A commenter on my post about Mike Huckabee’s support for ethnic cleansing in Greater Israel correctly notes that the problem arises in the first place only because Israel – against the advice of ben-Gurion, among others – chose to occupy the West Bank after the 1967 war. Jews are a solid majority in pre-1967 Israel, but not in the combined territory. So the one-state solution is inconsistent with the existence of a state that is both democratic and Jewish.
There are three ways to resolve the problem:
– a two-state solution, leaving a democratic, Jewish-majority state within the 1948 borders. This would be my preferred outcome.
– a one-state solution without expulsion of the Arabs and with majority rule. That state might be democratic, at least for a while, but would not be Jewish, and probably would result in the subjugation and eventual expulsion of the Jews. This is the Muslim Brotherhood’s preferred outcome.
– a one-state solution that either denies voting rights to enough Arabs to maintain a Jewish voting majority or expels enough Arabs to maintain a Jewish voting majority. This is the preferred outcome of Yisroel Beitenu and Mike Huckabee.
Neither denial of voting rights nor expulsion is a consistent with democratic principles. If you think of Zionism as a movement to establish and maintain a Jewish, democratic state in Israel, the Yisroel Beitenu position that Huckabee endorsed is therefore profoundly anti-Zionist. The fact that the loudest-mouthed “Zionists” in Israel and the U.S. don’t find it offensive is the reason why lots of us no longer identify with what now passes for “Zionism.”
Even within the old borders, of course, the position of the Arab minority is not nearly as rosy as supporters of Israel imagine it to be. The Army is in many ways the central social institution in Israel; the army unit you served in is more central to your identity, and more important in career terms, than the university you graduated from. The exclusion of Israeli Arabs from the IDF thus means that they are not, in practical terms, granted equal citizenship with Israeli Jews. But that problem is potentially soluble in the context of a stable peace in a two-state setting. The demographic inconsistency between Greater Israel and democracy is not soluble.