[tweetmeme] The Mearsheimer lecture at the Palestine Center in Washington DC has clearly ruffled some feathers. I have already spoken about the response from Ibish (spoiler: he disagreed). Basically, for those who are too lazy to click over to read Mearsheimer, the University of Chicago professor argued that the two-state solution is dead and that Israel will swallow Palestine into a one-state apartheid. Eventually, so the argument goes, Israel will lose its Jewish character. Obviously, such a strong statement was debated elsewhere and, fortunately, the Palestine Center compiled a list of sources that discussed the lecture (We made it on the list. No big deal.)
Of particular interest to me were the responses by Andrew Sullivan of Atlantic and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss. The two have interesting opinions and, well, they too disagree. Mearsheimer certainly gave a lot to think about.
Sullivan found the Mearsheimer lecture to be ‘depressingly convincing’ and seems to agree with most of it (although he does state that he believes Mearsheimer’s goal for the lecture had very little to do with Palestine or Palestinians). Sullivan goes further to agree that there’s “no real way to stop the emergence of a de facto apartheid state.” However, where Mearsheimer assumes that Palestinians will use non-violent means to end the future apartheid and to bring an end to what he predicts will be the rule by the Jewish minority, Sullivan is more pessimistic about the use of non-violence. He goes on (more here) to say that “Israel’s intransigence (and America’s long enabling of it) is a more pressing reason behind the impending long-term collapse of the Zionist experiment than Palestinian rejectionism.”
So, in short, Sullivan puts more weight on Palestinian rejection of a two-state solution and less on the ability of Palestinians to fight apartheid through non-violent means. Alex Kane at Mondoweiss says, “come on!”
Kane argues that the increasing number of non-violent protests are proof that Palestinians are fully capable of embracing non-violent approach. He goes on to point out that the Palestinians rejectionists are hardly rejectionists at all. Most in Palestine, even Hamas, has agreed to recognize an Israel within 1967 borders.
I agree with Kane that the non-violent movement has already begun, in Palestine and internationally (with BDS), yet it is easy to see violence breaking out again (see: third Intifada) if Israel turned into the all-out, open apartheid state that Mearsheimer is predicting. Kane also seems to miss Sullivan’s point on Palestinian rejectionism. While most in Palestine accept the two-state solution, there are extremists who do not – it only takes one rocket for Israel to pull out of talks. Furthermore, Sullivan openly says that Israeli intransigence, not Palestinian rejectionism, is the cause behind the erosion of the two-state path.
Perhaps this round is not as exciting as the blows between Ibish and Mearshiemer, but disagreements are healthy. I would also encourage everyone to read the take over at The Blaster, where Spinney talks about the importance of water in the West Bank (Israel uses 80% of the water in aqua-ducts in the West Bank, a figure representing 30% of all Israeli water. This is certainly going to become a major issue.)