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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Modest Beginnings of Sanity in Mainstream American Discourse on Israel and the Palestinians?

[M.J. Rosenberg, TPM Café]
[T]oday the "J Street Project" is being rolled out. It's purpose is to raise political money for candidates who manifest their support for Israel not by assiduously, devotedly, and energetically defending the status quo but by supporting the two-state solution. This is good news. There are several good groups in the business of educating, advocating and lobbying for the two-state solution. But, until now, none has directly got involved in raising campaign funds to promote peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians. (By law, these organizations cannot do that.) But that i[s] what J Street will be doing…. It is up against perhaps the most powerful foreign policy lobby in the country, one that freely exercises that power to keep Congress and the executive branch in line…. Most Americans and most Jewish Americans support the two state solution and are tired of having a Likud-oriented lobby speaking in their name. Let's see what happens but I think this could be big.

I actually do not support all the things that will sometimes get subsumed under the label "two state solution," but clearly this is an effort to broaden the substantial mainstream organizational resistance to the terms of the US-backed ongoing disastrous occupation of Palestinian territories, the disproportionate violences, the illegal settlements, the hideous Wall, and the weirdly one-sided official discourse on Israel in the United States (while in Israel itself the discourse is much richer and positions more in line with the ones you hear here more or less only on Democracy Now! with which I strongly sympathize myself, for example, are given a much more respectful hearing). I agree that this opening could be a very good thing -- though I also have no doubt at all that the response to it will be an ugly mess and even so its actual public positions will be far from what I would hope for. Those who herald this development with headlines like "Doves Launch Alternative to AIPAC" are probably in for a keen disappointment, but I agree with Rosenberg that this should be the modest beginning of something that could get big in a good way. I haven't found an official website for the organization, although there is a lot of excitement online about the project, lots of articles you can find with basic information.

4 comments:

De Thezier said...

However utopian it might be, I've always been a supporter of the "one-state solution" (rather than "two -state solution") proposed on May 8th, 2003, by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the son of Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. Its main points are:

* Creation of a binational Jewish-Arab state called the "Federal Republic of the Holy Land."
* The state would be composed of 5 administrative regions, with Jerusalem as a city-state.
* The return of all Palestinian refugees to vote on the proposal.

Dale Carrico said...

Such a proposal definitely has its appeal, even if, as you say, it seems a bit utopian -- although almost any remotely just resolution seems too depressingly utopian these days.

seth said...

I don't think the "one-state solution" is utopian (unless we're talking about what's feasible in the near future, which we're clearly not doing). Rather, I think a one-state solution is the only resolution that can hope to ensure equality for Palestinians and Arabs living on both sides of the Green Line. I think a more utopian vision would be one that imagines Jerusalem becoming a (future) contemporary Andalucia. Utopian or not, I still like it when that thought crosses my mind.

In practical terms, though, I don't think a rational conversation about one-state can happen until there's a strong consensus in support of and real movement toward a two-state model. Inadequate as it's sure to be in the long run the two-state "solution" seems to me to be something of a necessary stepping-stone, a movement in the direction of but certainly not in and of itself a sustainable arrangement.

That doesn't mean I'm plugging for two-states. I just share the enthusiasm at seeing any broadening of the discourse in the US on Palestine/Israel.

Dale Carrico said...

Seth said: In practical terms, though, I don't think a rational conversation about one-state can happen until there's a strong consensus in support of and real movement toward a two-state model. Inadequate as it's sure to be in the long run the two-state "solution" seems to me to be something of a necessary stepping-stone, a movement in the direction of but certainly not in and of itself a sustainable arrangement.

Yep, that's exactly how it looks to me, too.