Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Two-Front International Struggle for Palestine
By Lawrence Davidson
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 6, 2012
Lawrence Davidson argues that Israel is intent on ethnically
cleansing its own Arab citizens and that, to prevent this, it is imperative
to intensify the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign
against the Zionist state and, equally, to redouble popular pressure in the
United States that forces a change in foreign policy toward Israel.
In January 2011, I wrote an
analysis in support of a one-state solution to the ongoing
Israeli-Palestinian struggle. It is the Israelis themselves who have made
the one-state solution the only practicable approach, because their
incessant and illegal colonization of the West Bank has simply eliminated
all possibility of a viable and truly independent Palestinian
state. Israeli behaviour has not changed in the past year and so I still
stand by the position.
“Just as the racist apartheid form of governance had to
be changed for there to be a resolution of the South African
struggle, so the Israeli Zionist form of governance has to
be changed for there to be a resolution to the
That being said, it is important to point out that even a one-state
solution capable of bringing justice to the Palestinians, and in doing so,
saving the Jews from the folly of Zionism, will not be possible without
worldwide intervention. What is necessary is a struggle on two international
1. A strong growing international
boycott, divestment and
sanctions campaign against Israel and
2. Growing popular pressure
in the United States that forces a change in foreign policy toward Israel.
Without achieving both of these goals the fate of both
Palestinians and Jews looks very bleak indeed.
Israel will try to prevent a civil rights struggle
The necessity of this two-front international approach was reinforced for
me upon reading a
given by Noam Chomsky in Beirut in May of 2010. When commenting on a
one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he made the
1. For the indefinite future, "Israel will continue doing exactly what
[it is] doing... [taking] the water resources, the valuable land ... the
Jordan Valley ... and send[ing] corridors through the remaining regions to
break them up into separated cantons..."
2. In the process the
Israeli government will make sure that "very few Palestinians [are]
incorporated in the valuable areas that Israel will take over" and they will
do so in order to preclude "any civil rights struggle".
Israelis can do this as long as the United States supports them. Chomsky
calls this the "mafia principle". He notes that in the case of South Africa,
the apartheid state was able to hold out against an international boycott,
divestment and sanctions campaign as long as the United States did not
participate in it. And the primary reason the US gave for not doing so was
that the leading resistance organization fighting apartheid, Nelson
Mandela’s African National Congress, was a "notorious" terrorist
4. However, international anti-apartheid sentiment did
help push Washington to finally cease its support for South Africa and then
apartheid collapsed. Chomsky concludes: "When the godfather [that is, the
US] changes his policy, things change... I think this could happen with
Israel. If the United States changes policy and decides to join the world‘s
[growing opposition to Israeli behaviour], Israel will have no option but to
“...the pressure for the necessary transformation will
have to come ... in the form of a two-front movement: one
front building the worldwide boycott, divestment and
sanctions against Israel, and the second front concentrating
on making support of Israel a national scandal in the US and
therefore a domestic voting issue.”
Chomsky’s analysis is a bit too reductionist for me. That is, he tends to
bring everything down to positions taken by the US government. But there is
no denying that changing US policy is one of two necessary international
parts to any solution. And, he makes a seminal point when he tells us
that the Israeli government has no intention of incorporating the mass of
West Bank Palestinians (to say nothing of the Gazans) into the Jewish state.
Avoiding a civil rights struggle through "transfer"
Indeed, Israeli strategy necessitates allowing a fake "Palestinian state"
in the form of West Bank bantustans, and then deporting their Israeli Arab
citizens into those enclaves. No Arabs in Israel, no civil rights struggle.
piece of news that speaks to this possibility appeared on 31 January
2012. According to Associated Press reports, the Israeli Interior Ministry
plans to deport thousands of South Sudanese refugees. Why so? Because,
according to a ministry spokeswoman, "since the South Sudanese have an
independent state, they will no longer be given protected status in Israel".
The first step will be to offer them "voluntary deportation and around 1,300
US dollars" in ‘thanks for leaving’ money. After that, forced deportation
and no money, will be the policy.
As the American Palestinian
activist Ali Abunimah notes, "Israeli leaders have already hinted that they
could use the same type of logic to justify removal of Palestinian citizens
of Israel if a nominally independent Palestinian state is established on
scrapes of the West Bank and Gaza Strip".
This is known as a policy
of "transfer" in Zionist parlance and it has been discussed at least since
the time of Theodor Herzl. In recent years it has been suggested by former
Livni (now head of the Israeli opposition in the Knesset) and the
present foreign minister,
Avigdor Lieberman, as well as a slew of other Israeli politicians.
Abunimah’s conclusion is that a "two-state solution would be more likely to
lead to further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians than to peace"
“...it is unlikely that there will be a just solution to
the Israeli-Palestinian struggle unless Israeli treatment of
the Palestinians becomes a strong enough cause to impact US
So what do we have here? On the one hand, Noam Chomsky points to the very
real possibility that the Israelis will not allow a one-state solution that
creates the conditions for an internal struggle for civil and political
equality. And, on the other hand, Ali Abunimah points to the very real
possibility that any two-state solution will lead to forced deportation of
Palestinians into bantustans.
Is there a way out of this? Well, if
the South African experience is to be a guide it is this: the sine qua
non of any solution is the collapse of Israel’s ethno-religious – that
is, Zionist – ideology of governance. Just as the racist apartheid form of
governance had to be changed for there to be a resolution of the South
African struggle, so the Israeli Zionist form of governance has to be
changed for there to be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.
And, I think that Chomsky is right when he says the Israelis have no
intention of allowing such a change in governance to come about through an
internal civil rights struggle. Therefore, the pressure for the necessary
transformation will have to come from outside. It will have to come in the
form of a two-front movement: one front building the worldwide boycott,
divestment and sanctions against Israel, and the second front concentrating
on making support of Israel a national scandal in the US and therefore a
domestic voting issue.
While there are good organizations in
the US (such as the
to End the Occupation and
for Peace) involved in building this second front, I think that the
effort has not been given enough attention by Americans involved in
supporting the Palestinian cause. It is time this changed for, as Noam
Chomsky suggests, it is unlikely that there will be a just solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian struggle unless Israeli treatment of the Palestinians
becomes a strong enough cause to impact US policy.