Tuesday, 11 November 2008

One Voice: whose voice?

The politics of co-optation, it seems, is getting evermore 'grassroots', and here's a fine example of the seductive form.

One Voice is a project which apparently promotes peaceful joint Israeli-Palestinian efforts towards a "two state solution". When stripped bare, however, we find a more stealthy agenda serving to disguise Israeli power through appeals to 'moderation' and challenges to 'extremism'.

Despite it's elite allies and the failure of a supposedly critical media to highlight its crimes, Israel is increasingly on the international back-foot. Ever-astute in the PR field, One Voice offers a more accommodating medium and tone through which Israel's fundamental interests can be softened and presented.

Much of One Voice's language is framed in ways which underline the need for Israeli 'security'.

In its site literature, one can find no proper recognition of elementary language and labels, such as:
* The Occupation, or Occupied Territories - as formally defined by UN and other international statutes.

* Israeli extremism and terrorism - only Palestine is denoted in these terms.

* Israel's apartheid policies - as defined by Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and (former) UN Rapporteur John Dugard.

* Israel's multiple violations of international law.

* The illegality of the Separation Wall - as ruled by the International Court of Justice (2004).

* The viability and justice of a "one state solution".
Donors, friends and Lubetzky's CV

One Voice is backed by an array of corporate donors, like IBM, with strong business connections to Israel, while its board supporters include Likud, Shas and National Religious Party members.

One Voice also lists would-be supporters without consulting them, while others have relinquished their connection on learning of One Voice's true agenda.

One Voice is closely supported by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organisation responsible for vast expropriations of Palestinian villages, and the synthetic alterations to Palestinian locales in order to disguise Israel's historical violations and ethnic cleansing.

One Voice seeks to break the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Following plans for a One Voice joint event in Tel Aviv and Jericho, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) made this explicit statement:
"According to the widely accepted boycott criteria advocated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the event falls under the category of normalization projects and violates the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, trade unions, political parties, and grassroots movements, for the following reasons:

1. Participants are required to join the One Voice Movement and sign a mandate -- ostensibly based on a "two-state solution," but without any commitment to international parameters -- which assumes equal responsibility of "both sides" for the "conflict," and suspiciously fails to call for Israel's full compliance with its obligations under international law through ending its illegal military occupation, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights (particularly the right of return), and its system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens.

2. The event is sponsored by Israeli institutions (mostly from the private sector) and endorsed by mainstream Israeli political figures from parties including the Likud, Labour and Shas. These Israeli "partners" are unquestionably complicit in maintaining Israel 's occupation and other forms of oppression.

We believe this event is being organized to promote a "peace" agreement that is devoid of the minimal requirements of justice, and that will leave the Palestinian people as disenfranchised as previous agreements have. The unfortunate and harmful support of Palestinian businessmen, religious and political figures, among others, for this event indicates either ignorance of the hidden agenda inherent in the whole initiative, deceptively camouflaged as a collective call for peace, or willingness to forfeit the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in return for advancing selfish interests.

We call on the Palestinian public and international supporters of a just peace in Palestine not to take part in this public relations charade that conceals a misleading political program that falls significantly short of international law tenets and the Palestinian national program."
The event was subsequently cancelled following the withdrawal of most Palestinian musicians, organisers and others who quickly came to see that One Voice does not truly speak in the Palestinian interest.

One Voice's founder, Daniel Lubetzky, is a businessman with strong corporate and establishment ties.

On his website, Lubetzky claims that he "wants to amplify the voice of moderates", dismissing Hamas as extremists. The fact of Hamas's democratic election holds no apparent relevance for Lubetzky. His calls for 'moderation' and 'dialogue' are coupled with standard attacks on other international 'deviants', such as the "authoritarian regime of Hugo Chavez". Another recent entry castigates casual criticism of Rahm Emanuel, while omitting any mention of Emanuel's own hardliner Israeli leanings.

Another key connection here is Lubetzky's own past posts at multilateral capitalist agencies like the World Economic Forum and World Bank. As one useful analysis of the latter shows:
"The Bank's approach to development in Palestine hinges on the full acceptance of the status quo - including continued occupation and the presence of the settlements and the wall - as well as joint projects that require PNA-Israeli cooperation, often with a third international partner. Politically, these development projects threaten to legitimise Israeli claims in regards to the wall, Jerusalem, land annexation and settlements that have resulted in the fragmentation and ghettoisation of the West Bank and Gaza."
Little wonder Lubetzky's organisation is being bankrolled by big business, with its eyes on Palestinian investment opportunities.

One Voice's recent meeting with Tony Blair helps ilustrate this new 'peace'-cum-business collaboration in the making, all in tune with the Palestinian Authority's attempt to please Western interests. Little surprise, then, that Blair is backing One Voice as he takes time from his various financial board jobs to pitch big business interests around the West Bank.

The reasons behind Western political and corporate endorsement of One Voice should be obvious to any savvy observer. Lubetzky's organisation is a front for what those interests see as the 'future' of Palestine - one in which Israel remains the dominant political, economic and military force, even under any two state solution.

One Voice in Glasgow

Among others, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign SPSC have given cautionary notice to those, notably students, being seduced by One Voice's seemingly inspiring message.

I sat in on one such gathering at Glasgow University. Held in the University chapel, lending a 'let's come-together', ecumenical feel, it wasn't hard to see how One Voice's Israeli and Palestinian peace-declaring speakers and slide-show appeals was intended to attract much of its genteel, liberal-minded audience.

The sizeable (100, or so) meeting was opened by University Rector and advocate for One Voice, Charles Kennedy, who talked for a few minutes (much of it in jocular reminiscence of his student days here) about "difference and diversity" and how One Voice are serving to bring hope to this difficult situation. Kennedy's bland-speak and failure to discuss the actual issues was matched by a glowing tribute to Tony Blair and his current 'peace efforts' in the Middle East. The 'admirable efforts' of the Quartet were also noted before Kennedy handed-over to the panel - and promptly departed.

Kennedy's grand posturing, testament to a war criminal and apologetics for a body which has helped secure the siege of Gaza made me recall one of the more useful lessons I myself learned here as a student: how the process and trappings of 'high education' so often serve to mystify and neutralise rather than illuminate and inspire knowledge and truth.

And, as the One Voice invited guests proceeded to speak, that kernel of truth seemed never more evident. Posing as 'civic engagement', rather than political activism, it merely served to circumvent the core issues. We heard not one specific word about the main UN resolutions or Israel's multiple violations of international law. No one highlighted or invited exchange on the still-key issues: the border question, Palestinian right of return, the status of Jerusalem and the illegal settlements.

The introductory speaker, of Palestinian origin, opened with some background on the despair felt post-Oslo and in the wake of the two intifadas. But, though seemingly considered, it was couched in language which cast no specific blame on Israel's Occupation. Later in the meeting, he made a convoluted 'move-on' statement about land for Palestinians holding "different values" today from what may have seemed the case in 1948. Again, it was a moment begging for reference to UN resolution 194, advocating, from 1948 onwards, the standing right of Palestinians to return to their land.

He might also have noted the JNF's land-grab dealings in all of this ethnic cleansing - perhaps, even, Charles Kennedy's own patronage of that lofty body. Alas, the One Voice message doesn't include that kind of awkward detail.

Up next, the Israeli speaker's personal journey announced another desire for peaceful co-existence. Yet, it was an account, from Jewish immigrant to serving soldier and One Voice member, which failed to comprehend why she might be granted special 'right of return', while the state and military which she served continue to deny Palestinians their basic rights. Like many other peace-extolling Israelis, her peace-commitment was informed, as she related, after witnessing Palestinian rocket attacks. No doubt it was this primary fear over Israeli 'security', rather than Palestinian oppression, which prompted her facile claim that the Separation Wall - a "symptom" of the "conflict", according to her fellow-speaker - amounted to "only five percent" of Israel's security infrastructure.

In more moving terms, the Palestinian guest speaker recounted the suffering she, her family and community have endured in the West Bank. Her personal desire for an end to the hopeless impasse was, likewise, sincerely expressed. We heard here of her worthy desire to help unlock the wealth of Palestinian talent, and of her culminating belief in the two state solution. Yet, her apparent epiphany to the One Voice 'ideal' seemed little more than a hopeful submission to its false 'two sides' narrative.

It's here that we see the cynical promotion of One Voice's loaded appeal to 'Palestinian moderation', the implications of which seem lost on some Palestinians in their efforts to transcend the hopelessness and violence.

In particular, One Voice are pushing a 'both-to-blame' lingua franca which urges us to consider this 'vital' question: 'how do we defeat the extremists?' Precisely who the terrorists are was never specified at this meeting. The site literature is equally coy. But we're left in little doubt: it's the Palestinians. In contrast, there's only hollow silence from One Voice on Israel's massive state-terrorist arsenal, and the extremist brutality it has inflicted.

In another curious void, the two-state solution received not a moment of serious scrutiny or analysis as to what it might actually look like in practice. Rather, as in the literature, it was held aloft as a catch-all leitmotif, a kind of holy grail. No further thoughts. No examination. All we're told is that it's the preferred option of most Palestinians and Israelis.

Thus, the more awkward problems went conveniently unanswered: what form of two-state solution might this involve?; does Hamas get to have a say in any settlement?; will two states require the decisive removal of all the settlements - including those plush hill-top locales in East Jerusalem? More critically, with reference to the demographic time-bomb of Israel's 20 percent Arab population, what are One Voice's primary objections to a one-state solution?

Precisely none of this was up for serious discussion. Yet, it's here, in this sensitive omission, that the real Zionist fear of Israel losing its ethnocratic - rather than democratic -state composition can be discerned. As the Israeli activist Jeff Halper (whose ideas One Voice devotees might more usefully consult) notes in his excellent An Israeli in Palestine, even for many Israeli peace groups:
"the two state solution is an absolute and unassailable one; they cannot even contemplate another one, and in particular anything smacking of a bi-national state. This is because they are Zionists, and for them a Jewish ethnocracy - or a 'Jewish democracy' as they prefer to say - is sacrosanct." (p 78.)
This is also why One Voice is campaigning relentlessly against any notion of a one-state solution.

My own contributions to this assembly - noting the regrettable ways in which One Voice, Lubetzky and his corporate-backed project are neutralising the issues and misleading people away from fuller understanding and action - was met with a kind of respectful rebuke from all three speakers - the Israeli taking particular exception to my use of the term "apartheid" to describe the country she "loves". And from the introductory speaker came the convenient clarification that One Voice are 'not a political body', they're just 'working for peace.' Rather predictably, the microphone was denied as I tried to ask what One Voice really meant when talking about a two-state solution.

Throughout this meeting, nothing from the table gave the slightest encouragement for people to go and consult the actual 'one or two state solution' debate. Nor was there even a token nod to the standard non-reporting of the Occupation which has allowed Israel's military brutality to continue for so long. My own point noting the case for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and international action on the scale mounted against South Africa, was, of course, totally ignored by the panel. Instead, we were urged to embrace and donate to a group which talks in vague and passive niceties about pushing our respective politicians to do more.

The meeting ended with an audience invitation to the One Voice drinks reception (which I naturally avoided) and appeals to buy the One Voice-Paul McCartney pin badges on sale.

Afterwards, some of the audience spoke with me, registering their appreciations on being alerted about One Voice. One young student articulated it well in saying that this group is about instilling "quietism", thus serving to dull the actual issues of Israeli power. He also noted that this kind of soft-elitist institution is particularly conducive to harbouring such groups. Which pleasingly reaffirmed my faith in critical investigation.

Those attracted to One Voice's contrived message, please take note.

John

*********

Some comments/exchanges on this article can be read here.
(Note added, 14 November 2008.)

*********

Some basic information, reports and articles


Key UN resolutions on Palestine-Israel

2007 UN resolution reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

Opinion of the International Court of Justice (June 2004)

Route of Separation Barrier

Information on settlements

Settlement expansion violating peace process

East Jerusalem background

Discriminatory planning, building and land policies

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): West Bank Closures (September 2008)

OCHA: Map of West Bank Access and Closures (April 2008)

Checkpoints, obstructions and forbidden roads

Gaza Strip background

UN Envoy Desmond Tutu: Gaza: siege is an “abomination”

Tutu on Israeli “war crime” in Gaza

Report of UN Rapporteur, John Dugard

John Dugard: Israel's Occupation is like “apartheid”

Dugard on "apartheid"

UN Economic and Social Council: economic and social repercussions of the Occupation

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Protection of Civilians, data tables

Fourth Geneva Convention

12 comments:

Sharon Elizabeth Alsoodani said...

The OneVoice common message from the homepage of their website:

OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution. The movement works to forge consensus for conflict resolution and build a human infrastructure capable of mobilizing the people toward a negotiated, comprehensive and permanent agreement between Israel and Palestine that ends the occupation, ensures security and peace for both sides, and solves all final-status issues in accordance with international law and previous bilateral agreements. The 1967 borders form the basis for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state, with permanent borders and any modifications to be agreed upon by both parties. The movement recognizes that violence by either side will never be a means to end the conflict.

John Hilley said...

A seemingly noble mission statement which would understandably attract many concerned to see a just solution.

In truth, One Voice is a front organisation serving to perpetuate an apartheid Israeli state and proposing a Palestinian one still in subservient thrall to a dominant Israel.

Crucially, One Voice has no standing or support from within the Palestinian civil community, nor that of active resistance groups pushing the Palestinian-backed case for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS).

Take, for example, this scathing assessment of One Voice from PACBI:

"It is clear from an examination of the underlying logic and political analysis employed by OneVoice, and its Palestinian branch, that it is neither the logic of pressure on Israel nor a concern about justice for the Palestinian people that fuels their work. While paying lip service to “ending the occupation,” the overriding imperative is to serve Israel’s basic interest in remaining an apartheid state while promoting a form of a Palestinian state in order to secure that end. The philosophy of one of the leading Israeli youth activists, as showcased on the OneVoice website, “is that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state equals a more secure Israel, requiring less money toward its defense and security, and more toward civic and social development.” [3] Simply put, it is the interests of the occupier that drive the mission."

See more here:

http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1436

John

Sharon Elizabeth Alsoodani said...

Hi John, thanks for replying. OneVoice gets equal amounts of criticism from the left and the right as it is taking on the brave and difficult task of genuinely trying to facilitate an agreement that will satisfy the core interests of both sides, and in so doing, end this conflict for good.

In Israel, the youth leaders are trying to stand firm in an environment where they get criticised for being soft ‘lefties’ and for being na├»ve in their belief that there is a partner for peace in Palestine. In Palestine, the youth leaders are criticised for ‘normalisation’, despite the fact that the main bulk of OneVoice’s activities happen in parallel in the two societies and both sides are doing all they can to finally get a state of Palestine established and recognised based on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The OV blog http://blog.onevoicemovement.org/one_voice/ gives detailed coverage of their activities from month to month, and it might be better to judge them based on their actions rather than on what other people from either ‘side’ say about them. OV supported Abbas’ UN bid last September and were one of the only voices in Israel calling for Israel to be the first state to recognise Palestine. They have started up the first ever two-state lobby in the Knesset which is now second in size only to the settler lobby, and OneVoice Israel has succeeded in stopping legalisation of some settlement outposts in the Knesset, as well as carrying out public and media campaigns to educate Israelis about the detriment of settlement expansion and call their government to account.
OneVoice Palestine has done tree-planting exercises to stop land being claimed by the Israeli government and is promoting non-violent resistance to the occupation in a variety of ways. Far from having no standing or support in Palestinian civil society, as of today, 297,832 Palestinians have added their voice on OneVoice’s electronic petition, along with 334,085 Israelis www.onevoicemovement.org, and more young people have passed through OV’s youth leadership training programme in Palestine than Israel, with the result that there are more active Palestinian volunteers within the OneVoice Movement than there are Israelis.

I can see your point of view, but I think it may be based more on an understandable lack of belief in a two-state solution because of the failure of the Oslo process rather than on any particular action or messaging of OneVoice itself. I agree that the two-state option is almost dead. The situation has been too asymmetrical in terms of the involvement of world powers, and I think the USA has been a weak mediator considering the views of its electorate on this issue, which hampers even a genuine desire of any US president to facilitate an agreement.

However, I know from close involvement with OneVoice and can tell you ‘from the horse’s mouth’, that it is nothing other than a genuine attempt to empower the civil society to demand the results that the politicians have thus far failed to deliver. But with attacks from both sides in such a polarised political environment (the cynicism in Israel and the justified anger in Palestine at the continued occupation), OneVoice’s ability to really mobilise the grassroots on both sides has been severely hampered. They could be a real force for change, but their brave stance is repeatedly shot down by those (as you pointed out) on both sides that perhaps would prefer a two-state solution to never come about. Backing a win-win outcome means letting go of the win-lose scenario, which for those in Israel AND in Palestine who envision themselves to eventually be on the winning side if the status quo is maintained, is just too hard to do. One thing is for sure, if an organisation like OneVoice - whose actions and campaigns have consistently been true to its stated goal – is being continually attacked in the political arena, this situation is going to go on for a long time yet and it’s very depressing.

Sharon Elizabeth Alsoodani said...

Oh, and I meant to comment on that quotation of a OneVoice Israel youth leader on the PACBI site that you mentioned. I have to admit, I was a bit stunned that a young Israeli mentioning how working to achieve peace will fulfil some of his own interests is being condemned. OV Palestine youth leaders can give equally strong reasons as to how an agreement (on the basis that OV is calling for) would benefit their interests, and indeed it is a powerful motivator for people to be involved for their own sake as much as for the sake of someone else - they are much more likely to stand firm when the going gets tough.

Please be assured that a part of OneVoice's training programme in Israel also involves a component on understanding the needs and interests of Palestinians, and that the two-state solution is proposed as being something that will truly fulfil the core interests of BOTH Palestinians and Israelis so that everyone can have a better future.

John Hilley said...

Hi Sharon

Thanks for your further comments. Some replies:

"OneVoice gets equal amounts of criticism from the left and the right as it is taking on the brave and difficult task "

With respect, that's such a tired and cliched claim - often invoked by the BBC to 'prove its 'neutrality'and 'objectivity'.

Does criticism of an organisation from different political persuasions somehow, automatically, render that organisation legitimate?

"In Palestine, the youth leaders are criticised for ‘normalisation’".

Precisely so, and for good reason. OV, Israeli and Palestinian, only serve to perpetuate the myth of a 'two-sided problem'. The responsibility of serious activists is not to mystify the issue, but to identify/oppose the principal aggressor and support those subject to that aggression. Anything else is political window dressing, giving a vital veneer of respectability to the primary aggressor. OV, in this regard, serves a crucial service in legitimising the Israel state and Israeli power.

"I can see your point of view, but I think it may be based more on an understandable lack of belief in a two-state solution."

One of the key things OV refuse to address is Israel's determined and SOLE wrecking of any two state deal, all in keeping with their relentless refusal to engage, seriously, in any peace process. This is the central context that OV, if it was a legitimate voice for peace and justice, would be highlighting.

Ultimately, OV is a Zionist-upholding body. And Zionism - resulting in the occupation, settlement expansionand the apartheid treatment of Palestinians/Arabs - is the core problem that has to be challenged, not just for the sake of oppressed Palestinians but also for the true democratisation of Israelis. If you want an accurate reading of Zionism as the central issue, read people like Illan Pappe and Jonathan Cook.

"I agree that the two-state option is almost dead."

Not "almost". It's completely dead, a reality understood by those who criticise OV for helping to maintain the Israeli-serving fiction that it's still achievable.

Cont. next comment...

John Hilley said...

Cont...

"OV supported Abbas’ UN bid last September..."

Again, predictably so. But even Abbas, a quisling placeman for Israel and the West, has now effectively abandoned any further pretence of this untenable position, declaring a lack of faith in his sponsors and playing for a rapprochement with Hamas, all for reasons of domestic political expediency/survival.

"and I think the USA has been a weak mediator"

The US is not a mediator, weak or strong. It's a fundamental part of the problem. It supports Israel right down the line, from the $3 billion it hands to Israel every year to its consistent veto actions at the UN. Your basic failure to see the nature of this relationship tells me much about both your blinkered understanding of the issues and your endorsement of OV.

"...and can tell you ‘from the horse’s mouth’, that [OV] is nothing other than a genuine attempt to empower the civil society to demand the results that the politicians have thus far failed to deliver."

People at the grassroots level may feel genuinely motivated, whether out of frustration or egalitarian purpose. But they need to take a much closer look at the deeper, more insidious purpose of OV and why it gets the sympathetic ear of Israeli and Western politicians.

It's a useful front for soaking-up real dissent and activism. Try to understand how both Israel's 'we want peace' hasbara and the West's spurious 'two-state mediation' is assisted by OV's own supportive message.

"One thing is for sure, if an organisation like OneVoice - whose actions and campaigns have consistently been true to its stated goal – is being continually attacked in the political arena, this situation is going to go on for a long time yet and it’s very depressing."

Depression is understandable. But, again, what's the point of helping to maintain the deception? OV are only serving to divert people from the true issues and challenges, thus prolonging the conflict and problem.

"...and that the two-state solution is proposed as being something that will truly fulfil the core interests of BOTH Palestinians and Israelis so that everyone can have a better future..."

Will it do anything for the over twenty percent Palestinians/Arabs living inside Israel under apartheid conditions? Will it free Israelis from living under an effective theocracy - a Jewish state - rather than a truly democratic state of all citizens?

Kind regards
John

Sharon Elizabeth Alsoodani said...

Hi John,

I can see we are not going to convince each other! I'm liberal and left-wing in my views, but I'm afraid even I'm not able to see things through such an utterly black and white prism. Norman Finklestein sums up very well where I stand, what I think is really going on here, and why I will not attack OneVoice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASIBGSSw4lI

When taken at face value rather than through this prism, every statement you have referred to made by me or a member of OV makes its goal clear, and its actions and activities confirm its goal. I will call for Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the blockade of Gaza, pull the majority of settlers out and let the rest take Palestinian citizenship, get a resolution of the refugee crisis according to International Law, and ensure minority rights are respected in both Israel and Palestine. I will call for international pressure and sanctions until it does so and I will call for violence to be renounced by both sides in order to get back to the table and get this deal signed. I've seen it happen for my family in Northern Ireland when everyone said it was impossible, and I believe that it can happen for Israel and Palestine too if we all keep our actions and our goals clear and united.

Thanks for the discussion and best wishes. Sharon

John Hilley said...

Hi Sharon

Thanks for your additional comments.

I don't think I'm viewing the issues through a black and white prism. On the contrary, it's to see the wider dynamics of the conflict, including the vital role of America and the West in persistently failing to pressure Israel into a solution.

You cite Finkelstein, a figure I have great respect for, but think mistaken in some key regards - and, sadly, prone to some divisive commentary.

In the video he talks of the impractibility of reaching a public with any one state argument. That's a legitimate position to take - and I believe our position, as non-Palestinians, is to help end the occupation and let them decide, ultimately, what kind of state they should live under.

What he doesn't talk about, though, is the same kind of realism in expecting Israel ever to concede a true two state deal based on any serious relinquishing of the settlements or returning East Jerusalem.

I say this as someone who, while in the West Bank last time, got a tour up around Ma'ale Adumim. And, seeing its strategic importance and privileged infrastructure confirmed for me the near certainty that Israel has NO intention of ever giving any of this up.

So, the argument then moves onto one state by default; not just because of its ideological appeal (for some), but, more prosaically, because of the reality that two states won't happen - Israel will never allow it.

All of which, again, returns us to the core problem of expansionist Zionism. As Jonathan Cook, in an acutely-analysed piece, concludes:

"In truth, both a one-state and a genuine two-state arrangement are impossible given Israel’s determination to remain a Jewish state. The obstacle to a solution, then, is not about dividing the land but about Zionism itself, the ideology of ethnic supremacism that is the current orthodoxy in Israel. As long as Israel is a Zionist state, its leaders will allow neither one state nor two real states.

The solution, therefore, reduces to the question of how to defeat Zionism. It just so happens that the best way this can be achieved is by confronting the illusions of the two-state dreamers and explaining why Israel is in permanent bad faith about seeking peace."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/12/one-state-or-two-neither-the-issue-is-zionism/

Thanks again for your engagement here.

Best wishes
John

John Hilley said...

Some useful assessment of how "Finkelstein flinched":
http://www.australiansforpalestine.net/58722

John

Sharon Elizabeth Alsoodani said...

Thanks John, I'm staying with Finkelstein on this for now - I would love to see American students from the Palestine Solidarity groups organise a lobby in Washington for the establishment and recongnition of the Palestinian state by Israel and the USA. A lot of liberal Jewish students would get on board with it too which would make it even more effective and I think they would quickly gain a lot of public support.

I can see the points you're making, but I think Finkelstein is being more pragmatic and fair in what he is calling for. I know the two state solution cannot right the wrongs of the past, but trying to do so would break more than it would fix, in my opinion, and the two state option has a lot more chance of creating a stable framework for a peaceful future. I really do believe that Israel will have to succumb to international pressure on this more than on anything else (such as one state) if we all unite.

Best wishes, Sharon

John Hilley said...

Thanks Sharon

Fair enough, let's agree to disagree.

I hope, at least, that anyone reading this exchange might get some useful understanding of the key issues.

Best wishes
John

Sharon Elizabeth Alsoodani said...

Yes, indeed they will. Thanks for your time in responding to the comments.

All the best,

Sharon