In a recent article in Foreign Affairs titled “Israel’s One-State Reality,” a quadrumvirate of professors argued that, because of Israel’s inherent sinfulness, the U.S. should cease supporting both Palestinian statehood and peace between Israel and its neighbors. Robert Satloff responds to what he calls a “pseudo-academic argument” that is “little more than political advocacy.”
Why is this advocacy and not scholarship? Because in its eagerness to market the catchphrase “one-state reality,” it neglects to mention the hard borders [separating] Israel, Hamas-controlled Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority-controlled urban areas of the West Bank, which make it impossible for anyone—Israeli, Palestinian, or third-country national—to traverse the length and breadth of this supposedly single state and quite dangerous for anyone even to try. Because to make its case, it avoids inconvenient facts. . . . And because, without a single reference to Hizballah missiles, Hamas rockets, or a potential Iranian nuclear bomb, it leaves the unsuspecting reader to wonder whether Israel’s neighbors are Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
There is much in the essay about the regression of peace diplomacy since the failed Camp David summit in 2000. . . . But on closer inspection, the article is not really about the Palestinian issue at all. In the tall tale the authors tell, Palestinians make little more than cameo appearances, bearing responsibility for neither their decisions nor their fates.
The real point of this essay is to target Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. . . . Strip away the outrage at Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians—about which there is plenty to critique—and the authors’ goal becomes clear: to paint Israel itself as illegitimate, a country born in colonial sin and raised to maturity as an illiberal, ethnonationalist state that deserves not just to be condemned but also to be replaced. As much as the authors dress up their alternative with the language of human and civil rights, there is no getting around the perversity of advocating a solution that does away with the world’s lone Jewish state.