It is my intention in this article to expose the unflattering reality behind white angel wings that certain people imagine themselves sporting. Within the Progressive Left we find a shrinking proportion of Two-State Solution advocates who are either pro-Israel, with their hearts in the right place but unfortunately are lacking critical information, or anti-Zionists who are two-staters because they think the “damage” of setting up the state of Israel can only be contained, not reversed; and we find a growing contingent of people who call for the Binational (One-State) Solution, in the thinking that undoing Zionism is both desirable and possible. I contend that the former group are guilty of calling for ethnic cleansing, despite their denial of the term, and that the latter are unwitting accessories to genocide, by virtue of their incurable naïveté.
Calls for Ethnic Cleansing
A complicated matter needs complex explanations; I am perfectly willing to take the time for reading a subject where, to paraphrase Einstein, things cannot be made simpler than possible. Where, however, the matter is simple, it is just as bad to frame it in complex terms and elaborate wording. Ethnic cleansing is such a matter: Very simply put, anybody who argues that a particular piece of land should be emptied of members of a particular ethnos residing in it is an advocate of ethnic cleansing. It is really that simple and it will not do to complicate matters.
It is told of W. C. Fields (or George Bernard Shaw, alternatively) that he once asked a lady if she was willing to spend the night with him for a million pounds, and she said yes; then he asked her if she was willing to do the same for a few pennies, and she answered, indignantly, “What do you think I am—a prostitute?!” Whereupon he said, “Lady, we have already established that. We are now discussing prices.” With Progressives who call for ethnic cleansing, the same lack of awareness can be found: Having said that a two-state solution would by necessity involve the evacuation of all Jewish residents (“settlers,” in in the revisionist parlance of Arab imperialism) from Judea and Samaria, they are the first to flare in righteous anger when someone suggests that the same two-state solution would reciprocally involve the relocation of all Arabs in pre-1967 Israel to the newly-formed Arab state of Falasteen. “That’s ethnic cleansing!!!” they reply in fiery rage, with the assumption taken for granted that their call for the relocation of Jews is not ethnic cleansing at all.
Let us be clear about two separate facets of this issue: Ethnic cleansing itself and the question whether it is justified. When a supporter of the Two-State Solution, or on the other hand a Helen Thomas clone calling for Jews to go “back home” to the lands where six million were exterminated, says a part or all of Palestine should be emptied of Jews in order for peace to be possible, they are both calling for ethnic cleansing and offering a reason as to why it is justified. That they call for ethnic cleansing is not in dispute—it flows from the cold, hard, objective meaning of the term “ethnic cleansing.” Trying to counter the accusation with a statement like, “It is not ethnic cleansing to kick squatters, settlers, colonists out!”, they do nothing but double down on their calls for ethnic cleansing; the bit about “squatters, settlers, colonists” is not a refutation of the charge of ethnic cleansing, it is a justification of their call for it.
The burden of standing up to their hypocrisy is on the Progressive-Leftists, as it is one of their tenets that ethnic cleansing is never justified. In the years 1993–2005 there was a window of opportunity when the majority of the Israeli Jewish public believed in the viability of the Two-State Solution, including the prospect of ethnic cleansing Judea and Samaria and Gaza of all Jewish residents as part of bringing that solution about; this culminated in the ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip in August 2005. In the course of the 2000s decade, the Arabs closed that window by making it clear to the Israeli Jewish public that they had no intention of settling for Judea and Samaria and Gaza, but wanted everything the Jews have, meaning pre-1967 Israel as well. The Israeli Jews have passed the test of flexibility with flying colors; it is therefore not they but the other side—Arab imperialists and their Progressive-Left supporters—who have some proving to do in that department.
It is already curious that the Progressive-Leftist advocates of the Two-State Solution take it for granted that ethnic cleansing of the Jews is a noble prerequisite to such a solution while the notion of a reciprocal population exchange involving the pre-1967 Israel Arabs is taboo. It is evident that there is a double standard here, and it looks probable that such a double standard has its source in the selfsame anti-Zionist narrative that posits the Jews as interlopers in Palestine. Whatever the case, and whatever the justifications they bring for their plans for all the Jews in certain parts of Palestine and the convoluted explanations as to why such justifications do not apply to Arabs in any part of Palestine, the cold, harsh truth remains that they call for ethnic cleansing. This would not be much of an issue if the Progressives did not claim ethnic cleansing to be a heinous crime, but they do, and since they do so, they must be held to their claim.
A Genocidal Solution
The hypocrisy may have been one of the factors prompting the Progressive-Left winds to shift away from the Two-State Solution into the Binational Solution. Insofar as the Binational Solution of having a single state shared by Jews and Arabs allows everyone to stay where they are (ah, give and take a million descendants of the defeated Arabs of 1947 “returning” to flood the new binational state), the Binational Solution really is free of ethnic cleansing. In it, however, the prospect of ethnic cleansing is exchanged for one far worse, that of genocide.
We have it on experience, from Lebanon, break-up Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur, that forcing nations that hate each other into a single state could have dire consequences. Although there are other, benign cases such as Switzerland (one of the few successful examples), Belgium (where the Flemish and Waloon populations just keep a simmering contempt for one another instead of erupting into violence) and the United States of America (now under great strain thanks to unscrupulous politicians pitting the constituent groups against each other, then claiming to be the cure for strife), the track record of multinational states has not been stellar, to say the least. I am willing to bet Progressives would avoid drinking a cup of water known to have a 5% chance of being poisoned just like all people, yet they are all too ready to gamble the lives of millions on their pipe-dreams.
The Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda looked similar and spoke mutually intelligible dialects of the same language, yet that did not prevent the massacre that took place in 1994. But we are being asked to believe that Jews and Arabs could somehow live together peacefully in the same state! We are being called to believe, on pain of being branded as “racists,” that the decades-long indoctration of Arab children to wish to massacre the Jews has no significance whatsoever, and can in no way impede the vision of peaceful coexistence. All I can say is that it is much easier to bet somebody else’s farm than your own. Owing to Jewish experience—of life under Islamic as well as Christian rule—Israeli Jews cannot honestly be asked to treat the Binational Solution with enthusiasm.
Notes and Directions
The note I wish to leave Progressives in all this is that they are not so angelic as they imagine themselves to be. Whether they call for ethnic cleansing while deluding themselves they do not, or advocate a scenario so perilously open to the possibility of ending in genocide, the fact is the Progressives are reckless in their thinking, not giving enough care to the fate of either Jew or Arab in Palestine. The reality-based thinker acknowledges the existence of the element of imperialism in the conflict that makes it a far more difficult matter to solve than either Two-State or Binational advocates think it is. Of course, some observers outside Israel might come to think this is a hopeless cause and they should stay out of it and let the chips fall where they may—I have no problem with that kind of thinking, which I consider much better than the delusion that somehow the bombings in Boston, hackings in London, stabbings in Paris and massacres in Delhi would all magically cease or even just go down in their frequency if only the Jewish–Arab Conflict were solved.
The way forward to peace is unclear, and anyone who says otherwise is either deluded or deceiving. It might even involve the Two-State Solution, but if and only if the Israeli Jewish public is convinced that the other side wants a state alongside ours rather than the appropriation of everything we have. Let one thing be as clear as crystal to all interested in peace in the Middle East: Until the national rights of the Jews as the indigenous Palestinian nation are recognized, instead of being denied with Zionism being maliciously construed as a branch of European colonialism, there will be no prospect of any just and viable peace. Progressives claim to stand for the rights of indigenous peoples; let them make good on their claim regarding the indigenous people of Palestine—the Jews.