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The sine qua non of real existing Zionism is that the Jewish people have a right to a properly sovereign state, that is, one with borders, military power, and a primary purpose of being the expression in state form of the concept of Jewishness, howsoever its Jewish inhabitants may construe it. That right is instead construed from a particularly bad history upon whose tragedy most reasonable people agree. That bad history and the manner in which it can be taken to make the creation and maintenance of a Jewish state a moral imperative is the reason why many supporters of Israel deeply resent the comparison of Israel to South Africa under apartheid, in that there is no comparison in historic suffering between the descendants of white settlers in Africa and the Jewish people, no well-aged, widespread extant ideology loose in the world demanding the violent extermination of whites as such, etc.

I have largely supported the two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine dispute—-even if many supporters of Palestine may view it as a moral capitulation on the rights of Palestinians in the face of their dispossession through the colonial machinations that eventually afforded Jewish refugees a state and Zionism its physical-world conjugate. A negotiated solution must take into account how each party sees its raison d’ĂȘtre, even if the bulk of the hypothetical losses from a solution may fall upon the very much weaker party that are the Palestinians. Even the most well-intentioned of Israel’s supporters see Israel’s raison d’ĂȘtre in the terms I put above: the non-negotiable point is that there ultimately be a state with a Jewish majority that is a normal sovereign state with military and economic power identified, first and foremost, as Jewish.

The only viable way to accomplish this is via a two-state solution. And as many pro-Palestinian critics of the two-state solution point out, it is precisely the prospect of a two-state solution that has allowed Israel in particular to keep the Palestinians in an ambiguous condition, despite effective total Israeli state control over anything that matters. Without the prospect of a two-state solution, the Palestinians become in effect third-class Israeli citizens, subject to discriminatory control in a state that will governs them indefinitely but has no intention of giving them a vote or access to its benefits. The accusations of apartheid become even harder to deflect.

Naturally, I wrote this post in relation to the official Presidential recognition by the USA of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It was motivated by domestic considerations. I don’t think it changes much in material terms. In practice, most Israeli governmental activity was already happening in Jerusalem.

However, I find it hard to understand how it is that very many pro-Israeli commentators think that the decision is good for Israel. The constantly receding horizon of an actual two-state solution required that the USA, despite its enormously pro-Israeli politics, visibly partake in the appearance of ambiguity on most issues that touched on final status. With the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the USA loses this appearance on a key final status issue, likely driving a final nail in the two-state solution’s quantum coffin.

The result ultimately brings the day closer that Israel will have to choose the outcome that only it will now have the primary power to influence. This is of course exactly that Israel’s supporters celebrate. Except, there does not appear to be any outcome in which the Palestinian populations do not formally enter Israeli custody. This is not a process that in the long term can maintain the goal of a Jewish-majority state for the Jewish people. The feeling I get from reading the openly anti-Palestinian part of the pro-Israeli press is that they think that the day is coming where the Palestinians will “capitulate” to Israel’s existence in some sense. What that capitulation is supposed to lead to is not stated and apparently not thought through.

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on December 8, 2017 8:39 PM.

My (increasingly) reluctant defence of Lindsay Shepherd was the previous entry in this blog.

Still Attractive, But Drifting Apart... is the next entry in this blog.

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