Ye Shall Share the Land by Noushin Darya Framke

A Palestinian girl picks poppies on a hill over Bethlehem

The Knesset and the Two-State Solution

As we Americans prepared to travel for Thanksgiving week to gather with family and friends and give thanks for our many blessings, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) delivered the final nail in the coffin for the two-state solution on Israel/Palestine. The Knesset voted 65 to 33 to require a national referendum vote on handing over any “annexed” territory. That sounds democratic, what’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, it’s about who gets to vote. You guessed it; not the Palestinians. In a democracy, people get to vote on their own fate and not on the fate of those they lord over. This most recent bill passed by the Israeli Knesset may sound democratic but in fact, it has set Israel further down the apartheid path that it embarked on in 2003 with its official Hafrada or “separation policy.”

As it has become painfully clear for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the historic land of Palestine was never “a land without a people for a people without a land,” even if there are still people who believe Golda Meir’s abhorrent and distorted quote that there’s no such thing as a Palestinian. On the other end of the spectrum, Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand said in his best-selling book The Invention of the Jewish People, that it is highly likely that today’s Palestinians are in fact the descendants of those Jews from the biblical era who stayed in the holy land and converted first to Christianity and then to Islam. Whether you agree with Golda Meir or Shlomo Sand, both positions are contentious and controversial.

Israel’s existential problem

I prefer to look through the lens provided by historian Tony Judt who was the longtime director of the Remarque Institute at NYU and who recently succumbed to ALS Disease. Tony Judt, a British Jew who emigrated to New York and became an American as an adult, was the first to identify the existential problem Israel faces today in a multicultural and pluralistic world setting. Judt famously called Israel an anachronism, saying it was a good idea for the nineteenth century but an idea whose time had passed in the 21st century. Judt said Israel arrived too late: “The very idea of a ‘Jewish state’—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.”

What Judt described in that 2003 article in the New York Review of Books, for which he was vilified, has come to be the best description for the apartheid state Israel has become: a society in which one group has exclusive privileges over all others and maintains it through a policy of separation. Today, the question is no longer where the borders will be for the two states, but rather what kind of rights the populations will have in the defacto ONE state. The fact of the matter is that Israel and the Occupied Territories are in fact one state, controlled by one group. Furthermore, nobody in their right mind believes Israel is going to remove up to half a million Jewish Settlers from the Palestinian West Bank. Realpolitik dictates that these settlers will stay put. But will they forevermore have power over their Palestinian neighbors and the map of the area?

Unfortunately, Israel has already wiped The West Bank off the map – politicians, government agencies and school textbooks do not use the term “West Bank” which is officially called Judea and Samaria by Israel. In the minds of Israelis, it’s a done deal. The question is how long Israelis, and their supporters, the American taxpayer, are willing to maintain a segregated state with unequal rights. As many Israelis and Palestinians are saying now, the “one state solution” is not a solution but a consequence of killing the two-state solution. When Israel refuses to declare its borders, by definition we are left with one state. When Israel doesn’t give the Palestinians their civil rights, we are left with an apartheid state. This is not a sustainable situation.

Three dreams – of which you have to pick only two

In 1948 at the founding of the state of Israel, David Ben Gurion famously said that Israel, the dream, was three things: All the biblical land, a democracy, and a Jewish state. But in 1948, Ben Gurion also said that Israel could only have two out of these three at the same time. Right now, it has control over all the land and it is a Jewish state, meaning Jewish citizens have more rights than others do. (Contrary to popular myth, since not all the people who live in the land have the same rights, it cannot be considered a democracy). Again, by definition, as Prof. Walt Mearsheimer says, Israel is a de facto apartheid state: “Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy.  Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a ‘Greater Israel,’ which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa.  Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term.  In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens.  In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.”

Going back to the Ben Gurion prophecy, unless Israel wants to remain an apartheid state and since it will not give up any land, then it will have to give up being a Jewish state. In other words, to be a democracy, Israelis will have to share the land with the indigenous people and give them their civil rights. A couple of years ago, Iranian Scholar Reza Aslan gave a lecture to a very Jewish audience at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. He told the audience, “you had better be praying for a two-state solution and be doing everything in your power to make it happen, because if you don’t, we will end up with one state, and in twenty years, that state will be called Palestine.” A loud gasp went up and everybody present knew just what Aslan was referring to: Demographics.

According to Mitchel Plitnick, the Referendum Law passed by the Israeli Knesset Thanksgiving week is the “death knell” for the 2-State Solution. Gershon Baskin, expecting a rejection of the 2-state solution by Palestinians, says to the Israeli readers of the Jerusalem Post , “You will then have to decide if the state for the Jewish people will continue to be a Jewish state or a democratic state. There will be no possibility to claim it is a Jewish AND democratic state. The bells of freedom and democracy will ring, and you know very well that the world will choose democracy.”

Watch this short movie trailer, which Richard Silverstein says is “pimping the settlements.” (translation of the Hebrew is below the video). This video underlines the fact that for Israelis,  it is anathema to relinquish any land.  It also shows how many Israelis idealize the settlements by sacralizing them through the use of scripture.  Not counting ethnic cleansing, all that is left now is sharing the land. It is time for all the people to share all the land with equal rights and liberties for all.

15 comments to Ye Shall Share the Land by Noushin Darya Framke

  • Terry Alexander

    Noushin Darya Framke again speaks a clear and precise word about reality.
    When will the USA’s desire for an empire partner fade enough for it to see this truth.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by noushin, noushin, noushin, noushin, leahjohnson and others. leahjohnson said: Ye Shall Share the Land by Noushin Darya Framke http://t.co/J4VqtjI Share the convo 2day at ecclesio.com [...]

  • J. Martin Bailey

    Nourshin has it exactly right.

    Today the Obama Administration acknowledged that, in effect, Bibi Netanyahu can’t or won’t press his extremist cabinet to accept the responsibilities that go with a two-state solution. Well, I suppose we need to listen to Secretary of State Clinton on Friday to see if a new approach will be offered. But the failure to make peace in the Holy Land–and throughout the Middle East–will like on the door step of the current Israeli government, and on the consciences of what once was a peace movement in Israel. This is tragedy compounded.

  • [...] a single state of Palestine, and the domination of Israeli Jews by the Palestinians. Writing at Ecclesio: As we Americans prepared to travel for Thanksgiving week to gather with family and friends and [...]

  • J. Moriarty

    There are too many holes in “Reformed Pastor’s” rebuttal to take it seriously. Anyway, it is absurd to say that the only annexed territories are the Golan (Syrian) and East Jerusalem. The Apartheid Wall, the checkpoints, the illegal planting of settlers into the West Bank from within Israel proper— all demonstrate that the Israeli regime has for all intents and purposes annexed the West Bank, too. In fact, Israeli-published maps don’t even show a border between Israel proper and the West Bank Territories. So who are they kidding? The route of the Wall bears no resemblance to the Green Line….When it comes to the issue of illegal settlers, we have learned that Jews from just about anywhere are invited by the Israeli government to come and take up residence in the illegal settlements. I’ve seen advertisements on the internet—explicit, not even pretending to be tactful or subtle—inviting Jews to come, and choose to live either in the Galilee or in the Golan. What’s wrong with that picture? The Golan is NOT ISRAEL! The same thing is going on further south. And among the places available are lots which held the homes of Palestinians, who have been forced out. Government financial assistance is made available to these illegal settlers, too. It is criminal. It is an abomination…But eventually, the demographics will turn the page FOR the Israelis, if they just continue to sit still and do nothing differently. Golda Meir’s ridiculous assertion that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” will be blown to pieces. Literally? Or only figuratively? Let us hope it is the latter.

  • Noushin Darya Framke speaks the truth and the United States needs to decide whether it will continue to support apartheid. I do not want my tax dollars supporting such a regime.

    We must speak truth to power: insist that our government recognize Palestine, defined by 1967 boundaries, as a sovereign state. The United States must join the growing number of American nations that are recognizing this proud people and the nation they deserve.

  • Fran Chan

    We need to examine honestly who/what we are. A Christian nation that breeds war & spouts peace? Some of us are profiting from war. We go to war in someone else’ country for many strange reasons without the support of a particular country.

    We might explore what really motivations these suicide bombing especially in U.S. To whom do we credit with Muslims doing suicide bombing for virgins, Christians have some unusual beliefs too like being married to Christ. there are many more, Just think about it.

    We use to look at the African & American Indian dances as strange & wild, now what our young people are doing now looks quite similar.

    We can’t manage to spend only what we have, it seems the fox is out of the barn, we award monies we don’t have, we allow contracts made for the government also for monies we don’t have. Did we fail in math? Is no one accountable? Contracts can’t be reversed? Who made these can’ts?

  • Before I make any comment can someone tell me why this article seems to have two authors. In the large title it says Framke but there is a smaller line beneath that says by Cynthia HolderRich?

  • Cynthia Holder Rich

    Hello, I direct this website. The author of this essay is Noushin Framke, who agreed to serve as a conversation partner for this week.

    Cynthia Holder Rich

  • J. Moriarty

    Yes, I wondered the same thing myself about the double attribution. But it is Noushin’s article.

  • To say this, “Judt famously called Israel an anachronism, saying it was a good idea for the nineteenth century but an idea whose time had passed in the 21st century. Judt said Israel arrived too late: “The very idea of a ‘Jewish state’—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.”

    is to make several assumptions. One is that Arab Israelis have no vote. But they do. Another is to suggest, I hope, that there should not be Arab states-but there are and I am sure that there will continue to be. Israel has been a safe haven for all Jewish people who have been persecuted for thousands of years. Jews who do not live there still think of Israel in that way because they know there is in the world at least one Jewish State that is why it was created.

    If there was only one state, not two, this would not be true.

  • Perhaps I should clarify that last point a little finer. There is still a great deal of anti-Semitism in the world, the Jewish people never feel safe. For instance just this week on a web site called Veterans Today this was posted, by one of its contributing writers:

    “The various agencies of the gangster state of Israel must be similarly disposed of. No more Jewish rules of conduct, and no Jewish Rule under the North American Union. Do we want to be the laughingstock of the world? I should say, do we want to continue to be the laughingstock of the world? To be big, tough Americans who let a bunch of creepy Jews run us like cattle?”

    There was also an article suggesting that all the Rabbis in the United States be eliminated.

    I know that is very awful and you will say that oh those are just crazy people they don’t belong in this discussion. But they do because IPMN has linked to their site and often links to James Wall who says of that site:

    “The website Veterans Today is not a “sludge-bucket”. It is a progressive website that sees injustice and calls it for what it is, which explains why these days, I find myself more at home with my new friends at Veterans Today and My Catbird Seat than with any Presbyterian blogger who has failed to realize that the Israeli occupation is a moral evil which must be ended. Perhaps this is a new ecumenism of the faithful.”

    When we are all involved in this kind of attitude toward the Jews they need to know there is a state that gives them relief.
    This is not to say that Israel does not have problems that she needs to take care of but it does mean that the Jews need a Jewish state.

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  • Polly Johnson

    Noushin speaks truth to power and I support her quotes and facts completely. She is an excellent writer and this article is so clear and painful to read in its truth and clarity. I plan to share it widely.

  • Well written. Thank you for your voice.

    “It is time for all the people to share all the land with equal rights and liberties for all.”

    Amen.