By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | 11/3/2008
One of the perks of being Israeli is that people in far-off places seem to
take an interest in your problems. For instance, Queen’s University and
York University of Canada are planning a conference for June 1, 2009, on
“Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace.”
There’s already a website that’s issuing a call for papers and setting
forth the “vision” of the conference.
“The purpose of this conference,” the “Welcome” to the website
informs us, “is to explore which state model would be the best to resolve
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” It refers to the recent “failure”
of the “two-state model” to “bring peace to the region” and says:
“The conference seeks to systematically measure the two-state model
against the promise of alternatives; very specifically the potential in the
model of a single binational state.”
The “Vision Statement” chimes in: “a number of factors…are
generating skepticism about the ability of the two-state model to resolve
enough of the outstanding issues…to make a negotiated peace possible….
The conference will thus open avenues for those interested in exploring the
possible constitutional dimensions of a single state.”
Let’s translate this: The “two-state solution” is not exactly news
and no one would take the trouble of sponsoring a conference to discuss it.
No, the real raison d’être of this conference is the “one-state
solution”—i.e., dissolving the Jewish state of Israel into some sort of
state combining Arabs and Jews and, while having an ethnic or federal
Jewish component, no longer having a Jewish identity as France has a French
one and China has a Chinese one.
In other words, there would no longer be a single Jewish state in the
world; and in addition to the already existing twenty-two Muslim Arab
states, there would be another, “one state” that would presumably have
enough of a Muslim-Arab profile to qualify as the twenty-third member of
the Arab League. The Jews, after two thousand years of dispersion and a
sixty-year experiment in statehood that many of the participants in this
conference will undoubtedly judge a failure, would thus revert to
statelessness most likely for eternity.
And what would life be like for the Jews in the “one state”? Not to
worry—“the conference will explore the potential of a state shaped by
federalism, equal citizenship and respect for linguistic, cultural and
religious rights to protect the rights and security of its inhabitants and
to serve as a political framework for the amelioration or even resolution
of protracted conflicts.” Canada on the Mediterranean!
The website is also kind enough to introduce the Advisory Committee for the
conference. There’s Ali Abunimah, cofounder of the radically anti-Israeli
website Electronic Intifada and coauthor of the book The Palestinian Right
of Return. There’s Leila Farsakh of the University of Massachusetts at
Boston, author of a 2006 article in Journal of Palestine Studies called
“The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the
Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock”—wonder which side she’s on.
And there’s Dorit Namaan of Queen’s University itself, whose opuses
include the article “Brides of Palestine/Angels of Death: Media, Gender
and Performance in the Case of the Palestinian Female Suicide Bomber” and
a book in progress “on the visual representation of Palestinian and
Israeli women fighters” (let’s see, that will probably discern
equivalencies between female members of the Israel Defense Forces and
Palestinian women who blow up pizza parlors). And also Elia Zureik of
Queen’s University, who in 2000 called in a Los Angeles Times op-ed
for…the Palestinian right of return.
That’s not to say, of course, that the Advisory Committee isn’t
“balanced”—in addition to the ex-Israeli Dorit Namaan it has four
currently-Israeli members: left-wing author and journalist Meron
Benvenisti, left-wing research associate Daphna Golan-Agnon of Hebrew
University, left-wing law professor David Kretzmer of Hebrew University,
and left-wing sociology professor Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa.
Who knows, some of these might even stick up for the old “two-state
solution” where Israel retreats to indefensible borders but at
least—for however long it still has to survive—remains the Jewish
state. But in allowing themselves to be professionally associated with this
conference, these Israelis are affirming that the “one-state
solution”—the dissolution of Israel—is a legitimate idea worthy of
discussion in the ostensibly civilized world, and that is to their unending
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He
blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at