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Michael Neumann abandons the one-state solution by Jay Knott (11/08/11)       ⇌ (Israel and the US)       


Michael Neumann is a great influence. His 'The Palestinians and the Party Line' was the first article I read which made me question "how, exactly, is it in the interests of capitalism to favor the Israelis over the Palestinians?".


He also wrote a book called 'The Case Against Israel'. His position has gradually changed since then, a result of the relentless pressure of Zionism on Canadian academia - it's worse there than in the USA.

I'll try to reply to his new article here.

Neumann's new article ends by arguing that the only thing that will stop Israel's increasingly dangerous behavior is a serious rearmament program amongst her neighbors. He counts Israel as one of the world's great military powers: "with luck it could probably wipe out the United States, never mind the tiny occupied territories".

But Israel is more fragile than it looks. The world is gradually turning against it. In 2006, it was defeated by Hizbollah, a non-governmental militia in Lebanon. If it used even one nuclear weapon, Israelis would no longer be able to travel, and they like to travel.

The main thrust of his Counterpunch piece is to argue that the one-state solution - where all Palestinians have the right of return, and the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel become one country with equal rights for all, so it would cease to be a Jewish state - is a hopeless utopia. He gives nine reasons, some of them quite convincing. They amount to saying Israel is determined to remain a Jewish state, is very powerful where its opponents are weak, and it has powerful supporters all over the world.

Neumann explicitly claims the two-state solution currently being pursued by the Palestinian Authority is NOT a 'Bantustan' solution, like the little ethnic pseudo-states within apartheid South Africa, such as KwaZulu for the Zulu people.

I agree. It would be worse. The South African airforce didn't bomb the Bantustans. A separate Palestinian state would be a rag-tag archipelago full of poor people, lorded over by a state with millions of times more military power, who would frequently use it to kill uppity Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership would bask in their official acceptance and spend most of their time talking to world statesmen in New York and Geneva.

Neumann's retort to this is nominalist:

"By ‘the two-state solution’ is meant two sovereign states; otherwise it would be called the one-state-one-non-state-solution. No advocate of the two-state solution has shown any disposition to accept Bantustans."

It doesn't matter what it's called. It might be called 'The Greater Palestinian Empire' but it would in fact be a series of ethnic ghettos. It doesn't matter how much 'disposition to accept' Bantustans the two-staters might show - that's what they'd get.

Neumann uses the same argument as Noam Chomsky - that the 'two peoples' couldn't live together if packed into a single state. This means that the Western countries should make an exception to their current opposition to racialist states - to treat Jews as special, to reward them for their intransigence. There is no racial definition of citizenship in the USA, and only a weak version in some Western countries, all of whom are losing it. There are black Italians, Swedes and Danes. There are Arab Israelis, too, but Israel isn't importing any more of them - unlike Western countries, which are gradually losing their white majorities. Left-liberal readers will misread the previous sentence as saying its unfortunate they are losing their white majorities - which is not what it says.

South Africa was forced to drop an ethnic definition of citizenship in favor of a color-blind consititution. But in the case of Israel, Neumann and Chomsky argue, the West has to drop its principles, because packing together these particular two peoples wouldn't work - they don't like each other. Obviously, this falls into the false analogy between the violence of the oppressor and of the oppressed which left-wing intellectuals normally eschew. Neumann is no pacifist, though - he argues that Arab nations have the right, and duty, to develop nuclear weapons.

He exaggerates dislike of Jews among Palestinians. Jewish activists have no problem in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Most of the hatred is in the opposite direction, so saying the two peoples can't get along is a concession to Jewish racism. The last advocate of a separate white state in South Africa was Eugène Terre `Blanche. He said that blacks and whites couldn't get along, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy when he was murdered by some of his black employees last year. My point is, advocates of a two (or more) state solution in South Africa were regarded as far-right pariahs, but Jews arguing for the same thing in Palestine are considered left-wing progressives. That's how racist this society is - it's pro-Jewish. That's what needs to be faced up to and changed.

If Israel were as secure as Neumann thinks, it wouldn't need the Israel Lobby, the effort that goes into forcing Western politicans to see Israel as an ally, and to isolate any who question it, even slightly. The power and energy of this lobby is illustrated every day. An amusing recent incident was when the presidents of the USA and France were accidentally recorded complaining about their Israeli counterpart. President Obama said "you're tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day," Why does the leader of the world's only superpower have to deal with a foreign head of state 'every day'? The reason was revealed immediately, when his rivals for next year's election all jumped on his words, competing with each other to see who could denounce Obama most for criticizing Israel. Why is this? Jewish voters only constitute about 2.5% of the US electorate, and most of them vote Democrat. It's not because the USA is afraid of an Israeli attack. It's Jewish power in the electoral system, backed by the clever use of money and emotional blackmail, which forces every Western country to pay for the right of Jews to practice apartheid.

The solution is to stop it. The first thing is consciousness-raising - getting rid of the idea that Israel is a strategic asset, and the fear of being anti-Semitic. The left is mostly hopeless, as I recently discovered when trying to engage some of them in a discussion about the Lobby - both Marxism and political correctness are obstacles to Palestine solidarity. Christianity, patriotism and white identity, on the other hand, all lead to opposing any support for the Jewish state. (Note that I don't personally feel Christian nor patriotic, nor have a sense of white identity - I'm talking about what will work, not what is). The only Congressman currently advocating an end to all aid to Israel is a Republican. The rest of his party is apparently hopeless, but that's not because they are conservative, proud white European, Christian and patriotic. It's to the extent that they are not these things that they kiss up to the Lobby. Yes, there are Christian Zionists, as the left continually reminds us (Christian-bashing is so much easier than opposing Jewish power). But Christian Zionists are exploited by Jewish Zionists, so they have to be approached in a different way.

Having lost the idea that Israel is a friend of the West, and any concern about Jewish feelings, the next thing is to campaign against the Lobby, and its myriad organizations. I will name just three - the triple-A of the AJC, AIPAC and the ADL. Citizens need to be mobilized to oppose these agents of a foreign power, who are opposed to Western values. Does this sound like Joe McCarthy? I don't care who it sounds like. Consciousness-raising means overcoming the fears and neuroses which hold us back from doing the right thing. It means asking whose interests these hang-ups serve. Asking why we are more concerned about Jewish feelings than Palestinian lives and our welfare.

We need to make the leaders of the Western countries impose their own interests and principles. This means putting pressure on Israel to accept a one-state solution, the right of return of all Palestinian refugees, an end to the right of Jews to emigrate to Israel, and equal rights for anyone who is there now.

A two-state solution is little different to what exists now. The only solution is one state for all Palestine's inhabitants. It's no good saying its impractical - its the only solution. Its the only one that is compatible with modern Western values - anti-racism, human rights, that kind of thing.The defense of these values cannot be answered by saying they are impractical - it's up to the Western countries to put pressure on Israel to adhere to them. Surely this would have some effect, even if it fell short of complete success. It's pathetic to announce that Israel is too strong to influence - and in part, its a self-fulfilling prophecy. And its not true that the USA and its allies never stand up for their official principles - they did when they boycotted apartheid South Africa, which really was an ally.

The Western countries don’t fail to impose a one-state solution on Israel because it’s impractical, it’s impractical because they fail to impose it. The question is, why?

The vast majority of the inhabitants of the Western world have every interest in ending Zionism, which is an increasingly dangerous and expensive albatross around all our necks.

Contrast Michael Neumann's pessimism with Gilad Atzmon's optimism in his astounding new book, The Wandering Who?

Atzmon is a man who has lost his Jewish identity, and with it, his fear of Jewish power...

Previous comments about Neumann's articles: http://pacificaforum.org/responses-to-michael-neumann-on-israel-and-anti-semitism


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