“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”—widely attributed to Albert Einstein
Recently, the idea of a Palestinian state has—much like a ghoulish zombie arising from its erstwhile grave—re-emerged as a topic of relevance in the international discourse.
Tyrannical dictates of political correctness
After being thrust aside to the outer margins of the debate during much of the Trump term in the White House, the Biden administration has managed to breathe new life into a failed and fatally flawed formula, whose attempted implementation has wrought trauma and tragedy on Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Perversely, far more than any others, the Palestinians, the intended benefactors of the ill-conceived notion, were by far its greatest victims. Indeed, the casualties and the socio-economic disruption they suffered greatly outstripped anything endured by Israel.
But this is not the only element of perversity regarding Palestinian statehood and the advocacy therefor. Indeed, support for the two-state formula—i.e. the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river alongside Israel—became the sine-non-qua for access into “polite company”. Indeed, it was considered an indispensable credential for anyone aspiring to be part of “bon-ton” liberal circles. Daring individuals with the temerity to question the prudence of the idea had to brace themselves for grave consequences to their personal and professional standing that almost always resulted from such recalcitrant resistance to the dictates of political correctness.
Impervious to past precedents & future probabilities
But vindictiveness aside, liberal support is not only decidedly perverse, but equally paradoxical and perplexing as well. After all, there is virtually no doubt that any future Palestinian state will be the embodiment of values that are the diametric antithesis of those to which Left-leaning, progressive liberals profess to subscribe.
Indeed, there is little reason to doubt that a prospective Palestinian state, in any conceivably plausible configuration, will be anything but what most other Arab states are, in some form or another: A homophobic, misogynistic Muslim majority tyranny—whose hallmarks would be gender discrimination against girls/women, persecution of homosexuals, religious intolerance against non-Muslims and oppression of political dissidents.
Accordingly, it is a decidedly baffling conundrum why so-called “progressives,” who purportedly cherish liberal values of societal diversity, religious freedom, and individual liberty, would cling so doggedly to support for a Palestinian state that would, in all likelihood, comprise the utter negation of everything to which they claim to hold dear. Yet impervious to past precedents and future probabilities, they adhere resolutely to their defective dogma.
No reason to believe that, which was in the past, will not be in the future
This is particularly pertinent given what has transpired in Gaza—perhaps the ultimate indictment of two-statism—where Palestinians were first given a shot at self-governance, and which has become a brutal bastion of Islamist governance and a safe haven for jihadi terror.
Of course, there is scant cause to believe that what was in the past will not be again in the future. After all, even the most fervent two-state enthusiast has yet to offer up a persuasive argument why the envisioned Palestinian state would not quickly emerge as the said homophobic, misogynistic tyranny.
As Albert Einstein reportedly commented: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Clearly, the turmoil of today is indisputably the result of trying to foist statehood on the Palestinians. Accordingly then, there is little reason to believe that persisting with the same thinking that created the seemingly perennial violence will contribute in any way to its cessation. For, the problem of the current violence cannot be resolved by using the same level of thinking (i.e. aspiring to Palestinian statehood) that created it.
This perverse—and perplexing—paradox is something that has not been adequately addressed in the public discourse on the Middle East. Indeed, it is rarely—if ever—fully articulated. The time has come to do so.