An LA Times Op-Ed Sweetens the Destruction of Israel
The concepts of equal rights and justice are embedded in the American psyche. One US academic of Palestinian descent, George Bisharat, is well aware of this when he makes his case for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in The Los Angeles Times. But what looks like a winning formula couched in the language of human rights and equality is actually a thinly-veiled way of sweetening the pill of advocating for Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state.
Bisharat’s prescription is as follows:
The way forward will be difficult, but it could start with a compassionate declaration from Palestinians, along the lines of South Africa’s Freedom Charter, committing to a just society that includes both Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Such a declaration should embrace a broad, multi-faceted and contemporary vision of justice for this troubled land.
Without even mentioning the word “apartheid,” Bisharat has conflated the end of the South African apartheid regime with a solution to his Israel problem.
Needless to say, Israel is not apartheid South Africa.
For example, a Freedom Charter would address the rights of the Israeli Jews who currently inhabit homes of Palestinians seized in 1948, and fear eviction when Palestinian refugees return, as we are legally and morally due. My family, like survivors of the Nazi Holocaust seeking return of their seized works of art, insists that ownership of our grandfather’s Villa Harun ar-Rashid in West Jerusalem should be restored to us.
Again a immoral equivalence, and this time, a wholly offensive one. Palestinians became refugees in 1948 as a result of a conflict that they and their Arab brethren initiated. Any homes or property they lost as a result was not “seized,” as Bisharat would like readers to believe.
This cannot and should not be compared to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who lost everything for nothing more than being Jewish. Palestinians have every right to consider the events of 1948 to be a catastrophe. To turn their misfortune into the equivalent of the Holocaust, however, is entirely inappropriate.
Bisharat’s immoral equivalency then becomes farcical:
The charter should also address rights for women and members of the LGBTQ community, which some Palestinians as well as some Jewish Israelis have been slow to embrace. And it should address environmental issues that will be crucial as global warming puts increasing pressure on the Middle East.
Israel is the most progressive country in the Middle East when it comes to women’s and gay rights. Any suggestion that there is some similarity between Israelis and Palestinians on these values is simply laughable. Indeed, given the fact that openly identifying as a member of the LGBTQ community is a possible death sentence for Palestinians, it’s insulting to intimate that both Israelis and Palestinians need to equally improve their records on this issue.
As for throwing in environmental issues and global warming, Bisharat clearly knows his audience. In truth, these are simply irrelevant to the real conversation. Israel is a world leader in many environmental initiatives, including water conservation and agriculture technology. Compare that with the Palestinians, whose ideas of environmental protection extends to polluting the air by burning tires, torching thousands of acres of forest and fields, and dumping sewage and waste on the land.
Bisharat then claims that one-third of Palestinians support a one-state solution. However, he then says:
Meanwhile, in the U.S., polls show that about an equal number of Americans support one state with equality as support a two-state solution, with young people leading the way. According to a poll released by the University of Maryland in December 2018, 42% of Americans ages 18 to 35 support a single state, versus 33% for two states. And if a two-state solution is no longer possible, a majority of all Americans support one state with equal rights.
Quite frankly, so what? Why are the views of young Americans even relevant here? Israelis and Palestinians are the people who have to live together in a workable solution to the conflict, not Americans who cannot begin to fathom the practical issues that any solution would entail.
It is only in the 11th paragraph of Bisharat’s 15 paragraph piece that he openly acknowledges his real agenda:
Of course, an Israel founded on equal rights for all will no longer be a “Jewish state” — just as South Africa, after the fall of apartheid, was no longer a state that institutionalized white supremacy. It was a fundamental misperception of Israel’s founders that a homeland privileging Jews could be accepted in another people’s land.
Bisharat makes a direct link between a Jewish state and white supremacism, essentially branding the concept of a Jewish homeland as a racist construct — not only racist but illegitimate in its entirety, because these Jews are living “in another people’s land.” In Bisharat’s worldview, Jewish self-determination in the land of their forefathers, a land that they have had a continuous connection to for over 3,000 years, is illegitimate.
And because Bisharat is attuned to his West Coast liberal audience, he makes sure to throw in another trigger:
Israeli Jews will not surrender their advantages easily. Privileged groups never do.
Being a professor on a US campus, Bisharat is well aware of the conversation surrounding intersectionality and supposed “white privilege.” So it’s a natural stretch to turn Israeli Jews into a “privileged group” in much the same way as bigoted left-wingers in US politics and academia have branded American Jews as the beneficiaries of “white privilege.”
Nowhere in his piece does the author address the glaring problem with a one-state solution from the Palestinian perspective. Palestinians are divided between two administrations, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Despite numerous efforts to come to an arrangement, these two bodies are in open conflict with each other. Palestinians cannot even unite among themselves. Yet Bisharat expects both sides to come together in harmony in a one-state solution?
Bisharat ends with a call for “the prospect of building a just and genuinely free and democratic society — a true beacon of progress for the region if not the world.” There’s a state of this description already in the region. Its name is Israel.
Bisharat knows the Palestinians have never built anything genuinely free and democratic, and it would be far easier to take over the state that already exists through the ballot box and bring an end to Jewish sovereignty.
This call for a one-state solution, while presented in the language of liberalism, equal rights, and justice, is nothing more than Bisharat’s politically correct method for bringing about the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian rejectionism has played a significant role in wrecking all initiatives for a Palestinian state living side by side with an Israeli one. Bisharat’s opinion piece is an admittance that his one-state solution is just that — a single Palestinian state where Israel currently exists.
Simon Plosker is the managing editor of HonestReporting, the world’s largest grassroots organization monitoring anti-Israel media bias. A version of this article was originally published at HonestReporting.