Telling it like it is. I encourage everyone to read Daniel Levy’s piece from Ha’Aretz.–Lilly
A retractionist-retentionist discourse By Daniel Levy
In his keynote address at last week’s Herzliya Conference, Ehud Barak summoned up the most dramatic case for changing the status quo: “If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic … If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don’t, it is an apartheid state.”
This quote is particularly remarkable for the specific wording chosen by Israel’s defense minister: He (perhaps unintentionally) suggested that the existing situation could already be described as apartheid.
Considering the Labor Party’s collapse, one may dismiss its leader’s comments, but Barak’s speech does matter, not because of its author, but because it articulates the core narrative of the centrist-pragmatic trend in Israeli-Jewish politics—from Likud realists like ministers Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, to Kadima and the remnants of Labor and Meretz. Let’s call it the “retractionist camp”—ready to support a withdrawal from the occupied territories that meets the minimum necessary requirement for the creation of a dignified and viable sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel, and therefore a sustainable two-state solution.
They show realist tendencies, but there is a powerful disconnect (one that was pervasive in Barak’s speech) between most of this camp’s diagnosis of the situation (an “end of the world as we know it” threat of apartheid or binationalism) and their prescription for addressing it: resume negotiations, blame the Palestinians, more of the same. It’s like telling someone they have life-threatening yet treatable cancer and prescribing two aspirins a day.
If the situation is so dire, then bolder steps are surely called for. There are any number of game-changing options to consider. … Read this entire article at the HaAretz website.