Square circles, aerodynamic pigs and two states (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By MARTIN SHERMAN 03/30/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Goals: Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist
economic, political, military and cultural existence. Method: Armed
struggle is a strategy and not a tactic… in uprooting the Zionist
existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state
is demolished.... Opposing any political solution offered as an
alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine. –
Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it
obliterated others before it…. Initiatives, and so-called peaceful
solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the
principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…. The Day of Judgment
will not come about until Moslems fight [kill] the Jews, when the Jew
will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O
Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.
– Hamas Charter
When somebody says they want to kill you, you should believe them.
– A Holocaust survivor
In his endeavor to rebut my recent column “Disputing Dershowitz,”
Alan Dershowitz displays a regrettable tendency to embrace the self-
contradictory and the disingenuous, rather than concede error.
His “The Case Against the Left and Right One- State Solution”
(Huffington Post, 21/3/2012) is a disappointing mixture of ad hominem
jibes, highly selective – and questionable – statistics, “staw-man”
tactics, and misrepresentation of the issues raised and the arguments
articulated in my article.
The notion of the feasibility of a two-state resolution to the
conflict with the Palestinian Arabs is not only demonstrably one of
the most devastatingly dangerous threats to the physical existence of
the Jewish state, but also to its democratic character and
international legitimacy – however counter-intuitive that may appear
initially to some.
Accordingly, I feel duty-bound to devote my coming columns to a
comprehensive and categorical repudiation of any claims – empirical
and conceptual – to the contrary.
In this article, I will present a general overview of the fallacious
underpinnings of the two-state approach, deferring a detailed
refutation of the flawed arguments, offensive incriminations and
misplaced hysterics aired by its proponents for next week.
Which part of ‘Itbach al-Yahud’ don’t they get?
Strange isn’t it? When threats of murderous intent emanate from
Tehran, you can take them seriously – even express concern at to
their gravity – without being “excommunicated” from polite mainstream
company. But dare to suggest that the murderous intent expressed by
the Palestinians – indeed, the proven murderous deeds perpetrated by
them – should be taken seriously, and may actually have practical
policy implications, you are instantly dismissed as an “extremist
naysayer” or “religious radical.”
True, Iranian ambitions presently seem to be a bit more “wholesale”
in scope relative to the hitherto “retail” dimensions of Palestinian
endeavors, but that reflects limitations on current capabilities
rather than any benevolence of heart.
One can only shake one’s head in bafflement and wonder which part of
the clearly-stated two-stage component in the Palestinians’
interpretation of the two-state principle escapes well-meaning folk
like Dershowitz; and which part of their undisguised intention of
Itbach al-Yahud (Slaughter the Jew) they don’t quite grasp.
And darkness descended upon the land
Up until the early 1990s, the notion of a Palestinian state was
anathema in mainstream Israeli politics – vehemently condemned by all
except radical left-wing margins of society. Indeed, contacts with
the PLO were prohibited and punishable – in fact, punished – by law.
Then came Oslo, and darkness descended upon the land – in the name
Support for the two-state solution became the imperative credential
for acceptance into the bon-ton circles of Israeli society.
Intellectual tyranny was imposed on public and academic discourse. No
heretical doubts were brooked as to the validity of what was deemed
masterful statesmanship and the practical fulfillment of a “noble”
(or is that “Nobel”?) aspiration.
For anyone with the temerity to break ranks, sanctions were swift and
severe – both personally and professionally. Party-pooping was a
hazardous taboo to violate. After all, why ruin the carnival of
festivities? Prestigious prizes were awarded in Oslo (where else?),
visions of a “New Middle East” were bandied at international
conferences, and historic handshakes photographed on White House
Soon, however, “the rubber hit the road,” so to speak; the tragic
consequences of the childlike Oslowian naiveté were upon us. The
juvenile euphoria evaporated and gave way to the horrific reality of
carnage in the nation’s streets, restaurants, buses and cafes – just
as the “extremist naysayers” had cautioned.
Disingenuous intellectual peacocks
When the Oslo process emerged as the harbinger of a dramatic
discontinuity in the evolution of Zionist endeavor, ushering in the
previously spurned notion of Palestinian statehood as an acceptable–
even preferred–policy option, there were proponents who promised it
would provide great benefits, and opponents who warned it would wreak
Almost two decades late,r the results are in. The prevailing
realities constitute almost an exact reflection of the ominous
prognoses of the opponents; and the diametric antithesis of the rosy
predictions of the proponents. Indeed, the Oslowian initiative has
precipitated virtually all the deadly dangers that were foretold –
but none of the enticing benefits that were pledged.
It is difficult to conceive of greater professional failure than that
of the pro-Oslo advocates. Disregarding virtually every principle of
political science, international relations, and other relevant
disciples, to conform to the dictates of political correctness, they
wrought precisely the dismal reality their “extremist” opponents
warned they would.
As Prof. Efraim Karsh trenchantly points out: Had such professional
misconduct occurred in the natural or physical sciences there would
have doubtless been serious consequences: e.g. the collapse of a
bridge following phoney engineering calculations dangerous side
effects hidden during the development of a new medicine…. Yet it
would seem that when it comes to the social sciences or the
humanities… the researcher can escape punishment for the worst kind
Yet unchastened by the calamitous dimensions of the debacle, the
authors/endorsers of this predictable –and predicted – tragedy still
adjudge themselves to be the voices of far-sighted wisdom and clear-
Disdainfully dismissive of any dissenting voices, who point out how
disastrously destructive their misguided conduct has been, they
steadfastly deny any error and continue peddling the same noxious
wares in marginally different wrappings.
Instead of bowing their heads in shame and slinking off in disgrace –
as quietly and inconspicuously as possible – to the outer fringes of
public life, they strut around like intellectual peacocks – as if
their unmitigated failure conferred on them some kind of moral
Futile, unnecessary, detrimental
In his previously mentioned attempt to rebut my negation of the two-
state principle, Dershowitz claims that unless Israel accedes to the
establishment of a Palestinian state, it will lose its international
legitimacy as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.
This is a shallow and superficial contention. It is not only
conceptually unsound – although the tyrannical muzzling of debate has
prevented rational discussion of other compelling alternatives that
are both Zionist and democracy-compliant – but it also flies in the
face of facts.
After all, apart from a brief flush of international approval
immediately following the signature of the Oslo Accords, Israel’s
international standing has deteriorated alarming since declaring its
willingness to establish a Palestinian state. (The causal mechanism
which made this regrettable result inevitable will be elaborated in
Part II next week.) This is what makes the entire two-state
initiative so infuriating.
Not only did it prove completely futile, it was totally unnecessary –
worse, gravely counterproductive, with international delegitimization
of Israel today far more pervasive and virulent than it was before
the Oslowian misadventure!
Indeed, though the mainstream media – both at home and abroad – have
been meticulous in obscuring or misrepresenting the facts, Israel was
doing very well in the pre-Oslo years under the recalcitrant Yitzhak
Shamir, who steadfastly rejected any notion of a two-state approach.
Setting the record straight
By 1992, the (first) Intifada had virtually petered out, leaving the
Palestinians exhausted – among other things, by internecine
fratricide with as many perishing at the hands of their kinfolk as
were killed by the Israeli security forces. It certainly had no
inhibiting effect on the economy. Fueled by the burgeoning
immigration from the former-USSR, economic growth soared, exceeding 7
percent in 1992.
While it is true that economic growth was also impressive immediately
following the signing of Oslo I, it fell quickly as the Palestinian
violence spiraled upwards. The average growth in the three years
immediately preceding Oslo I (6.6 % in 1990-92) was higher than that
in the three years immediately following it. (6.1% in 1994-96), and
easily outstripped the growth in the three years following Oslo II
(3.4 % in 1996-99). (Significantly the higher pre-Oslo growth was
achieved without the massive budget deficit incurred in the post-Oslo
years by the Rabin-Peres government that brought the country to the
brink of economic disaster averted, only by the drastic austerity
measures of the first Netanyahu government.)
Diplomatically, the country was far from being isolated. Israel
scored dramatic pre-Oslo successes, establishing full diplomatic ties
with Russia (in October, 1991, a quarter century since the USSR cut
ties in 1967 ), India and China (both in January 1992). Strangely,
these countries –comprising 40% of the world’s population –appeared
singularly unperturbed by the Shamir government’s
resolute “rejectionist” stance on Palestinian statehood.
True, following the Oslo Agreements, a spate of countries did forge
relations with Israel. But this was far more symbolic than
substantive – with all due respect to exotic locations such Andorra,
Burkina Faso, Botswana, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Burundi, Cape Verde,
Croatia, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macedonia, Madagascar,
Mauritania, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tome
and Principe, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe – which comprised the overwhelming
bulk of the post-1993 additions to the list of counties with
diplomatic relations with Israel.
Moreover, one might well be excused for wondering whether the coveted
goal of relations with Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe – which, with their
proud tradition of human rights, understandably felt morally
constrained from establishing formal ties with the Jewish state
previously – represented a diplomatic coup worth the thousands of
Israelis murdered and maimed by Palestinian violence that the
Oslowian quest for two-state “solution” ushered in?
An increasingly oxymoronic endeavor
As the notion of a two-state resolution to the Israel-Palestinian
conflict is exposed as an endeavor increasingly detached from
reality, its proponents seem to be advancing increasingly
preposterous arguments – in a desperate attempt to avoid admission of
As it becomes increasingly clear that they can no longer sustain the
illusion of the continued validity of their proposed paradigm by any
reality- based corroboration, they turn to ignoring, inventing – even
inverting – inconvenient facts.
They have thus been coerced into postulating a virtual reality,
inhabited by imaginary Palestinians, docile and cuddly, who are
presumed to be ready to accept – not only as a short-term stratagem,
but on sincere and permanent basis – conditions rejected repeatedly
and resolutely by their real-world counterparts. Of course, no
persuasive rationale is ever provided to explain why or how such a
dramatic metamorphosis in Palestinian attitudes would occur.
Indeed, bereft of any factual foundations, the “two-staters” have
tried to transform their disproven political credo into axiomatic
political dogma, a self-evident truth, unencumbered by the need for
shouldering any bothersome burden of proof.
Likewise, bereft of any doctrinal consistency, “two-staters” embrace
self-contradictory – or disingenuous–provisos.
Thus, when Dershowitz conditions the imperative for the establishment
of a Palestinian state on “secure borders” for Israel, is he really
unaware that the two cannot be reconciled; that the minimal
territorial pre-requisites for “secure borders” make a Palestinian
state untenable as a sovereign entity?
Is he really so woefully ignorant, or is he willfully ignoring the
fact that the Palestinians have already firmly refused far-more
magnanimous offers made by Barak and Olmert, who in their obsessive
and irresponsible pursuit of an unattainable two-state vision were
prepared to forego any semblance of secure borders?
Ignorance or ignominy?
There is nothing enlightened or democratic about support for a two-
state solution. It will save neither the Zionist dream nor Israeli
democracy. Quite the contrary, it will consign both to oblivion. Only
political naiveté or social narcissism can account for further
support for this failed concept. It is the hallmark not of the
erudite, informed liberal but of either abject ignorance about
prevailing realities or ignominious pandering to political faddism.
For a further elaboration – and corroboration – of this ongoing case
against the two-state delusion, watch this space! (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 03/30/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY