What’s next if the two-state solution disappears?

What’s next if the two-state solution disappears?

Yesterday, July 4th, I sent my email list a downer when everyone else might have been celebrating with fireworks.  It was Gershon Baskin’s newest article in which he pleads for a two state solution to the conflict that has lasted so many decades.  And he despairs.  So do I.  Not a good thing for activists to despair.   What is equally depressing is to read the comments that were posted inveighing against “leftist” thinking.  http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=276038
In response to my recent depressing emails, here is what Aaron Sharif wrote me.  Aaron and I were in Habonim together.  I was a few years older, and hence called the Madricha (the leader); today he is a veteran kibbutznik, lives in Gesher Haziv, is a writer, a poet, and a family man with grandchildren.
Hello Lilly,
Yes, I’ve already read Gershon Baskin’s letter. So simple, so true. A couple of months ago I wrote a very-very similar letter and filed it away for my grandchildren to read in the future. I’ve lately stopped sending letters to a list, mostly because I fear of depressing any of those very few activists who still fight for what I today already see as lost. As an Israeli democratic Zionist I join the Gershon Baskins who feel that a major cause (2-States) is pretty much lost, are floundering at sea in a boat without a sail, trying to figure out “O.K., if this is the case…what now?”. Where do we go from here? What can be our second line of defense or offence?
A number of our friends and neighbors also see themselves as good liberal democratic Zionists. I haven’t understood how they’ve been able to sit back all these years, sometimes complaining in living-room chats, voting correctly once every few years, but never coming out into the streets…mingling with our Israeli public .. and screaming….or at least whispering out loud. Similarly, I haven’t understood our Jewish people around the world who have in the main and knowingly backed and funded a direction leading to the poisonous destruction of the Zionist Dream……(here I am….writing down some of the things I most fear of writing.).
Today’s Israeli street is teeming with active social protests. The protests range from economics (cost of living is too high) to demands for army conscription of the Ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities who have been exempted till now. And yes, the political Left is out there in these protests. But the so-called political Left is no longer able to muster a protest against the policies creating a “Greater Israel”, which will see two and a half million Palestinians permanently ruled by my Israel in a Ghetto enclave (is that apartheid?) watched over by my army, bereft of any Israeli citizen’s rights, and denied so many normal civil rights. This is a Ghetto thoroughly riddled with Jewish settlements and towns enjoying every right which their neighbors do not.   No, our activism is no longer able to fight the fight of “Two States for Two People”. That one is already a lost battle.
No….this is not a farewell to activism. It only means I’ve taken a short time out for some r&r in order to reassess the realities around us, and figure out what to do next ……… not how to return to a lost cause (Two States), but perhaps how to protest the “Ghetto” and fight the fight for civil liberties and equal right for those annexed Ghetto Palestinians. This, of course is problematic. Equal rights will mean the end of a Zionist State and the actual formation of a Dual-People State. But I’ve always seen our fight for social justice actually as our fight for the kind of Jewish human beings we choose to be. In the choice between being a ruling Jewish Zionist holding millions of native residents prisoners ….. or being a Jewish citizen struggling to defend my own rights in a Dual-People State ……….. I choose the latter. Most Israelis, unfortunately, will choose otherwise. I don’t want to be that kind of Israeli, nor that kind of Jew. This is where our Israeli policies have brought us.
I’m not sure yet how to express and voice this kind of social protest in a country where social protest is filled with the price of cheese and housing and military conscription. I’m in a boat with a few others (too few of course), all trying to mend the sail and search the night lights for a new direction. We will find it. I’m not sure we’ll like it.
Having re-read the above, perhaps eventually I’ll send this letter to others as well.
Meanwhile I send it to you as a postscript to Gershon’s letter.
By | 2012-07-05T21:18:00-04:00 July 5th, 2012|Blog|3 Comments


  1. Anonymous July 8, 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Here we see again the sad reality that Meretz amd Meretz USA have for years continued to cling to illusions rather than recognizing realities that were obvious to others years ago. Anyone who spent significant time in the West Bank could see that any real opportunity for two states passed more than 10 years ago, and the Geneva Accords trumpeted by Meretz contributed to this reality by validating the concepts of “settlement blocs” and “land swaps” which served to further settlement growth.

    Rather than taking more radical but necessary action like rejection of all settlemnts, civil disobedience, boycott and opening up to the possibility of a single state with equal rights for all years ago, Meretz argued against these positions, attacked them and continued to cling to too little too late solutions like Geneva and negotiations between bankrupt leaders. Years later, and after the fact, reality forces Meretz members to come arround to these tactics and approaches, that were pushed years ago by more radical groups including Anarchists Against the Wall.

    Noam Sheizaf calls Anarchists Against the Wall the most important Jewish Israeli activists on the left in 972 Mag:

    In contrast, look how Lilly attacked AATW member Jonathan Pollack in 2005 on, among other issues, one state vs. two states:

    Many years later positions taken by AATW were clearly the right ones. The best way for Meretz members to avoid demoralization is to stop lagging behind inevitable moral positions and consequent actions, and join with rather launching attacks against those in the forefront of building a new reality.


  2. Ralph Seliger July 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    I can certainly understand the despair that underlines this post, but I still think it’s wrong-headed. I’ve always believed in Herzl’s vision of a democratic Zionist state, with a Jewish majority and equal rights for all citizens, including its Arab minority.

    So many fine people are heading for the exits on a two-state solution without any practical grasp of an alternative. I’ve most recently blogged on this here: http://meretzusa.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-would-one-state-solution-work.html. To quote myself on one state: “…if this is the way to overcome decades of mutual violence, distrust and hatred, I’m all for it. But the very fact of this protracted and bitter conflict argues against it. … the burden is upon advocates of one state to convince everybody else–especially most Israelis and Palestinians who desire their own majority-ethnic states–how it could work.”

  3. Edward, Boston July 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Seliger, a great Jew who can only be applauded for his lifelong efforts, misses the point. Tragically, we’re past convincing anyone how one state “would” work. We now have one state and must address how it “will” work. Because right now it’s working by becoming more and more an apartheid state…legally, culturally, sociologically and, of course, militarily. Zionism may indeed become a matter of ensuring our civil rights and cultural autonomy in a democratic, Palestinian-majority state after we help Palestinians fight for their civil rights. Does this sound like Bundism. Yes it does. But Zionism has done this to itself!

Leave A Comment