Phi Beta Cons

One-State Non-Solution

The Harvard Kennedy School is about to hold a student conference — “Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution.” The conference website states that the main idea hitherto proposed for peace in the Mideast has been the two-state solution and it is time to consider a single state in which both Jews and Palestinians would live as co-citizens. As has been pointed out by Caroline Glick and others, even virulent Israel critic Norman Finkelstein recognizes that a one-state solution means the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and he advises against advancing that notion because it is unlikely to garner widespread support. Of course, the two-state solution could also mean the destruction of Israel, only more slowly.

Leaving that aside, however, as long as Harvard wishes to allow students to entertain different ideas, how about this — resettlement of the Palestinians now residing in refugee camps to Arab countries, with full financial compensation. Left-wing Israeli historian Benny Morris, whose earlier work often seemed to condemn Israel’s actions in 1948, has more recently argued that transfer even of Israeli Arab citizens residing in Israel proper cannot be ruled out if Israel one day faces an existential threat as it did in the year of its birth. 

Glick remarks that in the early part of the 20th century, ideas concerning race and eugenics “became all the rage of the anointed intellectuals. Even an otherwise liberal thinker like Oliver Wendell Holmes was drawn to the fashionable concept of killing mentally disabled in the name of eugenics.” Such doctrines (which, by the way, the thinkers derived from Darwin) “gave the German intellectuals the philosophical underpinning” for anti-Semitism and eventually for genocidal intolerance. Now, writes Glick, ”anti-Zionism” has replaced anti-Semitism among the fashionable, and the “embrace of the cause of Israel’s destruction by so many celebrity professors today is part and parcel of the destruction of the U.S. higher education system.” But Glick gives the most compelling rationale for the existence of Israel when she tells how she read about the one-state conference “as I was feeding my newborn son. I looked out the window at Jerusalem and all I could feel was thankful to be living in the independent, free Jewish state of Israel. I am thankful that these pseudo intellectuals no longer can determine the future of my people, as they could in the 1930s.”

Glick is further ”thankful that my children will in all likelihood not study in U.S. universities but in Israeli ones that are not as demented as their American counterparts.”

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