Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Goldberg Interview with Hussain Ibish

Jeffrey Goldberg has a very interesting interview with Hussein Ibish:
Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, which is the leading American group advocating for an independent Palestine alongside Israel, has a new book out, "What's Wrong With the One-State Agenda?" which does a comprehensive job of demolishing the arguments made by those who think that Israel should be eliminated and replaced by a single state of Jews and Palestinians. He has performed an important service with this book by noting one overwhelming truth about this debate: Virtually no one in Israel wants a single-state between the river and the sea. It's useful to remember this salient fact when listening to the ostensibly reality-based arguments of the one-staters.

I spoke to Ibish about his arguments last week, shortly after he spoke at the J Street conference. Here is an edited version of our conversation:

Me, I could make peace with Ibish in four minutes flat, including two for a discussion of the weather. Well, maybe it might take 12 minutes.

I expect most Israelis could.


Zach said...

Yeah, having to actually combat that argument is quite annoying. It's nice to see that other people realize how the one-state "solution" is anything but.

Avigdor said...

I just emailed you about this! So much for the scoop. As I wrote to you, the only question is who Ibish and the ATFP represent - Palestinian interests in Washington or Washington's interests in Ramallah.

Anonymous said...

Hussein Ibish seems like an interesting man and I look forward to reading his book. For now, all I've had time to do is skim it, but it looks sane, moderate and intelligent. I did come across this in it, though:

It has been clear for many years, if not decades, that all Israelis who are serious about a peace agreement understand that no Palestinians will agree to a state that does not have its capital in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a deal-breaker for Palestinians, a sine qua non of any end-of-conflict agreement, just as the right of return is to the Israeli side.

It's not clear to me and I need someone to explain it. A "right of return" is a deal-breaker for Israelis because it would mean the destruction of Israel and the demand signifies an opponent who is not serious about making peace. For the life of me, I can't see why a Palestinian eastern Jerusalem is a fundamental requirement for peace in any kind of equivalent way. I can't see what the basis of the Palestinian claim to it is, beyond "We want it". As I understand it, the centers of Palestinian life were always Ramallah and Nablus, not Jerusalem. Though I consider myself serious about peace (though not an Israeli), with the best will in the world, the longing of the Palestinians for Jerusalem seems to be more about denying it to Israel than its intrinsic value to them. Is that what it's about — symbolic victory?

Paul M

Anonymous said...

I wondered about this statement:

"Virtually no one in Israel wants a single-state between the river and the sea."

Not even Israeli Arabs? They'd no longer have to be a minority in a Jewish state, and could stay put.

I'm not supporting a single state; this question came to mind though.


Yaacov said...

Well, Lisa, I have no doubt some Israeli Arabs might like it. Yet one of the striking things about the position of the Israeli Arabs is that a large majority of them (i.e, not all of them) consistently say they want a Palestinian State next to Israel, but they themselves wish to stay in Israel.

When you think about it for a moment, however, it's not really that surprising. There is not a single fully open democracy among the 20-some Arab countries; with the exception of the oil-rich ones, not a single one of them offers its citizens a reasonable standard of living, either. If you had to choose between living in an Arab state or developed and democratic Israel, which would you choose?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that Arab Israelis have openly stated they'd want to stay in Israel. Interesting.