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.