One of the most insidious developments of 2018 has been the growing intellectual acceptance of a one-state solution in the Middle East. This trend is bad for Israel, which single-state proponents disdain, and for Middle East peace, which they profess to covet.
Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) next month will become the first Palestinian-American to serve in Congress. She openly supports a one-state solution and has vowed to oppose U.S. aid to Israel.
CNN fired contributor Marc Lamont Hill, an academic and pundit, after he called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and defended Palestinian violence in an appearance at the United Nations.
New York Times columnist Michelle Goldstein, who said that until recently one could have dismissed a binational state as unrealistic, now blames the Israeli government for the inevitability of a one-state solution. Through settlements in parts of the West Bank and by cementing Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, she reasons, “Israel has foreclosed the possibility of two states."
And then there is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which unites radical leftists and radical Islamists in their hatred of the Jewish state and their frequent calls for its elimination. BDS incursions into university campuses, labor unions, mainline churches and other sectors of Western society have brought anti-Israel hatred further into the mainstream, thus increasing the risk to Israel’s international standing and national security.
These advocates of a binational state see their proposal as the most efficient means of achieving statehood for Palestinians. It is also a means of eliminating the Jewish state. A binational state with a right of return for Palestinians would prompt a Palestinian demographic takeover that would eradicate the Jewish character of the state and leave little question about the future of the Jewish population within it. As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said, "If we want an independent state, I will not accept any single Israeli in our territories.”
The stumping by Western opinion-shapers for a one-state solution comes at a time when Palestinian public attitudes have shifted dramatically away from a two-state solution, which Palestinians favored to the tune of 80 percent in the heady days following the Oslo accord in 1993. More recent surveys have shown that about two thirds of Palestinians now oppose two states, preferring the elimination altogether of a Jewish country in the region.
For some one-state advocates, such as BDS founder Omar Barghouti, who has publicly articulated his goal of "fulfilling the vision of the dismantling of Israel," the motivation behind his one-state stance is transparent. But less hostile actors who acquiesce, perhaps naively, in support of poisonous causes like BDS and a binational state must be made to understand that their stance does not further the drive for peace or justice in the Middle East. Instead, it merely facilitates the demise of the Jewish state, a goal that is inherently and reprehensibly anti-Semitic. Support for a binational state therefore must not be normalized or mainstreamed, given the catastrophic consequences of the sinister one-state strategy.
With the Palestinians hardening their opposition to a two-state solution while receiving growing encouragement from some segments in the West, the prospect of the Palestinians negotiating in good faith toward a peaceful settlement has become more remote. And the work of pro-Israel supporters in combating the one-state solution, along with BDS and other aspects of anti-Israel hatred, has become more crucial.
Eric Fusfield, Esq. has been B’nai B’rith International’s director of legislative affairs since 2003 and deputy director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy since 2007. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University in history; an M.St. in modern Jewish studies from Oxford University; and a J.D./M.A. from American University in law and international affairs. Click here to read more from Eric Fusfield.
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