- Transatlantic Jewish coalition set to break the siege of Gaza
- ‘Global citizens must respond where governments have failed’
- After killing Ziad al-Jilani, Israel now seeks to question his American widow (where is Congress?)
- One possible framework for a single state in Israel/Palestine
Posted: 15 Jun 2010
Within days after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, European activists announced a Jewish Boat to sail in July from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean, attempting to break the siege imposed by Israel in 2006. The boat is sponsored by a coalition of international Jewish organizations dedicated to peace with justice in Israel/Palestine, including the ”Jüdische Stimme” (‘Jewish Voice’ for a Just Peace in the Near East), along with European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near East (EJJP) and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK). American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP) will serve as the U.S. Coordinator, creating a transatlantic partnership. The small boat’s cargo will include school books, medicines and medical equipment.
Why a Jewish boat? Lots of reasons. The universal values contained in the ethical tradition of Judaism don’t include ‘Do unto others as was done unto us.’ For Jews to publicly confront the Israeli government’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and siege on a world stage highlights the political nature of the conflict and discredits those who insist on framing it strictly in ethnic and/or religious terms. I like best the answer from Glyn Secker, the Jewish Boat’s captain, a British Jew, and longtime activist with Jews for Justice for Palestinians in the UK: “As Jews we should stand as a beacon for human rights, not as an internationally known perpetrator of atrocities.”
These may be reasons enough for us to pour our hearts and souls, as well as the contents of our pockets, into supporting this effort. And imagine telling our grandchildren that in response to Israel’s stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinian people in Gaza, and in solidarity with the international movement, we sent a boat of Jewish activists to break the blockade. For additional information and to make a contribution, go to: www.ajjp.org/jewishboat.
Posted: 15 Jun 2010
Stéphane Hessel, a diplomat, former ambassador, Holocaust survivor and participant in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in support of BDS in the Huffington Post:
Posted: 15 Jun 2010
Marian Houk reports that the Israelis searched the al-Jilani house in recent days, following the killing at a checkpoint Friday night of Ziad al-Jilani, a 40-year-old Palestinian father of three. And regarding his widow, an American, Moira al-Jilani (who is shown above right with her late husband and their youngest daughter, Yameen):
Another friend tells us that Moira’s laptop has been confiscated.
Posted: 15 Jun 2010
The Occupation has so far dragged on for 43 years, but I don’t think it can possibly last another 43 years, or even another decade. The world (like Mondoweiss) is increasingly focused on the injustice of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Living in Israel, it feels like the country is entering a crisis/breakdown phase and will soon have to reconstruct itself.
Readers of Mondoweiss are familiar with the seminal books and articles advocating a one-state solution written by Tony Judt, Ali Abunimah, Virginia Tilley and others. The idea of a one-state solution is inspiring to those of us who would prefer to live in a country founded on universal concepts of human freedom and dignity rather than one held captive by religious doctrine and tribal loyalty. Even though a one-state solution faces discouraging obstacles, it is important to begin to imagine what a single state could look like.
First, the obstacles:
The vast majority of Israelis don’t want a bi-national state, nor do most Palestinians. Indeed, it seems like all the high-profile one-state advocates (except Meron Benvenisti) reside overseas, mostly in ivory towers. Assuming that one couldn’t or shouldn’t force a one-state solution down Israeli and Palestinian throats, how does one convince them to adopt it willingly? And how does one even begin to campaign for such a solution without being cut off at the knees by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities?
Second, it’s doubtful whether two peoples with so much horrendous conflict and resulting bad blood between them could join together and function as citizens of the same country. Might it not be a recipe for endless revenge and civil war? Perhaps the Israelis and Palestinians need fifty or a hundred years to cool off before we can talk about living in the same country.
Third, Uri Avnery may be correct in his claim that the vast socio-economic gaps between Israelis and Palestinians would make co-existence in one state impossible.
Fourth, even under better circumstances, multi-ethnic states face exceptional challenges. The history of Quebec separatism is instructive, and even Belgium, which was supposed to serve as an example of bi-cultural brotherhood, suffers from collapsing governments, secession threats, and officially-sanctioned efforts to prevent French-speakers from buying houses in the Flemish-speaking suburbs of Brussels.
Belgium has peace, freedom, prosperity, democracy, and perhaps the best beer and chocolate in the world, but none of that is enough to keep Flemings and Walloons from squabbling eternally over trifles. The problem is that human beings like to fight, so if we haven’t got anything big to fight about, we’ll fight about little things. Therefore, political solutions ought to moderate our aggressive impulses and channel them in more positive directions. Regarding which, the Belgian experience highlights the difficulty of linguistic divisions, which may be even more challenging than religious or ethnic divides, for the simple reason that people can’t possibly cooperate if they can’t talk to each other.
Fifth, in Israel, the scope of democracy, equality and human rights is tragically limited by religious fanaticism and ethnic tribalism, and that’s even more true of the Arab states. While Jews and Arabs are individually quite capable of assimilating successfully into multi-cultural liberal democracies, it may be that on the group level, we’re simply too tribal in our thinking to create one of our own.
In short, although a secular democratic state is in theory greatly preferable to an ethnocracy, I’m not convinced that a one-state solution is possible or even desirable here, given the circumstances. Perhaps the sensible solution is two states, more or less along the ’67 lines, and any settlers who want to remain in Palestine are welcome to do so, for as long as they can.
Right now, my bottom line is ambivalence. Insofar as I think that a one state solution would strengthen democracy, outlaw discrimination and enshrine religious (and secular) freedom, I’m for it; but insofar as I think that it would ultimately foster dictatorship and civil war, I’m against it. That’s why I’d like to encourage wider discussion of how, concretely, a one-state solution might be implemented.
If the idea of a one-state solution is to be more than an idealistic fantasy (or alternatively a threat designed to scare Israel into ending the Occupation), the details deserve serious consideration. Here, at any rate, is one Israeli’s first attempt at conceptualizing the transformation of Israel and the Occupied Territories into a single, unified state. Comments are welcome.
A Plan for a New State in Israel-Palestine
Article One – The State
The State shall supersede the present State of Israel and build on its existing legal and governmental structures, with the modifications outlined below.