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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Two States’

Some Love Lost: Dems Drop ‘Special Relationship’ Language from 2012 Platform

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The pro-Israel news wires have been abuzz over the excision of core pro Israel language from the 2012 Democratic Party Platform. But it is not only the changes in the Democrats’ planks that should be examined.

For those who missed it but who care about Israel, here’s a recap.

Statements in the Democratic party platform referring to Israel that were included in their 2008 document, such as America’s “strongest ally in the region,” and mentioning “our special relationship with Israel” are gone.

Not only that, but Jerusalem does not merit even a single mention in the Democrats’ 2012 document.  The 2008 commitment that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel” which “should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths” has evaporated.

State Department Spokewoman Victoria Nuland, Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, have all refused to allow the phrase “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel” to pass their lips.  Did they not know that those words were an essential component of the Democratic Party’s public pledge in 2008?

The 2012 Democratic Party Platform now simply refers to aid to Israel and the maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge as something for which this president was responsible, rather than, in truth, that congress is where those decisions were made.  What’s more, in this year’s version there is no explicit promise to maintain that edge going forward.  Support for Israel’s right to defend itself and the president’s “steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage” similarly seem stuck in time, with no forward-looking commitment whatsoever.

Also missing is what had been a solid commitment to isolate Hamas.  Instead, the only pre-conditions imposed are the same for all Arabs in the area – “we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist [not to exist as a Jewish State, just to exist], reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.” That’s it.

But what about the Republican Party Platform?  Maybe US politicians are all beginning to turn away from the Middle East, where the conflicts never seem to end.  Maybe a decision to step away from an ally who some claim only brings its supporters down, while never seeming to gain traction for the ally, is happening across the board.

Nope.

But there have been changes regarding Israel between the 2008 Republican Party Platform and the one just passed in Tampa at last week’s Republican Party Convention.

So what are they? And how significant are they?

It’s hard to tell what the significance of the change in language regarding the peace process – just four years ago the Republican Platform included the following sentence:

We support the vision of two democratic states living in peace and security: Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestine.

In the 2012 Platform:

We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states – Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security. (emphasis added)

In other words, one is an imperative with which the Republicans agree, and the other is simply what they are imagining, but it is not an essential outcome.  And in both Republican platforms, the creation of a future state of Palestine is conditional upon the people who are seeking its creation to “support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law.”

Here’s a clear language change: the bold print introducing the Platform section having to do with Israel has expanded from the 2008 one word name of the state to 2012′s “Our Unequivocal Support of Israel.”

And here’s a huge difference between the visions of the two parties: the single essential goal for Israel and her neighbors sought by the Republican Platform “is a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.”  In the Democratic National Platform, an essential component for achieving this country’s commitment to Israel’s security is “two states for two people.”  In other words, the Democratic Platform will not allow for any conclusion to the Middle East peace process without the creation of a Palestinian State, whereas the Republicans’ sole end goal is peace, without attaching any collateral pre-conditions.

In addition to the central role of the creation of a Palestinian State and the rejection of Jerusalem as having plank-worthy stature, there are several other respects in which the language of the current Democratic Party Platform differs starkly from that of the Republicans’.  The need to isolate both Hamas and Hezbollah is in the Republicans’ but not the Democrats’ Platforms.  And finally, the pronouncement by the Republicans (in both 2008 and 2012) that Israel not be forced to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction is not discussed by the Democrats.

On the other hand, there are two significant pro-Israel deletions from the Republicans’ 2012 Platform.  In 2008, there was both a pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the avowed support for Jerusalem to remain undivided.  That language is not in the 2012 Republican Platform.

Is there anything both parties have abandoned this time around?  Yes.  There is no mention of the Arab Palestinian refugee issue in either current Platform.

So, what’s the score?  Deleting familiar terms of support and ignoring a central issue like Jerusalem has to be troublesome for pro-Israel voters who planned to vote for the President.  But even the Republican Party has decided that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and insisting that the Holy City not be divided is no longer considered a promise worth making.

In the end, reading any platform, like listening to any speech, is a way to try to figure out how a candidate will govern if he wins.  And at the end of the day, that’s about what’s in his heart, not what’s on his posters.  Changes of tone of voice, of emphasis, like the deletion of issues or the difference between a commitment and a vision, are straws in the wind.

The weather’s been rough in Charlotte for lots of people these last few days, but the changes to the Democratic Platform about Israel really do tell us important things about which way the wind is blowing down there – and it’s hard not to see a change in direction from the way it has blown, for the Democratic party, for a long time.  If Obama wins, these new planks suggest, Israel will have less support on such key issues as Jerusalem.

As for the Republicans, the changes they’ve made seem to have split the difference, with some additions strengthening their commitment to the Jewish state, and others seemingly weakening it.

What that means for Jewish voters, or for others concerned about Israel, and the Middle East, will only be known a long time after the first Tuesday of this November.

 

Confronting the Unpleasant Truth about Two States

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Sometimes the truth is more than just ‘inconvenient’. Sometimes it is downright unpleasant, even ugly. But nevertheless, it is what is and we need to deal with what is, not what we would like it to be.

Martin Sherman sees the unpleasant truth and, unlike so many others, draws the logical conclusions. He has written a series of articles in the Jerusalem Post in which he has exposed the sheer insanity of the Left’s two-state solution (TSS), as well as the failure of the Right to propose real alternatives.

Now Sherman has taken up the challenge to provide a practical alternative. In his most recent article — which I urge you to read in its entirety, since I can’t do justice to it with a few snippets — he writes,

To survive as the permanent nation-state of the Jewish people Israel must address two fundamental imperatives:

• The geographic imperative • The demographic imperative

It is self-evident that if either of these is inadequately addressed, Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people will be gravely jeopardized, eventually becoming unsustainable.

The mainstream discourse invariably – and deceptively – presents Israel’s only choice as being between accepting the TSS – which would make Israel untenable geographically, or the OSS (one-state solution) – which would make it untenable demographically.

Neither comprises an acceptable policy-paradigm for anyone whose point of departure is the continued existence of Israel as the permanent nation-state of the Jews.

This, as we will see, compels us to the inexorable conclusion that between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there can – and eventually will – prevail either exclusive Jewish or exclusive Arab sovereignty…

While addressing the geographic imperative requires Israel to maintain control of all Judea and Samaria (or at least of sufficiently large segments to make the TSS unviable), addressing the demographic imperative means that the Arab population of these areas cannot be permanently incorporated into the population of Israel…

We are left to confront a brutally simple choice: Either forgo the Jewish nation-state or address the need to significantly diminish the scale of the Palestinian-Arab population.

Whether one relates to this stark dilemma with a sense of moral outrage or equanimity will not affect the inexorable logic that led to its deduction, or the necessity to acknowledge its inevitability. Trying to evade the bleak nature of this inescapable choice by reformulating it in less forbidding terms would be no more than an exercise in hypocrisy or self-delusion…

So, for those who find the prospect of forgoing the Jewish nation-state unacceptable, the grim decision is whether to address the problem of diminishing the Palestinian-Arab population by coercive or by non-coercive means.

Right now the screaming about racism, transfer, ethnic cleansing, etc. begins. I won’t discuss why this automatically follows any discussion of Arabs moving but not Jews, nor the numerous Palestinian expressions of their intention to have a Jew-free state if the TSS is implemented. I’ll only emphasize that the alternative is no Jewish state at all.

If your idea of morality is such that yet another Jewish diaspora — undoubtedly accompanied by a bloody war — is preferable to some Arabs living between the river and the sea moving to one of the 22 Arab Muslim states in the region, then you have chosen sides and I don’t have anything to say to you.

Sherman believes, and promises details in a forthcoming article, that a non-coercive population transfer — yes, I am using that word because that is what it is — is the morally preferred option and that it can be made practical.

I have my doubts about the practicality of such a solution. But I am convinced that Sherman is right and that survival of a Jewish state requires both geographical and demographic domination of the area between the river and the sea. I remain to be convinced that this can be accomplished peacefully.

Originally published at FresnoZionism.org.

Israel Will Never Be Small Enough

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

            A view from the year 2016:
 
As we know, a unique new peace program was proposed six years ago, in 2010, and implemented in 2012. The plan was based on the principle of Two States for Two Peoples and it received near-unanimous support from the Israeli Left. Among those celebrating the breakthrough and endorsing the plan were Peace Now, Physicians for Human Rights, Meretz, Yesh Gvul and many other like-minded organizations.
 
A number of European governments decided to provide generous funding for all groups endorsing the proposal.
 
The new Two States for Two Peoples plan was very simple. The Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and large areas of Israel-within-the-Green-Line (that is, inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders) would become a new Palestinian Arab state. At the same time the Jews would be allowed to retain their own state in Mini-Israel.
 
Mini-Israel was a miniature city, similar to the Madurodam in Holland and other mini-cities in European countries. Located in a beautiful park near Latrun in the Ayalon Valley, with easy access to and from Yasir Arafat International Airport in Lod (the name was changed from Ben-Gurion Airport in 2012), it was a most exciting tourist attraction.
 
First opened in 2002, it featured over 350 beautifully crafted exact-replica models of historical, religious, archeological and modern sites. Mini-Israel presented visitors with a one of a kind introduction to Israel, all in one magical site. Everything was to exact scale, where each 4 centimeters represented a full meter of pre-liberation Palestinian territory.
 
The sites in Mini-Israel depicted different traditions and the ethnic groups associated with them – Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Druze, Beduin and others.
 
The idea of relocating the real Israel to Mini-Israel was “simply outstanding,” enthused longtime leftist nuisance Yossi Beilin.
 
“After all, Mini-Israel captures all aspects of Israel and all of its cultures and traditions. There are religious and secular themes, arts, music, archeology, antiquities, and so on.”
 
“We have been insisting for decades that land has no real importance in the modern world,” added Shulamit Aloni. “Under this peace plan, we prove that Israelis may preserve all aspects of their heritage without occupying lands that properly belong to others.”
 
Mini-Israel, liberals and leftists were quick to point out, had everything Jews needed to operate their own state. Food and supplies were available in the souvenir shop. The grounds contained 30,000 figures, 50 animals, 15,000 trees (real bonsai, cultivated and planted by the Agronoy nursery), 4,700 cars, 100 motorbikes, 14 trains, 3 helicopters, 32 aircraft, 175 ships and 230 trucks.
 
The park was loosely shaped like a Star of David, with each of the six triangles representing an area or city – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Galil, Negev, etc. – though once the real Israel retreated into Mini-Israel, the shape was modified so as not to offend non-Jewish residents.
 
The underlying principle for achieving peace with this plan was based on egalitarian reciprocity. All Jews were to be expelled from the area to become Palestine, while Arabs would be allowed to exercise their right of return to Mini-Israel.
 
Progressive Jews in other countries – J Street, the Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, etc. – joined their Israeli ideological soul mates in enthusiastically supporting the plan, urging President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to adopt it as U.S. policy.
 
The only opposition to the plan came from some who believed it did not go far enough.
 
“The proposal still does not resolve the fundamental injustice of Mini-Israel being an apartheid regime in which Arabs are denied equal rights,” insisted uber-leftist Uri Avnery. Several editorials in Haaretz agreed. At the initiative of the departments of political science at Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, 637 Israeli professors and lecturers signed a statement demanding that Mini-Israel be boycotted because not all the signs there were in Arabic.
 
They also called on the EU and the U.S. to intervene in the conflict and send troops to Mini-Israel to prevent the Jews there from charging Arab visitors admission fees for tickets.
 
But criticism of the new Jewish state of Mini-Israel began to spread almost as soon as the new plan was implemented. As the six-month anniversary of Two States for Two Peoples approached, Toronto’s York University became the first of 27 universities in North America to hold scholarly conferences on injustice and discrimination in Mini-Israel.
 
Things only got worse. The government of Mini-Israel decided to put up a security wall to keep out visitors who tried to get in without buying tickets. “Tear down this Apartheid Wall,” screamed members of Anarchists against the Wall and the International Solidarity Movement. Israel’s left-wing parties held rallies in Rabin Square – the small one in Mini-Israel of course, not the big one in liberated Palestine.
 
Under the banners “We Now Have a Peace Partner,” and “It Won’t be Over Until We Negotiate,” they protested against talk in the Mini-Knesset of retaliation by Mini-Israel against Palestine for the mortars and rockets being fired into Mini-Israel from nearby liberated Latrun.
 
The ayatollah of liberated Palestine, meanwhile, responded to an emergency request from residents of Mini-Israel to be allowed safe passage to Arafat Airport where they could catch flights to safety overseas.
 

“Use your own airport in Mini-Israel,” came the perfunctory response. “Just don’t fly over our air space.”

 

 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Two States For Two Peoples: A Futuristic Guest Lecture

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Date: November 2, 2068

Place: Edward Said University, Paris, Islamic Republic of Northern Gaul.

Subject: Notes from the Special Guest Lecture today in the course “History of the Middle East,” by visiting professor Osama bin Levy.
 
I would like to thank all of you – men, women, cyborgs – for attending my lecture this evening, despite the leak in the metrodome over the city that is allowing in some rain. I hope you did not have too much trouble finding parking for your personal commuter rocket devices in the university guest space station.
 
I have been asked to sum up for you an era of Middle East history that took place before most of you were born, though it is fully documented in the standard knowledge chips you all have dangling from your rocket ignition keychains.
 
It is truly difficult for those of us alive today to understand the depth of foolishness that led to the demise of the state of Israel earlier in the 21st century. But I wish to remind you that the events took place back when humans still lived in the most primitive conditions, operating mechanical computers with screens rather than bio-thinking supplementals; when humans drove those suicidal machines called automobiles and crashed into one another.
 
Israeli political leaders, journalists and academics had for years infected the nation with a bizarre disease called Acute Settlerphobia, or AS. The plague of AS was inculcated with such massive determination that few in the country were able to immunize themselves against its mind-freezing symptoms. Those infected became mentally paralyzed, incapable of contemplating any solution to life’s problems which did not include the idea that the settlers were responsible for all terrestrial problems.
 
           So you see, the temptation to adopt the “Two States for Two Peoples” solution was based not only on overwhelming international pressure but on the insistence of Israel’s own political and intellectual elites that this formula would put an end to the Middle East conflict once and for all.
 
There were, of course, plenty of reasons for skepticism. Israel had just a few years before abandoned the Gaza Strip, removing all of its soldiers and civilians. The result was the launching of thousands of rockets and countless other terror attacks against Israel by the Gaza Palestinians.
 
Clearly an intelligent being or even an average cyborg should have understood that Gaza was serving as an illustration of what Israel could expect from any further territorial capitulation.
 
But the leaders of Israel kept repeating what the Americans, Europeans, and others were chanting in global unison. They kept saying that no one could really knew what the Palestinians would do with their new state under the “Two States for Two Peoples” formulation until they got it.
 
By repeating endlessly the hope that maybe the Palestinians would morph into civilized neighbors once they had their own state, and that anyway there was no alternative but to give the idea a try, Israel’s opinion shapers eventually snookered the masses into into agreeing to “Two States for Two Peoples.”
 
Exactly 14 minutes after “Two States for Two Peoples” was implemented, the state of Palestine opened up a barrage with tens of thousands of rocket launchers, mortars and other low-tech means of warfare still being used by armies back in the early 21st century. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were nearly obliterated.
 
Following the massive rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – attacks that (naturally) were completely unexpected by Israel’s political establishment and chattering classes – came the final blow from Palestine.
 
            Masses of troops and volunteers from other Muslim states, especially Iran and Pakistan, who’d flooded into Palestine to defend it from the Israeli aggressors, were on the march. Large groups of Palestinian infiltrators attacked what was left of Israel near Netanya, cutting all north-south highways and dividing the country in half.
 
Thousands of Jews living in isolated towns and communities in the Galilee were lynched by members of the Galilee Liberation Front, their beheaded corpses left alongside the roads.
 
Palestinian rocket crews had earlier shut down Israeli airports, and missile barrages had made Israeli sea ports too dangerous for any ships to enter. So there was no escape for the Jews. Remaining pockets of Jewish resistance were placed under siege, their residents starved into submission. (Kibbutz members under siege were so desperate, they were actually reduced to eating kosher food.)
 
To the very last, nearly all Israeli politicians insisted that the turn of events was completely unexpected and could not have been foreseen by anyone.
 
Shortly after Israel was completely overrun, U.S. President Al Franken and French Prime Minister Abu Jihad announced that Two States had at last been achieved for Two Peoples – the Palestinian and Jordanian peoples.
 
They appealed to countries around the world to allow the surviving Jewish refugees from the dead Zionist entity to enter their countries, but only Micronesia acquiesced.
 

Next week’s guest lecture will be on the history of the now extinct Christian community of Europe.

 

 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/two-states-for-two-peoples-a-futuristic-guest-lecture/2009/07/15/

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