Ian Lustick’s Hilarious New York Times Call for a One State Solution


Leftist radicals provide the most entertainment when they are shocking liberals. It’s great sport for them, but not much else. Ian Lustick’s extended call in the New York Times for a One State Solution for Israel is in that category.

Lustick’s long piece is actually good when he denounces the absurdity of the peace industry. But…

The “peace process” industry — with its legions of consultants, pundits, academics and journalists — needs a steady supply of readers, listeners and funders who are either desperately worried that this latest round of talks will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, or that it will not.

…Ina Lustick’s own foundations are equally irrational. Having conceded that a Two State Solution won’t work, like so many leftists he looks forward to some sort of implosion that will collapse Israel and user in a One State Solution.

If a Two State Solution won’t work, why will a One State Solution?

Lustick begins by admitting, “Strong Islamist trends make a fundamentalist Palestine more likely than a small state under a secular government” and yet he envisions an Islamist Muslim population somehow integrating with a non-Muslim majority.

“Secular Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank could ally with Tel Aviv’s post-Zionists, non-Jewish Russian-speaking immigrants, foreign workers and global-village Israeli entrepreneurs. Anti-nationalist ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists.”

It would probably sound better coming from Larry David in front of a microphone delivered in a sarcastic tone.

Tel Aviv leftists are already allied with West Bank leftists. But West Bank leftists are Arabs… and yes Muslims, first. And leftists second.

If Lustick still doesn’t understand that tribalism in the region is more powerful than anything else, he might want to look over Iraq a second time.

Islamists in alliance with anyone will end badly. It’s a zero sum game. And Russian speaking immigrants are not big fans of Islam. Even when they’re not Jewish.

Untethered to statist Zionism in a rapidly changing Middle East, Israelis whose families came from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of themselves not as “Eastern,” but as Arab.

Ian Lustick, based on his last name, is Ashkenazi, one presumes. That may be why he’s able to say something that stupid. There’s a reason that Sefardi Jews are right wing. It’s because they’re familiar with the Middle East in a way that idiot American Ashkenazi liberals aren’t.

And Zionism has been around, in all its forms, for thousands of years, while the Middle East changed dramatically. Its endpoint is always a state.

Ian Lustick claims to be a professor of political science which makes his muddled reasoning that much harder to justify. He compares, what he sees, as the inevitable fall of Israel to the British retreat from Ireland and France’s retreat from Algeria. But Israel is a country and a people. It’s not an empire or a colonial project across a sea. Lustick is too blinded by his left-wing shades to come up with a coherent analogy.

Lustick forecasts that, “With a status but no role, what remains of the Palestinian Authority will disappear. Israel will face the stark challenge of controlling economic and political activity and all land and water resources from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

“The stage will be set for ruthless oppression, mass mobilization, riots, brutality, terror, Jewish and Arab emigration and rising tides of international condemnation of Israel. And faced with growing outrage, America will no longer be able to offer unconditional support for Israel. Once the illusion of a neat and palatable solution to the conflict disappears, Israeli leaders may then begin to see, as South Africa’s white leaders saw in the late 1980s, that their behavior is producing isolation, emigration and hopelessness.”

But Lustick is just assuming that a return to the state of affairs in Israel in the 1980s would be untenable. In fact it was more untenable than at any time afterward.

Riots, brutality and terror have always been a part of life. Muslim violence has never gone away. The Palestinian Authority just gave it international backing.

A return to the 80s would be ideal in some ways.

But somehow having forecast a bloodbath, Lustick envisions it giving way to a One State Solution. That’s absurdity itself. If a two-state solution can’t work. Neither can a one-state solution.

Lustick implicitly concedes that Palestinian nationalism is phony, though he instead spends his essay predicting the death of Zionism. But both are vehicles for religious and ethnic identities. Palestinian nationalism is phony, but Islamism is all too real. Even Arab Christians have been squeezed out by it.

Multi-religious and multi-ethnic states in the region don’t work too well. The Arab Spring has proven that again and again. A one state solution didn’t work in Syria or in Lebanon. It certainly won’t work with Jews and Muslims.

  • Softly Bob

    You had me going for a bit there. When I saw the heading, I thought Liberals were trying to get rid of the stars and stripes and turn the entire U.S.A. into one big California.

    • defcon 4

      What’s a worse place than California?


    “There’s a reason that Sefardi Jews are right wing. It’s because they’re
    familiar with the Middle East in a way that idiot American Ashkenazi
    liberals aren’t.”

    AND There’s a reason that RUSSIAN Jews are right wing. It’s because they’re
    intimately familiar with communism/socialism in a way that idiot American Ashkenazi socialist “progressive”/liberals aren’t.

    Does the NYT building have a checkpoint, to screen people wanting to enter its offices? You bet.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Does the NYT building have a checkpoint, to screen people wanting to enter its offices? You bet.”

      Hypocrites suck.

  • Gee

    Leave it to an American to attempt to dictate Israeli policy. He is unwilling to bet his life on his ideas, but millions of Israelis – that’s okay.

    I propose that we return to international law and a two-state solution. Israel with 22.5% of the original Mandate territories and the Arabs in Jordan with the other 77.5%. Even though Israel has a population equal to that of Jordan plus their colonists it is enough for us

  • Athling

    Can the lion and leopard share the same pen? Mr. Lustick puts his lack of understanding on full display. A One State Solution cannot work. A Two State Solution could work but there are many problems here also.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      I can think of a workable one-state solution, but he wouldn’t like it. Neither would a single jihadi.

  • DeShawn

    Getting all the damn jews out of the Middle East will solve so many problems, it’s isn’t even funny. One jew-free state over there called Palestine and the US will be a lot better off. Then we gotta work on getting the jews out of the US government. Seperation of synagogue and state!

  • Reuven

    Lustick’s op-e was as vicious as it was absurd. Pieces liker his are why I have been boycotting The Tinmes for years. I only read it in libraries. What he wasa in calling for, in rweality wss the annhilstion of Israel…gernocide, and nothing less than that. Lustick is the persdonification of eviol, or perhsaps a blending of msalevolence and stupidity. In either case, he is a kapo of the lowest form.

    • Reuven

      Here’s what I had to say, with my many typos corrected: Lustick’s op-ed was as vicious as it was absurd. Pieces like his are why I have been boycotting The Times for years. I only read it in libraries. What he was calling for, in reality, was the annhilation of Israel…genocide, and nothing less than that. Lusticik is the personification of evil, or perhaps a blending of evil and stupidity. In either case, he is a kapo of the lowest form. Once again, I apologize for my many typos. That sometimes happens to me when I type while being furious.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    Sorry to post an off-topic comment but about 50% of my replies to a certain bird on crack are getting deleted without so much as a warning about it. I return to see that they are not posted.

    It only happens to him, and it happens on about 50% of the comments, not attempts. Even if I change my comment completely in order to test it, there are comments of his that I’m totally blocked from replying to.

    It may be an extraordinary and fascinating glitch but someone needs to look in to this.

    • kertitor

      You are not alone

  • Ken Kelso

    NY Times strikes again with their anti Israel professors writing op eds.
    Ian Lustick is another radical nut job who wants Israel eliminated.

    Does anyone forget this professor the Times had write an Op Ed this year.

    Any Israel hater the Times loves to quote.

    Sunday, March 10, 2013
    Another pseudo-scholarly attempt to delegitimize Israel in NYT

    The New York Times Opinionator column yesterdayis from Joseph Levine, professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

    He argues that Jews, as a people, have no right to a state.

    The core of his argument:

    So, when we consider whether or not a people has a right to a state of their own, are we speaking of a people in the ethnic sense or the civic one? I contend that insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense.

    After all, what is it for a people to have a state “of their own”? Here’s a rough characterization: the formal institutions and legal framework of the state serves to express, encourage and favor that people’s identity. The distinctive position of that people would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc. If the people being favored in this way are just the state’s citizens, it is not a problem.

    But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall. Of course Jews have a right to self-determination in this sense as well — this is what emancipation was all about. But so do non-Jewish peoples living in the same state.

    Any state that “belongs” to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group.

    I conclude, then, that the very idea of a Jewish state is undemocratic, a violation of the self-determination rights of its non-Jewish citizens, and therefore morally problematic. But the harm doesn’t stop with the inherently undemocratic character of the state. For if an ethnic national state is established in a territory that contains a significant number of non-members of that ethnic group, it will inevitably face resistance from the land’s other inhabitants.If we accept that Levine’s arguments are correct, every single state in the Western Hemisphere, as well as Australia and others, have no right to exist – because there is a minority (no matter how small, in Levine’s characterization) who are indigenous residents whose own self-determination is fatally wounded by the existence of these states.

    Apparently, Levine he feels that only Jews are violating the rights of other peoples.

    By Levine’s definition, Kurds and Armenians and Tibetans and anyone else who wants to exercise self-determination would also be acting illegitimately if there is even a small group of people not belonging to those groups on the lands they claim.

    In fact, if you follow his bizarre logic, while “of course Jews have a right to self-determination,” in no practical way can that right be exercised. What kind of a right is it when it is hamstrung by definition?

    Levine’s logical fallacy is that one’s right to self-determination is illegitimate if it happens to compete with anyone else’s similar right. This is something he simply made up. A people’s right to self-determination is independent of others’ rights. Unless there is a new continent that is discovered, by definition everyone’s rights to self-determination is going to interfere with others’.

    Given this reality, what can a people who aspire to self-determination do? They grant the maximum rights possible to the minority population, without giving up on their own rights. The minority population can make a decision to live with these rights – and fight to increase them within a society that hopefully is democratic and tolerant – or, if appropriate, they can choose to move to an area where they are the majority and can practice their own rights to self-determination freely, similarly granting maximal rights to their own minority groups.

    Levine is essentially engaging in a sophisticated form of anti-semitism, where by his definition only the Jewish people’s rights must be subsumed to the rights of others; the others are not limited by any means that he sees fit to mention.

    Also unmentioned by Levine is the small fact that every Arab country defines itself as either “Arab” or “Muslim” or both in their constitutions, thus being just as guilty as Israel of infringing on minority rights – and therefore being just as non-deserving of statehood.

    Levine lets the veil fall from his own pretense of objectivity when he states

    [I]f an ethnic national state is established in a territory that contains a significant number of non-members of that ethnic group, it will inevitably face resistance from the land’s other inhabitants. This will force the ethnic nation controlling the state to resort to further undemocratic means to maintain their hegemony. Three strategies to deal with resistance are common: expulsion, occupation and institutional marginalization. Interestingly, all three strategies have been employed by the Zionist movement: expulsion in 1948 (and, to a lesser extent, in 1967), occupation of the territories conquered in 1967 and institution of a complex web of laws that prevent Israel’s Palestinian citizens from mounting an internal challenge to the Jewish character of the state.This statement is so a-historic, and so wedded to the anti-Israel narrative, that Levine’s anti-Israel bias is revealed in all its ugliness.

    Only the most rabid anti-Zionist claims that Israel forcefully expelled Arabs in 1948 in order to maintain a Jewish majority – in fact, the vast majority of Arabs fled on their own.

    There were essentially no expulsions in 1967 to outside the territories.

    Moreover, Levine absurdly characterizes the attacks on Israel from Jordan and Syria in 1967 as “resistance,” which would be laughable if he weren’t a professor at a prestigious institution.

    Finally, Israeli efforts to maintain itself as a Jewish state – practicing that very same self-determination that Levine pretends that Jews have – is described negatively, a “complex set of laws” meant only to make Arabs into second-class citizens.

    As the Arabs so, Levine is looking at everything Israel does through an anti-Israel lens, not even considering the idea that Jews indeed do have national rights on their historic homeland. Even worse, he does not admit that Israel bends over backwards to give rights to its Arab minority beyond those given in states where they are the majority. No, to Levine, Jewish nationhood (and apparently only Jewish nationhood) is inherently racist.

    Sorry, but this is not a serious essay that advocates for equal rights. This is a hate-filled screed that is dressed up in academic garb. the NYT’s decision to run this shows that they are easily seduced by quasi-academic arguments that are simply disguises for anti-Israel hate.

    Another pseudo-scholarly attempt to delegitimize Israel in NYT
    The New York Times Opinionator column yesterday is from Joseph Levine, professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
    He argues that Jews, as a people, have no right to a state.

    • Ken Kelso

      Another article about this.

      Gogle this.

      Moronic or Sadistic? On Joseph Levine’s (and the NYT’s) Moral Cruelty


      A month ago, the NYT published a piece by another “as-a-Jew” singling out Israel for special (negative) treatment. It’s been addressed by at least four other commentators: Avi Bell at The Times of Israel, Elder of Ziyonat his blog, Jonathan Tobin at Commentary, and Vic Rosenthal at FresnoZionism. The outsider will consider this list a roundup of “right-wing” Israel-firsters, which is too bad because they’re responding to an Israel-laster, eager to curry favor with genuinely right-wing regressives, masquerading as a good progressive willing to be self-critical and to sacrifice his “own” interests (a “Jewish” state) for the sake of world peace.

      • kertitor

        I can not comprehend how the brain of this “progressive” Jews work. At the moment they are the useful idiots. Very soon they will be useless idiots and we all know what Hitler did to idiots.

  • mitch gold

    With the Arab world in turmoil and Assad gassing Syrians why must the New York TImes offer a denigration of Zionism on the front page of its op-ed section?

  • yuval

    Lustig is similar to the two thirds of american Jew2s who wish Israel had never been established because its uncomfortable to be told his “next year in Jerusalem” is phony. He ignores the outcome of the single state solution offered by Britain 1922-1947 : Bloodshed at which end the Jews remained and Arabs ran. They ran because they never belonged

  • moonstruck

    I happen to know Ian personally, as he was, until recently, a member of our synagogue. (I was told that he was asked to leave his previous synagogue because of his outrageous assertions re Israel.) I don’t understand why Penn thinks so highly of him, especially when I’ve heard other scholars in the field (from different Ivy League institutions) scoff at his so-called scholarship. What I have found distressing is that, because he is Jewish, he’s been on at least one panel representing the Jewish view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. (The one I know about occurred at VIllanova University, an ultra-conservative Catholic institution which is virulently anti-Israel.)

    • Tommy Glick

      Lustick works for US intelligence, (i.e. he’s an institutionally headpatted Jew because he supports the genocide of Jews). Thus, he’ll always be prominently featured in the media, in panels, etc.

  • Dan

    Ian Lustick has once again confirmed to the world that he is an idiot. Thanks for the reminder, Ian!

  • Pseudonews

    This is some of the worst journalism I’ve ever read.