What seems oddest to me is that most of the historic examples Ian Lustick cites, in his long NY Times opinion piece, are of forced political unions that broke into separate ethnic states, which run counter to his one-state thesis: Algeria, the USSR, Yugoslavia, Britain & Ireland. Also lame is his notion that in one state, certain sectors of the two societies will magically find common ground; one that takes the cake is his notion that Mizrachim (Jews who were exiled from Arab and other Muslim-majority lands) will suddenly see themselves as Arab.
Lustick’s article was bad, not just because it argues against a two-state solution, but because it argues badly. There are better arguments for one state or a federation that have been made or mused over by Daniel Gavron, Carlo Strenger and others from a liberal/dovish (even Zionist) perspective.
Lustick even admits that violence is likely before something better evolves, “organically.” So one wonders about the intent of his piece.
Ian S. Lustick’s essay offers an illogical, unachievable agenda that does no favors either to Israelis or Palestinians. Professor Lustick’s comparison of the Israeli-Palestinian situation to efforts by British colonialists to maintain control of Ireland, France’s colonial rule of Algeria and Communist rule in the Soviet Union is off-base. The point of the two-state solution is to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and to fulfill the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Likewise, the notion that Israelis whose families came from Arab countries would consider themselves Arabs is absurd. They managed to preserve their Jewish identity for 2,000 years in exile. Why would they give it up now? In any case, as Israelis of European origin increasingly marry with the children and grandchildren of families who came from Arab lands, the distinctions between the two are fast eroding.
The main problem with Professor Lustick’s analysis is that it is a recipe for permanent conflict. Both Israelis and Palestinians want to fulfill their national aspirations in their own country. Neither will be satisfied with less, and the two-state solution remains the only way to achieve that.
Vice President, Communications