The death that must not be mentioned in mainstream US discourse

One of the goals of the Israel lobby in the US is to make sure that the ‘two-state’ solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict remain the only option that is discussed, even though the expansionist settler policies of successive Israeli governments has made that option dead. The only possibility now is a single state and the debate really should be about what form that state should take, whether it be a democratic state in which Israelis and Palestinians everywhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories and Gaze have equal rights, or a formalized theocratic Apartheid state to replace the informal Apartheid state that currently exists.

There was a recent controversy over the firing by CNN of their commentator Marc Lamont Hill, a Temple University professor of media studies, because of a speech that he had given at the UN that the lobby had deemed to be anti-Semitic. But Glenn Greenwald writes that it was more due to his outspoken defense of Palestinian rights.

THE ACCUSATIONS LAUNCHED against Hill – that his comments are anti-semitic and constitute advocacy of genocide – are so disingenuous and blatantly false that one is reluctant even to dignify them with a substantive critique. But the damage done to Hill’s reputation by this pro-Israel, pro-censorship internet mob requires that it be done.

It is a requirement in U.S. discourse about Israel and Palestine that an absolute lie be affirmed: namely, that it’s still possible for a viable “two-state solution” to be created, where Palestine and Israel live side-by-side as sovereign states. The undeniable reality – that is now widely recognized in both Israel and Palestine, even as it’s forbidden to be acknowledge in mainstream U.S. precincts (CNN) – is that illegal Israeli settlements have grown so rapidly and have eaten up so much Palestinian land in the West Bank that such a solution is now essentially impossible, a fact even the U.N. acknowledges:

That leaves only two realistic choices: either (a) a single state “from the river to the sea” in which Israelis as a minority have full political rights while Palestinians are segregated and treated and repressed as second-class citizens, the very definition of “apartheid,” or (b) a single state “from the river to the sea” in which both Israelis and Palestinians share full and equal political rights.

Professor Hill, like all morally decent people, opposes apartheid. Therefore, he advocates a single state in which both Palestinians and Israelis have equal political rights. What is actually offensive is not Professor Hill’s comments but rather the suggestion that it is “anti-semitic” or constitutes advocacy of “genocide” to support equal political rights for all human beings, including Palestinians.

As Phillip Weiss writes:

These trends are all influential for the same reason that Hill’s words were influential: because the two state solution is over and everyone knows it even if they are denying it; and Zionism, a successful ideology for 100 years in answering the Jewish question in Europe and then cementing American support for Israel, is now in crisis. That’s the hopeful but also terrifying part of the Hill story. The two-state farce is coming to an end, and Zionism is in an intellectual shambles. The establishment and, yes, too, other sentient people are afraid of what will follow; and Marc Lamont Hill’s voice was snuffed like a candle for stating a perfectly desirable outcome, one state with equal rights for all.

The calls for the firing of Hill and the responses in support of him reveal, according the editors of Mondoweiss, the crisis in Zionism caused by the death of the two-state solution

The demands for Hill’s head from supporters of Israel that evidently led to his firing as well as expressions of solidarity from Palestinian supporters in the aftermath show that the end of the two-state-solution is bringing about open ideological conflict in the U.S. establishment, with supporters of Palestinians being accused of anti-Semitism, much as they are in the U.K.

The sooner that political and media elites in the US realize that the two-state solution is dead, the more likely we are to address real solutions and not indulge in fantasies.


  1. says

    Conservatives like to argue that “conversation is shut down by cries of ‘racism'”, yet the second someone argues that the treatment of Palestinians and the theft of their lands is horrible, out comes “anti-semitism!” and “don’t you think Israel has a right to exist?”

    Anti-semitism is a big and growing problem in the world, but criticizing Israel over the settlements and supporting BDS until they change this isn’t anti-semitic.

  2. DavidinOz says

    I speak out against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and I am an ant-semite.

    I speak out about my own government’s attacks on liberty and I am unAustralian.

    I speak out about America’s attacks on freedom around the world and I am unAustralian and AntiAmerican.

    And all this time I thought I was a pacifist and a humanist, trying to make a better world. Seems too few people want a better world.

  3. rationalrevolution says

    The Jewish conservatives have led Israel into a no-win situation, where they are faced with either losing political control of Israel or becoming the executioners of the worst genocide wince WWII. I find it difficult to see any other outcome at this time (of course other outcomes are possible, but nothing indicates movement in any other direction.) Hopefully these two prospects will cause Israelis to come to their senses and peruse a two-state-solution before it’s completely too late, but I see no evidence of that being likely to occur.


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