Andrew Sullivan: Two State Solution is a Zionist Dream

Is Andrew Sullivan hurting Palestinians by denouncing Netanyahu?

Andrew Sullivan is one of America’s most prominent bloggers, followed by thousands of net-users everyday.  That such an influential person has turned a corner on the Israel-Palestine conflict is no small feat.  Sullivan has recently moved, among other things, for the US to recognize Palestine along 1967 lines (here also) and for the US to end aid to the prosperous Israeli state.  Sullivan has also criticized Israel’s proposed loyalty oath and the recent Rabbinical letter, highlighted very undemocratic decisions in Israel (or by Israelis in Palestine) concerning women and renting to Arabs as well as undermining Jeffrey Goldberg’s unabashedly pro-Israel garble (here, here and here).  Domestically, Sullivan has also begun to see major flaws in the Obama approach and in Netanyahu’s overall leadership (here also). Clearly Sullivan has moved to a less biased, more informed position supporting the rights of Palestinians as well as those of the Israelis.

[tweetmeme] Yet despite his increasing moral awareness of the situation in Palestine, Sullivan’s latest insights into the conflict show the moral selectivity of liberal Zionists (“What’s up Peter Beinart?”) and the inherent injustice in a two state solution.  While talking about the demographic threat to Israel’s Jewish majority, Sullivan logically notes that the incorporation of the Arabs of the West Bank, in addition to the unbalanced birth rates between Jews and Arabs, Israel would cease to be a country with a Jewish majority.  Sullivan’s conclusion from the demographic threat:

But when you add the West Bank and Gaza to the equation, the demographic problem re-emerges. Which is why, in my view, those of us who are urgently calling for a two-state solution are better Zionists in many ways than the AIPAC crowd. AIPAC’s current strategy all but guarantees Israel losing its status as a Jewish majority state.

Here Sullivan is spot on.  Sullivan – who, I’m sure, would label himself as a liberal Zionist – has wholeheartedly embraced the two-state solution as the logical end to this conflict.  While he certainly does not completely shut his eyes to the injustices of the occupation as well as the gross human rights violations and war crimes perpetrated by the IDF, he is arguing here that peace must be made for Israel’s sake, according to Israeli terms.  The creation of two states with mutual recognition is the fulfillment of the Zionist dream.  Neither Herzl nor Ben Gurion desired all of the West Bank to be incorporated into Israel, both being content with most of historic Israel.  In sum, Sullivan is arguing for the fulfillment to Ben Gurion’s wishes, yet nowhere does he mention the ethnic cleansing and war crimes that Ben Gurion planned and committed against the Palestinians.

Certainly, more than protecting the fragile and artificial (thanks to 1948 and 1967 ethnic cleansing purges) demographic balance in Israel, creating a peaceful Palestinian state along 1967 borders reinforces the Zionist cause by nullifying all claims to the right of return.  As I have said before, 1967 borders would cleanse Israel of all responsibility for 1948 and represent justification and validation of the Israeli narrative that completely ignores the violent and illegal ethnic cleansing operations that displaced over 750,000 Palestinians (nearly 7 million with refugee status today).

So yes, Andrew Sullivan is right.  Demanding a two-state solution is what good Zionists should be doing.  It would forever protect the manufactured demographic balance in Israel, but it would also further bury the Palestinians’ right to return to the homes, farms and lives that were taken and destroyed in 1948.

Photo from Jez Blog

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3 thoughts on “Andrew Sullivan: Two State Solution is a Zionist Dream

  1. Maybe you have to overlook some crimes (1948) in order to concretely improve the situation. I would much prefer a two state solution to no solution at all–and I have to think the overwhelming majority of Palestinians would as well. It provides a platform for integrating Israel into the Mideast–it is imaginable that after a generation, Palestinians and Israelis could dial down their emnity, and barriers which separate original Palestinians from smaller a state of Israel could begin to erode. But that would take a while–under improved conditions. A fair two state solution– not a bantustan– would at least get the process moving. The other I just don’t see happening, Israel overwhelmed either militarily like the crusaders, or disbanding itself like South Africa. The probability of that happening in the next, say, twenty-five years seems in the low single digits.

    1. Scott, I see what you are saying and I do agree that 2 states is better than an unending occupation. But, and perhaps call me some strange mix of optimist and pessimist here, but I cannot believe that such a set up can last forever. Because 1) the world’s conscience will wake up at some point and 2) Israel is going to colonize the 2 state possibility out of existence (personally I think it has already happened.) As far as the tipping point for a one state, it will certainly not be done militarily. But I really think that eventually, unless there is a major shift in the official Israeli thinking, Israel will usher in the end of Zionism with its seemingly unquenchable settlement drive. At some point, the Palestinian leaders will realize that 2 states is not possible and begin to push for equal rights in one.

      Considering that there are already calls for disbanding the PA (and not just from me), such an inevitability could come sooner than you think.

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