Saturday, March 28, 2009

George Galloway speaking at Columbia Business School on the One State Solution

March 23. Part of his US 'Siegebuster' tour I believe. Galloway's clear and brilliant delivery on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Watch. Listen. Learn. Funny too, in parts.

18 Comments:

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Damn, a whole hour and a half? Any chance of a quick summary?

I don't quite understand why this has anything to do with business school, rather than political science, sociology or even communication studies. But never mind, that's a minor irrelevant point.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Emm:

Actually it's a hour, plus 30 mins of Q&A. Galloway speaking truth to power, as usual.

The venue is just a venue. Please don't tell me you object to using Uni facilities for Palestinian causes; that would be very Horowitzian.

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

"Actually it's a hour, plus 30 mins of Q&A. Galloway speaking truth to power, as usual.
"


Speaking what he (and you) sees as the truth, anyway. I'm curious what he has to say about the one state solution, but I don't have time to watch the whole thing right now.

"The venue is just a venue. Please don't tell me you object to using Uni facilities for Palestinian causes; that would be very Horowitzian."

As I said, it's a minor irrelevant point. I was just wondering about it, not objecting in any way.

By the way, which Horowitz are you referring to?

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Gert said...

David Horowitz, from FrontPageMag.

"Speaking what he (and you) sees as the truth, anyway. I'm curious what he has to say about the one state solution, [...]"

I think you'll find more overlap between you and him than you might think: I've never heard you deny the Nakba, for instance.

Galloway's stance on Hamas also appears genuine and down to earth to me.

He believes the one state solution to be the only just solution. So do I. And since as in reality neither two state nor one state solutions are really on the table (what we have on the table is a no solution solution, if you ask me) I might as well root for the must just solution.

 
At 5:28 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

It's the most just for Palestinians and the least just for Israelis.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Emm:

Don't be flippant.

How can a state in which both have equal rights be the way you put it?

Do you also believe that post-Apartheid SA is 'the most just for Black South Africans and the least just for White South Africans', when both enjoy the exact same rights?

I think you can do much better than that quite idiotic statement...

 
At 7:24 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

You're right, my statement isn't entirely correct. It isn't the most just for Palestinians, either.

The one state solution would be a disaster. Do you think that everything would be just rosey in the one state between two groups who have been in conflict for decades? This would become an unstable, failing country with constant civil strife, even civil war. Israelis would lose most of what they've built over the years. It wouldn't be such a great country for Palestinians, either, but for those who have lived in refugee camps it would probably be somewhat of an improvement.

Still, I believe Palestinains' lives in a Palestinian state alongside Israel, rather than in an "Isratine", would be much better. But then there's a question of what's more just for Palestinians: regaining what they lost or having the best possible future. I think the latter is more just.

It isn't the same as South Africa, since S. Africa was always one country that abused its majority. Here we aren't one country, we're two different entities (the State of Israel and the territories).

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Emm:

"Do you think that everything would be just rosey in the one state between two groups who have been in conflict for decades? This would become an unstable, failing country with constant civil strife, even civil war. Israelis would lose most of what they've built over the years. It wouldn't be such a great country for Palestinians, either, but for those who have lived in refugee camps it would probably be somewhat of an improvement."

In SA, the level of violence between the opposing communities made the I/P conflict look like a walk in the park. Internecine bloodletting between ANC and Inkatha also well exceeded that between rival Palestinian factions. It took twenty or so years to negotiate a peaceful, democratic settlement, most of that time spent on ensuring the minority's rights were guarnteed. It was that capacity to convince both parties that non-violent assimilation was the way forward that was Mandela's pure genius, nothing else.

To believe such a solution is impossible to achieve in Israel is to believe Jews, Palestinians, blacks and whites are fundamentally and innately different. That is complete nonsense, even more so if you accept that anti-Semitism is complete poppycock.

And in many senses, Palestinians and Jews have more similarities than native black Africans and their White settler counterparts.

"Israelis would lose most of what they've built over the years."

White South Africans in essence lost nothing, except absolute power, which they traded in for equal rights.

The question is, do Israelis want to negotiate such a deal, or do they want to sleepwalk themselves into a fait accompli situation (demographic supremacy by Arabs), as Olmert and many others predict?

Regards the hatred between the communities, the level of it will have to be seriously reduced anyway, even before creating a two state solution. A Palestinian state born in resentment, either because of current hatred or because the state would be unsatisfactory (in terms of territory, level of sovereignty, how RoR was honoured etc etc) or because of both is a recipe for a permanent, deeply hostile missile basis on Israel's borders.

It's this distrust of Palestinians that will lead Israel to throw them only a few scraps of land, highly controllable by Israel and highly unacceptable to the Palestinian people.

All Nationalisms are artificial, coming up with a much more benign (but equally imaginary) co-nationalism would be easy. The current levels of hatred, distrust and animosity are artificial, man-made and not innate, as the paladins of the Clash of Civilisations would like to have any one believe.

What Man has made, Man can unmake.

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

"All Nationalisms are artificial, coming up with a much more benign (but equally imaginary) co-nationalism would be easy."

Please tell me this is one of those instances where you're being sarcastic. Otherwise, you're extremely naive. It's hard enough to convince people to support the two-state solution. You think Palestinians and Israelis will give up their national identities, invented or not, so easily?

Israelis and Palestinians are different in the same way that Americans and Mexicans are different from each other, or Chileans and Argentinias. Is it racist to say that there is no reason for the US and Mexico or Chile and Argentina to unite?

Hostilities will need to subside for either solution to come to successful fruition. However, for the one state solution they have to nearly disappear, which just won't happen. With the two state solution a strong government can reign in whatever resentment remains among the population.

Both solutions are risky experiments, as is the no-solutuion solution. The two-state experiment is the least risky. The one state experiment is the most dangerous, and if any Israeli government is crazy enough to try it, I won't stick around to see how it goes. Would you like Hamas to be in your government?

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Emm:

"[...] one of those instances where you're being sarcastic."

Nope, not at all. Nationalisms are artificial, nearly 100 %.

"You think Palestinians and Israelis will give up their national identities, invented or not, so easily?"

Co-nationalism would absorb both nationalisms. Co-national states exist in many places.

"Is it racist to say that there is no reason for the US and Mexico or Chile and Argentina to unite?"

No but you're comparing apples and oranges: Mexico wasn't built on top of the US, nor was the US built on top of Mexico.

"Would you like Hamas to be in your government?"

Who knows whether Hamas will still be around in 10 - 20 years or if they do what they will be like?


You keep missing my central point though: if Zionism doesn't change direction vis-à-vis a two state solution it may find itself effectively living the one state solution. Do you want this by choice (reasoned negotiation) or by sleepwalking into it? Because, my friend, that is what Zionism is doing: sleepwalking into inadvertent absorption of Palestinians, probably a majority by then. Keep building and that's what you'll get. NOT A SHIMMER OF DOUBT ABOUT THIS.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

"Nope, not at all. Nationalisms are artificial, nearly 100 %."

I wasn't arguing with this part. I was arguing with how easily you think old nationalisms can change. Nationalisms are very artificial. That doesn't make them any less real for most people who identify themselves with a national group. Neither does it make it easier to create new national groups.

"Co-nationalism would absorb both nationalisms. Co-national states exist in many places.

It isn't as easy as that. This absorption is a long process, if it is at all possible in the Israeli-Palestinian context. We want to preserve our own national group, not merge it with another, so any such attempts would be met with resistance (and I don't just mean of the military kind).

Successful co-national states have a long history of co-nationalism. You can't artificially take two groups and tell them to get along. Look at Yugoslavia, for example. Hell, even look at Belgium in recent years.

"No but you're comparing apples and oranges: Mexico wasn't built on top of the US, nor was the US built on top of Mexico."

Actually, the souththwestern US was built on top of Mexico. California, New Mexico, Texas and other parts were taken from Mexico by force.

"if Zionism doesn't change direction vis-à-vis a two state solution it may find itself effectively living the one state solution.

I agree that the two-state solution should be arrived at as soon as possible, and that delays are dangerous (though rushing into things isn't a great idea either). Here your argument is with Netanyahu, not with me.

So, if I undertsand you correctly, you don't really support the one-state solution. You're just using it to scare us into the two-state solution :)

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Your last point:

I believe the one state solution to be the absolutely most just for both peoples.

The biggest danger with a two state solution is that the powers that be concoct something that they believe is acceptable (as well as in their own interests) but unacceptable for the Palestinians. Considering the Palestinians will come to the table without any negotiating power whatsoever, that danger is very real.

Fob them off with next to nothing, face rejection and then cry: "See, can't talk to those people!!" I can see this scenario right before my eyes. No, I have no faith in modern Zionism whatsoever. Nothing. Its history is a testimony to Machiavellian Will to Power.

An unsatisfactory proposal would be a recipe for a hostile, failed state on Israel's border and potentially a Palestinian Holocaust (a people without defense but armed with some rockets).

Assume though that Israel maneuvers itself into a situation where absorption of the Palestinians into Israel (Greater Israel) becomes inevitable: why would that necessarily be such a terrible thing? Israeli Jews aren't unarmed or without defenses. Palestinians would benefit from it. Seriously radical elements on both sides can be dealt with.

 
At 12:26 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Palestinians would never be completely satisfied with the two-state solution. They grudgingly accept it (just like Israelis do), but they'd rather have the one-state solution. There's always a chance they'd feel like suckers no matter what they get.

What's your definition of "next to nothing"? Let's say that Netanyahu's successor as PM offers this: A state on 100% of the territories, with certain 1:1 land swaps, Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and compensation for refugees. Is that "next to nothing"?

"why would that necessarily be such a terrible thing? Israeli Jews aren't unarmed or without defenses."

You said it and you didn't even notice what you're saying. We'll have to walk around armed in our own country to make sure we're safe from our fellow citizens, the Palestinian returnees.

"Palestinians would benefit from it. Seriously radical elements on both sides can be dealt with."

The Palestinians will be the only ones benefitting from it. What will Israelis benefit from it?

This isn't just a situation where radicals would be a problem. There would be friction and violence between ordinary citizens. Will the Palestinians really feel so happy to be back that they'll behave themselves or will they feel free to lash out against those they saw as their oppressors and who they think should "go back to Europe" (even though most Israeli Jews aren't European, but that makes us sound more Colonialistic)? Will ordinary Israelis be happy to see the newcomers or will many of them lash out against those who they don't think should have been allowed to "return"?

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"What's your definition of "next to nothing"? Let's say that Netanyahu's successor as PM offers this: A state on 100% of the territories, with certain 1:1 land swaps, Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and compensation for refugees. Is that "next to nothing"?"

No, of course it's not but you're presenting the most they can get. Do you believe that Israel will offer this? Under Netanyahu? Considering NO ONE is putting any pressure on it? I don't believe that. You're not taking any power play into consideration, instead you seem to be relying on a naive trust in, I dunno... 'Jewish goodness'?

"You said it and you didn't even notice what you're saying"

No. You're misreading what I wrote. In a transition period the defense systems of the Jewish part of the new state would remain intact, that is all I meant.

Regards your last point;

You will, until hell freezes over, keep telling me how difficult it all is, how dangerous it all will be, how it's not that simple etc etc etc, i.o.w. endless reams of caveats and warnings and adjectives, all reflecting your own existential angst.

In a nutshell we all know it won't be easy but we all know it is absolutely vital, including for Israel's very own existence that something is done, SOONER rather than LATER.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

As I said, one of Netanyahu's successors might propose something along those lines, not Netanyahu himself. It won't be out of "Jewish goodness" but out of necessity.

My fear of the one-state solution isn't just my own. A vast majority of Israeli Jews share my existential angst regarding "Isratine". Are our concerns not legitimate?

As I've told you many times, I agree that somethings needs to be done soon.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"Are our concerns not legitimate?"

Your concerns are legitimate but overplayed.

And the wish to keep the Jewish character of the state is the main motivation for that. I have problems with that, not because I'm anti-Jewish but because it's anti-Palestinian and anti-democratic. A Democratic Secular Republic of Israel and Palestine would be a homeland for both peoples. That doesn't make it 'less Jewish', simply differently Jewish.

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

If roughly half or a majority of the country will not be Jewish, the country will be less Jewish. There's no way around it.

Jews have a right to self-determination, just like the Palestinians do. The two-state solution is the only way for both national groups to practice this right. In a one-state solution only one group - whoever is the majority at the time - will in effect practice this right.

Uri Avnery explains why the One State isn't the way to go better than I can (I don't agree with everything he says there but he has some very strong arguments against "Isratine").

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Oh, thanks [Avnery, now there's a courageous man] but I read it before.

The debate rages on of course, I don't hold the truth in the palm of my hand.

 

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