Back in 2007, Norman Finkelstein was supposed to take part in an Oxford University Student Union debate on one Israeli-Palestinian state versus two states. Incongruously to the British-Jewish organizations that vociferously objected to, and torpedoed his participation at the time, Finkelstein was scheduled to debate on the side of two states.
Widely known as a stridently anti-Israel writer-activist, the former academic supports Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) as tactics against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, but condemns the global BDS movement for being dishonest about its real agenda of displacing Israel; he also views a full right of return for Palestinians as unrealistic. To the outrage of the anti-Israel far-left, he denounces the BDS movement as a “cult.” Finkelstein says he’s “not going to be in a cult again,” as he admits to have been as a Maoist in his youth.
Mind you, he is absolutely unsympathetic toward Israel’s behavior in the conflict, and has long advocated a full withdrawal from the occupied territories–arguing against a negotiated withdrawal and exchange of territories as advocated by J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami, in a debate televised on “Democracy Now”–but he is totally in favor of a two-state solution, based on the pre-June 1967 border and as originally validated by the UN partition plan of 1947 (i.e., the border was different in 1947, but he speaks clearly of an international consensus for the 1949-’67 armistice line). By the way, Noam Chomsky, also a harsh critic of Israel, is likewise a supporter of two states, who has applauded the two-state model agreement known as the Geneva Accord, which our organization has long championed. See this 31-minute video discussion, in which Finkelstein states his case: