One State with Equal Rights of Citizenship for All

Published: 2011-07-09

By Daniel McGowan-
Professor Emeritus, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Executive Director, Deir Yassin Remembered

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the views of, nor should they be attributed to, these institutions.

Although it is the 150th anniversary of our Civil War (April 1861), ostensibly fought to ensure that America would be one state with equal rights of citizenship for all, most Americans consider it "inconvenient" (if not downright anti-Semitic) to suggest that Israel/Palestine should also be treated as one state with equal rights of citizenship for all.  To express this very American goal is to refute our overwhelming desire to divide Palestine into two states and oppose a 130-year old dream to create a Jewish state in the Holy Land.

The reality itself is "inconvenient."  Within the current borders controlled by Israel (including pre-1967 Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights) there is in fact a single state. The land has one electrical grid, one water system, one currency, one major highway system, one postal service, and one external border.  It has one powerful military; there are some militias like the Druze Border Guards, the Hamas fighters in Gaza, the Fatah policemen in Ramallah, and Jewish settlers in Kiryat Arba, but there is really only one army, navy, and air force.

If you are wedded to creating a Jewish State, it is "inconvenient" to admit that over half the population of Israel/Palestine is not Jewish.  If you claim to opposed apartheid, it is "inconvenient" to point out that there are an unambiguous set of Israeli laws that favor Jews over non-Jews.  This is the essence of political Zionism.  It is a philosophy and a movement based on racism, chosenness, and Jewish supremacism, but it is most "inconvenient" to even whisper these facts, at least in the United States.

The fact is that after 130 years, several hundred billion dollars in foreign aid, thousands of deaths, and persistent ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population, Israel/Palestine is not a Jewish state any more than South Africa was a white state prior to its end of apartheid.  Israel/Palestine is a state controlled by Jews; it is a state where Jews have superior rights (not the least being the right of return); but with over half the population being non-Jewish, it is self-deceiving to call it a Jewish state.

Zionists from both the right and the left refuse to acknowledge this because of their obsession with, and allegiance to, the dream of a pure, or almost pure, Jewish state.  So the extreme right, like Foreign Minister Lieberman, wants to transfer the Arabs and other non-Jews (including children of migrant workers) out of Israel/Palestine.  Others like Dershowitz, Pipes, and Hagee simply want to wall off the non-Jewish areas and call these reservations or Bantustans a “potential” Palestinian state.   Even the most humanitarian Zionists, like Uri Avnery, who would tear down the mammoth apartheid wall (or security barrier), cannot bring themselves to endorse the right of equal citizenship.

One state already exists in Israel/Palestine.  Those who deny it do so blinded by a racist endeavor that should long ago have been discarded along with Aryan supremacy, Catholic supremacy, Tutsi supremacy, and whatever other supremacy forms the basis for discrimination and disregard for basic human rights.  But for most Americans, opposition to Zionism is simply "inconvenient."


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Author(s): Richard A. Widmann
Title: One State with Equal Rights of Citizenship for All
Published: 2011-07-09
First posted on CODOH: July 9, 2011, 8:19 a.m.
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