Dershowitz et al happily endorse funding relocation of Jews – but recoil in horror at any suggestion of funding the relocation of Palestinians.
Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. – George Santayana, Life of Reason (1905)
The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring its actual implementation in practice. The number of agreements the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept.– Shimon Peres, Tomorrow is Now (1978)
These excerpts aptly convey the fanatical fraudulence of two-state advocates – at least of those who claim to be pro-Israel Zionists. For in redoubling their efforts to reach their preferred mode of resolution of the Palestinian issue, they seem to have forgotten that the real aim is not an agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state, but long-term stability and security for Israel.
Desperation, denial and disregard
Seemingly oblivious of – or determined to disregard – the fact that the greater the efforts made to reach such a two-state arrangement, the more Israel’s stability and security have been undermined, twostaters persist in their quest.
Regrettably – indeed, tragically – many in the “intellectual establishment” have embraced the failed formula of two-statism as a corollary of the historically disproven dogma of “land-for-peace,” staking their personal prestige and professional reputation on its desirability and feasibility.
In so doing, they have mortgaged their intellectual integrity to a policy that is demonstrably neither.
Not only is it impossible to justify two-statism on the basis of logical consistency or empirical validity, but its continued pursuit will almost inevitably bring about a situation that directly negate the values invoked for its adoption, and precipitate consequences which are the antitheses of those its advocates intended.
Impervious to fact and reason, its high-profile proponents cling doggedly – some might say obsessively – to it, disregarding the massive accumulation of contradictory evidence and denying the unequivocal significance thereof.
Confronted by the resolute refusal of reality to bend to their will, two-staters are beginning to promote proposals that appear increasingly desperate and detached from the real world.
These defects were clearly evident in the recent proposal by Alan Dershowitz, the analysis of which I began in last week’s column and will continue with this week – not as an ad hominem attack on the good professor, but because, as I pointed out, “given his significant public influence and considerable media access, his well-meaning but ill-advised proposals cannot go unchallenged.”
The insistence of self-professed pro-Israel pundits such as Dershowitz regarding the desirability and feasibility of the two-state paradigm has arguably done more than anything else to nourish the ongoing delegitimzation of the Jewish state and the Zionist enterprise.
Readers will recall that Dershowitz suggested that the West Bank can be realistically divided into three effective areas:
• Those that are relatively certain to remain part of Israel.
• Those that are relatively certain to become part of a Palestinian state.
• Those reasonably in dispute (which may well remain part of Israel, but subject to negotiated land swaps).
He proposes that “there would be no Israeli building in those areas likely to become part of a Palestinian state” and “no limit on Israeli building within areas likely to remain part of Israel,” but says nothing about constraining Arab building in these areas – assuming of course any relevant Palestinian negotiator would agree a priori that there are any such areas – itself a giant leap of optimistic faith.
His attitude to the “disputed” areas is especially revealing. He states the “freeze [on Israeli construction] would continue in disputed areas until it was decided which will remain part of Israel and which part of the new Palestinian state.”
Yet he seems to prejudge the outcome of the “dispute,” by refraining from placing a similar freeze on the Palestinians.
And to eliminate any lingering doubt about how Dershowitz really intends the fate of the these “disputed” areas – in which he includes “some of the large settlement blocs such as Ariel” – to be determined, he declares: “An absolute building freeze would be a painful but necessary compromise. It might also encourage residents of the West Bank to move to areas that will remain part of Israel, especially if the freeze were accompanied by financial inducements to relocate.”
Clearly, if the Palestinians are permitted to build in these areas where Jews are not only barred from doing so, but “induced” to evacuate, deeming them “disputed” is little more than a ruse.
For if Palestinian development is allowed, while Jewish development is stifled, the obvious intention is for the area to eventually be transferred to the Palestinians.
It is unlikely that Dershowitz acquired his formidable reputation as a lawyer by counseling such defeatism, or, alternatively, such benevolent largesse, to his clients.
Prejudicial, partisan and perverse
The issue of financial inducements for residents of Judea and Samaria to relocate is of particular importance, for it is a proposal that has been raised with increasing frequency by a number of prominent twostaters, both Israeli and non-Israeli.
Apart from Dershowitz, it has been suggested by former president of the Union for Reform Judaism Eric Yoffie, United Jewish Israel Appeal head Mick Davis, former US diplomat Dennis Ross, US pundit Peter Beinart, former adviser to Ehud Barak Gilead Sher and former Shin Bet head and Labor politician Ami Ayalon, to name a few.
Yet although two-staters appear to have no ethical inhibitions regarding the principle of providing economic incentives to induce people to move, when it comes to its practical application, their preferences seem wildly prejudicial, partisan and perverse.
While they see nothing wrong with funding relocation of Jews to facilitate the establishment of what in all probability will be a failed micro-mini-state providing a haven for radical Islamist terror groups, they recoil in horror at the idea of funding relocation of Palestinians to prevent its establishment. How perverse it that?
After all, the only way the putative Palestinian state will not become a haven for Arab terror organizations is for the Palestinians to behave in a manner diametrically opposed to the manner in which they have behaved for seven decades – arguably even longer.
Two-staters have yet to produce persuasive augments – rather than fervent hopes – as to why this is at all likely.
Until they do, they should not be surprised that many relate to their proposal – at best – as a wildly irresponsible gamble; and – at worst – as what Barry Rubin has termed “betrayal glorified.”
Incomprehensible and indefensible
As time goes by, continuing support of two-statism, by alleged pro-Zionists, as a feasible policy option for Israel, is becoming increasingly incomprehensible logically, and indefensible morally.
For unless we are prepared to embrace the bizarre formula, recently proposed by Shimon Peres, that peace should be pursued with “our eyes closed,” deleting any record of the past from our memories; unless we are prepared to totally dismiss the lessons of experience, clearly continued support for two-statism is fraught with risk and bereft of rationality.
Two-statism is fatally flawed in its logic, because its proponents offer no persuasive mechanism for its successful implementation.
Their only formula is a repetition of what has already failed, without providing any compelling explanation why it is likely to work in the future when it hasn’t in the past.
Two-statism is fatally flawed in its morality because its proponents insist on the implementation of measures that will expose millions of Israelis (and eventually Palestinians) to dire dangers that have regularly resulted from previous attempts to implement similar measures. The only formula they furnish for contending with these dangers is to hope they won’t occur, without providing any compelling explanation for that.
Despite the slim likelihood of success and the disastrous cost of failure, twostaters cling to their haughty, but harebrained, notions, proclaiming that their adherence to failed folly somehow confers upon them intellectual and ethical superiority. Isn’t that bizarre!
And Plan B is? Given all their disproven prognoses, unfulfilled predictions and broken promises, one can only wonder what, if anything, might induce two-staters to recant – or at least reconsider – their position.
After all, over the past two decades, during which the goal of two-states has been vigorously pursued, with huge international endorsement and massive financial backing, all the warnings of the dangers by its opponents have proved true, while all the promises of benefits by its proponents proved false. Yet unmoved by evidence, two-staters persist in their fanatical – see Santayana above – insistence that theirs is the only way forward.
In so doing, two-staters fail in their moral duty – twice.
First, in failing to put forward any convincing argument why their hitherto disastrous doctrine will now succeed and how this miraculous metamorphosis will take place.
Second, in failing to prescribe what measures they propose if such a miraculous metamorphosis does not occur and the Palestinians – for whatever reason – do not dramatically change their behavior patterns, but continue to conduct themselves as they have over the past half-century and more? What if – as in the past – any territory ceded to them is used to mount attacks on Israel? What is the two-staters’ Plan B? What Israeli response, and pursuant policy, would Dershowitz and other twostaters then endorse?
These issues are becoming ever-more pressing and pertinent, especially since all the post-Arab Spring developments across the region make the prospects for two-stater success even more remote, and failure more perilous than ever.
A mega Cast Lead?
But even if we suppose, despite the odds and the evidence, that two-staters are right, and it is possible to locate some mythical moderate Palestinian who is prepared to sign an agreement with Israel in good faith and who genuinely intends to honor it, how is implementation to be ensured? After all as Peres, in a more lucid era, pointed out: “The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring its actual implementation in practice.”
What if for reasons of political – or physical – survival, that moderate Palestinian was forced to renege on the agreement? What if he was unable/unwilling to rein in renegade radicals backed by rejectionist regimes or organizations? What if he was removed from power – either by the ballot or the bullet – and replaced by successors whose raison d’etre was repudiation of the recognition of Israel? After all, as Peres once observed: “The number of agreements the Arabs have violated is no less than the number which they have kept.”
What if, after it is established, it turns out that the Palestinians really meant what they said – that the founding of a Palestinian state is (merely) a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel? What if they really believe their National Charter, that “the partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel, are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time?” What if they act to promote this belief? What if the residents of the Coastal Plain are subjected to anything even remotely approaching what the residents of Sderot have been subjected to for years? This is not an implausible prospect and twostaters have moral duty to provide a plausible contingency plan to respond to it.
Would they demand that Palestinian sovereignty be revoked and the Palestinian state be annulled, because it was established under false pretenses? Would they endorse a massive military campaign in the “West Bank” to quell the violence that made the maintenance of socioeconomic routine in the Tel Aviv area impossible? On a scale and intensity far greater than the IDF’s 2008/9 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza? Along a front much longer (about 400-km. long as opposed to 50 km.)? In topographical terrain far more disadvantageous?
Insane fanaticism or fanatical insanity?
It is astonishing that anyone claiming to don the mantle of enlightened rationality would urge a policy so unlikely to succeed and so likely to wreak appalling consequences on both Israelis and Palestinians.
Indeed, when confronted with the repeated and misguided endeavors to promote measures with such manifest potential for tragedy, one is reminded of a definition of “insanity,” variously attributed to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain, according to which “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
This, together with Santayana’s above-cited characterization of “fanaticism,” leaves us with an unpleasant dilemma: Should the behavior of two-staters be diagnosed as “insane fanaticism” or “fanatical insanity