The Perils Of A Binational State

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi has an op-ed in today’s Arab News on the merits of making Israel a binational state. Here’s my response, which I forwarded to both the editors and the author.

I support the idea of a secular, binational state ideally, but concerns to retain the Jewishness of Israel are not without merit.

The goal of Zionism was to create a state in which Jews could rule themselves and not be at the mercy of a gentile majority, whereas they had, for whatever reason, until the creation of Israel, been persecuted by the gentile majority in nearly every nation in which they’ve lived. Thus, primarily, the creation of a Jewish state serves to provide a safehaven for Jews escaping persecution, and further, to provide an environment in which they could fulfill their aspirations for self-determination.

If a binational state were to be formed, that safehaven would no longer exist. Numbers indicate that the Palestinians would outnumber the Jews within just a few years. Considering the entrenchment of antisemitic thought within the Palestinian liberation movement–thanks to religious fundamentalists and corrupt political leaders who woefully use age-old Jew-hatred as a rallying point for their people (that, apart from creating a generation of Palestinian shihadis, has given way to recent outbreaks of antisemitic violence across Europe, which the EU reports has been largely carried out on the part of young Muslim males)–it is understandable that Jews would find it hard to trust that, in a binational democratic state, the Palestinian majority would not use their political influence to “punish” the Jews for the last 60 years of conflict.

Until more Palestinian moderates come forth, and more Arab lay-people speak out against racism and hatred (particularly antisemitism directed at both Jews and Arabs), as well as take a stand against the use of terror (such as the recent shooting of a Jewish woman and her four daughters, and then the subsequent firing-upon of their funeral, which would seem to reap no political benefit whatsoever), democracy or not, Jews, frankly, have no reason to trust that they will be safe and free in a binational state.

And, well, history is on their side in this case.

17 thoughts on “The Perils Of A Binational State

  1. Well said. When a ‘cold peace’ seems so far away, what hope is there for a ‘warm’ one – necessary for any binational solution. Linda Grant said it very well in a recent Guardian story ( http://tinylink.com/?GRJxUOe5rR ):
    To Gershon Baskin, co-director of the Israel-Palestine centre for research and information, the one-state solution is not utopia, but a recipe for genocide, “a plan that will, in my view,” he writes, “lead to decades of cross-communal conflict and bloodshed that will turn Israel and Palestine into Sarajevo. (In Israel/Palestine we have had some 3,200 deaths in three years, in Sarajevo the conflict cost some 250,000 casualties before people came to their senses.)” Already, there is “a new generation of Palestinian and Israeli young people living in fear and breeding hatred. The collective memories and stories of this new generation are being filled with anger and deep desire to see the other side suffer.”

  2. You know, I pretty much agree with you, Mobius, except that the two-state solution (and let’s assume here that all the settlements were ripped up or that one of the obvious land trades was made) would be so integrated economically and politically that they would barely constitute two states at all. Still though, it might take twenty years of that before they could merge into a single state. Then, after THAT, we have the anarchist revolution 😉

  3. “…antisemitism directed at both Jews and Arabs…”
    I’m not quibbling with anything else in this post, but could we please stop pretending ‘anti-Semitism’ was not a word coined specifically to refer to Jew-hatred and has very little, if anything, to do with other Semitic-speaking peoples.

  4. Its cute to see, how when discussing israel, suddenly muslims and arabs become such huge fans of democracy. Their goals are so transparent its disgusting. They will even support, the much hated, democracy, in order to ensure there is no more jewish state.

  5. Gotta agree with Brad Pilcher. We need to confront the fallacy that Wilhelm Marr had any thoughts about Arabs when he founded the Antisemitic League, and added that word to the political vocabulary.
    Otherwise, the lyrics are strong and you can dance to the tune. I give it a 9.

  6. Daniel, you finally wrote something that made sense. G-d bless you. oy am I shlepping naches. Beautiful. G-d has answered my prayers. HAhah all u leftists I’m gonna get him back yet.

  7. welp, it didn’t get printed in arab news as far as i know, however, batarfi did include my letter in a mass-mailing he did of his column.

  8. one good example of the question of Jews living as minority, once again, in the ME, is how today’s Kurdish [among others] are treated.
    Another point I almost never see mentioned, is the right, just like the Palestinians, for the Jewish Mizrahim and other Jews totally indigenous to the ME who have been displaced by force from a dozen Islamic nations just as Palestinians were displaced. This is why I cannot understand anyone sympathetic to Palestinians who would deny an Israeli nation, and anyone sympathetic to Israelis who would deny a Palestinian nation. The argument – the foundation – of both ideas rest on the same hinges.
    [Of course, having a right to something and attaining it without negotiations, without peace, is not an option]

  9. Youre right, mobi. I forgot that many arabs dont put on the whole diplomatic show, and just call for israels destruction, outright. My brush was indeed too wide.

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