13 January 2011

Two hot potatoes or only one: one state solution for Middle East

Bob from Brockley, one of my faves on the left, lately expressed his growing attraction to one state solution. He starts with the following premise:

Many of my friends on the anti-anti-Zionist left think that the one state solution is essentially equivalent to the genocidal destruction of the Jewish nation.
I would say that the destruction of Jewish (Israeli?) nation doesn't have to be genocidal in case of one state solution. Democratic election processes coupled with totalitarian/Islamist attitude to minorities, especially the infidel ones (see Gaza elections and the aftermath), will do the work of attrition and soft ethnic cleansing (even if a bloodless exodus to a new Diaspora) as well as an all-out genocide. Bob continues:
They argue that the Arabs (who have demography on their side, and formidable military allies in the form of the Saudis, Iran and so on) have proven themselves unable to share space with Jews. I reject this fatalistic view, and having recently been in Northern Ireland am more confident than ever that we can forge our own futures if we unshackle our imaginations.
I have to modify the argument Bob presents here: both Jews and Arabs have consistently proved their inability to share space, unpalatable as this statement may be to some people on both sides of the divide.
I reject this fatalistic view, and having recently been in Northern Ireland am more confident than ever that we can forge our own futures if we unshackle our imaginations.
No argument with the statement, but: 400 years have passed from the beginning of settlement activity in NI (1600 + something) to the uneasy peace that was finally reached and is still violated from time to time. Taken into account a single overwhelming military power that has done its considerable best - first to create the strife in NI and then to suppress it, I suspect that the prospects of a single state solution for Israeli/Palestinian problem are somewhat remote.
It feels to me that the idea of the one state solution is steadily gaining ground, not just among the hardcore advocates of a “free Palestine”, but among younger Jews in both Israel and the diaspora.
Two remarks to this quote:
  • Since when popularity of an idea became a proof of its correctness? Or of its feasibility?
  • As for the idea gaining ground: if anything, general population of Israel is mainly disillusioned by the multiple failures of the peace negotiations and is steadily moving to the right.
In regard of the whole thorny issue, I feel that I will go wrong if I don't mention a more recent post by Bob, where he reflects on the issue again. I am ready to sign under his statement: "I believe that nationalism is one of the greatest evils in the world." That is, if we stick to one single definition of "nationalism", namely "The doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other". I am also ready to accept his nod to Orwell's chiseling away at the confusing and overlapping dictionary definitions of "nationalism" and "patriotism", and for the sake of the argument I am ready to forget Ambrose Bierce's "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."

However, while organisation of sovereignty on the basis of nations is indeed a relatively new trend in history, it is also a rising trend. So far splitting of larger states into smaller (sometimes absurdly small to be functional) nation-states is the prevailing trend that doesn't seem to stop - even in Europe, which Europeans consider to be the beacon of enlightenment. And I don't see why (and how) Israel and Palestine should become a first experiment in elimination of nation-states in this troubled world and this specific troubled corner of it.

And, fully sharing this dream of the world without nation-states, I would like to remind Bob that the famous song also as casually gets rid of religions and a few other things on the way...

Hat tip: Noga.