Daniel McGowan: One State; Two State; and Reality

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One State; Two State; and Reality

 By Daniel McGowan, Professor Emeritus, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Executive Director, Deir Yassin Remembered

The overwhelming desire within Israel, and more importantly within the United States, to divide Palestine into two states reflects a 130-year old dream to create a Jewish state in the Holy Land.  Aside from the attractiveness or repulsiveness of such a dream, such a division flies in the face of reality or what might be called “facts on the ground.”

 Within the current borders controlled by Israel (including pre-1967 Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights) there is in fact a single state.  It has one electrical grid, one water system, one currency, one major highway system, one postal service, and one external border.  Goods and people entering this de facto state come through harbors, airports, and a restricted number of crossings.  Bills of lading and passports are checked and stamped by officials of this single state.

 To avoid arguing about what is Israel and what is Palestine, call this de facto state Israel/Palestine.  It has one powerful military that protects its external border and controls its airspace with the most sophisticated aircraft, tanks, drones, submarines, and surveillance hardware that money can buy.  There are some militias like the Druze Border Guards, the Hamas fighters in Gaza, the Fatah policemen in Ramallah, and Jewish settlers in Kiryat Arba and throughout the West Bank, but there is really only one army, navy, and air force.  It is big; it is powerful; and it is backed by nuclear weapons and the world’s only super power, the United States of America.

 Although over half the population of this de facto Israel/Palestine state is not Jewish, Jewish power has enacted laws since the creation of Israel in 1948 to favor Jews and create a so-called Jewish state.  This is the essence of political Zionism.  It is a philosophy and a movement based on racism, chosenness, and Jewish supremacism.

 The fact is that after 130 years, several hundred billion dollars in foreign aid, thousands of deaths, and persistent ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population, the de facto state of Israel/Palestine is not a Jewish state any more than South Africa was a white state prior to its end of apartheid.  Israel/Palestine is a state controlled by Jews; it is a state where Jews have superior rights (not the least being the right of return); but with over half the population being non-Jewish, it is ludicrous to call it a Jewish state.

Zionists from both the right and the left recognize this, but refuse to acknowledge it because of their obsession with, and allegiance to, the dream of a pure, or almost pure, Jewish state.  So the extreme right, like Foreign Minister Lieberman, wants to transfer the Arabs and other non-Jews (including children of migrant workers) out of Israel/Palestine.  Others like Dershowitz, Pipes, and Hagee simply want to wall off the non-Jewish areas and call these reservations or Bantustans a potential Palestinian state.   Even the most humanitarian Zionists, like Uri Avnery, who would tear down the mammoth apartheid wall (or security barrier), or even Noam Chomsky cannot bring themselves to endorse the right of equal citizenship for all those living in Israel/Palestine.

One state already exists in Israel/Palestine.  Those who deny it do so blinded by their love for a Jewish state, a racist endeavor that should long ago have been discarded along with Aryan supremacy, Catholic supremacy, Tutsi supremacy, and whatever other supremacy forms the basis for discrimination and disregard for basic human rights.

 August 12, 2010

Daniel McGowan

Professor Emeritus, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Executive Director, Deir Yassin Remembered

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