Mark claims he’s not a Zionist anymore. I’ll chalk it up to justifiable pique at being called a Nazi sympathizer by Jewish fascists.
The most basic definition of Zionism is that you believe in a Jewish state in Palestine. If you believe in Israel within the 1967 borders, then you’re a Zionist. Mark rightfully objects that the Likud, the Haredim, and the Liebermans have hijacked the brand. He’s right. But we musn’t give into hijackers, right?
You can actually be a Zionist and not believe in Israel within the 1967 borders. This would be a form of “binational Zionism,” as exemplified by the Brit Shalom group before 1948. Brit Shalom, known in Arabic as Tahalof Essalam, included such luminaries as philosopher Martin Buber, historian Gershom Scholem, activist Henrietta Szold, and Hebrew University President Judah Magnes. Its sort of Zionism stressed the aspect of the Jewish cultural mandate to return to the land, but rejected the emphasis on statehood. On some days, the distinguished writer Ahad Ha’am embraced this concept of Zionism.
One major reason why Brit Shalom got nowhere was the refusal of any Arabs to join it. Now, of course, we hear from many intellectuals that they embrace a “one-state solution.” I would be more persuaded of such a “solution” were it not for the fact that the Arab world remains the globe’s only region without a stable democracy, and states sharply divided by ethnicity anywhere have horrific and appalling records. If the best that the one-staters can do is recommend another Lebanon, then, as Mark and Sam Goldwyn would say, “include me out.”
Over the long run, the death of statist Zionism might be the most lasting legacy of the Arab Spring, if it ever gets that far. If Israel found itself surrounded by a series of stable Arab liberal democracies, then one next logical step would be further economic and political integration on an EU model. If you went back to 1911, and told Frenchmen that one hundred years from then, Europe would be economically and politically integrated and that France and Germany would have open borders, they would have told you that you were insane. But this sort of integration only became possible after firm and deep German democratization, the common enemy of Soviet Russia, and the constant presence of US troops. (A couple of world wars didn’t hurt, either, but it was the outcome of those wars, not the wars themselves, that changed things).
So if you are really a one-stater, your focus should not be on delegitimizing Israel, but rather on fostering Arab liberalism. This most assuredly does not mean that anyone should overlook Israel’s horrid and unethical policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians; rather, it is to say that one-staters should concentrate on changing the Arab world. They aren’t, which leads me to suspect that they are not particularly focused on a real one-state solution. In American criminal law, “recklessness” refers to “a state of mind in which a person does not care about the consequences of his or her actions.” One-staters, unless they are actually attempting to think through and prevent the spectre of anti-Jewish oppression that would surely result from a one-state Palestine, are reckless. Again: include me out.
A few years ago, an Israeli correspondent asked Edward Sa’id: “So what you envision is a totally new situation in which a Jewish minority would live peacefully within an Arab context?” Said: “Yes. I believe it is viable. A Jewish minority can survive the way other minorities in the Arab world survived.” To Sa’id’s confidence, Martin Kramer had the best response: “Introduce this man to an Iraqi Kurd.” Or, for that matter, a Saudi Shi’ite. Or a Sudanese Black African. Or a Darfurian. Or an Algerian or Moroccan Berber.
Last thing: the irony in all of this is that the greatest practical advocates of the one-state solution are all members of the current Israeli government. As always, Hizbullah votes Likud. This is why, at the end of the day, the Revisionists are not Zionists: they are anti-Zionists. And we should not hesitate to say so.