For previous blogs see our First Thursdays archive posted by year.
2 November 2023 8 items
Today the Balfour Declaration turns 106 years old. Congratulations, Colonial Britain! You have hectoliters of blood on your hands.
BREAKING NEWS: Craig Mokhiber comes out for one secular democratic state in (all of) Palestine! https://www.foxnews.com/world/outgoing-senior-un-official-calls-one-state-solution-slams-us-israel-chilling-words
1) The absence of a one-democratic-state solutions, in favour of today’s one-undemocratic-state solution, has enabled the slaughter now in Gaza. This BBC Question Time, held in Northern Ireland on 19 October 2023, is seen through the eyes of Novara Media’s Michael Walker and tells a story of battle for one democratic Ireland with tons of parallels to our fight for a just peace in Palestine.
2) Miko Peled in this video at 1:55 and around 3:20 makes the point that the two-state solution ‘legitimizes’ the perpetrator of crimes, the state of Israel. That disqualifies any two-state solution. At 4:20, ‘ending the aparteid state’ – ending Israel – is the moral goal. Brilliant is his equation around 5:18 of Israel with apartheid, because it shakes off the nonsense that it’s not the state in itself, by its very nature, but only the present Israeli ‘regime’ which is apartheid. Israel is illegitimate, needs to be replaced.
3) Roger Waters spoke out for ODS on 13 October 2023 in this article in the Palestine Chronicle. Since the Zionists have ‘failed to establish a viable state’, he says, the next step must be to ‘get round a big table and hammer out a one-state solution. This would be a New State with equal human rights for all its citizens irrespective of their ethnicity or religion or previous nationality.’
4) ODS supporter Saree Makdisi, Palestinian Professor of English at UCLA in Los Angeles and author of the brilliant 2008 book Palestine Inside Out, on 25 October 2023 wrote pertinently to the present Gaza crisis in the online-only magazine n+1.
5) Even Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, came out in an interview with Piers Morgan on 10 October 2023 more or less for ODS. At 6:30 he says he personally would like a two-state solution but if that’s blocked by Israel then ODS is best. How long is that word ‘if’ going to stay in his logic? But again, all Palestinians have the right – which outsiders do not have – to advocate for a two-state solution.
6) At this time of pro-Palestine demonstrations in all larger cities, the chant ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free’ is being decried as ‘antisemitic’. Since prejudice against Jews because they are Jews (antisemitism) has nothing to do with wishing the state ruling Palestine to welcome all Palestinians as citizens, thereby ending Israel if it is defined as a ‘Jewish’ state, this is of course rubbish. But only ODS can counter the argument at the sound-bite level – because it regards all present inhabitants of Palestine as citizens.
7) Pressure on Israel from other countries to give Palestine the West Bank/Gaza Strip ‘state’ in a two-state solution will now increase. Two states is now more likely, argues Scott Ritter. If it happens, its instability means armed Palestinian resistance will continue, because the problems of the 7+ million refugees and loss of 80% of their land would not be solved.
8) David Hearst, Editor-in-Chief of the Middle East Eye, back on 2 May 2017 published and analysed the new Hamas basic statement, which had been released a few days earlier and is politically on a par with the original 1988 Hamas Charter. He points out the only way Hamas can politically succeed: “To stay Hamas, to be true to its principles and to reap the political benefits of entering politics, the movement would have to accept the one-[democratic]-state solution, which would do all of the things Hamas has strived for. It would allow Hamas to lead the PLO. It would reunite a fragmented Palestinian people. It would represent Palestinians who are citizens inside Israel and the Palestinian diaspora.”
5 October 2023 2 items
1) In her wonderful 2022 account of her life and that of her father Sabri Jiryis, Fida Jiryis (of a Christian family in Fassouta, in the far north of the Galilee) at times reveals the political situation of the PLO in the 1970s and 1980s. These contexts render the espousal of a two-state solution by Sabri and Issam Sartawi – and ultimately Yassir Arafat – plausible. In hindsight we see that the Rejectionists of the 1988 Declaration of Independence, which accepted the legitimacy of the Zionist Entity, were likely right, but the honest fighters who tried this path, giving up on the until-then goal of a single secular democratic state, cannot be judged, especially by those like us who were not there and who did not experience the deaths of their loved ones or the expulsion of the PLO from Jordan then from Lebanon.
2) One outsider still propounding the two-state solution is Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan. I hope that outsiders have the right to propound the one-democratic-state solution – the one which fulfils all the rights of all the Palestinians and restores a Palestine freed of an ethnocratic Jewish state – but put a question mark behind a right of outsiders such as such Saudis, as well as all Western governments, who are aiming at normalisation with Israel, fully accepting its legitimacy. Palestinians who have ‘been there’ and suffered have this right. The rest of us? No. Fortunately we can interpret the BDS Call as a demand for a full, re-united democracy (albeit the erasure of the Green Line is technically a separate, somewhat-later step), one that in any case logically excludes any two-state solution in which one of the states remains ethnocratic rather than democratic.
7 September 2023 2 items
1) Wikipedia’s long entry entitled ‘one-state solution’ is worth a read even though it is conceptually all over the place, a perhaps fruitful example of how a handful of editors – some of them obviously Zionists – can post information, historical links, differing normative evaluations, elisions of one democracy with bi-nationalism, and some falsehoods, all in a sea of omissions. Until the concepts are more clearly presented in on such sites ODS can’t progress. How wonderful it would be if someone, or a small team, would get on this case and re-edit this Wiki entry! Or better, a new entry entitled ‘one democratic state in Palestine’, which does not yet exist.
2) A sizeable and extremely intelligent, articulate and often funny bunch of US-American youtubers keeps pouring out episodes in which they make the assumptions necessary for concluding that ODS is the only just solution: that Palestine is simply a colony, that Israel is an apartheid construct, that Right of Return is unshakeable, and that Palestine’s partition – so-called ‘two-state solutions’ – is not only unjust but impractical. For most of them, the bankruptcy of Zionism just goes without saying. Some seem to support ODS. See Katie Halper, Chris Hedges, Abby Martin, Max Blumenthal, Briahna Joy Gray, Aaron Maté, Jimmy Dore, Rania Khalek, Lee Camp, Glenn Greenwald and a few others. Maybe Megyn Kelly will join them. Support these people!
3 August 2023
Once again we’re on holiday, even though the murder, maiming robbery, destruction, eviction and humiliation keeps going on. Apologies.
6 July 2023 3 items
1) Musician/rapper Lowkey interviewed Ghada Karmi on approximately 24 June 2023 about her new book One State: The Only Democratic Future for Palestine-Israel (Pluto) which is a shorter, updated version of her 2007 book advocating for One Democratic State, Married to Another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine (Pluto). The entire discussion is worth listening to – including new information from Lowkey – but in particular the two tell how the organisation ‘The Balfour Project’ threw them under the bus by cancelling the new book’s launch at the last minute due to Zionist pressure. The soft-Zionist ‘Balfour Project’ has done some good work, but is ultimately for two states; that is, is willing to throw Palestine under the bus.
2) Lowkey and Ghada Karmi also argued at the Oxford Union against the proposition that the Arab world has failed the Palestinian people. Most of the debate is off-topic as far as ODS is concerned, but it provides rich background and shows that in assigning blame, the U.S., U.K., Europe generally, and Israel are the main culprits. The Arab states, who house a slight majority of the Palestinian diaspora, were dealt a terrible hand. The Arab people support the Palestinians.
3) Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, the secular political party seeking to bring Fatah and Hamas together, wrote in the Guardian on Nakba Day (15 May) 2023 an exceptionally lucid opinion piece urging “a single state where all citizens have equal rights”. Sounds good, but Barghouti fudges when it comes to the majority of Palestinians, namely those in the diaspora, adding only as an afterthought the sentence, “Today, 75 years after the Nakba, more than 6 million Palestinian refugees are unable to return to their homeland.” Perhaps the Zionist Guardian wouldn’t let him say whether the return of those Palestinians is part of his vision. And incidentally, if one tries to access the PNI’s own website – www.almubadara.org – one is informed that the site is ‘forbidden’. By whom? Why? But Wikipedia gives the basics.
1 June 2023 2 items
1) Rashida Tlaib, the US Congresswoman who supports ODS, was on a Zoomshow hosted by teenager Ezra Beinart, son of Peter Beinart (a professor who comes very close to supporting ODS – see also our entries of July 2019, August 2020, February 2021, June 2021, and September 2022). Ezra gathered 40 Jewish high-school students to talk with Tlaib, and he himself noticed, while working at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, D.C., “that a friend of his who worked there used ‘Palestine’ as readily as he used ‘Israel’.” That’s progress.
2) The personal story of Awad Abdelfattah, of the One Democratic State Campaign, can be read here. Among other things he goes into the history of Abna’a al Balad, the movement for one secular democratic state based in 1948-occupied Palestine. See also our entries of March 2018, January 2021 and October 2021.
3) From 8 April of the year 1925, as the Arab Executive Committee – elected by the Palestine Arab Congress – told the League of Nations Council what the indigenous people wanted: “The Zionist experiment in Palestine has, during the last six years, brought the country to the verge of ruin. … The situation may only be saved by the establishment of a National Constitutional Government in which the two communities – Arab and Jewish – will be represented in proportion to their numbers.” See entry #182 in the free online PDF of The Rape of Palestine: A Mandate Chronology by Blake Alcott.
4 May 2023 5 items
1) Foreign Affairs, the Establishment’s premier journal on international affairs, published on 14 April 2023 the article ‘Israel’s One-State Reality: It’s Time to Give Up on the Two-State Solution’. Sounds good, but its authors – Michael Barnett, Nathan Brown, Marc Lynch and Palestinian pollster Shibley Telhani – write as if only since the 2022 Israeli elections, and not since the Palestinians’ unanimous rejection, beginning in 1937, of any partition of Palestine, has it become obvious that two states is not a possible solution. (Its inherent injustice is not mentioned.) The West, they imply, must bite the bullet of the disappearance of the necessarily apartheid ethnocracy called Israel. The authors understand the terms ‘occupation’ and ‘apartheid’ as only applying to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the 1948-occupied territories – no words being lost on the Palestinians in the diaspora (the ‘refugees’). They do commendably chastise those “defending colonialist principles in a postcolonial world”, and write that “A one-state reality could, in principle, be based on democratic rule and equal citizenship. But such an arrangement is not on offer at the moment. And, “A better U.S. policy would advocate for equality, citizenship, and human rights for all Jews and Palestinians living within the single state dominated by Israel.” As for those living outside – tough luck, they are erased, sorry, no mention of the Right of Return.
2) The 4 authors of the above Foreign Affairs article also edited this anthology published 15 March 2023 by Cornell U. Press. Called The One State Reality: What is Israel/Palestine?, its chapters were written by Yousef Munayyer, Asad Ghanem & Mohanad Mustafa, Ian Lustic, Gershon Shafir, Yael Berda, Diana B. Greenwald, Nathan Brown & Iman Elbanna, Michael Barnett & Lara Friedman, Nadav Shelef, Shibley Telhami, Omar Rahman & Dahlia Scheindlin, Kevin Huggard & Tamara Cofman Wittes, Khaled Elgindy, Muriel Asseburg, and Marc Lynch.
3) A PDF-snapshot of the absurd polling of (some) Palestinians: http://www.jmcc.org/documents/Jmcc98En_m2211.pdf, i.e. Poll Nr. 98 of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Foundation) and the Jerusalem Media & Communication Center, dated October 2021 and titled ‘Palestinians in the West Bank favor one bi-national state over a two-state solution’, only polls the pool of at most 33% of Palestinians and moreover conflates bi-nationalism and One Democratic State (see in particular their messy Question 11). It even uses the sloppy term ‘one-state solution’, not bothering to add the term ‘democratic’ to distinguish it from the present one-state apartheid ‘solution’, aka the status quo. Such wealthy foundations and externally-supported outfits like Khalil Shikaki’s impossibly-named Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research have the wherewithal to stop the charade and make an attempt to poll all Palestinians. Do they not even try to do this because they correctly suspect that about three-fourths of all Palestinians reject out of hand all two-state (partition) solutions?
4) Want a feeling for how the world elite is hopelessly locked into the two-state narrative of permanent robbery of at least 85% of Palestine? See the UN Security Council shenanigans of 20 February 2023. Leni Stenseth of UNRWA at least mentions “the plight of Palestinian refugees” – who form a slight majority of all Palestinians but are routinely ignored in the laughably narrow focus of representatives on the SC of Ghana, Switzerland, China, UAE, etc.
5) A bit off-the-ODS-topic, there is a YouTube channel, uniquely good for the UK, co-hosted by Michael Walker, who here for instance features Mohammed el-Kurd cogently answering a BBC journalist’s questions. Both explode the ‘parity’ rubbish of two sides going violently tit for tat. Starting just before 6 minutes the ODS theme of British colonialism brilliantly appears, refuting the view that it’s an ‘ancient religious’ conflict rather than one between Palestinians and Zionists (British, Israeli, whoever). Aaron Bastani also joins the discussion.
6 April 2023 4 items
1) We deleted this item on 8 May 2023 because it got dates very wrong.
2) Katie Halper continues her wonderful work on Palestine, for instance in her interview with Noura Erekat (minutes 4-44) and Miko Peled (thereafter). [see also our entry for 1 December 2022] As of minute minute 1:18 Miko explains his support for ODS. At approximately minute 1:27 he quotes Taher Herzallah of American Muslims for Palestine, who when on a public panel was once asked ‘Don’t the Jews deserve a place of their own?’ He replied, “I have four words for you: not at my expense.” That’s it in a nutshell.
3) See also the episode of the Katie Halper Show ‘Norman Finkelstein: Should Israel Exist?’, 9 minutes long. Picking up the question answered so clearly by Taher Herzallah [see just above], Finkelstein posits “the right of the Jews, based on their experience during World War II, to have a place of refuge” then says this right and “that historic experience, it kind of, might be construed as, trumping the right of self-determination at least in part of Palestine.” Eliding between ethics and law, he says he “can see circumstances in which a historic experience can trump a legal right… or fundamental tenet of international law”. Asked point blank by Halper “So you think Israel had the right to create a nation in 48?”, Finkelstein can only tie himself in knots and change the subject by saying, “History is, what history is, it’s water under the bridge.” And: “It’s a tough question.”
4) Finally, Katie Halper also had on Jeff Halper (no relation), wherein both make the points that the Zionists ethnically cleansed many Palestinians and caused as well the flight to Israel of many Jews from African and Asian countries – and that the situation had and has nothing to do with a fight between Jews and Moslems. As of minute 9 Jeff Halper contrasts that really-existing Zionism with a mild “cultural Zionism” of which he approves and which says “we Jews want to come home, we want to revive our national culture, our national language, but we recognise that there’s also a Palestinian people here. … We want to come and be immigrants,… live with you, and we can develop our national cultures together.” Ben Yehuda, Szold, Magnes, and Buber all “believe[d] that yes, we’re a national group that should be here in the land of Israel [Eretz Israel] … but we don’t need a state.” This view unfortunately endorses the ethno-religious nationalism of a group, 99.5% of whose members had never even seen Palestine. The key word is national group, just as it was the key word in the Balfour Declaration. If they “should” be in Israel as a nation, then they have collective political rights in the present in Palestine and also a right to immigrate to Palestine. Again: on this basic issue ODS and such bi-nationalism hold irreconcilable positions.
2 March 2023 4 items
1) Katie Halper interviewed academics Lara Sheehi and Jim Cavallaro concerning their being punished for speaking up for Palestinians’ rights. Later on in this episode of Katie’s show she interviewed the sensational Tara Alami (who may or may not be a descendant of the great, great Musa Alami), who around 1:12 – 1:20 comes out against any partition of Palestine, correctly states that Palestine was stolen by Britain and Israel, and debunks the Palestinian Authority as a group of traitors and assassins who work for Israel – and the PA has no legitimate ‘authority’ anyway. On an even deeper level, she says that the whole fight to separate anti-Israelism from anti-semitism no longer interests her – a positive, Palestine-centric position.
2) Googling Tara Alami leads to her defense in Spring Magazine dated 21 September 2022 of the Boston-based Mapping Project. It has been denounced by the BNC (the BDS National Committee). Her framing and language is thoroughly consistent with that of ODS in refusing to focus on only the Palestinians between the river and the sea, in not recognising Israel’s legitimacy, and in supporting the boycotting and sanctioning of Israel as such, as the cause of Palestinian pain.
3) Reading about the Mapping Project lead to the all-volunteer jisr collective and the brilliant criticism on the jisr website of the BNC regarding its ideology, its funding and its many interventions to co-opt the BDS concept for the BNC – as opposed to the officially-declared policy that BDS is decentral and open to any non-racist actions. Due to the closeness between ODS and BDS – although the one is a goal, the other a means, and although the BNC is equivocal on many issues, timid in its language and framing, and even ideologically open to the two-state solution – this is required reading for anybody working for the one-democratic-state solution.
4) James North in Mondoweiss on 31 January 2023 makes the usual case that the two-state purported solution (TSPS) is in fact “dead”, i.e. will not and/or cannot be implemented by Israel. Formerly a TSPS supporter, he cites Thomas Friedman, Jerome Slater, “sources in the Israeli army”, Khalil Shikaki, Larry Derfner, and Israeli “settler/colonists” to bolster his argument, which does without any ethical observations on the injustice ot the TSPS. Nevertheless, he implicitly supports ODS.
2 February 2023 2 items
1) Al-Haq in late November 2022 reported on the work of a great coalition of Palestinian rights groups which “explores Israel’s settler colonial and apartheid regime”. This focus is consistent with the vision of ODS because, albeit in a negative framing, it shows Israel’s illegitimacy: Who on earth can claim that either colonialism or apartheid are legitimate? Once these characteristics are documented and demonstrated, the next step is to replace that ethnocracy – with a democracy. There are a few hairs in the soup: The report is quite long and repetititive, neglects to mention the superb report by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley (see our February 2021 entry), and unfortunately uses the term ‘regime’. ‘Regime’ blocks our view of the ethnic state ruling Palestine. It is that state itself, not any particular ‘regime’, which is by nature colonialist and apartheid. What ‘regime’ could do away with its colonialism (denying Right of Return, for example) and apartheid and still be ‘Israel’ rather than ‘Palestine’?
2) Another example of struggling for an undivided democratic state during the Mandate period bears the date 26 April 1948. The Arab Higher Committee’s spokesperson Jamal al-Husseini spoke to the UN’s First Committee’ against the General Assembly’s two-state resolution (#181) of the previous November which had “decided… to carve the living body of the country with the sharp knife of partition” although the rightful owners of Palestine, still around 68% of the population, absolutely rejected any partition. The AHC supported the last-minute effort of Security Council member U.S.A. to reverse November’s decision; the U.S. proposal would “lead to the independence of Palestine as a single democratic State in which the legitimate rights of the different sections of the citizens would be safeguarded”. Alas, both the UN Committee and the General Assembly drug their feet dealing with the U.S. proposal and anyway, Harry Truman soon withdrew it and three weeks later 15 May 1948 happened.
5 January 2023
Sorry, in the year’s end, year’s beginning busyness I forgot to post anything.
1 December 2022 3 items
Our member Miko Peled was interviewed in the U.S. on the Katie Halper Show, co-sponsored by the (very pro-Palestinian) People’s Forum, on 15 November 2022. Don’t be put of by the bad camera-work at the beginning. After a few segments from a work-in-progress film dealing with Bassem Tamimi and Nabi Saleh, Miko and Katie discuss his book The General’s Son and the fact that his niece was killed in a suicide attack in 1997. It seems his father Matti was already in 1995 a proponent of ODS! In Miko’s opinion, moves toward democracy and replacing the apartheid state are not going to come from within Israel but through outside pressure of all sorts, including sanctions at for instance the Olympics and World Cup and conceivably a 6th Fleet blockade. Even Meretz is now without representatives in the Knesset, and anyway ‘left Zionism’ is an oxymoron. We need some of the “zealotry” the Zionists have used, and a zealot needs a vision, ours being ODS. He also speaks correctly of the ‘occupied city of Lyd’ (which is in the 1948-occupied territory). Katie Halper herself, a woman with a wonderful sense of humor who seems to also support the principles of ODS, was recently fired from the news conglomerate The Hill because of her stand on Palestine.
Norton Mezvinsky, who for decades thought through and fought for One Democratic State, sadly passed away on 15 September 2022. Among other things he was a professor at Central Connecticut State University. He was among the thirty-five people who wrote and adopted the Munich Declaration at the Munich ODS conference of 30 June – 2 July 2012.
Another sad passing-away was that of Eli Aminov in August 2022. Since his youth he fought for a normal democracy in the country of his birth. He was close to Israel Shahak and was the main founder of the Committee for One Secular and Democratic Republic. A close friend of his, our member Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, has written on the Free Haifa website a wonderful obituary.
3 November 2022 4 items
1) Masar Badil seems to be going strong one year after its simultaneous launch in Madrid, Beirut and Sao Paolo (see our entries of 5 August 2021 and 3 December 2021). Its late-October Week of Return and Liberation resulted in a set of resolutions called the ‘Brussels Declaration’ which, behind the many international and revolutionary concepts, contains all the elements of ODS: right of return, the unity of Palestine, and the idiocy of the Oslo two-state charade.
2) Also timed to the infamous date of the Balfour Declaration – 2 November, a date which during the Mandate was often observed with strikes – was the conference ‘Reassessing the Mandate’ held at Birzeit University and online 31 October-2 November 2022. There are worlds separating this event from anything which Masar Badil stages. The conference papers were almost a-political in terms of current solutions, criticism of Oslo, or action plans to reach liberation – and thus also quite a distance from, say, Al-Shabaka. They were however implicitly political in a broader sense: the contributors’ historical and analytical work, and simply the sheer building of Palestinian narratives, are of course essential in the longer-term. Nevertheless, I got the impression of an academic team comprising a very good midfield, but which will not score any goals.
3) The Lebanese political party Citizens in a State explicitly supports ODS. In the most recent elections it got 1.5% of the popular vote – not enough for seats in parliament but a healthy start. There is some likelihood that our group – ODS in Palestine – and some members of the party will work together in the near future.
4) In the recent Israeli elections the political party closest to ODS, the National Democratic Assembly (‘Tajamoa’ or ‘Balad’) lost its only seat in the parliament, falling short of the 3.25% popular-vote threshold. The relatively leftist Meretz lost all 6 of its previous seats. Somebody is doing something wrong. But then again it is illegal in Israel to call for ODS – as it will probably soon be in many European countries. Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution will prevent this dire development in that country.
6 October 2022 no items - we simply forgot.
1 September 2022 3 items
1) This discussion is worth listening to in its entire 1 hour 28 minutes despite its having been podcasted way back in 2019. It is between Omar Barghouti and Peter Beinart, organised by the Foundation for Middle East Peace and introduced by FMEP’s Laura Friedman and the Arab American Institute’s Jim Zogby. To my mind Barghouti is far more convincing than Beinart (who however has made progress during the last three years). I also now understand better why BDS as such does not endorse ODS, which Barghouti, for one, publicly supports. However, the logic of BDS implies ODS: fulfilment of the Call’s 3 demands means literally Two Democratic States, but there is no reason on earth why ‘what belongs together should not grow together’ the very next morning. Finally, Barghouti’s interpretation of the Call for freedom from occupation as being limited to the areas occupied in 1967 is certainly BDS-internally correct; the problem is that the literal wording of the Call is ambiguous, tending towards inclusion of all of historic Palestine. Why confuse the public?
2) Illogical bogus charges of anti-semitism, as well as some rhetoric about Israel’s right to exist have been rife in Europe this summer, e.g. at Documenta in Kassel, at Theater Spektakel in Zürich (see item 3) and at Mahmoud Abbas’s press conference alongside German Kanzler Olaf Scholz. Relevant to the single-state topic is a false premise behind much of these smears, shared by the likes of Jonathan Freedland and other well-educated journalists, namely, as stated by someone online: “Any call to eradicate Zionism is antisemitic because it denies the rights of Jews to exist in their own state.” (‘Evelyn @filly_stein’) No it doesn’t. Anti-Zionism isn’t primary; it merely follows from the fulfilment of the Palestinians’ inalienable rights. In principle, the movement for Palestinian freedom can be absolutely neutral towards the question of whether the (self-defined) Jewish people have a right to their own state. It all depends on where that state would be and at whose cost, if anyone’s, its erection happens. Duh.
3) The Zürcher Theater Spektakel, under the aegis of social-democratic City President Corinne Mauch, hired performer/dancer Samaa Wakim and sound artist Samar Haddad King, who work out of Haifa, for three performances. Since Samaa and Samar are Palestinians and identify as Palestinian, the printed version of the Spektakel program said she and the production are from ‘Palästina, Haifa’. The local Zionist lobby raised hell – ‘Haifa is in Israel, not Palestine!’ – and the Spektakel immediately issued a grovelling, abject, embarrassing apology. Note that the supreme concern of the politicians here is to not be seen as denying Israel’s ‘right to exist’. Of course the negative expression of the core message of ODS is that no state which is a colonial ethnocracy, implementing by its very nature apartheid, has a right to exist – because it in its essence discriminates on the basis of ethnicity and/or religion. There can be no right to discriminate – much less ethnic cleanse, refuse return and and and. What’s more (see just above), this state is on land robbed from the indigenous Palestinian people and exists at extreme cost to them.
3 August 2022 0 items
ferragosto und 36°- back in September
7 July 2022 4 items
1) According to their email of 29 June, the BDS Movement is still focussed on the West Bank. They rightly take French insurance company AXA to task for its investments in Israeli banks. They write that “a shareholder asked AXA management when it would end its support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonial regime”. So far, so good, but this central organ of BDS then writes only of the fact that AXA is thus involved in “Israeli illegal settlements” – in the West Bank. What about the illegitimate – and perhaps even illegal – settlements in the 1948-occupied territories? The problem with this focus is that presumably, were Israel to withdraw from the 1967-occupied territories and treat the new rump-Palestine nicely, one would call of the boycott. But that contradicts the BDS Call of 2005, which includes ‘48’ and all the Palestinians in the diaspora.
2) The same criticism applies to the Good Shepherd Collective based in the South Hebron Hills. While it laudably calls itself “anti-Zionist”, by focussing on the West Bank it enables Zionism to get away with its divide-and-conquer approach. At this stage in the fight Zionists profit from the West-Bank-Gaza-Strip focus because the more attention we put there, the less attention and energy we have for the entire Zionist state, in all of historic Palestine, and its meaning for the ca. 7 million ethnically-cleansed Palestinians. The website is not clear whether by “Palestine” they mean all of ‘historic’ Palestine or just WBGS. Also, without argument they want to get away from the “binary discourse of ‘Israelis vs. Palestinians’”. Why would one want to get away from that accurate discourse?
3) All Palestinian leaders during the Mandate told the British time and time again that all they wanted was an independent, unpartitioned constitutional democracy. Perhaps the most eloquent advocates of this vision, which is simply ODS, was George Antonius. Susan Boyle’s excellent biography of Antonius, The Betrayal of Palestine (2001), writes that “he is… needed today as Palestinian-Israeli negotiations proceed without attention to first principles. The talks and solutions reflect the ongoing failure [on the Palestinian side] caused by lack of vision and of faith [, a] vision that could embrace and elevate, forgive and move, compensate and alleviate… Although demographics have changed, the country today hosts as much diversity as it did yesterday, and its need for institutions supporting democracy based on individual rather than communal rights is as great as ever.” Indeed, Antonius, along with Jamal al-Husseini, Musa Alami, Izzat Tannous and other heroes, continually lectured the British on the pitfalls of approaching Palestine’s future through the lens of Jewish and Palestinian collectives. They stood up for individual citizens’ rights, whether Moslem, Christian, Jews or Druze.
4) Another bit of history: When on 21 July 1937 the House of Commons was debating the recommendation of the Royal (‘Peel’) Commission to partition Palestine into sovereign Jewish and Arab states, Communist MP William Gallacher stood for Palestinian rights: “I rise as an absolute opponent of partition. I have heard Members talk about the Palestinians as though they had no right to Palestine, but we can never solve this question unless the basic right of the Palestinians to Palestine is understood right from the start. That is very important. There can be co-operation only if the Jewish people will recognise that basic right. But if you have a situation where the Zionists, who are not representing the interests of the Jewish people but who represent a particular political trend, say, ‘Yes, we will meet round a table with the Arabs,’ but always with the understanding that the Jews must get a majority in Palestine, to talk about meeting round a table is utterly futile. We have had people say in the House that in no circumstances will the Zionist movement consider anything else but a majority of Jews in Palestine. That can never bring us understanding. … Let the Zionists make an arrangement with the Arabs.” Can you imagine any politician anywhere – even in the West Bank or Gaza Strip! – today loudly acknowledging that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians? I can’t.
2 June 2022 3 items
1) U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, Michigan, is not only Palestinian but supports one democratic state; see our entry of June 2020. (The only Palestinian U.K. MP, Layla Moran, by contrast supports the Zionist two-state solution and believes in Israel’s right to exist; see our entry of September 2019.) Precisely because she sticks to principles Tlaib is facing a well-funded AIPAC-backed opponent in the late-summer primaries, according to this report in Mondoweiss by Mitchell Plitnick. Whoever wins the primary is certain to go to Congress for this safe Democratic seat.
2) Further on the U.S. scene, Philip Weiss at Mondoweiss reports on polls by Pew and Shibley Telhami of U.S.-Americans’ attitudes towards Palestine, Israel, the two-state solution and both the one-Zionist-state and one-democratic-state visions. The article usefully shows exactly how the questions are formulated. Pew “found surprising support for one democratic state among Democrats”. But also that “30% of all U.S. adults say God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people”. With God there is no rational argument, so how to settle a dispute?
3) Going back a century, exactly to 11 July 1919, one of Sherif Hussein’s sons, Emir Faisal, supported a unified democratic state in all of Syria against the (successful) British-French attempt to divide up Ash-Sham and deny democracy in its Palestinian, Transjordanian, Lebanese and rump-Syrian parts – just as the two-state solution today attempts for Palestine alone. Ever since the 1850s, he said to Palestine Military Governor Gilbert Clayton, “the Syrians desire to establish a Democratic Government on the decentralisation principle, safeguarding the rights of minorities and maintaining local traditions”. This is in the British National Archives’ file FO 371/4181. Faisal was not alone: the Syrians, including the Southern Syrians (Palestinians) virtually unanimously supported this vision.
5 May 2022 4 items
1) Two more reports accuse Israel of apartheid: First, according to Mondoweiss of 5 April 2022, Harvard Law School’s “human rights clinic in partnership with Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association” claims the Zionist entity practices apartheid “on the West Bank”. Second, the “United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Michael Lynk,” reported to the “UN Human Rights Council on March 21, 2022” that it practices apartheid in “in the occupied Palestinian territory”. Both are anti-climactic in covering only the 1967-occupied territories, ignoring the 1948-occupied territories as well as the slight majority of Palestinians who do not live in either area. In this they fall behind the reports of Richard Falk & Virginia Tilley (2017) and Amnesty International (2022) – see our entries for February 2021, July 2021, and February 2022. In their blindness to the facts that Israel also occupies ‘Israel’ and that the crime of apartheid hits the 7,000,000+ Palestinians in the diaspora, these two studies arguably contribute to the problem as well as to the solution.
2) The Balfour Project - https://balfourproject.org - will hold webinars on 17 & 18 May 2022 featuring Ghada Karmi, Hanan Ashrawi, Leila Sansour, Michael Lynk, Avi Shlaim and Rory Stewart MP. Topic: the Mandate, which resulted in the partition of Palestine and destroyed the possibility of what the Palestinians during the thirty Mandate years demanded: a united and independent Palestine with a proportional-representative, democratic government (ODS) – see next entry just below. The group’s two aims are: 1) “Acknowledging Britain’s historic and continuing responsibilities to uphold equal rights for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples through popular education and advocacy”; and 2) “To persuade the British Government to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.” The Balfour Project is a two-state group through and through, with almost exclusively British, non-Palestinian Board members and Advisors.
3) One of several dozen examples of Palestinians during the Mandate presenting their demand for a normal democratic state were the resolutions of the Palestine Women’s Congress of 26-29 October 1929, which the women presented in person to High Commissioner John Chancellor in Jerusalem. They rejected with no ifs or buts the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, and demanded “a National Government, responsible before a Representative Council in which the population will be represented in proportion to their numerical strength”. Among their many other lobbying attempts, with the same message, they sent resolutions on 28 January 1932 to the Permanent Mandates Commission in Geneva. The delegation refused the coffee Chancellor offered them. Present were Mrs. Mogannam E.T. Mogannam, Anbara Khalidi, Mme Zakiyya al-Husayni, Mrs. Awni Abdul Hadi, and others, including some of the following members: President Madame Dr. Khalidi; Treasurer, Miss Shahinda Duzdar. Members: Mesdames Jamal Husseini, Musa Alami, Shukry Deeb, Boulos Shihadeh, Subhi El Khadra; Misses Zahia Nashashibi, Fatma Husseini, Khadijah Husayni, Zleigha Shihabi. The Congress had branches in Jerusalem, Acre, Nazareth, Haifa, Yaffa, Ramallah, Tulkarem, and Safed.
4) On 4 May 2022 the Jewish Network for Palestine did a webinar, hosted by long-time ODS supporter Haim Bresheeth, discussing Jonathan Kuttab’s book Beyond the Two-State Solution. It was recorded and will soon be available on the JNP’s website. Kuttab by no means denies the ethical, political and historical assymetry and inequality between the claims and rights of the two sides, but believes only “relative” justice can be attained and thus proposes a constitutional one-democratic-state structure which in effect treats both sides as equally. He supports the Right of Return and also, in effect, Israel’s Law of Return – any Jew should be able to emigrate to Palestine. It is difficult to understand his concept of “a Jewish state that’s not exclusively Jewish” and “an Arab state that is not exclusively Arab”, but that is a minor criticism. His physical book can be bought, or the electronic version is free online.
7 April 2022 3 items
1) Longtime ODS supporter Jafar Ramini, who lives in London, back in October 2021 posted a timeless and heartfelt plea for the reclamation of his homeland.
2) The Jewish Insider on 11 March covered a hot speech given to the Woman’s National Democratic Club of Washington, D.C. by Paul O’Brien, Amnesty USA’s Director. The talk focussed on the political opinions of US-American Jews, not Palestinians. Journalist Gabby Deutch correctly interprets Amnesty’s recent identification of Israel as an apartheid state as amounting to the belief that “the Jewish state does not have a right to exist”, while O’Brien says only that Israel “shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state”. Deutch also says US Jews do not want the “one-state solution” implicitly supported by Amnesty. Whether the state in Palestine that is presently Jewish would still be ‘Israel’ if it were no longer Jewish and apartheid, is a question not delved into.
3) Under the auspices of our ODS group, young academic, journalist and author Yousef Aljamal on 8 March interviewed veteran ODS supporters Mohammad El-Helu (Ramallah) and Mazin Qumsiyeh (Bethlehem) in Arabic.
3 March 2022 3 items
1. As John Quigley from a lawyer’s point of view succinctly wrote on 11 February in Politics Today, Israel is One (literally criminal) Apartheid State. ODS wants to replace the ‘Apartheid’ with ‘Democratic’, with the demos including all former citizens of mandatory Palestine and their descendants. See also our entry of 3 February 2022.
2. Phil Weiss in Mondoweiss on 18 February writes about the two-state solution “lie” which U.S. Democrats keep telling themselves. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, in the House of Lords nine months ago, similarly fell back on the unjust, unpeaceful two-state solution – in an otherwise passionate pro-Palestinian speech. This ideology, which erases the Palestinians in Israel and in the diaspora, has gotten the Palestinians nowhere – on the contrary.
3. One of the best books on Palestine has since 2008 been Palestine Inside Out by ODS supporter Saree Makdisi, Professor of English Literature at UCLA. Now he has written a new one, Tolerance Is a Wasteland. Compare the less incisive sweeping histories by Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University, who does not support ODS (The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine, 2020), and Enemies and Neighbours by Zionist Ian Black, long-time Guardian journalist now at home at the London School of Economics.
3 February 2022 7 items
1) Amnesty International’s exposure of Israel as an apartheid state is 280 pages long, but Yumna Patel in Mondoweiss on 1 February published an outstanding summary. She points out that Amnesty has here gone a laudable step farther than the similar reports of early 2021 by Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem (see our entries for 6 May 2021 and 1 July 2021) in including in the concept ‘apartheid’ Israel’s treatment of the millions of refugees Israel won’t allow to return to Palestine; in this, of course, Amnesty follows and references the groundbreaking study of Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley in 2016/17 (see our entry for February 2021). To be sure, the HRW report did list among Israel’s “abuses” its “not permitting the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in 1948 and their descendants to return to Israel”, but this is given only miniscule space in the report. Patel gives space as well to Palestinian human-rights expert Rania Muhareb to criticise the Amnesty report for omitting any serious discussion or criticism of Zionism itself, which is inherently apartheid.
2) Rania Muhareb’s analysis of Amnesty’s report also emphasises that “it signals a shift in long-term human rights policy towards Palestine, from one focused on the Israeli occupation since 1967 to one encompassing the Palestinian people as a whole. This includes Palestinian refugees…”. She also, in contrast to Patel’s piece and the Amnesty report itself, references Falk and Tilley’s 2016/17 study (see just above). She points out that Amnesty “fails to recognise the Palestinian people’s collective right to self-determination” (in all of Palestine, of course).
3) Ghada Karmi in the Middle East Eye on 20 January, in an article sub-titled “Reclaiming all of Palestine, not just the 1967 territories, should be a top priority for Palestinians everywhere”, pleas with Palestinians to seek citizenship in Israel – as she has done numerous times, e.g. in Loewenstein & Moor’s After Zionism, on Open Democracy, in the London Review of Books and for Al Jazeera. (see our entries of September 2019, January 2020 and November 2021). She notes that this would be true emulation of the ANC’s successful tactic against apartheid South Africa. This move would not close the doors to finishing the project of a single democratic state, for with “political rights [and] representation in parliament” there would emerge “eventually an immigration policy that could admit Palestinian refugees”. She shows understanding for the largely emotional reasons why many Palestinians don’t want to pursue this path, but finishes by saying of this “reclaiming” of all of Palestine: “If that can come only through Israeli citizenship, then so be it.”
4) Karmi also cites a 6 January Washington Post article by Mairav Zonszein advising Israel to “grant the right to citizenship, full equality and enfranchisement of all those living under [its] control, at least until a genuine negotiated solution is back on the table”. Since Zonszein doesn’t mention the 7 million Palestinians seeking return, she presumably does not, in contrast to Falk and Tilley (see just above), regard them as also under Israel’s “control”. She also sees “Israel’s internationally recognized 1948 borders” as OK and legitimate, so her position comes down to the soft-Zionist two-state solution.
5) The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) on 28 January published a moving interview of very-longtime ODS supporter, filmmaker and professor Haim Bresheeth. It is truly inspiring.
6) For those interested in opinions of Gazans and West Bankers on the one-democratic-state versus two-state solutions, a recent one (scroll down to Poll No. 98) by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung shows diminishing support for the latter. Unfortunately, the poll’s pertinent question – Q11 – speaks only of a “bi-national” option to two states and reports many Palestinians’ support for an undefined “Palestinian state”. Not least because Gazans and West Bankers are numerically not even half the total Palestinian population, we are none the wiser.
7) A bit off-topic: Al Jazeera recently posted a 47-minute documentary called ‘Palestine 1920’. It is excellent, with wonderful visual material, but I have no idea why they chose Ian Black, the Zionist former Guardian editor, as their British interlocutor. I would love to see Black in head-to-head conversation with one of the main Palestinian interlucutors, the 91-year-old Ismail Abu Shehadeh, who grew up in Jaffa and experienced the theft of his homeland first-hand. Sadly, as Al Jazeera writes in the closing frames, “Eyewitness Ismail Abu Shehadeh died soon after he recorded his interview for this programme.” Also analysing from the Palestinian side are renowned historians Johnny Mansour and Bayan al-Hout, an ODS supporter and longtime Beirut resident.
6 January 2022 5 items
1) Henry Cattan (1906-1992) of Jerusalem, lawyer and advisor to the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee and the Arab UN-member states while UNSCOP was other-determining Palestine’s future in 1947, upheld before the General Assembly’s ‘First Committee’ the ODS position espoused by the Palestinian leadership ever since at least 1921. This 11-minute video captures the essence of what he told them on 9 May, not a week before Israel’s usurpation of Palestine. His full testimony (search for ‘Kattan’) contained a remark relevant to today’s non-sensical conflation of Palestine liberation with antisemitism: “The problem was not an Arab-Jewish problem. Arab opposition to Jewish immigration would be equally strong against any group attempting to force immigrants into the country against the will of the Arabs.”
2) Mondoweiss founder and editor Phil Weiss on 2 January 2022 wrote a heartfelt plea for his fellow internationals, specifically in his own Jewish community, to support “one democratic state”. The article’s title is ‘If you had a Palestinian child – could you support the “2-state solution”?’ He answers, “I’m sure the answer is No.” Further: “I wonder if this is the year when the two-state solution finally dies in Washington.”
3) 350,000 Palestinians live in Chile, most of them presumably supporters of Club Deportivo Palestino football team and also of newly-elected President Gabriel Boric. The Palestine Chronicle on 22 December 2021 reported this good news: “The 35-year-old – who called Israel a “murderous state” – has previously campaigned for a boycott of goods, services and products from illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.” He has called on Israel “to return the illegally occupied Palestinian territory.” But can Boric go farther than this partition rhetoric, perhaps joining U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for the actual end of the murderous state (see our entry for June 2020)? Will he even stick to his soft-Zionist position in the face of the Zionist lobby?
4) Speaking of Rashida Tlaib, her fellow Michigan Congressperson Andy Levin has introduced a bill called the ‘Two-State Solutions Act’ to officially back the destructive partition of Palestine. Despite that, so this article, the two are friends although Tlaib “opposes Israel’s existence as a Jewish state”.
5) Is the UN ‘Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process’, who is firmly stuck in the UN’s two-state paradigm and allied with the so-called ‘Middle East Quartet’ (the U.S., the U.N, the EU and Russia), part of the solution or part of the problem? The ‘peace process’ is after all an Oslo term which incorrectly presupposes two legitimate and equal combattants facing off against each other. In this briefing given by Coordinator Tor Wennesland to the Security Council on 19 October 2021, the penultimate paragraph implores the world to return “back to genuine negotiations and end the occupation and allow for the realization of a two-State solution, on the basis of 1967 lines, international law, UN resolutions, and previous agreements.” This is the solution?
2 December 2021 3 items
1) The ideology of the new Palestine-Liberation movement Masar Badil (Alternative Path), which was simultaneously founded on 30 October in Madrid, Saõ Paolo and Beirut, is almost identical to that of ODS. On 29 November, the 74th anniversary of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 giving faux-legitimacy to a Jewish state on 55% of the land of historic Palestine, Masar Badil wrote this letter to the UN Secretary General. A report on the Madrid conference of this new organisation appeared in the Palestine Chronicle of 10 November, and another one appeared in Middle East Monitor of 17 November.
2) On 14 November at Bethlehem University a panel discussed ‘The Struggle for a Democratic State in Historic Palestine – consisting of Munir Nuseibah, Jonathan Kuttab, Lamis Deek, Miko Peled, Jeff Halper and Claudia Chaufon. It was organised by the International Manifesto Group, which perhaps will upload a recording of the discussion.
3) Check out this one-democratic-state group which is abbreviated as ODSP and since 2018 works for “One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens.” They urge a re-unification of Palestinian forces under a single-democratic-state ideology before the single state can be founded, and “believe in the need to withdraw completely from farcical negotiations with the colonial entity” which “the old Palestinian leadership” continues to do, serving only “regression”.
4 November 2021 5 items
1) Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the UN on 24 September pleading with the international community to save the two-state solution, which Israel is torpedoing. He said if the Zionist world powers don’t free the West Bank and Gaza Strip soon, ‘Palestinians’ (not necessarily he himself) would demand a normal democracy between the river and the sea. Of course he didn’t mention the refugees. And why does he want the Palestinian state to be on the 1967 borders, not the 1947 ones?
2) Ghada Karmi back on 16 July 2020 wrote in Open Democracy that the next step in the liberation of Palestine should be exactly what Abbas ‘threatened’ the UN with: equal rights for all those now living in Palestine. She originally advocated for this in her chapter in the 2012 Loewenstein & Moor anthology After Zionism and at the 2013 Stuttgart ODS conference, and will expand on it in her chapter in the forthcoming anthology edited by Ramzy Baroud and Ilan Pappe. The idea seems to be that after that is achieved, new majorities can start to work on enabling the return of the refugees as citizens.
3) Blake Alcott wrote an appeal in the Palestine Chronicle for a Call for ODS, patterned on the 2005 Call for BDS, to be sent out by Palestinians only. The ODS vision, already popular among international solidarity activists, could resound within general Western opinion, leading the pro-Zionist governments on which Israel still depends to re-think things. The article asks Palestinians whether they really mean it when encouraging activists to chant the well-known slogan at rallies, ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ – a slogan blatantly inconsistent with any two-state solution.
4) Back to the bankrupt mainstream, just to check the pulse of power and watch its oh-so-reasonable face: the Middle East Policy Council interviewed one Perry Cammack, apparently a high-up in Washington policy circles, who argues that in Palestine ‘both peoples are equal’, mentions ‘one state’ ambiguously without mention of Right of Return or ODS, defends Israel’s right to defend itself and co-opts the ‘rights-based approach’ for the goal of a two-state solution.
5) For hope and refreshment, take a look at this 2012 report by BADIL and Zochrot on their research-on-the-ground into the modalities of Return. Working with both indigenous Palestinians and colonial settlers, they ask the tough questions: ‘How, for instance, is return to materialize to a village whose inhabitants numbered less than two thousand before the Nakba, and who now number in the tens of thousands? Are the descendants of large landowners to return to bountiful properties, while the many more descendants of workers, sharecroppers and tenant farmers to return to no property at all? Is what remains of Palestine’s terraced hillsides to be turned into concrete jungles of parceled out houses over which present and future heirs can differ? What will be the fate of a productive factory that lies on the land of Palestinian returnees?’ We need answers if we are to explain ODS (+ RoR) to the public.