Thursday, May 15, 2008


Philip Mendes always produces thought provoking work. His The fractured triangle: Australian Jews, Israel and the Left is no exception. I commend it - particularly on this day.

"The arguments of the ACTU, Joe Wakim and others on the moderate Left suggest a positive way forward for Jews and the Left to find common ground. Many can agree that a two-state solution based on Israel and Palestine as neighbours rather than Palestine instead of Israel is the desired solution. Perhaps they can now join together in common activities to identify practical political strategies that help make this solution a reality."

Another thought provoking work can be found in today's Age where staff writer Maher Mughrabi Two people, one state - deal with them together presents a flawed vision that denies the true reality of the history of the peoples and the deep cultural and economic divide that exists between the Israeli and the Palestinian populations in the region. The vision is really the old PLO vision of a "secular, democratic state" (Palestine instead of Israel) dressed up in utopian clothing.

Mughrabi ignores the fact that both sides have their own language, history, economies, religion, social and national aspirations and naievely believes that the background of mutual hatred developed for so long can be swept under the carpet and be forgotten in the wave of an idealistic hand of reconcilitation. It would be nice but it doesn't work.

One reason why it doesn't work is exemplified by the requirements under which the two people would have to live
under an unified umbrella in Mughrabi's utopia where the very mention of a compliment to one side on the one hand would have to be simultaneously met with a mandatory backhanded slap with the other:

"Firstly, it would mean no mention of Israel's achievement without connecting it to the facts of Palestinian deprivation and the need for reconciliation."

Right. So that would also mean that there could be no mention of Palestinian deprivation without connecting it to the Hebron massacre and eight decades of threats to commit genocide against the Jews, which threats remain extant to this very day?

Sixty years of history has made it unreasonable to expect either people to live under a system whereby they could not give expression to their own national identities. Rather than create a unified state, Mughrabi's vision would create an economic system dominated by one group with ethnic tensions and civil war a real possibility at some time in the future. At best, it would ultimately meet the same fate that befell Czechoslovakia 15 years ago when it split to become two states - The Czech Republic and Slovakia. The one state solution might have been a possibility in the thirties or the forties. It is now doomed to failure.

The only way forward is to give expression and to recognise the rights of both Israelis and Palestinains to national self-determination by two states for two peoples living side by side in peace.


Anonymous said...

The other reason why the one state system doesn't work is that it could only be created by massive bloodshed. Neither the Jews nor the Arabs would accept it.

In any event, Mughrabi should start by openly avocating in everything he writes about the conflict that Hamas must end its preoccupation with destroying Israel and killing Jews.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps just as al 'age has a Palestinian staff journalist they may engage a Israeli/Zionist staff journalist to give a bit of balance..

and pigs [little kosher ones] will fly!

Anonymous said...

Its interesting to hear Left wing academic Mendes former member of extremest left wing group AJDS acknowledging some of the problems that exist in the Arab /Muslim world concerning Israel and Jews

In some of his recent articles he says
"'I want to hear more about Palestine as a neighbor of Israel rather than Palestine instead of Israel''

and in another article he wrote released by he ADC
''The prevalence of antisemitism among Muslim youth''
recently he admits what we already know anti antisemitism in Australia by Arabs and Muslims is a serious problem.

maybe Mendes is maturing?

The Great Gandini said...

Mughrabi's suggestion that the two sides settle their differences by way of a shotgun marriage arrangement is ludicrous.

An ugly divorce would quickly follow.

Ron said...

This is the letter I sent to The Age. Surprisingly, it wasn't published.

Maher Mughrabi ("Two people, one state" – 15/5/08) makes a case for a Palestinian state instead of sovereign Israel. Under the seemingly reasonable balancing of "two people who lay claim to one land", Mr. Mughrabi somehow tilts it. When he mentions the Palestinians living in a place "they come from", he airbrushes out the Jews' physical and spiritual attachment to that land, their own language and culture. Any rosy vision of the two peoples living together in harmony don't need to look as far as Lebanon to see it in action, but can view the history of Palestine itself, where Arabs were carrying out progroms against their Jewish neighbours well before the foundation of the State of Israel. Strange that Mr. Mughrabi mentions Hebron without referring to what happened to its Jewish inhabitants some twenty years before 1948. And if it's balance we want, we are still looking for the Palestinian equivalents of Israeli movements such as Zochrot, Yesh Gvul, mentioned with such praise by Mr. Mughrabi.

Ronald Green, Ramat Hasharon, Israel

Wilbur Post said...


It's not surprising that your letter wasn't published. If the Age allows any criticism of its staff writers, it's only the mildest piece of puffery that gets through.

Can you remember any strong criticism in the letters section of O'Loughlin's nonsense when he was at the Age?

Good luck and keep trying. They do change their letters editors from time to time and (as anonymous said above) "pigs will fly"!

Anonymous said...

I'm not really sure why Mr Green's letter wasn't published, but it could be that one reason is that at least one of its points is flat wrong:

Strange that Mr. Mughrabi mentions Hebron without referring to what happened to its Jewish inhabitants some twenty years before 1948.

In fact, the 1929 massacre of Hebron's Jews by Arabs is referred to in the very first paragraph of the article.

What is more, a close reading of the article would reveal that a one-state solution is not advocated at any point in the text.