Situation in Israel not so clear-cut (a reply to Scott Hiley)

BY:Ian Goodrum| May 3, 2019

This piece is in reply to Scott Hiley’s video, The two-state solution and the fight against fascism.

In a video response to my original discussion post, Scott Hiley makes a largely well-reasoned case for a two-state solution on the basis of support for the plan by the people of Israel — Jews and Arabs alike. As evidence, he points to a figure of 55 percent approval taken from a 2017 National Security Index survey.

It’s fair to say, however, that this number is out of date. As of last year, the two-state majority cited in the video has dropped to a lackluster 43 percent. And as far as the 2019 election is concerned, the “center-left” opposition led by Benny Gantz gives lip service to “two-state” politics but it would appear this is little more than rhetoric. The Kavol Lahan platform maintains a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, denies Palestinian right of return and keeps the door open for Israeli military incursion. This is no two-state solution, merely a fresh coat of paint on an old form of oppression. “Kinder, gentler” apartheid is still apartheid. But this is the all too familiar choice given by a bourgeois democratic system: Two flavors of the same brutal class and ethnic dictatorship.

Some sleight-of-hand is also at work here. Assuming the numbers are correct, the response video alleges a majority is in favor of a two-state solution, Israeli Jews included. Separate poll numbers are given for each ethnic group to bolster this claim. But when the question of settlement evacuation is brought up, the metrics shift. Supposedly 63 percent of Israeli citizens are in favor of evacuation as part of a peace settlement. We are not given numbers for ethnic groups here — possibly because they are not available. But since other polling says a sizable chunk of the population wouldn’t leave their settlements even with a binding referendum — and still other surveys show the Israeli stance on settlement isn’t a matter of course — it is fair to postulate there’s a considerable split, one shrouded by the use of a single all-encompassing number.

No mention is made of the linked poll in my initial discussion posting, which clearly indicates a majority of Israeli Jews do not believe Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace, do not believe Israeli control of the West Bank constitutes occupation and believe Israel should have annexed all territory seized after the Six-Day War. They are split down the middle on the issue of West Bank annexation in the present day. These numbers are from 2017, around the same time as the survey used in the response video, so more recent data would be ideal.

Whether or not Israeli Jews want to expand or maintain settlements (the answer to this question is not so obvious), the Israeli government will do so. This contradiction should resonate with those of us in the US, where the Trump regime acts without any conceivable democratic mandate and against the wishes of forces in the state apparatus. Despite mass protests and some objections by figures in the government, policy appears unlikely to change. So it’s fair to begin considering alternatives to our approach, knowing what we know about the intractability of the present government and even its nominal opposition on the question of true Palestinian statehood.

The response video implies a change in direction would constitute a break from popular sentiment and aid both the ruling classes of Israel and its imperial paymaster, the United States. No details are forthcoming as to why or how this is the case; it’s simply taken as a given. I’d like a stronger argument in support of this claim.

We need to make sure we are using information that’s as accurate as possible when declaring something to be fact, especially as it relates to international affairs — in places where on-the-ground work is impossible with the resources we have. This is where close cooperation with fraternal parties takes on greater importance. Those parties remain advocates for a two-state solution, and their positions can’t be overlooked. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a comradely discussion of the issue.

A brief corollary: It was asked whether the Party has yet voiced support for BDS. If this is something that has not yet been decided I will say here we should draft such a resolution or declaration as soon as feasibly possible. Other left organizations have already done so and we should not lag behind them in an activist environment that is already skeptical of our bona fides.


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