Until Two States Exist, Palestinians Deserve Voting Rights in Israel

The reelection of Binyamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his renunciation of the two-state solution and racist denigration of Israel’s Arab voters, has created the moment of greatest despair over Israel/Palestine that we have experienced in Tikkun’s thirty years of existence. I first published in Tikkun in its inaugural year, 1986.

Words of Devotion

Before the Door of God
Edited by Jay Hopler and Kimberly Johnson

The Sea Sleeps: New and Selected Poems
by Greg Miller

Once in the West
by Christian Wiman

What’s Next for Israel/Palestine? An Introduction

It has become increasingly clear to many people around the world and among many American Jews that the Israeli government has no intention of creating a politically and economically viable Palestinian state. On the eve of his reelection, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that no Palestinian state would emerge under his next five-year government. Although Netanyahu subsequently qualified this promise by claiming he only meant that the conditions for creating such a state do not yet exist, his party almost certainly owed its electoral victory to his display of staunch opposition to Palestinian statehood. The government he subsequently appointed contains members who are even more extreme and overtly racist than Netanyahu himself. Such a far right government was made possible because Israeli public opinion has shifted significantly against any two-state solution.

Nonviolence, BDS, and the Dream of Beloved Community in Palestine/Israel

As a lifelong feminist practitioner of the Torah of nonviolence, I am drawn to respond to the question of what’s next in Israel/Palestine through the hermeneutics of nonviolence, which I believe is a fruitful way out of the one-state/two-state conundrum. The practice of nonviolence is a path toward the future. We learn from people on the front lines of systemic violence that “don’t speak about us without us” is a core principle of nonviolence solidarity, and so I begin with words from a poem titled “Running Orders” that Lena Khalaf Tuffaha wrote after the massacre of Gaza last summer.  
They call us now. Before they drop the bombs.

Closing Thoughts on “What’s Next for Israel/Palestine?”

King Solomon, reputed to be one of the wisest ancient kings, decided to create a ring for himself bearing a message that would always be true. The message he chose? “This too will pass.”

The conflict between Israel and Palestine will also pass. A new generation will arise that is no longer traumatized by the past and no longer believes that its interests are served by engaging in this struggle. We, sadly, live “in the meantime.”

And we have a huge responsibility to hasten the day when trauma will be replaced by mutual affirmation and reconciliation, or steps in that direction sufficient to make it possible for that new generation to grow up without the traumas of the past.

Israeli Elections Won’t End Oppression in Palestine/Israel

Counting on a “left-wing” election victory to produce change in Israeli policy is naïve. A quick review of history reveals that Labor governments not only have led most of Israel’s wars against its neighbors, but also spearheaded settlement expansion in the West Bank. Labor leaders, including David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres, have presided over countless massacres and war crimes. Moreover, Israeli society has been shifting to the far right, so much so that Ariel Sharon became a centrist figure and Tzipi Livni is now a left-wing leader. It is therefore critical to understand the core issues of the conflict in order to move forward in a productive way.

State­-Building Can Pave the Way to Statehood: Lessons from Kurdistan

How did the Palestinians’ odds for statehood and those of the Kurds get reversed in twenty years? The Kurds have spent several decades, especially the last, constructing the educational, economic, military, and political institutions for statehood. Most telling is the growth in women’s rights and the decline in family honor killings. Turning from killing women and Turks to building Kurdish autonomy, the Kurds are achieving growing international support for their bid for statehood. Similarly, the case for Palestinian statehood will not be made by bashing Israel, by arguing for the moral superiority of one’s narrative and one’s victimhood, or by asking what is good for Israel alone.