 
majority came to be known as the "conquest of land and labor." Land, once 
acquired, had to remain in Jewish hands. The other half of this project, 
known as Labor Zionism, called for the exclusive use of Jewish labor on the 
land acquired by the Jews in Palestine. The Labor Zionists maintained this 
dual exclusionism (or apartheid, as we would now call it) in order to build 
up purely Jewish institutions.

To achieve the conquest of the land, the Zionists set up an arrangement 
whereby land was acquired not by individuals, but by a corporation, known 
as the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The JNF acquired land and leased it only 
to Jews, who were not allowed to sublet it. Thus land was acquired in the 
name of "the Jewish people," held for their use, and not subject to market 
conditions. The idea was for the JNF to gradually acquire as much land as 
possible as the basis for the expected Jewish state.

Naturally, in order for the land to serve this function, Arab labor had to 
be excluded. Leases from the JNF specifically prohibited the use of 
non-Jewish labor on JNF plots. One way to achieve this goal was to lease 
land only to those Jews who intended to work it themselves. In some cases, 
when land was bought from Arab absentee landlords, the peasants who resided 
on and worked the land were expelled. Jewish landholders who refused to 
exclude Arab labor could lose their leases or be faced with a boycott.

The conquest of labor pertained not only to agriculture but also to 
industry. The Labor Zionists formed an institution to organize Jewish labor 
and exclude Arabs: the Histadrut. The Histadrut was (and largely is) an 
all-Jewish combination trade union and cooperative society providing its 
members with a number of services. From the beginning it was a means of 
segregating Arab and Jewish labor and bringing into existence a strictly 
Jewish economic sector. Even when Arab and Jewish laborers performed 
precisely the same job, Jewish workers were paid significantly higher 
salaries. These policies were the death knell for any attempt to organize 
labor on a non-racial basis. The "laborism" of Labor Zionism killed and 
continues to kill efforts at building a unified labor movement.

Despite these policies and even with the encouragement of the British 
government, in the thirty years following the Balfour Declaration, the 
Zionists were able to increase the Jewish-owned portion of the land of 
Palestine to only 7%. Moreover, the majority of the world's Jews showed no 
interest in settling there. In the years between 1920 and 1932, only 
118,000 Jews moved to Palestine, less than 1% of world Jewry. Even after 
the rise of Hitler, Jews in Europe did not choose Israel: out of 2.5 
million Jewish victims of Nazism who fled abroad between 1935 and 1943, 
scarcely 8.5% went to Palestine. 182,000 went to the U.S., 67,000 to 
Britain, and almost 2 million to the Soviet Union. After the war, the U.S. 
began to encourage Jewish settlement in Palestine. Aneurin Bevin, postwar 
British Foreign Minister, publicly blurted out that American policy mainly 
arose from the fact that "they did not want too many of them in New York." 
The Pakistani delegate to the UN was to make the same point sarcastically:

Australia, an overpopulated small country with congested areas, says no, 
no, no; Canada, equally congested and overpopulated, says no; the United 
States, a great humanitarian country, a small area, with small resources, 
says no. This is their contribution to the humanitarian principle. But they 
state, let them go into Palestine, where there are vast areas, a large 
economy and no trouble; they can easily be taken in there (Weinstock, 226).

The U.S. limitation on the number of Jews allowed into the country 
coincided with Zionist policy, as enunciated by David Ben-Gurion, first 
prime minister of Israel: "If I knew that it would be possible to save all 
the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of 
them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second 
alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but 
also the history of the People of Israel." (Yoav Gelber, "Zionist Policy 
and the Fate of European Jewry (1932-1945)" Yad Vashem Studies, vol. XII, 199.)

This policy of attaching more importance to the establishment of Israel 
than to the survival of the Jews led the Zionists to collaborate with 
Nazism and even be decorated by Hitler's government. The best known case 
was that of Rudolf Kastner, who negotiated the emigration to Palestine of 
some of Hungary's most prominent Jews in return for his help in arranging 
the orderly deportation of the remainder of Hungary's Jews to the camps. 
For his efforts, Kastner was praised as an "idealist" by no less an 
authority than Adolf Eichmann. (The best study of Zionist-Nazi relations is 
Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.)

The Zionists knew they had to rid themselves of the Arab majority in order 
to have a specifically Jewish state. Although 75,000 Jews moved to Israel 
between 1945 and 1948, Jews still constituted a minority in Palestine. The 
1948 war afforded the Zionists an excellent opportunity to rectify this; as 
a result of the war, more than three-quarters of a million Arabs fled their 
homes. The case of Deir Yasin, in which Israeli paramilitary forces, under 
the command of future prime minister Menachem Begin, massacred over 250 
civilians, sending a message to Palestinians that they should depart, is 
the most well known example of how this flight was brought about. In his 
book, The Revolt, Begin boasted that without Deir Yasin there would have 
been no Israel, and adds, "The Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting 'Deir 
Yasin'" (quoted in Menuhin, 120). Recent writings by Israeli revisionist 
historians have refuted the longtime insistence of Israeli officials that 
the departures were voluntary. Some of the refugees went to neighboring 
Arab countries; others became refugees in their own country. Those 750,000 
expelled from their homes and their descendants, who together total 2.2 
million people, make up the so-called refugee problem. Although the United 
Nation has repeatedly demanded they be allowed to return, the Israeli 
government has refused to agree. The war ended with the Zionists in control 
of 80% of Palestine. In the next year, nearly 400 Arab villages were 
completely destroyed. This was no accident but the result of deliberate 
policy, as shown is the following statement by one of the most 
authoritative officials of the Zionist state:

Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no place in our country for 
both peoples together The only solution is Eretz Israel, or at least the 
western half of Eretz Israel, without Arabs, and there is no other way but 
to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, transfer all 
of them, not one village or tribe should remain
Joseph Weitz, Deputy Chairman of the Board of directors of the Jewish 
National Fund (JNF) from 1951 to 1973, former Chairman of the Israel Land 
Authority (Davis, 5).

Moshe Dayan, former Defense Minister, stated in a famous speech before 
students at the Israeli Institute of Technology in Haifa in 1969:

Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even 
know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because 
geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab 
villages are not there either. Nahial arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz 
Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and 
Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place 
built in this country that did not have a former Arab population (Ha'aretz, 
April 4, 1969, quoted in Davis, 21).

It is a mistake to draw a moral line between Israel and the Occupied 
Territories; it is all occupied territory. The 1967 war, as a result of 
which Israel conquered and occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank of the 
Jordan River, and the Sinai Peninsula, was a continuation of the process 
that began in 1948. It will be drearily familiar to any who know the 
history of the displacement of the Indians from the lands they occupied in 
North America. Today it would be called "ethnic cleansing."

The first census of the state of Israel, conducted in 1949, counted a total 
of 650,000 Jews and 150,000 Arabs. The legal foundation for the racial 
state was laid down in two laws passed in 1950. The first, the Law of 
Return, permitted any Jew, anywhere in the world, the right to "return" to 
Israel. This right did not apply to non-Jews, including the Palestinian 
Arabs who had recently become refugees. In addition, the Absentee Property 
Law confiscated the property of Arab "absentees," and turned it over to the 
Custodian of Absentee Property. Arab refugees within their own country were 
termed "present absentees" (what a phrase!), and not allowed to return to 
their property. A number of refugees who attempted to do so were termed 
"infiltrators," and some were shot in the attempt. Confiscated property 
accounted for the vast majority of new settlements. These confiscated 
lands, in accordance with the procedures that were established in the 
Mandate period by the JNF, have become Israel Lands, with their own 
administration. This administration, controlling 92.6% of all of the lands 
in Israel, only leases these lands to Jews.

Unlike many countries, including the United States, the Israeli state does 
not belong, even in principle, to those who reside within its borders, but 
is defined as the state of the Jewish people, wherever they may be. That 
peculiar definition is one reason why the state has to this day failed to 
produce a written constitution, define its borders, or even declare the 
existence of an Israeli nationality. Moreover, in this "outpost of 
democracy," no party that opposes the existence of the Jewish state is 
permitted to take part in elections. It is as if the United States were to 
declare itself a Christian state, define "Christian" not by religious 
belief but by descent, and then pass a "gag law" prohibiting public 
discussion of the issue.

If one part of the Zionist project is the expulsion of the indigenous 
population, the other part is expanding the so-called Jewish population. 
But here arises the problem, which has tormented Israeli legal officials 
for fifty years, what is a Jew? (For a century-and-a-half U.S. courts faced 
similar problems determining who is white.) The Zionists set forth two 
criteria for determining who is a Jew. The first is race, which is a myth 
generally and is particularly a myth in the case of the Jews. The "Jewish" 
population of Israel includes people from fifty countries, of different 
physical types, speaking different languages and practicing different 
religions (or no religion at all), defined as a single people based on the 
fiction that they, and only they, are descended from the Biblical Abraham. 
It is so patently false that only Zionists and Nazis even pretend to take 
it seriously. In fact, given Jewish intermingling with others for two 
thousand years, it is likely that the Palestinians-themselves the result of 
the mixture of the various peoples of Canaan plus later waves of Greeks and 
Arabs-are more directly descended from the ancient inhabitants of the Holy 
Land than the Europeans displacing them. The claim that the Jews have a 
special right to Palestine has no more validity than would an Irish claim 
of a divine right to establish a Celtic state all across Germany, France, 
and Spain on the basis that Celtic tribes once lived there. Nevertheless, 
on the basis of ascribed descent, the Zionist officials assign those they 
have selected a privileged place within the state. If that is not racism, 
then the term has no meaning.

The Zionist commitment to racial purity has led to expressions of bigotry 
at the highest levels of Israeli society that would inspire outrage in 
respectable circles in the U.S. An Israeli company has required thousands 
of Chinese workers to sign a contract promising not to have sex with 
Israelis. A company spokesman said there was nothing illegal about the 
requirement. Israeli law forbids the marriage of a Jew with a non-Jew. 
(Associated Press, December 23, 2003)

Prejudice breeds arrogance: this past January the Israeli ambassador to 
Sweden destroyed an art installation in a Stockholm museum which he found 
offensive. The work commemorated a young Palestinian woman who killed 
herself and nineteen others in an attack in Haifa. (It does not become 
Americans, who learn as schoolchildren to recite the last words of Nathan 
Hale, "My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country," 
to denounce Palestinian patriots as "suicide bombers.") The museum director 
pointed out that if the Ambassador did not like the exhibit he was free to 
leave. (Agence France Press, 17 January 2004)

The Zionists are so desperate to increase the loyal population of the state 
that they are willing to admit hundreds of thousands of people, mainly from 
the former Soviet Union, who do not meet the official definition of a Jew 
because they have only a male grandparent or are merely married to a Jew. 
Since there is no such thing as Israeli nationality in Israel (there being 
only Jewish nationality and "undetermined"), these people, who do not 
qualify as Jews, are therefore registered as "under consideration."

Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. Recently the Israeli 
press reported on a group of Indians from Peru who had converted to Judaism 
and moved to Israel, where they were relocated on what was once Palestinian 
land. Nachson Ben-Haim (formerly Pedro Mendosa) said he had no problem with 
that. "You cannot conquer what has in any case belonged to you since the 
time of the patriarch, Abraham." Ben-Haim said he was looking forward to 
joining the Israeli army to defend the country. Ben-Haim and his 
coreligionists had moved to Israel with the agreement of the Jewish 
community in Peru, which did not want them because of the Indians' low 
socioeconomic status." (Ha'aretz, 18 July 2002.)

The Peruvian case points to the second criterion for being recognized as 
Jewish: conversion by an approved religious official, which means Orthodox 
rabbis only. In Israel today, Conservative and Reform rabbis are prohibited 
from leading their congregations, there is no civil marriage for Jews, 
and-in a measure reminiscent of medieval Spain-all residents support the 
established church, in this case the Orthodox rabbinate. The stranglehold 
of organized religion in a state where the majority of the Jewish 
population is secular and even atheistic is the price paid to maintain the 
Biblical justification for Zionist occupation. "God does not exist," runs 
the popular quip, "and he gave us this land."

Israel is a racial state, where rights are assigned on the basis of 
ascribed descent or the approval of the superior race. In this respect it 
resembles the American South prior to the passage of the Civil Rights and 
Voting Rights acts, Ireland under the Protestant Ascendancy, and, yes, 
Hitlerite Germany. But in its basic structures it most closely resembles 
the old South Africa. It is therefore not surprising that Israel should 
have developed a close alliance with South Africa when that country was 
still under apartheid. After the first talks held in 1970 between Shimon 
Peres and South Africa's defense minister, Botha, cultural, commercial, and 
military cooperation between the two racial regimes developed. These 
relations were publicly celebrated during the visit of South African Prime 
Minister Vorster to Israel in 1976-the same Vorster who held during the 
Second World War the rank of general in the pro-Nazi organisation 

Of course Israel's greatest support comes from the United States, $3 to $5 
billion a year, more than what the U.S. gives to any other country and 
exceeding the total of U.S. grants to the whole of Africa south of the 
Sahara. Every shell fired into a Palestinian village, every tank used to 
bulldoze a home, every helicopter gunship is paid for by U.S. dollars.

Is one permitted to say above the level of a whisper that U.S. policy 
toward Israel has something to do with Jewish influence in the U.S.? 
Perhaps Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa can 
get away with it: "The Israel government," he observed, "is placed on a 
pedestal [in the U.S.] People are scared in this country to say wrong is 
wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful-very powerful" (Guardian 29 
April 2002).

Not only does Zionism shape U.S. policy, it stifles discussion of 
alternatives. To cite a personal example: Two years ago a PBS reporter 
interviewed me on the eve of the UN-sponsored conference on racism about to 
be held in S. Africa. I made some remarks about Israel, and afterwards I 
asked her if she would use what I said. "Of course not," she replied. "I 
agree with you, and so do all the journalists I know, but we can't run any 
criticism of Israel without following it by at least ten refutations." 
Harvard Professor Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer of the Middle East Forum 
have begun a website, Campus Watch," to denounce academics deemed to have 
shown "hatred of Israel." Students are to inform on professors.

The greatest ideological weapon in the Zionist arsenal is the charge of 
anti-semitism. Students and faculty members at Harvard begin a campaign to 
make the university sell off its stock in companies that sell weapons to 
Israel (modeled on past campaigns seeking divestment from South Africa), 
and the president of Harvard denounces the organizers of the campaign as 
"antisemitic in effect, if not in intent." A faculty committee at the 
Massachusetts College of Art invites eminent poet Amiri Baraka to deliver a 
lecture, and members of the Critical Studies faculty circulate a petition 
calling upon the college president to denounce Baraka as an antisemite, 
citing as its main evidence a poem he wrote about the historic oppression 
of black people in which he refers to reported actions by the Israeli 
government prior to the World Trade center attack. As the Israeli 
commentator Ran HaCohen points out:

When Palestinians attack soldiers of Israel's occupation army in their own 
village, it's anti-semitism. When the UN general assembly votes 133 to 4 to 
condemn Israel's decision to murder the elected Palestinian leader, it 
means that every country on the planet except the U.S., Micronesia, and the 
Marshall Islands is antisemitic.

This is ironic, he says, given present reality:

With one revealing exception (Israel, where non-orthodox religious Jews are 
discriminated against), Jews enjoy full religious freedom wherever they 
are. They have full citizenship wherever they live, with full political, 
civic and human rights like every other citizen..

Nowadays, an Orthodox Jew can run for the most powerful office on earth, 
the president of the United States. A Jew can be mayor of Amsterdam in 
"anti-semitic" Holland, a minister in "anti-semitic" Britain, a leading 
intellectual in "anti-semitic" France, a president of "anti-semitic" 
Switzerland, editor-in-chief of a major daily in "anti-semitic" Denmark, or 
an industrial tycoon in "anti-semitic" Russia. [A]nti-semitic Germany gives 
Israel three military submarines, anti-semitic France has proliferated to 
Israel the nuclear technology for its weapons of mass destruction, and 
anti-semitic Europe welcomes Israel as the single non-European country to 
everything from football and basketball leagues to the Eurovision Song 
contest, and has granted Israeli universities a special status for 
scientific fund-raising.

"The use of alleged anti-semitism is morally despicable," says HaCohen.

. People abusing this taboo in order to support Israel's racist and 
genocidal policy towards the Palestinians do nothing less than desecrate 
the memory of those Jewish victims, whose death is meaningful only inasmuch 
as it serves as an eternal warning to the human kind against all kinds of 
discrimination, racism, and genocide ("Abusing 'anti-semitism'", Sept. 29, 
2003; some of Ran HaCohen's writings can be found at www.antiwar.com).

If I accomplish nothing else in this talk, I hope to create space for some 
who are repelled by Israeli actions but are held back from condemning 
Zionism by a desire not to be antisemitic.

Does what I have just said mean that I dismiss the possibility of a revival 
of anti-semitism? No, it does not. History shows that anti-semitism ebbs 
and flows, and that it may return. Time prevents me from exploring that 
history in any depth; let me instead recommend two books: The Jewish 
Question by Abram Leon and The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt 
(in particular the first part, "anti-semitism"). For now I will say only 
that anti-semitism (or more accurately anti-Jewish sentiment) is rooted 
neither in human nature or Christian theology; it is the product of social 
relations, including the historic concentration of Jews as representatives 
of commerce in non-commercial societies. The peculiar occupational 
distribution of European Jews led members of the dispossessed classes among 
the non-Jewish population to direct their animosity toward the Jews as the 
visible agents of oppression. "anti-semitism," as the 19th-century German 
Socialist August Bebel put it, "is the socialism of fools." It is not 
beyond historical explanation (as is implied by a term like "The 
Holocaust," which takes anti-semitism out of history and relocates it the 
realm of natural phenomena).

But of course the Jews by themselves could not determine U.S. Middle East 
policy, any more than the Florida Cubans by themselves could determine U.S. 
Caribbean policy. By no means does all the organized support for Israel 
inside of U.S. politics comes from Jews. Aside from imperialist 
interests-and it is not clear whether Israel is an asset or a liability in 
this regard-Israel has gained support from a surprising quarter. >From the 
Guardian, Feb. 28, 2002:

At first sight, the scene is very familiar: one that happens in Washington 
DC and other major American cities all the time. On the platform, an 
Israeli student is telling thousands of supporters how the horrors of the 
year have only reinforced his people's determination. "Despite the terror 
attacks, they'll never drive us away out of our God-given land," he says.

This is greeted with whoops and hollers and the waving of Israeli flags and 
the blowing of the shofar, the Jewish ceremonial ram's horn. Then comes the 
mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, who is received even more rapturously. 
"God is with us. You are with us." And there are more whoops and hollers 
and flag-waves and shofar-blows.

But something very strange is going on here. There are thousands of people 
cheering for Israel in the huge Washington Convention Centre. But not one 
of them appears to be Jewish, at least not in the conventional sense. For 
this is the annual gathering of a very non-Jewish Organization indeed: the 
Christian Coalition of America.

[T]here is little doubt that, last spring, when President Bush dithered and 
dallied over his Middle East policy before finally coming down on Israel's 
side, he was influenced not by the overrated Jewish vote, but by the 
opinion of Christian "religious conservatives"-the self-description of 
between 15 and 18% of the electorate. When the president demanded that 
Israel withdraw its tanks from the West Bank in April, the White House 
allegedly received 100,000 angry emails from Christian conservatives.

What's changed? Not the Book of Genesis

What has really changed is the emergence of the doctrine known as 
"dispensationalism", popularized in the novels of the Rev. Tim LaHaye and 
Jerry Jenkins.

Central to the theory is the Rapture, the second coming of Christ, which 
will presage the end of the world. A happy ending depends on the conversion 
of the Jews. And that, to cut a long story very short, can only happen if 
the Jews are in possession of all the lands given to them by God. In other 
words, these Christians are supporting the Jews in order to abolish them.

Oh yes, agreed Madon Pollard, a charming lady from Dallas who was selling 
hand-painted Jerusalem crystal in the exhibition hall at the conference. 
"God is the sovereign. He'll do what he pleases. But based on the 
scripture, those are the guidelines." She calls herself a fervent supporter 
of Israel

This conference began with a videotaped benediction straight from the Oval 
office. Some of the most influential Republicans in Congress addressed the 
gathering including-not once, but twice-Tom DeLay [majority leader of the 
House of Representatives, arguably the most powerful man on Capitol Hill].

"Are you tired of all this, are you?" he yelled to the audience.

"Nooooooo!" they roared back. "Not when you're standing up for Jews and 
Jesus, that's for sure," he replied.

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, [was] reportedly greeted "like a 
rock star" by Christian evangelicals in Jerusalem last month.

DeLay was followed by Pat Robertson, the coalition's founder, sometime 
presidential candidate and the very personification of the successful 
American TV evangelist. Robertson cites the stories of Joshua and David to 
prove Israel's ownership of Jerusalem "long before anyone had heard of 

These are the people my grandfather warned me about-the people who want to 
ban Darwin from the schools, who want to send to camps people who have sex 
with members of their own sex-and antisemeets (as he used to say), 
Jew-haters to the backbone of their souls.

Osama Bin-Laden was telling no more than the truth when he said that the 
Muslim world is facing an alliance of Zionists and Crusaders.

Before I get around to proposing solutions, I want to address the present 
state of the Israeli peace movement. As everyone knows, there are forces 
inside of Israel who oppose the government now in office. Some of these 
people, particularly the soldiers who refuse service in what they call the 
occupied territories or who refuse to carry out atrocities such as bombing 
civilians, and those who encourage them, are people of exemplary courage. 
Yet all of them, with one notable exception (to which I shall return), are 
handicapped and in the long run rendered ineffective by their acceptance of 
the fundamental premise of Zionism, the legitimacy of the Jewish state. 
"Land for peace" implies the permanent partition of Palestine. It was under 
the leadership of the Labour Party, with which much of the opposition is 
affiliated, that the initial dispossession and exclusion of the Palestinian 
people from their homeland took place and the expansion into the West Bank, 
the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights was carried out.

History has shown, in Ireland, India, and everyplace else it has been 
tried, that partition of a territory along lines of descentæwhether called 
"racial" or "religious"æis a guarantee of permanent war. It is 
understandable that some Palestinians, having been subjected to torture for 
over two generations, have reluctantly agreed to accept as a substitute for 
justice a Palestinian State built on less than a fourth of their original 
land. But they are making a mistake. Such a State, if it is ever 
established, will be a Bantustan, a reservation where the only attributes 
of a free nation will be a flag and a national anthem. I am no more a 
Palestinian Zionist than I am a Jewish Zionist.

What solution, therefore, do I propose? A simple and moderate one: within 
historic Palestine, the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan 
River, live ten million people. I propose that there be established there a 
single state, in which every person who declares his intention to live 
there and adopt citizenship be recognized as a citizen and have one vote. I 
propose further that the special advantages given to Jews be terminated, 
that the Palestinians who were forced into exile after 1948, and their 
descendants, be granted the right to live there, and that the state 
undertake practical measures to make it possible for them to do so by 
building housing and extending to them to right to rent or buy, if 
necessary providing funds to help them. I propose further that both Hebrew 
and Arabic be declared official state languages to be taught in the 
schools, that all residents be granted the right to publish newspapers and 
maintain cultural institutions in any language they choose, that the 
special position of Orthodox Judaism be ended and that the state declare 
freedom of worship and make no law respecting an establishment of religion 
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

It is a simple and, I repeat, a moderate program. It does not entail 
driving anybody into the sea, and it recognizes the elementary right of 
people to live where they choose.

Some might object that such a thing is impossible, that after all the blood 
that has been shed and the bitterness that has accumulated, it will not be 
possible for Jews and Arabs to live peacefully together. To that argument I 
have three responses: the first is the experience of South Africa, a place 
whose history of bitterness is no less than Palestine's; there the 
establishment of majority rule did not cause the gods to weep or the earth 
to open and swallow the people. My second response comes from Sherlock 
Holmes: after you have eliminated all the impossible solutions, Watson, the 
one remaining, no matter how improbable, must be the right one. My third 
response is to cite recent indications that the idea of the single 
democratic secular state-once the official goal of the PLO and then 
abandoned under U.S. pressure-is once again emerging as a pole of 
discussion. Its reemergence is in part a response to Israel's gobbling up 
so much territory that nothing is left for a Palestinian state. The new 
reality is acknowledged by no less than columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who 
quotes a prominent Israeli Arab:

If Palestinians lose their dream to have an independent state, then the 
only thing that might guarantee for them a dignified life will be asking to 
live in one state with the Israelis. When this struggle starts, it will 
find allies among the one million Palestinian Arabs inside Israel We will 
say, 'Don't evacuate even a single West Bank settlement. Just give us the 
vote and let us be part of one community.'

Friedman reports a poll showing that 25 to 30 percent of Palestinians now 
support the idea of one state-"a stunning figure, considering it's never 
been proposed by any Palestinian or Israeli party." He calls it "the law of 
unintended consequences." (New York Times, Sept. 14, 2003)

The one exception to my earlier generalization about the Israeli opposition 
is a fraction of Orthodox Jews in Israel, who reject the State of Israel on 
religious grounds; according to them, the exile from the holy land was 
divinely ordained, and therefore the Jews are to live among the nations in 
every corner of the earth and not attempt to establish a State before the 
coming of the Messiah. Allow me to read from a statement by one of them, 
Rabbi Mordechi Weberman:

It is precisely because we are Jews that we march with the Palestinians and 
raise their flag! It is precisely because we are Jews that we demand that 
the Palestinian peoples be returned to their homes and properties! Yes, in 
our Torah we are commanded to be fair.
We are called upon to pursue justice. And, what could be more unjust then 
the century-old attempt of the Zionist movement to invade another people's 
land, to drive them out and steal their property?

We have no doubt that would Jewish refugees have come to Palestine not with 
the intention of dominating, not with the intention of making a Jewish 
state, not with the intention of dispossessing, not with the intention of 
depriving the Palestinians of their basic rights, that they would have been 
welcomed by the Palestinians, with the same hospitality that Islamic 
peoples have shown Jews throughout history. And we would have lived 
together as Jews and Muslims lived before in Palestine in peace and harmony.

To our Islamic and Palestinian friends around the world, please hear our 
messageThere are Jews around the world who support your cause. And when we 
support your cause we do not mean some partition scheme proposed in 1947 by 
a UN that had no right to offer it.

When we say support your cause we do not mean the cut off and cut up pieces 
of the West Bank offered by Barak at Camp David together with justice for 
less than 10% of the refugees.

We do not mean anything other than returning the entire land, including 
Jerusalem, to Palestinian sovereignty!

At that point justice demands that the Palestinian people should decide if 
and how many Jews should remain in the Land.

We have attended hundreds of pro-Palestinian rallies over the years and 
everywhere we go the leaders and audience greet us with the warmth of 
Middle Eastern hospitality. What a lie it is to say that Palestinians in 
particular or Muslims in general hate Jews. You hate injustice. Not Jews.

Fear not my friends. Evil cannot long triumph. The Zionist nightmare is at 
its end. It is exhausted. Its latest brutalities are the death rattle of 
the terminally ill.

We will yet both live to see the day when Jew and Palestinian will embrace 
in peace under the Palestinian flag in Jerusalem. And ultimately when 
mankind's Redeemer will come the sufferings of the present will long be 
forgotten in the blessings of the future.

I am not a believer, but I find Rabbi Weberman's words moving.

One last point: I spoke earlier about the possibility of a resurgence of 
anti-semitism in the United States. In 1991 George H.W. Bush, the father of 
the man who sits in the White House and the only member of his family ever 
to have been elected president, demanded that the Israelis stop building 
new settlements in Palestinian territory. Unlike previous presidents, Bush 
sounded serious, threatening to block billions in loan guarantees if Israel 
disobeyed. As might have been predicted, the dominant voices among American 
Jews were outraged, and Bush responded by complaining at a press conference 
that "Jews work insidiously behind the scenes." On another occasion he 
reminded critics that the U.S. gives "Israel the equivalent of $1,000 for 
every Israeli citizen," a remark that detractors took as antisemitic. Later 
on Bush's Secretary of State James Baker made his famous "fuck the Jews" 
remark in private conversation, noting that Jews "didn't vote for us 
anyway." And it was true: when he lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, Bush got 
smallest percentage of the Jewish vote of any Republican since 1964.

The present occupant of the White House seems for the time being to have 
recouped much of his party's loss of favor among Jews, in part due to his 
appointment of so many to positions of power and influence in his 
administration. But I will go out on a limb and make a prediction 
(something I rarely do because I hate to be wrong): one-sided support for 
Israel, while it may win votes among American Jews and some fundamentalist 
Christians, is not necessarily wise from the standpoint of U.S. oil 
interests, and may even cost votes among that increasing number of 
Americans who can pick up the newspaper almost any day and see another 
story about Israeli tanks surrounding the residence of the Palestinian 
president, or massacring children, or assassinating a crippled half-blind 
cleric. I predict that if Dubya manages to extend his control of the White 
House in 2004, he will present the bill to whoever is in power in Israel, 
and that bill will include withdrawal from some of the territories occupied 
after 1967. If the Israelis respond negatively to this demand, which there 
is every reason to believe they will, and are supported by American Jews, 
which there is every reason to believe they will be, the younger Bush, 
already born-again, will be reborn yet one more time and will start making 
remarks about special minorities with divided loyalties and so forth. In 
other words, he will stoke up anti-semitism, carefully of course, as befits 
the leader of the free world. And he will find a tremendous response, more 
than anyone anticipates, from many ordinary people who are tired of picking 
up the tab for the number one outlaw state in the Middle East, the state 
that has defied scores of United Nations resolutions, been condemned by the 
UN more than any other member or non-member, the only state in the Middle 
East that possesses actual weapons of mass destruction.

Cynthia McKinney, Afro-American Congresswoman from Atlanta, was the most 
outspoken critic in Congress of U.S. Middle East policy, including 
unconditional support for Israel. As a result, Jewish groups around the 
country targeted her and, by channeling money to her opponent, succeeded in 
defeating her bid for reelection in 2002. Were they within their legal 
rights to do so? Of course they were; there is no law barring people in one 
district from contributing to a campaign in another. But do they think 
their intervention went unnoticed by black voters in Atlanta and around the 

If American Jews insist on identifying themselves with Israel, equating 
anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, should they be surprised if others make 
the same mistake?

Noel Ignatiev is author of 
the Irish Became White, cofounder and coeditor of Race Traitor: Journal of 
the New Abolitionism, and a teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art. 
This essay is based on a talk he delivered this past March at the 
Massachusetts College of Art.

The Freedom Archives
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