Peace with Realism

Home Contents Site Map Links Search

Israel's Right to Exist Questioned

Before considering some sites to which the Sanders link, I would like to cite just a few more comments from the Sanders themselves expressing their hostility toward Israel.

The Sanders question Israel's right to exist. In their Feedback section, Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders write:

Many young Palestinians have said quite openly that the cease-fire means nothing to them, no matter who calls for it. What we are seeing is the result of fifty years of discrimination, occupation, and ghettoization, and seven years of a peace process which has relegated Palestinians to South African-style bantustans. People are angry and frustrated and tired.(28)

I have addressed the issue of "bantustans" elsewhere. The point here concerns the phrase "fifty years of occupation." The Sanders wrote those words in the year 2000. Israel's presence in the territories dates from 1967, only 33 years before the Sanders wrote their message and 36 years before I am writing this. The phrase "fifty years of occupation" is very well known and often heard in the speech of Arab propagandists. It means that even pre-1967 Israel, created half a century ago, is considered an "occupation" and therefore has no right to exist. Anyone familiar with the rhetoric of the Middle East conflict will have heard this phrase many times. The Sanders go even further: they link the term "ghettoization" to "occupation" in talking about the fifty years since Israel was established, implying that Israel's very existence amounts to "ghettoization." Since no other country has ever been called a "ghettoizer" simply because it exists, one may wonder why the Sanders single out Israel for this distinction.

Lest there be any doubt about the Sanders' position on Israel's right to exist, here are a few more explicit statements. The Sanders favor replacing Israel with a "binational" state:

I believe the only peaceful future lies in a single binational democratic state. Not too many people are willing to talk about that on either side. But it's a vision that gives me hope.(29)

I believe, with all of my heart, that the only true, just, and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine will be achieved when there is a single, binational state. This nation will be bilingual. It will have one capital, Jerusalem. It will offer Right of Return for all people of Jewish and Palestinian ancestry. It will provide equal rights to its Palestinian citizens. Settlements will be called villages, and its civilian population will no longer be armed. Resources will be distributed equally. All shall serve in its military. It will necessarily set up a framework similar to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It will be constitutional, and it will be a democracy.(30)

What would a binational state mean in practice? It would be another Arab-majority state with a Jewish minority subject to persecution, as has happened to Jews in every Arab country in which they lived. Considering the history of the region, it is inconceivable that such an entity would remain a democracy. It would become the 23rd Arab country, as autocratic as the others, in which Jews would exist at their peril.

The "Right of Return" is also a very controversial topic right now. Jews already have a right of return to Israel proper. The appropriate provision for a Palestinian right of return would be a separate and independent Palestinian state; that is the whole intent of partition. The demand for a Right of Return for all designated Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel is a transparent strategy to flood Israel with Arab immigrants, destroying it as a Jewish state and making Jewish self-determination impossible.

Binational states have many times proven unviable. The binational concept has not worked in Yugoslavia, nor in Lebanon, nor in pre-Pakistan India, nor in pre-Bangladesh Pakistan. It will certainly not work in Israel/Palestine, where the values and customs of the two populations are so different and where there has been such a long and intense history of conflict. "Binational state" is clearly a code phrase signifying the end of Israel as a Jewish state, which means the end of Israel, period.

The Sanders clearly see no room in the Middle East for a Jewish Israel. On how to guarantee the rights and safety of Jews living in the Middle East, given the long history of Arab anti-Jewish hatred, they are completely silent.

Previous Next

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:
Peace with Realism