By Fred Baumann, Professor of Political Science

Professor of Religous Studies Vernon Schubel touts the blessings of the “one-state” solution to the Arab-Israeli dispute. It would indeed be lovely if everyone could just get along in one country. The only way to get there, however, is for each people to feel secure in its own country and then over time to learn that there is no reason to keep up the old fears and hostilities. Putting one Palestinian Arab majority state in place where Israel now exists and then promising peace and kindness is a non-starter. It is very like someone who has done everything to drive his neighbor out of his house and home, and who, having failed, now says, “Well, if you would just give me the deed to the place, we could live together amicably. I’d even let you rent from me, at least for a while.” That’s really not a convincing example of recognizing our “common humanity.”

To put it plainly, no one can reasonably expect the Jewish state to hand itself over to those who have, since its founding in 1948, sought in every way they could to exterminate it, and who have rejected every offer of peace, on the grounds that they alone had the right to all of Palestine. Nor are his transparent efforts to isolate and minimize those who were disturbed by the new tone of the dialogue  (“small but vocal minority”), particularly reassuring when it comes to the irenic content of his message. That kind of us-and-them positioning is exactly how our discourse should not be carried on, it seems to me.

And, oh yes, the Collegian has me “blasting” KSJP in the meeting it reports on. I was in fact trying above all to speak to its members very much in the spirit of the Collegian editorial, urging that the debate be pursued in respectful, rational ways, rather than through symbolic and theatrical speech designed to simplify and provoke indignation and anger.



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