Palestinians, Israeli Jews and Americans repudiate “political Zionism,” “settler-colonialism,” Israel as a “Jewish State,” support Palestinian-Israeli nonviolent “co-resistance” to Israel’s colonization and apartheid, and promote one secular democratic state with equal rights for all – “a state of all its citizens” – from the river to the sea

“We have not settled Palestine together with the Arabs but alongside them. Settlement ‘alongside’ (neben), when two nations inhabit the same country, which fails to become settlement ‘together with’ (mit) must necessarily become a state of ‘against.’ This is bound to happen here — and there will be no return to a mere ‘alongside.’ But despite the obstacles in our path, the way is still open to reaching a settlement ‘together with.’ ….If we do not attain such a relationship with the Arabs of Palestine, we will never realize the aims of Zionism.” — Martin Buber, The National Home and National Policy in Palestine, 1929, A Land of Two Peoples, page 91

In an April 27 op-ed, Rabbi Doug Kahn accurately quoted me as having written that ‘ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish State itself.’ He did not take the line out of context, nor did he misrepresent what I intended to say; democracy in Palestine/Israel and the realization of full human and political rights there for Palestinians means the end of Jewish privilege in my birth country. The conversation around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is wrapped in a myth: That the Palestinians will one day have a viable state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza. The reality is that there will be no viable Palestinian state, ever…. And since we Palestinians do not accept the argument that it was necessary to ethnically cleanse Palestine to establish a Jewish state, we are inconveniently calling for our rights. The late Tony Judt described the Jewish state as an anachronism…. Many of us in Palestine/Israel, including many non-Zionist Jews, are working toward real democracy in the country. I am confident that we will succeed in creating a race-blind society. Perhaps Rabbi Kahn will help us achieve our humanist goal. — Ahmed Moor, 2011, This Is Israel’s Future

“Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas may have affirmed that they want a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but it may be more promising to return to a much older idea… a one-state bi-national solution.” — Leila Farsakh, 2007, Time for a Bi-national State

“I think the one thing that we’re overlooking in this whole discussion about the logistics of whether the two-state solution is practical or possible is whether it’s actually desirable from the Palestinian point of view. I think the problem that people need to bear in mind is that the Palestinian problem that needs a solution isn’t confined to those Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. We need a solution that achieves rights for the Palestinian Diaspora, the refugees, and for those who are discriminated against in Israel, and the two-state solution patently doesn’t do that! It’s unfair because it only awards the Palestinians 20% of their historic homeland, and it doesn’t actually address the wider issues that affect the Palestinian population, so it’s not right in principle and it’s not workable…. If you spent any time on the ground in Palestine or in the Diaspora Palestinian communities, this issue would be obvious to you…. If you ask Palestinians about the reality that they actually want, it’s in accordance with the one-state idea, and if you presented them with a strategy to achieve it, they would absolutely support it!” — Salma Karmi-Ayyoub (in company with Jeff Halper, Co-founder of ICAHD) debating Norman Finklestein, 2014, Head to Head – Time to boycott Israel?

“Palestinians were never really motivated by a desire for their own state, as such. That might sound odd to many, especially given all of the discussion of Palestinian statehood over the past two decades. But it is the truth. What Palestinians want, and deserve, are freedom and equal rights…. If Palestinians wanted a state at all, it was as a means to an end, a vehicle toward realizing their rights….  New polling data of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (show)… a majority of Palestinian respondents, 51%, oppose a two-state solution… because, as the same poll notes, 65% believe that the two-state solution is no longer practical because of Israeli settlement expansion…. Somewhere along the way, statehood went from being a means to an end to being an end in itself. Now, with a right-wing Israeli government firmly in power and no serious engagement from the international community to rein in Israel’s expansionist ambitions, Palestinians understand that the statehood project is at best a failure, and at worst a cover for continued Israeli colonialism in Palestinian territory. With this reality in mind, the focus of Palestinian national strategy should not be statehood but rather on reclaiming rights. This means officially declaring the two-state solution dead, with the cause of death being asphyxiation because of settlement expansion. As part of a new direction, Palestinian leaders should support coexistence over nationalism, integration over exclusion and equality over separatism.” — Yousef Munayyer, 2015,  What Palestinians Really Want

“What is Israel to do?” Israel is to free all Palestinian prisoners, repeal all the laws that give Jewish people exclusive rights in Palestine, repeal the law the prohibits Palestinians from returning to their land and allocate the billions of dollars that will be needed for paying reparations to the refugees and their descendants. Then, Israel is to call for free, one-person one-vote elections where all people who live in mandatory Palestine vote as equals. That is what Israel should do.” — Miko Peled, 2015, What-Is-Israel-Supposed-To-Do?

“One state must become the rally cry for equality and freedom. There is no need or time for despair. In fact, the opposite is true. The more empowered and racist Israel becomes, and the deeper it digs into the roots of its Apartheid and racist institutions and walls, the more obvious the answer becomes: a state for two peoples with equal rights.” — Ramzy Baroud, 2015, Eight Urgent ‘Musts’ Needed for Palestinians to Defeat Apartheid

“Due to Israel’s expansionist identity, the Israeli ‘matrix of control’ in the West Bank cannot be reversed, but its racist, discriminating dimensions can be undone by granting equal rights and freedom for all.” — Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Boston, MA, 2002

“My eyes have been opened. I don’t believe Palestinians will ever gain self-determination in an independent state, therefore the solution is for us to live together with Israeli Jews in one secular, democratic state.” — Raed Abubadawia, Emeritus UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Democracy at An-Najah Univ., Nablus, West Bank and Co-founder of Common Ground, Jenin refugee camp, 2003

“The Israelis killed the two-state solution. The only way (to justice) is for us all to live together in one democratic state.” — Iyad Burnat, leader of the Popular Struggle non-violent resistance in Bil’in, West Bank, Tufts University, Boston MA 2015, @ IyadBurnat

“The path to peace is not served by the creation of more states or unjust ‘fixes’ to perceived ‘demographic’ problems. It has to do with justice and the implementation of international law. It requires grass-roots action to accelerate its arrival but it is the only solution possible in the long term. We can either remain locked in our old mythological and tribal ways, or we can envision a better future and work for it. The choice is obvious.” — Mazin Qumsiyeh, 2004, Sharing  the Land of Canaan

“Once it is widely recognized that the two-state solution is dead and Greater Israel is a reality, the ‘righteous Jews’ will have two choices: support apartheid or work to help create a democratic, binational state.” — John Mearsheimer,  The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners, 2012, Inevitability of the One-State Solution

With… the doubling of the population of Jewish-Israeli colonial settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory, the latest Israeli slow genocide in Gaza and the fast disintegration of the last vestiges of Israeli “democracy,” the two-state “solution” for the Palestinian-Israeli colonial conflict is finally dead. Good riddance! This was never a moral or practical solution to start with, as its main objective has always been to win official Palestinian legitimization of Israel’s colonial and apartheid existence on top of most of the area of historic Palestine. It is high time to move on to the most just, morally sound and sustainable solution: the secular, democratic unitary state.” — Omar Barghouti, 2009, Re-imagining Palestine: Self-determination, Ethical De-colonization and Equality

“Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders… The one-state solution… neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character. For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing.” — Michael Tarazi, 2004, Two Peoples, One State – The New York Times

“We have to seek an alternative model. I believe we have found that, thanks to the fertile imagination of a group of Jewish and Palestinian intellectuals and activists: a unitary secular and democratic state for all the population residing west of the Jordan River based on full equality and respect for the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian refugees. Badil, the Palestinian organization for the right of return, has joined Zochrot, the Israeli Jewish-Arab organization advocating for peace and reconciliation, in tackling the many thorny issues involved in imagining such a just end to the near seven-decade status quo.” — Katim Kanaaneh, 2015, A Pessoptimistic View of Israeli Elections

“What is paramount is the preservation, both of culture and individual rights. Palestinians do not want to lose sense of what it is to be Palestinian, I am confident that Jewish Israelis do want to preserve something about their culture. As individuals, however, we need to focus on civil liberties for everyone in the country. Federalism, in my mind, provides a good framework as to how to do that. — Ahmed Moor, 2012, After Zionism: One State for Israel and Palestine

“We want democracy, not demography…. The one-state discourse is important because it challenges the type of thinking that surrounds demography, and because we are actually offering something for the future, so we are sowing the seeds for a brighter future.” — Ronnie Barkan, Co-founder of Boycott from Within, 2015, UN-CUT FOR PALESTINE

“Any occasion that celebrates the idea of one democratic state is an exciting moment, an encouraging and hopeful moment…. We are gathering momentum on the ground and around the world and many more people than before are speaking about one democratic state as the only viable solution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine. This is an important juncture in history, with the obvious collapse of the two-state solution being acknowledged as a fact by the powers that be, and not just by activists on the margin…. It is important to push forward one democratic state as a vision for the future.” — Ilan Pappe 2014, One Democratic State Conference

“The road is long and hard, but the debate must begin to shift now…. (We) must stop proclaiming “two states” and “Jewish state,” and begin talking reality. And the reality is that the binational state has been here for a long time. The task now is to make it just.” — Gideon Levy, 2015, Israel is Already a Binational State, and Has Been for a Long Time

“If Zionism means the right of the Jewish people to seize territory and deny the Palestinian people the right to self-determination, we condemn it…. We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” — Nelson Mandela, 1996,

“A lot of Jews who were born with Israeli citizenship have realized that Zionism and the Israeli regime is their enemy. It’s our common enemy. Thus, the trend of co-resistance has been evolving for years in Palestine. Jews carrying Israeli citizenship have been part of the popular resistance taking place in Palestine.” — Maath Musleh, 2011, CoResistance  vs. Co-Existence

“Under conditions of colonial oppression, genuine coexistence between the communities of oppressors and oppressed should entail co-resistance  (that is Israeli alongside Palestinian resistance) to oppression.” — Omar Barghouti, 2012, Lighting a Torch Within

“There is an urgent need to support nonviolent resistance to oppression on the part of Palestinian and Israeli civil society and to continue to build the growing international grassroots movement that will break the current political logjam.” 2011 —

“Why can’t Africans, Arabs and white folks, Jews, Christians, Muslims, animists, atheists all live in the same society? Because the consensus assumption among Zionists is that the country must have a permanent Jewish super-majority. Even liberal Zionists will only accept non-Jewish immigrants as a temporary exception that must be expelled at the earliest opportunity. The various forms of extreme violence that occurred (recently) – whether directed at Palestinians or African asylum seekers – are deeply rooted in a greater context of normalized racism (in Israeli society). The symptoms will continue as long as the cause is not treated.” — Dan Cohen, 2015, The deep roots of vigilante violence in Israeli society

“The arson attack should be seen within (the) context of the Zionist state’s history of negating Palestinians and relentless attacks against our very existence…. It is absolutely representative (of the Zionist state’s history) and should be received with outrage, not against setters’ violence, but against their host regime that has been built and lives on terror, yet continues to be celebrated in the West’s political and cultural discourse, feeding its impunity. We should demand not just denunciation of this atrocious attack against 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha, but delegitimization of Israel and its Zionist ideology that produces and endorses such violence, and has long justified it morally and politically.” — Shahd Abusalama, 2015, The buning of Palestinian toddler: not an exception, but a result of Zionism

“While Jewish Voice for Peace takes no position on the issue of the One State Solution, we very much support… creation of a free and open academic space to discuss the difficult issues that confront anyone who cares about justice, democracy, and human rights in Palestine/Israel. While anti-Semitism must be  combated in all forms, too often fears of anti-Semitism lead to unjust quelling of legitimate debate, and academic bullying…Like (Rabbi Martin) Buber and the many Jewish leaders before us who were ostracized for questioning the majority opinion, we strongly believe freedom to raise new ideas is what is best for the Jewish people and for all peoples.”  2012   JVP-Boston supports One State Conference being held at Harvard

“A leading Israeli journalist — writing in Haaretz , Israel’s oldest and most-prestigious daily newspaper — says ‘ It’s Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid ‘…. Like many liberal Zionists, (Bradley) Burston is beginning to see more and more signs that the liberal Zionist dream has transmogrified into a nightmare…. As examples of Israeli apartheid, the Haaretz editor writes: ‘ What does apartheid mean, in Israeli terms?  Apartheid means fundamentalist clergy spearheading the deepening of segregation, inequality, supremacism, and subjugation.  Apartheid means Likud lawmaker and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter calling (recently) for separate, segregated roads and highways for Jews and Arabs in the West Bank.  Apartheid means hundreds of attacks by settlers targeting Palestinian property, livelihoods, and lives, without convictions, charges, or even suspects. Apartheid means uncounted Palestinians jailed without trial, shot dead without trial, shot dead in the back while fleeing and without just cause.  Apartheid means Israeli officials using the army, police, military courts, and draconian administrative detentions, not only to head off terrorism, but to curtail nearly every avenue of non-violent protest available to Palestinians.  Late last month, over the explicit protest of the head of the Israeli Medical Association and human rights groups combatting torture, Israel enacted the government’s  Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikes.” The law allows force-feeding of prisoners, even if the prisoner refuses, if the striker’s life is deemed in danger. Netanyahu’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who pushed hard for passage of the bill, has called hunger strikes by Palestinian security prisoners jailed for months without charge or trial “a  new type of suicide terrorist attack through which they will threaten the State of Israel”. Only under a system as warped as apartheid, does a government need to label and treat non-violence as terrorism.'” — Ben Norton, 2015, Leading Israeli journalist says Israel is an Apartheid state

“The story of Susiya demonstrates that the settler-colonial process is alive and well. Israel continues to erase Palestinian villages and towns in order to spread itself further, continue to conquer and replace the indigenous people with its own…. How can Israel behave ‘morally’ when it is a settler-colonial state? When have any settler-colonial societies behaved morally? It is an oxymoron. Settler-colonialism is a crime against humanity…. When (Western Jews) read a story like Susiya they don’t see that it is a symptom of the wider context of settler-colonialism. They think it’s a symptom of how Israel suddenly got worse and became immoral. Still steeped in Israel’s Zionist mythology fueled by generations of Israeli Hasbara efforts, Western Jews truly believe that Israel used to be better but that it has gotten worse, moved to the right. Israel has always been right-wing, if right-wing in this context means committing and then whitewashing Zionist settler-colonialism and its obvious and characteristic evils.” — Avigail Abarbanel, 2015, It’s time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped

“Israel’s goal is to make life a living hell for all Palestinians, ethnically cleansing as many as it can and subduing those who remain. The peace process is a sham. It has led to Israel’s seizure of more than half the land on the West Bank, including the aquifers, and the herding of Palestinians into squalid, ringed ghettos or Bantustans while turning Palestinian land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Israel is expanding settlements, especially in East Jerusalem. Racial laws, once championed by the right-wing demagogue Meir Kahane , openly discriminate against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. Ilan Pappe calls the decades-long assault against the Palestinian people “incremental genocide.” In Gaza, Israel practices an even more extreme form of cruelty. It employs a mathematical formula to limit outside food deliveries to Gaza to keep the caloric levels of the 1.8 million Palestinians just above starvation. This has left 80 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza dependent on Islamic charities and outside aid to survive. And the periodic military assaults on Gaza, euphemistically called “mowing the lawn,” are carried out every few years to ensure that the Palestinians remain broken, terrified and destitute. There have been three Israeli attacks on Gaza since 2008. Each is more violent and indiscriminate than the last. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that a fourth attack on Gaza is “inevitable.” — Chris Hedges, 2015, Why I_Support_the_BDS_Movement_Against_Israel

“After the horror of the holocaust my family strongly supported the Jewish people with regard to their aspirations to build a national home. Over more than six decades I have however slowly come to realize that the Zionist project had from its beginning a racist element in it in aspiring to build a state exculsively for Jews. As a consequence, ethnic cleansing took place at the time of the establishment of (Israel) and (Israel) continues to suppress Palestinian people of the West Bank and in Gaza who live under Israeli occupation since 1967…. The only way out of the quagmire the Jewish people of Israel have gotten themselves into is by granting all living under the control of the State of Israel the same political rights and social and economic rights and opportunities. Although this will result in a state no longer exclusively Jewish it will be a state with a level of righteousness.” — Henk Zanoli, returning a Righteous Among the Nations medal bestowed upon him by the State of Israel for saving a Jewish boy from the Holocaust in 1943, 2014,

“The biggest impediment to both the reform of Islam and peace in the Middle East that Americans have the ability to remove is our support for a militant Jewish ideology that few Arabs and Muslims have ever accepted…. I call on all American Jews to examine how much of their support or tolerance of a Jewish state has a religious character– in the vision of Jewish agency as a redemptive historical force and answer to the Holocaust and the Jewish question in Europe. Secular Jews who prize their freedom in the United States must come to grips with the ideas of Jewish superiority and uniqueness that have propelled Zionist landgrabs and Jim Crow across Palestine to this day…. What can we do to end the religious element of the conflicts in the Middle East? The answer is that Jews must end their support for Zionism, which has turned out to be religious, fascistic and militant, and is fueling rage across the Middle East and further.” — Philip Weiss, 2015, The-way-for-Americans-to-take-on-the-Islamic-State-is-to-end-support-for-Jewish-nationalism

“The US will never be able to build a credible coalition in the Middle East against ISIL, al-Qaeda or others as long as it continues its open and unconditional support for Israel…. Public support for the fight against ISIL will be difficult to obtain…. It is the people who represent the main recruitment pool for extremist groups who are able to neutralise extremism, and this happens only when their hearts and minds are opposed to it. It is the people, not the governments, who can make any campaign against extremism legitimate. In the case of the Arab world, the people are against the US and its complete bias in favour of Israel. It is very difficult to trust the US while it pours excessive support to Israel and prevents Palestinians from achieving their national aspiration of a state of their own. (People in the Arab world are) opposed to ISIL but also… against partnering with the US government, which is viewed as the guarantor of a Zionist project in Palestine. This image of the US… foments distrust among Arabs and hampers the formation of a partnership to counter extremism…. Washington must understand that every time it vetoes a UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements or Palestinian statehood, it is sabotaging its own efforts to counter extremism.” — Ibrahim Fraihat, 2016, Palestine: Still key to stability in the Middle East

“Israel has a very clearly right-wing political system… that says that the creation of a Greater Israel, an ethnic state, is more important than having a democracy in Israel. It’s even more important than having a good relationship with the rest of the world. They also are intent on getting rid of the Palestinians…. It is what they want. So it’s up to the rest of the world to change the situation. Because today’s Israel is an apartheid state which will continue violating Palestinian rights. This situation is not temporary, it is the future. The United States and Europe have to ask themselves what they want, especially because Israel is clearer about its policies than ever before.” — Ilan Pappe, 2016, Emran Feroz interview-with-israeli-historian-ilan-pappe-this-situation-is-not-temporary-it-is-the-future

“I suggest talking about decolonisation not peace. I suggest talking about changing the legal regime that governs the life of Israelis and Palestinians. I think we should talk about an apartheid state. We should talk about ethnic cleansing. We should find what replaces apartheid. And we have a good example in South Africa. The only way to replace apartheid is with a democratic system. One person, one vote or at least a bi-national state. I think these are the kind of words we should begin to use, because if we continue to use the old words, we continue to waste time and effort and we won’t change the reality on the ground.” — Ilan Pappe, 2017, INTERVIEW: Ilan Pappe: How Israel turned Palestine into the biggest prison on earth

Photos from One Year After the '08/'09 Israeli invasion of Gaza -- Operation Cast Lead -- An Interfaith Response: "Not By Might, Nor By Power But By My Spirit..." Zechariah 4:6, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Boston, MA, December 2009


All photos by Pat Westwater-Jong