Posted: 21 Aug 2008 09:41 AM CDT
My favorite Israeli Cassandra, Meron Benveniste, wrote a sobering op-ed in today that sums up, more or less, how I feel. The is dead; the one-state solution is not going anywhere; the status quo will continue unabated, with periods of violence alternating with periods of relative calm. The world, except for some leftists and Muslims, won’t care. There will be some further erosion of Israel’s “moral stature” but not enough for any real change. No boycotts, no sanctions, nothing with teeth. And 3 ½ million Palestinians within Palestine, not to mention the multitudes outside in refugee camps and with stateless status, will continue to have a quality of life far lower than their Israeli counterparts.
And what Benveniste says, in effect, is that no matter what happens, there will be a fundamental economic inequality that ensures that the Israelis will have the upper hand. How long can the status quo continue? Indefinitely.
This explosive status quo survives due to the combination of several factors: fragmentation of the Palestinian community and incitement of the remaining fragments against each other; enlistment of the Jewish community into support for the occupation regime, which is perceived as protecting its very existence; funding of the status quo by the donor nations, which cause corruption among the Palestinian leadership; persuasion of the neighboring states to give priority to bilateral and global interests over Arab ethnic solidarity; success of the propaganda campaign known as negotiations with the Palestinians, which convinces many that the status quo is temporary and thus they can continue to amuse themselves with theoretical alternatives to the final-status arrangement; the silencing of all criticism as an expression of hatred and anti-Semitism; and psychological repugnance toward the conclusion that the status quo is durable and will not be easily changed.
Of course, Beneveniste, as is his wont, holds out a slim chance for change:
Its not nice to admit, and it is a sad forecast, but without accepting this conclusion and learning our lesson from it, change will not be possible.I think he feels that change is possible, if one eliminates some of the above factors.
My view is as follows: there is no solution, there is no possibility of justice or peace, there is no way to make a seismic shift. In situations like this, the task of any decent man and woman is to do what they can to alleviate the suffering – to support the activists and the NGOs, to publicize the human rights violations, to talk to our family and friends and let them know what is going on. This will not end the occupation, since the occupation cannot end. But fifty or hundred years from now, our children will be able to say to their children, “Your grandparents were not silent. They tried and failed, but at least they tried.”
One thing that we can talk against immediately: the so-called peace process. One of the strongest reasons for the ongoing occupation is “the success of the propaganda campaign known as negotiations with the Palestinians, which convinces many that the status quo is temporary and thus they can continue to amuse themselves with theoretical alternatives to the final-status arrangement”. More Israelis, and more supporters, must be taught the lesson – there is no possible agreed upon solution, not now, not in fifty years, not in a century. Israelis and supporters must understand that their war is a permanent one, and that the injustices they commit in the name of their security are permanent. Then, and only then, can one ask the question whether the price of a Jewish state is too high. The Jews survived for two thousand years without a state. And while being a minority is not a picnic, they can be proud of what they achieved. Can’t they get together and start thinking about alternatives to what a few Russian Jews came up with in 1948? “The Jewish head doesn’t stop inventing things,” Uri Zohar used to sing. Well, can’t we start thinking outside the 1948 political Zionist box?
Here’s the article from Haaretz.
What bears repeating? “The Jews survived for two thousand years without a state. And while being a minority is not a picnic, they can be proud of what they achieved. Can’t they get together and start thinking about alternatives to what a few Russian Jews came up with in 1948?” Why? Because my young adult, American-Jewish sons and their friends need a viable alternative if they are to be able to build independent and robust relationships to Judaism.