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August 4, 2016 1:33 pm

Is Israel’s US Ambassador Serious?

avatar by Martin Sherman

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Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. Photo: Facebook.

“There is no reason, concretely and in principle, why Jews should not be able to live in a future Palestinian state”-–  Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, July 28, 2016.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” attributed to Albert Einstein

I realize, of course, that juxtaposing these two excerpts might seem to some to be an overly caustic castigation of our esteemed envoy in Washington. But things are getting out of hand. In recent weeks, the Israeli public has been subjected to a barrage of imbecility from its leaders — with each statement/declaration/proposal attaining new levels of naked absurdity. It is an absurdity that must be exposed and expunged from the political discourse in Israel.

Cavalcade of the crackpot and the crazy

In past columns, I have discussed some of the more demented ideas that have been raised in the national discourse by prominent individuals and/or organizations as allegedly serious policy proposals.

For example, in “Gaza: A port is no panacea for poverty” (May 27, 2016), I dealt with the harebrained and hazardous proposition made – among others, by Israel Katz, Minister of Intelligence(!) and Transport, to build a detachable port for Gaza on an artificial off-shore islet.

In “Imbecility squared:Parts 1 & 2” (June 10 &17, 2016), I wrote of the perils inherent in the “plan” advanced by a group of over 200 former senior security officers, called “Commanders for Israel’s Security,” to convert the areas of Judea-Samaria into a giant South Lebanon, unilaterally transforming “disputed territories” into “occupied” ones.

Likewise,  in “Utterly unconscionable” (July 1, 2016),  I detailed the fatal folly of the so-called “reconciliation” accord, concluded by the Netanyahu government with Erdogan’s Turkey, warning of its many ill-advised  defects — particularly giving the increasingly theocratic and tyrannical Islamist regime, closely allied to the Muslim Brotherhood, a firm foothold in Gaza.

So in some respects, Ambassador Dermer’s staggeringly stupid remark was merely another component in the continuing cavalcade of the crackpot and the crazy that has become the depressing norm in the conduct of Israeli politics.

Core essence of Zionism

But in some respects it was even more disturbing and detached from any grasp of reality.

Made at an event held by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the remark highlighted the impossible dilemma in which Likud-led coalitions have been trapped since Netanyahu’s ill-advised Bar-Ilan Speech, in which he declared his willingness — in violation of his electoral pledges — to accept the possibility of Palestinian statehood. Moreover, Dermer’s remark also reflected the dismaying degree by which the core values of Zionism have been obscured, eroded and forgotten

Sadly — but not unpredictably — the latter is an inevitable product of the former. In its barest essentials, Zionism comprises conveying Jews from living under alien sovereign rule to living under Jewish sovereign rule. This is particularly true for Jews living under an inhospitable alien sovereign authority. That is the very sine qua non of the Zionist ideal, enshrined in the words of the national anthem, Hatikvah:

Our hope of two thousand years will not be lost.

To be a free people in our own land, the land of Zion…

Absent this component, the notion of Zionism is left bereft of any substantive content. But this is precisely what Dermer’s remark is prescribing — and worse.

Perversion of Zionism’s essence

For it is not only suggesting that this core element of Zionism be set aside, but that, in fact, it be inverted. Perversely, this prospect of the sacrifice of Zionist essence is to be made at the altar of the disproven — but somehow never discredited, and certainly never discarded — political deity of “Two States.”

So Dermer is utterly wrong — on all counts.

There is every reason — both in principle and concretely — why the notion of Jews living in a Palestinian-Arab state, under Palestinian-Arab sovereignty would be unacceptable. Indeed, his envisioned outcome was made all the more preposterous — even grotesque — by his raising the possibility that “settlers living deeper in the West Bank should, in the event of Palestinian statehood, be given the option of gaining citizenship in that state.”

It is unacceptable, in principle because it entails not only the annulment — but the antithesis — of the quintessential Zionist aspiration. Not only does it not entail bringing Jews living under non-Jewish sovereignty to live under Jewish sovereignty, it entails the precise opposite — abandoning Jews living under Jewish sovereignty to life under non-Jewish sovereignty.

But when we move from the realm of “principle” to that of the “concrete,” the notion that Jews should live in a future Palestinian state becomes even more bizarre and unthinkable.

“…There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…”

For when Dermer envisions Jews being left to live in a “future Palestinian state,” we are not talking about some benign Judeo-philic — or even Judeo-neutral — sovereignty, but a regime nurtured by decades of Judeo-phobic hatred and filled with Judeo-cidal intent.

Indeed, both the Hamas Charter and Fatah Constitution call for the eradication of all the Jews and the elimination of every vestige of Jewish life between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — by force of arms.

So, foremost among the “concrete reasons” for discounting the prospect of Jews living in some future Palestinian-Arab state is the rather “prosaic” one: the very tangible probability of them being torn limb from limb by some incensed mob, enraged by the very sight of their mere existence.

Indeed, the thought of leaving Jews — and Israeli citizens — to the tender mercies of a regime, that has demonstrated its true and heartless colors, is so appalling that it must be removed from the realm of acceptable debate before it gathers any currency.

Two things make raising this perverse possibility even more vexing. The first is that it was a clear slap in the face for the pro-Israel elements in the Republican Party, who had expunged the idea of the two-state formula from their party platform. The second was that it apparently was intended to mollify less supportive Democrats, still mindlessly obsessed with the macabre dogma of establishing yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny as the panacea for all the ills of the Middle East.

Contorted politically-correct gobbledygook

It is a sad spectacle to see Israeli diplomacy so mired in the two-state morass of its own making that it has lost any semblance of coherence, thus inevitably resulting in the kind of anti-Zionist declarations made by Dermer.

Instead of channeling all efforts into removing the idea of Palestinian statehood from the discourse, Israeli diplomacy insists on sustaining it. By paying formal lip service to the doctrine of two-statism Israel has ensnared itself on an irresolvable contradiction — committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, on the one hand; yet unable to make the perilous concession to allow its implementation, on the other.

It is this impasse that begets the kind of outlandish utterances made by Dermer. Instead, of making it clear that — absent some wildly implausible best-case scenario, with no realistic basis in fact — a Palestinian state is incompatible with its the long-term survival as the nation state of the Jews, Israel finds itself scrambling to square the circle, trying to defend an indefensible policy with indefensible arguments.

Instead of conveying to the world, and the Democratic Party, that Israel cannot relinquish — “in principle or concretely” — any portion of Judea-Samaria to Arab sovereignty, Dermer is forced into contorted politically correct gobbledygook — attempting to justify the construction of Jewish communities not on the basis of moral and historical rights — but on the basis of their possible future transfer to Arab rule.

Only the most fevered of minds  

Today, only the most fevered mind can suggest that the establishment of a Palestinian state in the hills that command the heavily populated coastal plain is even remotely in Israel’s national interest.  Not only would the Jews left behind in the Palestinian-Arab state be in deadly danger, so would those inside the Jewish state.

To grasp the veracity of this caveat, all one needs to do is look at the outcome of the failed experiment of trying to foist self-rule on the Palestinian-Arabs in Gaza. After three large scale military campaigns against Arab aggression since relinquishing the territory, and removing any remnant of Jewish presence there, Israel is again bracing for a fourth encounter.

Indeed, as time passes, instead of threats dissipating they intensify. Today, Israel is planning on surrounding Gaza not only with a 10-meter-high wall above ground but a 10-meter-deep one below it, to contend with the threat of attack tunnels. It not only recently completed a project to fortify over 10,000 homes in the communities adjacent to Gaza, providing them with newly constructed bomb shelters, but in the case of renewed fighting, plans to evacuate the civilian population in a 7 km swathe around the Strip.

Hmm!! Remember how they told you Israel had to leave Gaza because the “occupation “was… expensive??

“Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in  ‘West Bank’…”

Now imagine having to duplicate that effort, if like Gaza, Judea-Samaria were surrendered to Arab sovereignty. Imagine if, instead of having to build a 10m barrier above and below ground along a 50 km. front, as in Gaza, Israel would have to do this along a 400-500 km front in Judea-Samaria. Imagine if instead of having to fortify 10,000 homes, Israel would have to fortify hundreds of thousands. Imagine if instead of planning to evacuate the civilian population in the sparsely populated largely rural South adjacent to Gaza, Israel would have to plan on evacuating the heavily populated largely urban areas adjacent to Judea-Samaria.

But if the sheer physical parameters are daunting, the socio-political processes inside Judea-Samaria are, if anything, more so.

In a new study, graphically entitled “The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in the West Bank,” veteran Arab affairs analyst Pinchas Inbari paints a gloomy picture of socio-political realties in Judea-Samaria, and of the direction of the developing trends there.

He describes a society descending into inter-clan rivalry and gang violence against the backdrop of declining authority of any semblance of centralized governance. He cautions: “The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank. As a result, some districts of the West Bank are developing in different directions…accelerating the process of the PA’s disintegration…”

Stop already!

So there you have it. Both bitter experience of past precedents and the dismal prospects of future trends portend ill for the two-state paradigm. To understate the case, its chances of success are slim and the cost of failure, grim. It therefore seems inexplicable that the Government of Israel persists in the shabby charade of supporting it.   Perversely, many holding senior office today built their political careers on opposition to Palestinian statehood. Yet now that their positions have been vindicated, they persist in feigning support for it.

The time has come to stop this masquerade. Instead of trying to artificially sustain the dangerous delusion of a future Palestinian state, coexisting in peace and prosperity with a Jewish state, instead of nurturing this ill-fated illusion among overseas audiences, Israeli diplomats should be engaged in efforts to apprise them of the fatal flaws of the failed doctrine of two-statism.

That — and not consigning Jews to Arab governance – is the true challenge of Israeli diplomacy today.

Martin Sherman ( is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. (


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  • Eliyahu Teitz

    Mr. Sherman,

    I’m sorry but you totally missed the point of Mr. Dermer’s statement.

    He did not say that Jews should live in Arab controlled countries, any Arab country, not only Judea and Samaria. He said there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to.

    The Arabs have long called the settlement enterprise an impediment to peace. Why is that the case? Because the Arabs insist that no Jew can live on Arab land.

    But why not? Why is the world accepting that narrative? Would the world condone Israel saying no Moslem can live on Jewish land? Or would it accept any other, non-Arab country from making such declarations? So why roll over and accept it from the Arab countries?

    Mr. Dermer is seeking to force the Arabs into a corner, that they really do not want peace with the Jews of Israel. In order to do that, though, the false reason of the settlements being a roadblock to peace has to be challenged.

    Hence Mr. Dermer’s statement that there is no reason why Jews should not be allowed to live in any possible Palestinian state. Their presence there is not the impediment to peace; it is the Arabs lack of desire to make peace, their desire to obliterate the Jewish state that are the reasons there is no peace.

    • sherlock

      Sadly this kind of declaration is being seized upon as a tangible–even eminently desirable– policy option by the newly emerging advocates of further unilateral concession – who are seeking to legitimize the abandonment of Jewish communities–or intimidate them into evacuation- lest they obstruct the implementation of the two-state formula.

      Accordingly anything that lends currency and legitimacy to such proposals is highly detrimental.

  • Michael D Perloff

    Two-state Solution?

    Solution to exactly whose problem?

    Is it the solution to address Israelis problem of fulfilling end-of-conflict goals of peace, equality, reconciliation, and cooperation with all the region’s people for the common good, as expressed in their Declaration of Independence?

    Or is it the solution to the Arabs problem of destroying the infidel Jewish state and/or slaughtering every Jewish man, woman, and child as expressed in the foundation documents the foundation documents of most of their major organizations?

  • Yaacov Taube

    Mr. Dermer and his boss the PM owe the Likud and all rightwing voters in Israel an explanation for such stupid statements. Is Dermer really expressing Israeli policy or lip service to the potential Democratic voters in the US?

  • Mandy

    Clearly time for Netanyahu to go, he has chosen sides for his own preservation and it isn’t in Israel’s interests.

  • All the original documents and treaties of the 20th century forbid partition of Palestine and gave Jews unrestricted access to all of that landmass. The corruption of the Balfour Treaty remains the greatest crime of the modern world. Its Chamberlain-Hajj Amin deal caused the Holocaust, with intent & design.—Palestine-Exposing-Biggest-Deception-ebook/dp/B01B9B482Y/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1469237335&sr=8-1&keywords=philistine-to-palestine#nav-subnav

  • George Haas

    Ron Dermer will become a future Israeli Prime Minister; made in Miami!!!

  • George Haas

    You are looking into the eyes of a future Israeli PM; made in Miami

  • Jonathan Rocker

    Fire him! It’s Israel’s land. Israel has every right to their land and every right to defend it. People, such as this Ambassador, should be considered traitors of the state.

  • David

    It’s no wonder more Jews live outside Israel than in.

  • Eugene Nydees

    Well reasoned and compelling article,succinct and to the point.
    From your lips to God’s ears.

    Eugene N.

  • Ian Joseph

    The two state solution is undoubtedly a non starter. Its demise was ensured by the settlement of 650,000 Jewish Israelis over the Green Line.
    Martin Sherman is quite right when he says that Israel, and by corollary, the West, need to abandon the two state solution and look instead for other answers.
    Unfortunately, Martin Sherman’s answer to the One State solution is ethnic cleansing, the removal of non Jewish ethnicities in order to ensure a Jewish majority despite the fact that there is no such thing as a homogeneous Jewish identity.
    Ethnic cleansing is neither acceptable nor implementable as a solution, I would ask that Martin Sherman propose a solution that is neither zero-sum oriented nor based on ethnic cleansing and the removal of millions of Arab Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

    • Martin Sherman

      Not ethnic cleansing – economic enhancement.

      Why do you believe that ethnic mingling that results in massive bloodshed has any moral superiority over ethnic separation that avoids such bloodshed???

  • Andy Larner

    spot on again Martin I shudder to think of the dangerous implications of giving any of G-ds land to an invented homicidal people bent on the destruction of the Jewish people,Gaza should be enough of a lesson for anyone with half a brain there will never be peace when arab children are raised on hate.

  • esther noodelman

    Unbelievable! How ridiculous and dangerous CPC ….contorted politically- correct gobbledygook ….dangerous to the State of Israel.Ron Dermer should be hospitalized immediately.His mental virus is more dangerous than the Zika Virus. It looks like absolute power corrupts absolutely ! Heaven help us if we have new leaders like this!Help!!!