Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One State with Equal Rights of Citizenship for All

First published in
Inconvenient History Blog

One State with Equal Rights of Citizenship for All

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.

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