On Saturday and Sunday, Harvard University will host a conference that purports to "expand the range of debate" on the so-called "one-state solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In other words, the destruction of the State of Israel.
The conference itself has elicited a protest from the Anti-Defamation League, but, despite a mention here and there, has not caused any general uproar in the media.
Jeffrey Goldberg, a leading pro-Israel columnist and blogger, may have just changed that. In a syndicated column, Goldberg carefully lays out the "one-state" rationale and then proceeds to destroy it, calling it nothing more than a "euphemism" for Israel's end.
The one-staters posit that they differ from the [eliminationist PLO] approach or from the ideology of Hamas. They don’t seek the expulsion of Jews from Palestine, they say, but instead the creation of a unified parliament that would represent all Arabs and Jews between the river and the sea.
Instead of two ethnic- based states, they say, there would be one harmonious, pluralistic democracy.
Many also demand repealing Israel’s Law of Return, which allows Jews to immigrate to Israel, and replacing it with a new law of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. This last item in their platform is offered with a knowing wink: The migration of four or five million Palestinians into this “shared” state would turn what is today the world’s only Jewish- majority state into the world’s 22nd Arab state.
Goldberg then goes on to show how any unified state of Palestinians and Israelis would amount to an instant recipe for civil strife and paralysis.
Some of the most persuasive arguments against one-statism, in fact, come from the left. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of J Street, the liberal pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, told me that the one-state solution is a “one-state nightmare.” Gershom Gorenberg, in his new book, “The Unmaking of Israel,” a jeremiad directed at the Jewish settlement movement, writes at length about the absurdity at the heart of the proposal.
So what motivates the Harvard students organizing the conference, the ones who claim that the meeting is intended to "educate ourselves and others about the possible contours of a one-state solution and the challenges that stand in the way of its realization"? Goldberg has a couple of ideas.
There are people, perhaps including some of the Harvard students organizing the conference, who advocate “one-statism” out of naivete. But the leaders of the movement are not naive. They understand their project shares a goal with Hamas: the elimination of Israel as a homeland and haven for Jews.
As noted on this page recently, we concur in that assessment.
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