Whitewashing Palestine to Eliminate Israel: The Case of the One-State Advocates

, April 12, 2016


An increasingly fashionable position among self-styled “progressives” is to advocate the “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This “solution” envisions a single “secular, liberal, democratic state” encompassing the entire former mandate of Palestine, with a “right of return” for millions of Palestinian “refugees.” There is, however, a serious blind-spot in the argumentation of the one-state proponents regarding their treatment of Palestinian political culture, both past and present. The one-state proponents systematically whitewash Palestinian political culture by denying, ignoring, or obscuring its Islamic, Islamist, and antisemitic aspects. Their goal is to distract their readers from the illiberal, undemocratic aspects of Palestinian society to keep the focus relentlessly on the real or imagined sins of Israel. They use propaganda as a tool of war to strip Israel of legitimacy and international support and to blind the well-meaning but uninformed readers to the very real risks that Jews would face as a minority living under an Arab and Muslim majority in a re-unified Palestine.


The struggle to thwart the Zionist project has taken many forms over the past century, including terrorism, conventional warfare, propaganda, diplomatic pressure, commercial boycotts, and religious mobilization. Over the past decade, a new tactic among anti-Israel activists based mostly in the West has been to contrast the imperfect reality of Israel with the perfect utopia of a single, liberal, secular, democratic state in the whole former British Mandate of Palestine in which Jews and non-Jews would enjoy perfect equality. While advocating the idea of the single, secular democratic state had been part of the propaganda of the Palestine Liberation Organization since the mid-1960s and seventies, the proponents of the one-state solution have revived it with renewed vigor. Since any real society looks bad compared with a hypothetical utopia, this tactic allows anti-Israel activists to portray Israeli society in harshly negative terms. It also allows them to reject the “two-state” solution on the grounds that it does not achieve the perfect justice of their imagined utopia. In rejecting the two-state solution, they aim to keep the struggle against Israel alive indefinitely.

There is a Zionist version of the “one-state solution,”2 but the focus of this article is on the anti-Zionist version. This proposed solution would include the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees of 1948 and their descendants, with compensation for losses they suffered in 1948, as well as the abolition of any alleged discrimination in favor of Jews or against non-Jews, within a single state encompassing all the territory of the former British mandate of Palestine. If implemented, the “one-state solution” would quickly turn Jews into a minority in a majority Palestinian Arab state.3

One-state advocates are enthusiastic purveyors of what Martin Kramer has called “the myth of Palestinian exceptionalism.”4 According to this myth, the Palestinians have a political culture marked by equality, democracy, tolerance, non-violence, free debate and respect for diverse viewpoints. If it were true, this would make the Palestinian national movement exceptional in the Arab world. For in no other Arab country can one find such a political culture. In fact, when the Palestinians finally had the opportunity to create a state in the making in the West Bank and Gaza after 1993, i.e., the Palestinian Authority, they created a corrupt, repressive tyranny that failed those who were condemned to live under it.5 In other words, the regime established by Yasser Arafat “did not deviate significantly from the prevailing Arab norm.”6 The Hamas regime in Gaza is even worse. However, the failure of the Palestinians to create a “secular, liberal, democratic state” of their own in the territory they control has not led one-state advocates to have any doubts about what sort of state an Arab and Muslim majority would create in a future united Palestine. Instead, they simply attack as “racist” anyone who would dare to raise doubts about such a state. In his critique of the one-state agenda, the Palestinian-American scholar Hussein Ibish has the honesty to acknowledge that “existential fears” among Israeli Jews are exacerbated by the poor state of ethnic and sectarian coexistence in the Middle East generally. He adds:

It would be indefensible to assert that the contemporary Middle East enjoys a regional political climate favoring pluralism and equitable sectarian and ethnic power-sharing. Ethnic and sectarian conflict in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and many other Middle Eastern states suggests that the political climate  does not favor enlightened mutuality based on common interest.7

Since Ibish penned these words in 2009, the ethnic and sectarian conflicts of the Middle East have worsened. Ibish’s point seems obvious to anyone who follows the news, but one-state advocates cannot muster enough honesty or common sense to admit the obvious. In this respect they are remarkably like the clueless professors of Middle Eastern Studies whom Martin Kramer sharply criticizes.8

From a broader historical perspective, the one-state movement is only the most recent expression of the long-standing effort by Palestinians to replace Israel with an Arab-majority state. In this respect it has much in common with the “two-state solution.” In 1970, a PLO delegation visiting North Vietnam adopted 2the idea of imitating the strategy of the North Vietnamese Communists, who in 1954 had “agreed to the division of their country into two states while awaiting a balance of power more favorable to them.”9 In the words of Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf, 1933-1991), one of the leaders of Fatah and the PLO, if the Palestinians were offered a toehold in some portion of the former British Mandate of Palestine, “we should know how to take what was offered to us without renouncing our strategic objective of a democratic state in all Palestine in which Arabs and Jews would live as equal citizens.”10 To that end, the Palestinians decided in 1974 “to set up a national government on any part of Palestine to be liberated.”11 Thus, from the Palestinian point of view, the Oslo Accords were merely a single phase of their plan to eliminate Israel.12 The PLO’s alleged acceptance of Israel’s right to exist in 1988 actually was an insincere tactical ploy.13 Arafat’s post-Oslo terrorism constituted another aspect of the plan to continue the war against Israel from a territorial base within Palestine. However, since Israel stubbornly refuses to disappear, many Palestinian activists are now pursuing other tactics to dissolve the world’s only Jewish state. The one-state and BDS movements are examples of such tactics.

The Rise of the One-State Movement

The idea of a single “binational” state in Palestine had been discussed since the 1920s,14 and the late Edward Said championed the idea right up to his death in 2003.15 It was revived as “the one-state solution” in an article by New York University Professor Tony Judt (1948-2010), published in 2003.16 An American political scientist, Virginia Tilley, wrote the first extensive, academic work on the subject in 2005 in a book entitled The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock.17 And Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian-American co-founder of the website Electronic Intifada, followed in 2006 with his book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.18

On November 29, 2007, several anti-Israeli activists and academics issued “The One State Declaration.” This “Declaration” rejects the “two-state solution” on the grounds that

…the two-state solution condemns Palestinian citizens of Israel to permanent second-class status within their homeland, in a racist state that denies their rights by enacting laws that privilege Jews constitutionally, legally, politically, socially, and culturally. Moreover, the two-state solution denies Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right of return.”19

Among the fifteen authors of “The One State Declaration” are:  Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Oren Ben-Dor, George Bisharat, Joseph Massad, and Ilan Pappé, and among its 54 sponsors are: Saree Makdisi and Nur Masalha. In March 2012, Harvard University hosted a conference on the so-called “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.20

It is noteworthy that Omar Barghouti is also a leader of the BDS movement (the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel). In his book, BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, Barghouti writes that “the BDS movement is neutral on the one-state, two-state debate.”21 According to Barghouti, the BDS movement focuses upon the three goals that enjoy the support of virtually all Palestinians, namely ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ending discrimination against Palestinians within Israel proper, and implementing the right of return for up to eight million Palestinian refugees.22 However, Barghouti has acknowledged in public that implementing the “right of return” would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, thus establishing (superfluously) one Palestinian state alongside another Palestinian state.23 Hence, the logic of the BDS movement with its three demands points toward the one-state solution.

Another important voice in defense of the one-state solution is the Palestinian-American academic Saree Makdisi, a nephew of Edward Said, and the author of Palestine Inside Out (2008), a book that ends with an argument for a single, secular, democratic state in all of historic Palestine, including the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants.24 Miko Peled, an Israeli Jew turned anti-Zionist activist, has also come out in favor of the one-state solution in his memoir, The General’s Son (2012).25  And American political scientist, Ian Lustick, while not exactly advocating the one-state solution, has attacked the two-state solution as illusory, writing that “one mixed state…is no longer inconceivable.”26

The proponents of the one-state solution have not gone unanswered. In 2009, Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine published a brilliant critique of the one-state agenda from a Palestinian point of view.27 The same year, Israeli historian Benny Morris published his own critique of the one-state proposal.28 More recently, a leading Israeli scholar, Professor Asher Susser of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at the Tel Aviv University, published a trenchant rebuttal of the one-state proponents.29

The purpose of this paper is to expose and to criticize a serious blind-spot in the argumentation of the one-state proponents. This blind spot concerns their treatment of Palestinian political culture, both past and present. I shall demonstrate that the one-state proponents systematically whitewash Palestinian political culture by denying, ignoring, or obscuring its Islamic, Islamist, and antisemitic features. Their objective is to distract their readers from the illiberal, undemocratic aspects of Palestinian society in order to maintain the focus relentlessly upon the real or imagined sins of Israel. They use propaganda as a tool of political warfare in order to strip Israel of legitimacy and international support and to blind their  well-meaning but uninformed readers to the very real risks that Jews would face as a minority living under an Arab and Muslim majority in a single state of Palestine.

The One-State Proponents on Palestinian Political Culture

  1. Edward Said

Edward Said (1935-2003), the late, well-known Palestinian-American Professor of Literature at Columbia University and author of the influential work, Orientalism, set the tone for one-state advocates in his writings on the Middle East. In The Question of Palestine, published in 1979, Said attacks those who accuse Palestinians or Arabs of harboring antisemitic prejudices or genocidal intentions vis-à-vis the Jews. He writes: “To speak of the Palestinians rationally is to stop speaking about war or genocide and to start dealing with political reality.”30  According to Said, “Palestinians are refugees not because they are anti-Semites, but because the Zionists simply kicked many of them out.”31 Far from being antisemitic, Said writes that “we [Palestinians] are clearly anticolonialist and antiracist in our struggle”32 and are committed to “a secular democratic state in Palestine for Arabs and Jews.”33 He argues that it is the Zionists who have a monopoly on exclusive nationalism, discrimination, and racism, and who indeed are guilty of “apartheid.”34 A gifted rhetorician, Said in effect preemptively delegitimizes anyone who would dare accuse Israel’s enemies of antisemitism or of genocidal intentions. It is they who are not “speaking rationally” and are not “dealing with reality.” Said repeatedly makes sweeping generalizations, such as Palestinians without distinction are committed to a secular democratic state and are opposed to discrimination of any sort, whereas Zionists without distinction are racist colonizers committed to a form of apartheid.

  1. Virginia Tilley

Virginia Tilley, currently Chairperson and Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University, writes that “Palestinian nationalism has entertained a democratic philosophy from its earliest stages…”35 and she denounces “the racist myth that Arabs are innately anti-democratic.”36 Writing just before the election of Hamas in 2006, she dismisses as “ahistorical” and “amnesiac” those who cite Hamas as evidence that “Palestinian politics is driven primarily by Islam.” Instead, she alleges that “the Islamic tendency is a recent and still minority twist for a national movement that, through its first half century, was overwhelmingly secular.”37  Tilley also rebuts the charge that Arabs or Palestinians are antisemitic. “Although Arabs are certainly not immune to anti-Semitism, Arab language against ‘the Jews’ reacts primarily to Zionist explicit promotion of ‘the Jews’ and to Palestinians’ expulsion and dispossession in favor of the Jews.”38 If Palestinian or Arab rhetoric targets “the Jews,” it is not qua Jews “but because ‘Jewish’ is the political identity that Arabs confront in the fundamental conflict over the land.”39 Palestinian rhetoric and behavior “indicate that the vast majority of Palestinians remain impressively resistant to outright racial hatred. The enemy is Israel and Zionism, not Judaism per se.”40 Although Arab and Palestinian rhetoric may have called for expelling Jewish settlers from Palestinian land in 1948, “they never seriously suggested their physical annihilation on anything like the racial terms of National Socialism.”41 While Tilley acknowledges that Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Arabs from the 1920s through the 1940s, was a “genuinely racist figure,” she dismisses him as “unrepresentative” of Palestinians and “never a leader of more than a few reactionary Palestinian factions.”42 Tilley repeatedly casts the 1948 war as a war of unprovoked aggression and pre-planned ethnic cleansing by the Zionists.43 Israel “relied for its formation – and still relies for its preservation – on ethnic cleansing.”44 Zionism “is fundamentally racist in its conception and effects…”45 It is no wonder, therefore, that so much of the world hates Israel and Zionism. For Tilley, Israel is the major cause of terrorism worldwide.46 Indeed, “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the principal issue ‘poisoning’ East-West relations.”47 She asserts that “devastating terror attacks loom” in the future should Israel continue to occupy Palestinian territory.48 However, “with Israeli occupation gone, the very motive for anti-Jewish violence – which Zionism has always recast as anti-Semitic in origin – would evaporate.”49 Therefore, ending the existence of the State of Israel  is the key to world peace.

  1. Saree Makdisi

Saree Makdisi is a nephew of Edward Said and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA. He often writes as a guest editorialist in American newspapers. After the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority elections in 2006, Makdisi wrote positivly about Hamas. He credits the organization for “its canny rehabilitation of a genuinely Palestinian language of self-determination and national liberation that, ironically, had originally been expressed  by the secular Palestinian parties – above all others Fateh [sic] –  in the 1960s and 1970s, but that secular leadership had progressively abandoned [such expression]…”50 He condemns Israel and the U.S. for imposing sanctions on the Palestinians after the election of Hamas,51 and denounces the Bush administration for calling on Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel.52  Makdisi describes Hamas as “the almost inevitable product of forty years of military occupation,” and castigates those who would portray it “as part of a regional conspiracy of unacceptable ‘extremism’” or as “the manifestation of an ‘ideology’ that somehow preexisted them.”53 In the context of defending Hamas (and Hizbullah), he asserts that “[t]he right of a people living under military occupation to resist that occupation is enshrined in international law, as is every people’s right to self-determination.”54 Makdisi maintains that Palestinians did not vote for Hamas “because of its Islamic ideology,” but because, “unlike Fateh [sic], it refused to cooperate with the occupation, and to compromise on the principled demands of the Palestinian people.”55  In other words, according to Makdisi, Hamas is an entirely legitimate political party that makes justified demands of Israel and  Israel and the international community should accept it as such. He joins former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in denouncing as “criminal” the U.S. government policy of trying “to subvert the outcome of a legitimate election.”56

  1. Ali Abunimah

Like Makdisi, Ali Abunimah, Palestinian-American founder of the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada, presents a generally favorable view of Hamas.  According to Abunimah, the victory of Hamas in 2006 “arose more from a Palestinian reaction to their worsening situation and despair than from a surge in religious fundamentalism.”57 He rationalizes the vote for Hamas as “a way to defy what Palestinians saw as a corrupt ‘peace process’… It did not signal a change in underlying Palestinian attitudes, which remain remarkably open to peaceful coexistence with Israelis.”58 Abunimnah seems to believe the public statements of Hamas leaders that they would “end the armed struggle if Israel withdrew to the 1967 lines,” and that their struggle against Israel is purely political and not religious.59 Abunimah, however, admits that “Hamas is clearly an Islamist movement,” and he asks, “Does its rise therefore suggest that Palestinians want to live under an Islamic government?”60 He rejects this possibility out of hand. After all, Hamas leader, Moussa Abu Marzook, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post in which he stated that Islam is a tolerant religion and “until the late 1980s, few Palestinians spoke of the conflict in religious terms.”61  According to Abunimah, it was only the increasingly religious discourse of Zionism after the 1967 war that caused Palestinian discourse to become more religious as well.  He thus implies that if only Israeli Jews would embrace a secular, democratic state with equal rights for Jews and Arabs, then Palestinians would become more secular in their politics as well. “Palestinians have shown that they want to live by democratic and pluralistic rules.”62 For Abunimah, Hamas and similar Islamist groups “are part of a legitimate national resistance.”63

  1. Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian leader of the BDS movement and full-time professional anti-Israel activist, calls for “the secular unitary state solution in historic Palestine, based on justice and full equality.”64 However, he emphatically rejects a “binational state” because “the binational model assumes that there are two nations with equal and competing moral claims to the land, and therefore we have to accommodate both national rights.”65 According to Barghouti, there is no such equality. The Palestinians have “inalienable rights” as the indigenous inhabitants of the land while Israeli Jews as “colonial settlers” have only “acquired rights” to reside in Palestine. Like other one-state proponents, Barghouti combines harsh condemnations of Zionism and Israel with an extremely benign depiction of Palestinian society. The BDS movement, broadly supported by Palestinian civil society groups,66 “is categorically opposed to all forms of racism and racist ideologies, including anti-Semitism.”67 In contrast, the apartheid society of Israel is worse than that of South Africa.68 He repeats the argument that Israel was founded in 1948 by means of “massive ethnic cleansing, massacres, rape, wanton destruction of hundreds of villages, and total denial of the most basic rights to the indigenous Palestinians…”69 This “massive campaign of ethnic cleansing” was “pre-meditated, meticulously planned years in advance by Zionist leaders, including David Ben Gurion, and executed systematically, brutally, and without compunction.”70

In contrast to Zionist brutality, “nonviolence has been the mainstay of Palestinian resistance to settler-colonial conquest for decades.”71 Indeed, “the majority of our [Palestinian] people have always been involved in nonviolent resistance even before the inspiration of Gandhi, King, and Mandela.”72 On the rare occasions when Barghouti alludes to the violence of groups such as Hamas, he calls them “resistance fighters” and hints that they only attack Israel after Israel launches unprovoked attacks against them.73 Barghouti makes a perfunctory nod toward “the moral problems raised by any indiscriminate act of violence [note omitted] whether from the oppressor or the oppressed, despite the immeasurable moral difference between the two,” but, he adds, “I can never accept any claim of parity between the oppressors and oppressed.”74  Thus, he excuses any act of terrorism against Israel as understandable “resistance” while condemning any act of self-defense by Israel as “unjust oppression.” Quoting the Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, Barghouti asserts that “never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. How could they be the initiators, if they themselves are the result of violence?”75 For example, Israel’s siege of Hamas in the Gaza Strip is tantamount to “genocide.”76 “It’s irrelevant whether Hamas accepts Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state (read: apartheid state) [note omitted] or accepts the ’67 borders – totally irrelevant.”77 After all, like all one-state advocates, Barghouti also rejects the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Palestinian violence against Israelis will cease when Israeli oppression ceases, namely, when Israel ceases to be a Jewish state, stops discriminating against non-Jews, and admits and compensates the millions of Palestinian refugees displaced in 1948 and their descendants.78

  1. Miko Peled

Miko Peled is the Israeli Jewish son of General Matti Peled and a grandson of Avraham Katsnelson, a prominent Zionist leader and signer of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Peled now resides in California and has become an outspoken anti-Zionist. Like all one-state advocates, Miko Peled uncritically embraces the Palestinian narrative regarding the founding of the State of Israel:  In 1947-8, the Palestinian Arabs were vastly outnumbered by the Zionists, “So when the Jews attacked, the Palestinians never had a chance.”79 He cites Benny Morris, Ilan Pappé, and Avi Shlaim as confirming “what Palestinians had been saying for decades,” namely “that Israel was created after Jewish militias destroyed Palestine and forcibly exiled its people.”80 From the founding of modern Israel, the Palestinians, according to Peled, have resisted the injustice of this primordial act of theft with exemplary self-restraint and humanity. “In fact, the bulk of Palestinian resistance has always been non-violent, but the violent armed struggle is what receives media attention. The vast majority of Palestinians in Israeli prisons were convicted of non-violent political resistance.”81 In contrast, the Zionists are always violent. Thus, “Kiryat Arba, just like the other settlements in the West Bank, is an open wound in an otherwise peaceful and welcoming land.”82 And, “living in the West Bank among Palestinian friends, I began to realize that the Palestinians’ suffering goes on no matter how dedicated they are to peace and reconciliation.”83 According to Peled, “the official line of Fatah [the dominant faction of the PLO] … was to support one secular democratic state that would include Arabs and Jews…” [i.e., before Fatah embraced the two-state solution in 1988]. 84 The leader of Fatah and the PLO, Yasser Arafat, “had been consistent for years. For the sake of peace, he had been willing to give up the dream of all Palestinians to return to their homes and their land in Palestine. He was willing to recognize Israel, the state that destroyed Palestine….”85

In her adulatory foreword to Miko Peled’s book, African-American author Alice Walker writes in 2012 (one year into the so-called “Arab Spring”) that “the extreme volatility of the Middle East, with Israel’s lengthy list of human rights abuses and contempt for international opinion and law at the center of everybody’s fear, is a threat to us all.”86 In other words, Israel’s alleged crimes and abuses are the root cause of all the instability and violence that emanate from the Middle East. This way of thinking predicates that the dissolution of the Zionist state is the only way to secure world peace. As Peled writes, “Zionists failed to demonstrate that when they are in power things go well, so my conclusion was that a real pluralistic democracy would benefit everyone.”87 Confronted with the objection that a single state for Arabs and Jews in Palestine would resemble Lebanon or the former Yugoslavia, he responds, “Or Switzerland or Belgium. If you compare us to other multinational states, ours is not a very complicated issue.”88 It is not complicated, of course, because, according to Peled, Zionism is the root cause of all of the problems. Eliminate Zionism and the Jewish state and the problems of the region will disappear. One-state advocates never seriously consider the possibility that the problems of the Muslim world are rooted in indigenous cultural forces unrelated to Israel.


Advocates of the one-state solution share a common rhetorical objective and display a type of group-think. They wish to show that Palestinian political culture is entirely compatible with the values of liberal democracy and therefore, Palestinians can coexist peacefully with Jews in a single, secular democratic state. If, after all, Palestinian society were as antisemitic as Germany in the 1930s, or if Palestinians did not respect the values and civil liberties that are essential in a liberal democracy, thereby preventing it from becoming a tyranny of the majority,  there would not be any prospects for a successful liberal, secular democratic state in Palestine.

The inverse of whitewashing Palestinian society is the demonization of Israel and of Zionism. Barghouti approvingly quotes Professor Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Human Rights and veteran anti-Israel baiter, who calls for “a legitimacy war” against Israel to strip Israel of any moral legitimacy in the eyes of the world, as was done to apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.89 Ali Abunimah speaks for all one-state advocates, as follows:  “The question of how the Palestinians came to be in exile has always been at the center of any argument over the legitimacy of Israel.”90 This statement explains the fact that one-state advocates always refer to the works by Ilan Pappé and repeat the arguments that Zionism is a racist ideology that supports ethnic cleansing or even “genocide.”91 In conclusion, the message of the one-state advocates is that Zionists are racist, violent, and anti-democratic, while the Palestinians are peaceful, democratic opponents of racism and not antisemitic at all.

Uninformed readers of the works by one-state advocates generally do not give sufficient consideration to the following facts:

  • From the 1920s through the 1940s, the Palestinian national movement was founded and led by Hajj Amin al-Husseini, an ideological comrade and collaborator with Adolf Hitler who incited genocide against the Jews before, during, and after World War II;92
  • the Palestinians and other Arabs, – not the Zionists, – rejected the United Nations resolution on the partition of Mandatory Palestine and launched a war in 1947-48, in which they were defeated by the State of Israel.93
  • official Palestinian policy in the decades leading up to 1948 was to cleanse Palestine of its ethnic Jewish population;94
  • the war of 1948 “was universally viewed, from the Jewish side, as a war for survival…,”95 and indeed the Jews of Palestine suffered massive casualties in that war: nearly one percent were killed and two percent seriously wounded,96 the equivalent of the U.S. suffering 9,500,000 killed or wounded in a war today;
  • just as the Nazis believed in a Jewish world conspiracy (based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) whose purpose was to destroy the German people and chose genocide in order to defend themselves against this alleged conspiracy,97 the Hamas Covenant [Charter] refers to the Protocols and claims that there is a Jewish world conspiracy that seeks to “annihilate Islam,”98 and therefore, Hamas leaders routinely incite genocide against Jews;99
  • despite the above, recent opinion polls show that Hamas has a realistic chance of winning Palestinian elections today;[100]
  • recent polling data reveal high levels of antisemitism among Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims;[101]
  • 89 percent of Palestinian Muslims believe that sharia or Islamic law should be the official law of the land in their country;[102] 62 percent support the death penalty for people who leave Islam;[103] 72 percent support punishments such as flogging and severing hands for crimes like theft and robbery;[104] 81 percent favor stoning those guilty of committing adultery;[105]
  • the Draft Constitution of Palestine (2003) stipulates that “Islam is the official religion in Palestine” and “the principles of Islamic Sharia shall be the main source of legislation;”[106]
  • most Muslim-majority countries have similar provisions in their constitutions, and this results in systematic violations of basic civil liberties and the persecution of non-Muslims.[107]

By selectively choosing evidence and focusing exclusively on the real or imagined sins of the Zionists, one-state advocates seek to distract their readers from the illiberal and antisemitic features of Palestinian political culture. Most Palestinians are not and never have been champions of liberal, secular democracy, nor would Jews have any reason to expect fair treatment by an Arab and Muslim majority in a unified state of Palestine. Indeed, centuries of history of Jews in Arab lands show that they were relegated to the legal status of second-class subjects.[108] In conclusion, as Professor Asher Susser correctly states:  “in the scheme of the one-state advocates, the Israeli Jews, after having their state undone, would become a defenseless minority that would finally be beaten into submission. … Once the Israelis no longer possessed their majoritarian state, as a defenseless minority they would not stand a chance.”[109]

* * *


1 An earlier version of this article has been accepted for publication by the Levantine Review. The author thanks the editor of the Levantine Review for permission to publish a revised version of this article here.

2 See:  Caroline Glick, The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East (New York: Random House, 2014).

3 Within Israel proper, there are 6,251,000 Jews and 1,730,000 Arabs. There are about 4,500,000 Arabs  in the West Bank and Gaza Strip combined. There are 2,000,000 Palestinian refugees, mostly their descendants, in Jordan and roughly 1,000,000 in Lebanon and Syria combined, and roughly another 2,000,000 in Europe, the UK, Latin America, North America, Persian Gulf states, etc. Thus, the “right of return” for the refugees and their descendants would quickly turn Jews into a minority in a majority Arab Palestine comprising Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. These population data are gleaned from the following sources:  Hayah Goldlist-Eichler, “On the Eve of Independence Day:  Israeli Population stands at 8,345,000,” The Jerusalem Post,  21 April 2015,  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/On-the-eve-of-Independence-Day-Israeli-population-stands-at-8345000-398812; State of Palestine, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Population, http://pcbs.gov.ps/site/lang__en/881/default.aspx#Population; United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), “UNRWA in Figures,” as of 1 July 2014: http://www.unrwa.org/sites/default/files/in_figures_july_2014_en_06jan2015_1.pdf.

4 Martin Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle East Studies in America (Washington, D.C.: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001), 70-76.

5 On the failures of the Palestinian Authority, see:  Jonathan Schanzer, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Ali Qleibo, “The Reign of the Rabble: Organized Crime in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” This Week in Palestine, http://thisweekinpalestine.com/the-reign-of-the-rabble/; Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh, “Under Abbas, Majority Say They Can’t Speak Freely,” Associated Press, 17 December 2014, http://news.yahoo.com/under-abbas-majority-cant-speak-freely-062847127.html; Khaled Abu Toameh, “Palestinians Need Reforms, Not Elections,” Gatestone Institute,  4 May  2015, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5686/palestinians-reforms; Khaled Abu Toameh, “U.S., Europe Fund Torture by Palestinian Authority,” Gatestone Institute, 26 February 2016, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7509/palestinians-torture-funding; Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “No Freedom of Speech in the PA,” Palestinian Media Watch, 27 April 2015, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=14614.

6 Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand, 75.

7 Hussein Ibish, What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda?: Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel Is Still the Palestinian National Goal (Washington, D.C.: American Task Force on Palestine, 2009), 62.

8 Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand.

9 Abu Iyad with Eric Rouleau, My Home, My Land, trans. Linda Butler Koseoglu (New York: Times Books, 1981), 136; cf. 69-70.

10 Ibid., 136.

11 Ibid., cf. 141-2.

12 Joel Fishman, “Ten Years Since Oslo: The PLO’s ‘Peoples War’ Strategy and Israel’s Inadequate Response,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,  1 September 2003, http://jcpa.org/article/ten-years-since-oslo-the-plos-peoples-war-strategy-and-israels-inadequate-response/;  Efraim Karsh, Arafat’s War: The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest (New York: Grove Press, 2003), 5-6, 46, 59, 61, 83, 156; Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 69, 147, 238-9, 242-3, 261; Yossef Bodansky, The High Cost of Peace (Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2002), 9-12, 181; Yedidya Atlas, “Arafat’s Stockholm Address,” 10 May 1996, http://www.iris.org.il/quotes/stockhlm.htm.

13 Karsh, Arafat’s War, 50-1; Rubin and Rubin, Yasir Arafat, 112-114.

14 Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972), 251-254, 266, 539, 579, 595.

15 Edward Said, “The Only Alternative,” Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 1-7 March 2001, Issue No. 523, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/Archive/2001/523/op2.htm.

16 Tony Judt, “Israel: The Alternative,” The New York Review of Books, 23 October 2003, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2003/oct/23/israel-the-alternative/. See also: “An Alternative Future: An Exchange,” The New York Review of Books,  4 December 2003, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2003/dec/04/an-alternative-future-an-exchange/.

17 Virginia Tilley, The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2005).

18 Ali Abunimah, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2006).

19 https://electronicintifada.net/content/one-state-declaration/793

20 “Harvard Students Organize One-State Solution Conference,” The Times of Israel, 29 February 2012, http://www.timesofisrael.com/harvard-students-organize-one-state-solution-conference/.

21 Omar Barghouti, BDS: Boycott Divestment Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2011), 178.

22 Ibid.

23 For video clips of Barghouti stating this, see:  http://www.canarymission.org/individuals/#/omarbarghouti/

24 Saree Makdisi, Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 2008), 279-298.

25 Miko Peled, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine (Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books, 2012), 168, 174, 211, 212.

26 Ian S. Lustick, “Two-State Illusion,” The New York Times, 14 September 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/opinion/sunday/two-state-illusion.html?_r=0. Cf. Padraig O’Malley, The Two-State Delusion (New York: Viking/Penguin, 2015).

27 Hussein Ibish, What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda: Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel Is Still the Palestinian National Goal (Washington, D.C.: American Task Force on Palestine, 2009).

28 Benny Morris, One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009).

29 Asher Susser, Israel, Jordan, Palestine: The Two-State Imperative (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2012).

30 Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Random House, 1979), 51.

31 Ibid., 216.

32 Ibid., 122.

33 Ibid., 220.

34 Ibid., 37, 87, 100-1, 102-3, 119, 154, 174-5, 180-1, 220 and passim.

35 Tilley, The One-State Solution, 203.

36 Ibid., 202.

37 Ibid., 203.

38 Ibid., 162.

39 Ibid., 162.

40 Ibid., 163.

41 Ibid., 164.

42 Ibid., 164-165.

43 Ibid., 87, 132, 137, 139, 144-5, 157, 178, 181, 200, 231.

44 Ibid., 87.

45 Ibid., 137.

46 Ibid., 6, 45, 54, 60, 73, 75, 86, 90, 93, 96-7, 98, 114, 218, 271.

47 Ibid., 90.

48 Ibid., 6.

49 Ibid., 60.

50 Makdisi, Palestine Inside Out, 86; cf. 89, 271.

51 Ibid., 167.

52 Ibid., 274.

53 Ibid., 269-270.

54 Ibid., 270.

55 Ibid., 271.

56 Ibid., 274.

57 Abunimah, One Country, 164.

58 Ibid., 165.

59 Ibid., 165-166.

60 Ibid., 167.

61 Ibid., 167.

62 Ibid., 169.

63 Ibid., 186.

64 Barghouti, BDS, 178; cf. 51.

65 Ibid.

66 See:  Ibid., 239-247, for the list of such groups.

67 Ibid., 33; cf. 49.

68 Ibid., 64, 120, 133, 169, 199.

69 Ibid., 44.

70 Ibid., 44-45; cf. 62, 67, 137, 188.

71 Ibid., 50; cf. 49, 173-174.

72 Ibid., 174.

73 Ibid., 196-197.

74 Ibid., 130.

75 Ibid., 130-131.

76 Ibid., 36, 193, 195

77 Ibid., 177.

78 Barghouti writes:  “The core of the question of Palestine has always been the plight of the refugees who were ethnically cleansed during the Nakba.” Ibid., 198; cf. 68.

79 Peled, The General’s Son, 121-2.

80 Ibid.

81 Ibid., 145.

82 Ibid., 185.

83 Ibid., 199; cf. 202.

84 Ibid., 63.

85 Ibid., 115

86 Ibid., 10.

87 Ibid., 216.

88 Ibid., 217.

89 Barghouti, BDS, 16.

90 Abuminah, One Country, 7.

91 For example, Barghouti cites Pappé in BDS, 30, 44, 108, 257, 282n19, 283n2.

92 Zvi Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti: Haj Amin al-Hussaini, Founder of the Palestinian National Movement, trans. David Harvey; ed., Shmuel Himelstein (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1993); Zvi Elpeleg, Through the Eyes of the Mufti: The Essays of Haj Amin, Translated and Annotated, trans. Rachel Kessel (London and Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2009); Jeffrey Herf, “Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World during World War II and the Emergence of Islamism,” in:  Charles Asher Small, ed., Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity, Vol. IV:   Islamism and the Arab World (New York: ISGAP, 2013), 81-90; Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009; paperback edition 2010).

93 Efraim Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History, second revised edition (London and Portland OR: Frank Cass, 2000), 74-75; David Barnett and Efraim Karsh, “Azzam’s Genocidal Threat,” Middle East Quarterly, 18 (2011), 85-88; Anita Shapira, Israel: A History (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2012), 156.

94 Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), 408.

95 Ibid., 407-408.

96 Ibid., 406.

97 Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006); Robert Wistrich, Hitler’s Apocalypse: Jews and the Nazi Legacy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985).

98 “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement:  Hamas,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch Series No. 1092, 14 February 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1609.htm. See: articles 17, 22, 28, 32.

99 See the following examples:  “Gaza University Dean of Quranic Studies Approves Killing Jewish Women and Children,” MEMRI, Clip No. 5122,  16 October 2015, http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5122.htm; “Hamas Cleric and TV Host Abu Funun: We Will Not Leave a Single Jew, Dead or Alive, on Our Land,” MEMRI, Clip No. 5115,  13 October 2015, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/5115.htm; “Hamas Sermon from the Gaza Strip: Our Doctrine Entails Exterminating the Jews,” MEMRI, Clip No. 4376, 25 July 2014, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/4376.htm; “Hamas MP Al-Astal: We Must Massacre Jews, Impose Jizya Poll Tax on Them,” MEMRI,” Clip No. 4202, 6 March 2014, http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/4202.htm; “Hamas Leader Mahmoud al-Zahar Justifies Persecution of Jews in History and Promises that Jews ‘Are Headed to Annihilation,’” MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 3373, 12 November 2010, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2676.htm; “Hamas Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments: Jews are Bacteria, Not Human Beings,” MEMRI, Clip No. 2415, 28 February 2010, http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/2415.htm; “Deputy Hamas Minister of Religious Endowments Abdallah Jarbu’: Only a Madman Would Think Jews Are Human,” MEMRI, Clip No. 2430, March 19, 2010, http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2430.htm; Meir Litvak, “The Anti-Semitism of Hamas,” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture, 12,2-3 (2005), http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=345.

100 Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, “Special Gaza War Poll,” 2 September 2014, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/special-gaza-war-poll; Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 53,” 29 September 2014, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/496; Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 54,” 3-6 December 2014, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/600; Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 57, 6 October 2015, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/621.

101 Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes Project, “Common Concerns About Islamic Extremism; Muslim-Western Tensions Persist,”  21 July 2011, 42, 43, 47 (page numbers refer to PDF file),  http://pewglobal.org/files/2011/07/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Muslim-Western-Relations-FINAL-FOR-PRINT-July-21-2011.pdf; Anti-Defamation League, “ADL Global 100: An Index of Antisemitism,” http://global100.adl.org/public/ADL-Global-100-Executive-Summary.pdf.

102 Pew Research Center, “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society,” 30 April 2013, 201 (page number refers to PDF file), http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/04/worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-full-report.pdf.

103 Ibid., 219.

104 Ibid., 220.

105 Ibid., 221.

106 Draft Constitution of Palestine (2003), Article 4, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Palestine_(2003).

107 For copious documentation, see: Paul Marshall and Nina Shea, Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea, Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013), pp. 123-256. See also: the U.S. State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Reports: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/; and Joseph S. Spoerl, “What a Muslim Brotherhood State Looks Like,” The New English Review, June 2013, http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/140161/sec_id/140161.

108 On the status of Jews in Islamic law, theology, and society, see: Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 3-66; S. D. Goitein, Jews and Arabs: A Concise History of their Social and Cultural Relations (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2005), 62-88; Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Sourcebook (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979); Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, trans. David Maisel, Paul Fenton, and David Littman (Rutherford NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985), 43-77 and passim; Haggai Ben-Shammai, “Jew-Hatred in the Islamic Tradition and the Islamic Exegesis,” in: Shmuel Almog, ed., Antisemitism Through the Ages (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1988), 161-170; Jacob Lassner, Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2012),161-169 and passim; Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, trans, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, second ed. (abridged) (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2003), Vol. 4, 404-6 (commentary on verse 9:29).

109 Susser, Israel, Jordan, Palestine: The Two-State Imperative, 215.