Monday, March 30, 2009

Juan Cole: One State Solution Increasingly the Likelihood

Juan Cole giving a presentation with the Washington Note's Steve Clemmons. This is the first time I've come across him discussing the possibility of a one state solution. Juan Cole is in the liberal end of mainstream US thought about the Middle East, and the idea of a post Zionist arrangement is not unthinkable to him and apparently to at least that part of the US foreign policy community.

Isolated Statement:
So, I think personally that Israeli policy is digging its own grave and I think increasingly the likelihood is that you will have a one state solution ultimately.

Wider Context:
The situation in Palestine has deteriorated even since Obama has been in office, which isn’t very long. People tend to forget this it hasn’t been very long as I speak.

But a recent Lancet report came out suggesting that the Israeli blockade, which is a blockade of the civilian population, half of whom are children doesn’t let enough food in and there’s actual malnourishment among Gazan children There’s even evidence of stunting Some 10% of the children are stunted and in some parts of Northern Gaza is 30%.

This is a humanitarian disaster and it is the result of deliberate policy It is a war crime. You may not, in international law, collectively punish a population by half-starving its children to get a political result

And of course it’s been revealed that the Israelis have plans for 75,000 new housing units in the West Bank

And then the American side, Secretary of state Hillary Clinton says, we’re going to restart the peace process. I don’t understand. How would you have a peace process when there is ongoing land theft by one side of the other Even George W. Bush late in his term said the West Bank looks like Swiss cheese. That’s not a basis for a state.

And I admit this is a very tough nut to crack as are the issues that the United States has with Iran, but I think they’re actually all connected because if you really could make progress towards pace in the Levant, a lot of the problems the United States has with Iran would go away. I mean Gaza isn’t going to be interested in Iranian support if it’s not under that kind of blockade.

How to get forward on that Israel Palestine issue is a real question.

Now you have a very right wing government forming in Israel which has typically rejected the whole idea of giving back the West Bank and was opposed to the troop withdrawal from Gaza. So Obama is not going to have much to work with.

It seems to me that that issue will continue to fester. It will continue to cause terrorism And I believe that If you have a long term apartheid regime in the West Bank and the continued blockade of Gaza by the Israelis that ultimately the international community will begin imposing sanctions on Israel and I don’t believe that Israel will be able to withstand those sanctions. That is to say its economy is actually pretty dependent on its relationships economic, technological and diplomatic with Europe.

So, I think personally that Israeli policy is digging its own grave and I think increasingly the likelihood is that you will have a one state solution ultimately.

What’s not recognized in the United States typically is that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are stateless. And it’s not acceptable for them to remain stateless. The minimum necessity for a dignified life in the contemporary world is citizenship in a state. Without citizenship, without a state an individual has no real rights. And you can see this because Palestinian property is being taken at will every day.

And how do you even travel? You have to depend on the good will of countries to recognize your Laissez-Passer.

So it's not acceptable that 3 and a half million people in the West Bank and Gaza should be without citizenship nor that the ones, refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere should remain that way.

And you know it’s ironic because in 1938, 39 when Hitler took the Sudetenland, he stripped the Jews in Czechoslovakia, in the part of Czechoslovakia they took, from citizenship and they became stateless. And at the same time in 1939 the British government issued the white paper in which it called for restrictions on Jewish emigration to Palestine. And there was an uproar that you have now 100,000 newly stateless Jews and the British are not letting them to go to the one place where they could get papers. So statelessness was a human rights issue in 1938, 39. Statelessness should be a human rights issue today.

So I admit that the new administration has a set of tall orders before it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama's Speech in Muslim Capital

Barack Obama has promised to make a major speech in a Muslim-majority country in his first 100 days in office, which would mean April or May.

The easiest and safest bet will be that the speech will be comparable to the Nowruz speech, speaking vaguely and in general about respect, ideals such as democracy, opposition to terrorism and peace with neighbors (implying but not openly saying Israel).

He'll go as far as to endorse what he'll describe as a "just two state solution" to the dispute between Zionism and the Palestinians, then he may go further than most American public officials go, essentially to the limit of allowable discourse on the Palestinian issue by a United States politician, by saying he expects Israel to make sacrifices to bring this two state solution about.

For the US' sake I hope he does not go much deeper into the subject of Israel than that. Americans generally do not understand how far out of step their views on Israel are in the region. I have not seen any indication that Obama is significantly more self-aware than other American leaders. While we are safe in expecting there will be no Condoleeza Rice "Birth Pangs" moment in the speech, any full throated defense of Zionism or Israel will play into the hands of Bin Laden and Ahmadinejad.

There will likely be something like "we should move beyond the injustices of the past" which begins to be offensive as there are refugees and an occupation today and a recent mass killing of civilians in Gaza. He may go further and discuss "supposed injustices" instead of injustices, which would be worse. Pretty much from there, the more detail in which he states his or the US' positions on Israel, the more irreconcilable the country he represents will appear to be.

Bush had the luxury that it was widely understood that representative Americans are more moderate than he is. Obama does not, Obama is correctly understood to be the most balanced politician on the Middle East that the United States is for now capable of producing.

His problem is that in truth, his positions are not fundamentally different from George Bush's. The danger of speaking specifically about the disputes between the US and the Muslim world is that he will unwittingly prove hard-liners right that the United States is a country of vulgar and less vulgar people who think like Bush.

Most likely that won't happen. Most likely we'll get a nice, sufficiently vague speech that will be moderately well received but will not change the degree of opposition to the US in the region.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friends of Israel speak for Arabs

It is a constant irritation the degree to which supporters of Israel feel licensed to explain the secretly held positions of Arabs, which are, lo and behold, supportive of Israel, or of Israel's position on whatever topic is at hand.

Moon of Alabama - a site I can't believe I've gone this long without putting on my blogroll - has issued the definitive rebuttal of this phenomenon earlier this year, in much more detail than I've ever been bothered to delve in what always strikes me as a ridiculous assertion. Anyway, please read it if you have not already. The entry is called "Arab 'Fear' Of 'Nuclear Iran'?"

Most recently I see this over at Debka, but it has been a constant occurrence for years now.

Right after Washington signed its nuclear contracts with Saudi Arabia and the UAR, an official in region remarked: "The clear message to Iran is: If Tehran insists on pursuing its nuclear program, we the Arab countries in the region are going to have one, too although without enrichment."

"Although without enrichment?", then what message would that be sending? This is a really stupid statement that would be unlikely to appear no matter how lightly sourced from any government outside of the Arab world.

Monarchy is the most ineffective remaining leadership structure on Earth. I guess it was viable when at a time when education and the associated selection mechanisms were far more expensive than they are now.

Selecting a leader in advance allows that leader to be given the highest quality education a society is capable of offering, but carries the cost that the leader selected is not particularly likely to be internally talented.

In a world where education was expensive for everybody and monarchies competed against monarchies the cost of not elevating a nation's most talented individuals to leadership was bearable. It is not any more, except that the United States, the world's richest nation and the nation that devotes by far the most resources to furthering the Zionist cause, offers Arab monarchies a form of life support.

Ostensibly the support is for the relatively pro-Zionist stances these monarchies effectively take, even if their rhetoric does not match their positions. But more than that, if Israel is surrounded by millions of people who believe its creation was an injustice and that could effectively pressure Israel to accept the refugees and abandon it's Jewish identity, then having those people under poor leadership is an advantage in itself.

I'm sure these Arab monarchies perceive themselves as cleverly engaging a long-term struggle against Israel, but that they are smart enough to accommodate the reality that the United States is the most powerful country in the world and it favors Israel. Actually, the Arabs states, because they have pre-modern leadership structures are inherently easy for modern states to outmaneuver.

Until these leadership structures are modernized, which would entail a defeat of the regimes themselves and of the efforts and resources the US expends to maintain these regimes, the Arab states are and will continue to be non-issues in world affairs.

A bunch of retarded children who, if anyone cared to stoop to the level that they actually wants to take their candy, can just walk over and trade it for dust.

Effective governments, aligned or opposed, would speak for themselves. Debka could never claim to be the mouthpiece of the Chinese, Russian, Turkish or Iranian governments. None of those four have perfectly democratic leadership structures, but each has a competitive structure, in which the leader is the winner of a competition set up to elevate the person among millions whose talents and values match the standards and values of a substantial, nationalistic and somewhat objective group of judges - even if the judges are not the direct input of the people ruled.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Happenings in the Greater Middle East

Debka is publishing claims that Egypt believes the recent attacks on Western tourists in Egypt were orchestrated by an Iranian agent or agents. There would be a lot for Iran to lose, and this has little to no upside potential for Iran that I can see. So I doubt it. Iran has both resources and the tactical skill to intervene far more effectively in Egyptian domestic affairs than this, if it was to want to try to influence Egyptian domestic affairs.

Egypt has one major issue that anyone outside of Egypt would care about - who will replace Mubarak. The US, on Israel's behalf is devoting and will devote tremendous resources to ensuring it is someone who, contrary to the wishes of Egypt's people, will, like Mubarak, follow policies acceptable to Israel.

Iran probably will not be able to compete with the US in Egypt when Mubarak dies, knows it, and therefore has no reason to sink resources in that country.

Egypt is trying to exert as much pressure on Hamas as possible to effectively recognize Israel or relinquish power in favor of the US/Israeli favorite Abbas. But Egyptians understand that the amount of pressure they can bare on Hamas is less than before Israel's December/January attacks.

If Egypt had not signed its treaty with Israel, it would not have gotten the Sinai back and would not now be in a position to break Israel's blockade on Gaza. Part of the agreement was that Egypt would not militarize the Sinai which means Israel could retake it if Israel felt it necessary. Israel's failure to hold hostile territory both in Lebanon and Gaza throws Israel's ability to retake the Sinai for any long period into question, but Egypt is right that some of its critics do not appreciate Egypt's position.

On the other hand, an Egyptian democracy, though it would not have signed the peace treaty in 1980, would certainly allow more goods to pass into Gaza today than Mubarak is. An indefinite dictatorship in Egypt is part of the cost of keeping Israel Jewish, and that cost is not generally accounted for when considering how expensive Israel's Jewish majority is to its American patrons.

Fayyad resigned and Clinton immediately told Israeli newspapers that she wants him back in any unity government. A clumsy move by Clinton that turns Fayyad into Abbas in one stroke.

Fayyad said he was resigning for the good of the Palestinian people. Hillary called him a liar, and she would know. Fayyad now will either publicly withdraw from consideration for a position in any unity government or he is a US/Israeli stooge, clear for everyone to see.

Israel is stalling. In general and in most specific current situations. I'm not sure Shalit is alive, but Israel is in no hurry to get him back and for now likes the status quo in Gaza more than any other plausible outcome. The clock is somewhat stopped on everything until it is clear who speaks for Israel's government. Israel's calculation or at least hope is that the status quo is one in which the Palestinians are becoming more and more demoralized.

Long term, I don't believe it is possible for Israel to remain a majority Jewish state. The Arab population is still growing and Israel's neighbors have populations that are becoming more, not less, hostile to Israel. But from Israel's point of view, lasting as a Jewish state for 40 years is not the same as lasting 20 years. Even if they look the same 50 years from now.

Israel's best long-term strategy is to eek out as many years as possible until, maybe ten years from now, maybe 30, maybe 50 years from now a ball drops and Israel is forced to accept an Arab political majority. And who knows? Maybe they'll be able to change something fundamental between now and then.

I've read in two different places that Western strategists believe Iran and Syria do not have resources to support Hezbollah's election campaign and therefore Lebanon's election will produce a pro-US government. I'll believe it if I see it. Hezbollah will retain its veto, I'm nearly certain. Will anti-US parties have enough influence to force reforms in the voting system? If not, Hezbollah can wait.

Britain also is talking directly with Hezbollah. Essentially the West is less hostile to that party than it was under Bush. That is good news for them, if only slightly.

Western commentators are making a lot of the Hariri tribunals. I'm not seeing why. They may, probably won't, but may be able to get Assad out. If they do, they'll get someone just as anti-Israel as he is. If not more. Like Iran cannot compete with the US in Egypt, the US cannot compete with Iran, in maneuvering a succession, in Syria.

But there are talks and the West is notably, if slightly less hostile to Syria than it was under Bush.

Saudi Arabia:
The Saudis seem to be taking a strong anti-Iran line. It is hard to tell because the Saudis do a very poor job of communicating their positions. But if Iran removes a substantial amount of its sanctions while retaining its support for anti-Israel groups, Saudi Arabia will be forced, no forced is wrong because ideologically that is what they would prefer, but Saudi Arabia will also increase its support either for the same groups or aligned groups. Saudi Arabia will also join Iran in challenging Israel's nuclear monopoly if Iran can do that at a reasonable cost. Not because of an Iranian threat (Iran offered to supply any Muslim country with centrifuges itself) but because the price the West can exact will have gone down.

The Saudis are to a degree misunderstood by their critics in a way similar to Egypt. The Saudi strategy is to wait, applying fairly steady pressure on Israel but while avoiding direct confrontation with the West.

The problem is this strategy is too clever by half. All this time the Saudis think they are slowly but surely squeezing Zionism they are aligning with Israel against whomever Israel perceives as its most threatening enemy of the moment.

The Saudis would prefer Israel succumbing to an Arab majority 50 years from now, if over these 50 years, they get to dress up and have fun talking big to the West about how rich and important they are, to Israel succumbing sooner but with the West hostile to them. If left to the Saudis though, Israel would get 1000 years of being 50 years away.

There are conflicting signals being released about Iran. The West will be less hostile than it was under Bush. How much less hostile? We won't know until we see.

Obama does not personally have the energy to be very active on Iran now. Reports are continuous that he is physically exhausted by domestic events. I expect to see slow moves toward reducing hostility.

The administration, by its default policy, is now trying to trade opening with Iran for international support for stricter sanctions. I'm not sure what Russia and China will be willing to give.

This can get tricky because if Iran feels threatened, it will make Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe Pakistan much more difficult for the US, and Russia and China know this and don't want this. We'll see.

Obama really plans on pulling out. This is like Condoleeza Rice and Bush calling for 2006 elections in Palestine. He really doesn't understand the extent to which a post-occupation Iraq will oppose the US vision of the region. Good. But I don't know what the scramble will look like when the US realizes what happened.

We're reading repeatedly that the US believes it is losing in Afghanistan. I guess now is the time it is possible to say such things, since it can be blamed on the previous administration. This is a massive effort to lower expectations. Good.

But the US does not really have a dispute with anybody in Afghanistan other than its support for Zionism. This Global War Over the Legitimacy of Israel is proving to be an expensive war for the US.

Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan. I believe that people all over the world have a fundamental right to make their own mistakes, learn from them and demonstrate they learned from them in democratic processes.

I didn't like that Zardari won the election. I'm sure the US did all it could to push the election his way. But I also think the martydom of his wife allowed him to win by a genuine expression of support from his people. I do not think Sharif should resort to violence until Zardari suspends elections or flagrantly breaks a law of that magnitude.

On the other hand, I think the long protest march planned by Sharif is a valid and good expression of protest. The US is continuing to apply pressure on Pakistan to retain a pro-US leader such as Zardari and to insulate him from democratic pressure.

This tension between the US and the people of Pakistan over the rulership of Pakistan has the potential to be very devastating to Pakistan and very expensive to the US.

As always, a democratic Pakistan, even one that is sympathetic to Bin Laden, would not be a threat to the US but for the US identification with Israel. The disastrous chaos I hope we do not see but fear we might turn out to be another high cost of the war Israel's patrons are waging against the Arab and Muslim world on Israel's behalf.

Erdogan is one of the best politicians in the world today, clearly the best in the Muslim world. I'm not sure of the exact numbers of the upcoming elections in Turkey, and he may have more resources allayed against him than before but if anyone can turn Turkey into a representative Muslim democracy that sets its own foreign policy democratically, it is him. I'm somewhat optimistic about Turkey over the medium term.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Arguments for Zionism: Responses

I come across a finite number of rationalizations or arguments for various aspects of the Zionist project and thought I'd put responses to those that I've come across in one place.

I very strongly request comments, additions and criticisms of this post. After several months of tweaking, I expect to post a far better version of this.

If anyone is able to entirely rewrite any of the responses, I would gladly replace my language with yours, within reason.

1. Jews were expelled by the Romans
The Romans were not a settler empire. The Romans conquered Spain, England, Germany, Egypt and other areas, replaced the rulers with a leadership structure loyal to Rome and left the inhabitants in place. Of Jews evacuated when Rome sacked Jerusalem, some may have gone far away but there is no reason most would not have stayed relatively close, other parts of Palestine or what are now Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. There is no record of Romans ever expelling all or most Jews from the area now known as Palestine, and that had never been Roman practice anywhere, even after putting down rebellions. Judaism was a diasporic religion long before the Roman conquest. By the time of that conquest the number of Jews outside of Palestine likely already surpassed the number of Jews inside. After Roman conquests, the ethnic composition of conquered territories remained essentially unchanged. Over centuries some of the original Jewish inhabitants of the territory converted to other religions, Christianity, Islam or others, some left, other people migrated in. Some of the descendents of the Jewish inhabitants from before the Roman conquest remained continuously in Palestine even until the present day. Some descendents are Jews, some are descendents of Jews who converted along the way to Islam or Christianity and are now seen as Arabs. The idea that Jews were forced out of Palestine by the Romans to make way for another population in a process comparable to the expulsion of Arabs 1948 to allow a sufficiently majority Jewish state is simply false.

2. Arabs are also foreigners to Palestine
The Arabs were also not a settler empire. The Arabs conquered what are now known as Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and other places, replaced the rulers with a leadership structure loyal to the ideals and culture of Arabia and left the inhabitants in place. These inhabitants, after learning the Arabic language and accepting the Arabs’ religion became known as Arabs themselves. The Egyptian population is now considered Arab. There was no large-scale replacement of the original inhabitants with settlers from Arabia. Egyptians became Arab when the original inhabitants adopted the Arab language and culture and converted to Islam. The Syrians became “Arabs” mostly through conversion. The Palestinians, including some descendents of Jewish Palestinians, became Arabs the same way everyone else in that area became Arab.

3. According to Mark Twain, the land that became Israel was nearly barren
There is a famous quotation from Mark Twain that traveling in Palestine he noticed that the land was “nearly barren”. Nearly barren doesn’t have much meaning other than “not uninhabited”. Does he mean less populated than New York or St. Louis at Twain’s time? Does he mean the population was less dense than the population of Native Americans whose dispossession from their lands the US was completing as he wrote? Taken on its face, Twain’s claim only means that there were some people in the territory. Other more careful studies of the population from around that time indicate that the population had a vast Arab majority. Even if the area only had ten people, that is enough that they had a right to reject an outside effort to give the territory to an outside group as that outside group’s homeland.

4. There is no historic Palestine. The land that became Israel was colonized by the Arab, Ottoman, British and other Empires.
The inhabitants of the territory, regardless of who ruled it, had and have a right not to be displaced. Further they have a right, if they choose, to remove their foreign colonial rulers.

5. The 1948 UN allocation was reasonable
The UN allocation clearly allocated land disproportionally to the Jewish state. The Arabs believed that in terms of the value of the land the allocation process was also skewed in favor of the Jewish portion. The Arabs also believed that regardless of the allocation, the Zionist movement was stockpiling weapons with Western help, to immediately cease more land and expel much of the Arab population the Jewish partition. Zionist theorists of the time did not believe a stable Jewish democracy state could be built with the slim majority The UN was an explicitly colonialist institution at the time. As it partitioned Palestine, the UN also decreed that the Congo would be restored to Belgian ownership, Vietnam and Algeria to French ownership and other colonial holdings to their European rulers. Arabs were over two-thirds of the population of the territory and if they did not believe the allocation was reasonable, then the allocation was not reasonable. The UN had no more right to determine for the Palestinians in the Jewish partition that they should be under Jewish rule than they had to determine that Angola should be under Portuguese rule.

6. There was no alternative available in 1948
The best alternative then would have been a one-state arrangement in which every individual has equality protection before the law and equal political power.

7. Jordan was given to the Arabs so all of Palestine should have been given to Jews
All of Palestine had a 2 to 1 non-Jewish majority. The people of Palestine had a right to reject the creation of a Jewish state on their territory and the violation of that right was an injustice.

8. The Palestinian refugees of 1948 left hoping the Arabs would win
People leave war zones for their safety. I'm sure they did hope a Jewish state would be prevented from being established on their homeland, but that does not mean they relinquish their human right to flee to safety and return.

9. Israel hosts refugees from Muslim countries
Some immigrants to Israel were refugees, others went voluntarily or were pulled by Israelis. A lot of immigrants came from countries such as the US and European countries that clearly are not refugees. Some were, some were not, none left war zones comparable to Palestine in 1948, but a right to return or compensation is the individual right of any Jew who left any Arab, Muslim or any other state involuntarily.

10. Israel’s war for independence was a war of self-defense
Israel fired first. The first organized military actions were perpetrated by Jewish military groups, in many cases against Arab civilians, months before any Arab organized military even began preparing to intervene.

11. Israel’s subsequent wars were wars of self-defense
Using the rule that the first party to fire started the war, Israel fought a war of self defense in 1973. The US invasion of Iraq was described as self-defense by its architects. Japan believed it was forced to bomb Pearl Harbor in self defense. The side that fires first started the war is a rule that is generally accepted to apply to every conflict other than wars involving Israel.

12. Descendants of refugees should not be eligible for refugee status
This is a difference of opinion between supporters of Israel and most of the people in the region. The fact of the matter is that Jordan and Egypt are lead by dictators who are nearly comically subservient to pro-Zionist interests. But they are not accepting the refugees. The argument that these refugees should be accepted by Israel is stronger than the argument that they should be accepted in Egypt, Jordan, Syria or Lebanon since none of these are the states they or their relatives fled. Since the founding ideal of Israel is that a group that had a sovereign state in that territory thousands of years earlier had a right to return, it is hypocritical, and certainly seems hypocritical in the region to say that descendants from 60 years ago should not have a right to return because they are of the wrong ethnicity.

13. Israel was a strategic asset for the US during the cold war
The USSR was a militantly atheistic country. For religious reasons, the Middle East would have much more naturally aligned with the US against the USSR in that struggle. Middle Eastern actors always displayed a level of discomfort in engagements with Russia because atheists are very strongly condemned in the Muslim religion. Nasser, before the 1967 war with Israel told an audience of trade unionists that the only reason he aligned with the USSR is because the USSR took a better stance than the US and the US’ NATO allies with respect to Israel. The United States was able to maintain the cooperation of many Middle Eastern dictatorships despite the unpopularity of its ties with Israel, but from Israel’s inception, US goals have been more difficult to reach in the region because of Israel.

14. Israel is a strategic asset for the US today
Israel borders countries that do not have large supplies of oil or an ability to block oil flow from the Persian Gulf. But Israel inflames opinions of the populations of countries that are strategically important to the United States. Israel has never used its military, in 60 years, to assist in securing either supplies or transport of oil. Israel makes alliances more difficult and expensive to maintain, but for example, could not participate in the US invasion of Iraq. There really is no fundamental dispute between either Arab Nationalism or Islamism and the West other than the legitimacy of Israel.

15. The dispute is perpetuated by Arab leaders who want to divert attention from their failures
Iran was ruled by a US-installed stooge for a generation, but Iranians still do not accept Israel’s legitimacy. Saudi Arabia would prefer its people to de-prioritize the Palestinian conflict, since Saudi Arabia often sides with Israel against the wishes of the Saudi people. Jordan and Egypt have sponsored government campaigns explicitly to persuade their people that cooperation with Israel against other Arabs is an expression of putting their country first. No poll in any country ruled by relatively pro-Israel leaders has shown these efforts to be effective.

16. There are two legitimate national causes that must be accommodated at least with a Jewish state.
It is difficult to believe that in 1890 Jews who were a small minority of the population of the territory had a legitimate national right to a state in that territory. This claim would be comparable to a claim that Scientologists in the United States have a national right to a state comprised of some US territory. It is more difficult to believe that European Jews of 1890, some descendants of converts, some descendants of people who left Palestine voluntarily and some descendants of people removed by force thousands of years earlier, had a national right to a state in that territory. That is comparable to a claim that an American group believing in Norse mythology have a legitimate right a homeland in Scandinavia, even at the cost of displacing the current population of mostly Christians and atheists there. Today, Jews in Palestine have a right to remain in safety. But they do not have a human or national right to a permanent political majority any more than White Americans have a right to a permanently White US presidency.

17. Every other nation has a state
Many distinct ethnic groups and religions comparable to Jews do not have sovereign states. Mormons, Kurds, Zoroastrians, Afrikaaners, African-Americans, Blackfoot Native American Indians. This statement relies on a strange definition of “nation” to mean groups of people that have states, plus Jews whether Jews have a state or not. There is no reasonable definition of "nation" for which Jews are the only "nation" without a state.

18. It is possible for Palestinians to convert to Judaism
It is effectively impossible for Palestinians to convert to Judaism to get a right to return to Israel as citizens. Conversions to Judaism in Israel must go through a far more stringent and arbitrary process than conversions to Judaism in Western countries. Very few or no Palestinians have successfully converted to Judaism despite the obvious material advantages such a conversion could give them.

19. Other countries have an ethnic basis
The problem with Israel is not its ethnic basis. The first problem is that there is a large group of people that wants to return, but cannot because it is of the wrong ethnic group. The second problem is that preventing the people of the region who agree that the refugees should be able to return from expressing their will requires vast expenditures of resources by the US and other Western countries that leads to a tremendous amount of oppression and misery throughout the region. Israel’s victims are more than the 5 or so million non-Jews living under occupation and the 4 million refugees outside of occupied territories. They include the 80 million Egyptians, 6 million Jordanians and 25 million Saudis forced to live under pro-US dictatorships, shored up by US intelligence organizations, in order to keep the region safe for Israel. They also include the millions of Iranians whose economy the US has steadily attempted to thwart since the Iranian revolution to ensure Iran has fewer resources with which it could confront Israel.

20. There are dozens of Muslim countries but only one Jewish country
There are no Mormon countries. There is no universal principle that every religion should have a certain number of countries where it should be the majority.

21. Israel is small compared to non-Jewish land in the region
There is no size smaller than which it is not an injustice to displace one group of people to make room for an ethnic homeland of another group of people.

22. Israel is the only democracy in the region
Including people under Israeli control but excluded from Israel’s political process, Israel disenfranchises nearly a majority of its people because of their ethnicity. The United States also supports dictatorship and opposes democratic reforms that would make Israel’s neighbor more reflective of the commonly held belief among their people that Israel as a Jewish state is illegitimate

23. Israel is an economic miracle
Israel has been the recipient of many economic and trade advantages from the West, beyond the annual billions of dollars that are directly given to that country. Israel trades with the West on better terms than its neighbors, possibly because of Western decisions that Israel should have an economic lead over its neighbors.

24. Opposition to Israel is anti-Semitic
It seems that way to people emotionally tied to Israel. Really anti-Zionist arguments are no more inherently anti-Semitic than anti-Apartheid activism is anti-Afrikaaner. However, people who identify emotionally with Israel do feel attacked when anyone expresses doubt about the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. While this may not be a rational feeling, it is a valid feeling that should be anticipated and respected. Those who advocate ending Israel's status as an ethnic state should take extra care to express that they do not believe that Jews are inherently bad in any way and that they do not harbor animosity against the Jewish religion, ethnic group or Jewish individuals. Attacks on Zionism often create the honestly held but usually incorrect perception that the source of the attacks hates Jews.

25. Martin Luther King, Jr. said anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism
He may have, in which case he was wrong. None of his recorded speeches indicates such a view. Of all of the things he wrote, he never himself wrote that on paper. There is a purported letter that is now widely understood to be a hoax, that never appeared in the magazine to which it is attributed. There is a recollection of a supporter of Zionism of King supposedly saying something similar at a dinner party. King is not recorded as being in the Cambridge area at the time the dinner party in Cambridge supposedly occured. One of King's associates recalled a private conversation but first discussed the memory publicly decades later. Possibly King felt that way. He never wrote it down in his own voice. If he felt that way he is just as mistaken as anyone else who feels that way. There is still no inherent animosity towards Jews required to believe there should not be an explicitly Jewish state in Palestine created at the expense and against the will of Palestine's non-Jewish residents.

26. The Hamas charter calls for killing Jews
Hamas’ charter notes a passage in the Koran in which Arabs kill Jews. The passage taken alone does not specify if these are Jewish civilians or soldiers. Elsewhere the Koran explicitly forbids killing civilians. The interpretation most consistent with the Koran on the whole is that these are soldiers. Nothing in the that passage, anywhere else in the Koran or the Hamas charter indicates that it should be interpreted as meaning all Jews will or should be killed. Hamas officials have repeatedly stated that Jews who choose should be free to live safely in an Islamic state. There is no reason to believe Hamas would not be able to impose its views even in an single state in which all the refugees vote assuming Jews would vote against them, but a constitution could be designed, as constitutions have been designed in many places throughout the world, that protects Jewish rights and has individual protections that cannot be outvoted by a majority.

27. Israel is the only way to prevent discrimination against Jews
Israel is not today a safer place for Jews than many other places, including the United States. Discrimination is a serious problem that cannot be solved by trying to carve majority states for every ethnic group that has or could suffer discrimination.

28. Abandoning Israel would lead to regional wars
This is a failure of imagination. A commitment to a orderly and gradual move to a one-person one-vote state including refugees over a set period of between a decade and a generation would end the source of the dispute over Zionism. Hamas and other anti-Zionist groups accept that they will not defeat Israel in the short term and have already offered a hudna, or to stop fighting for an extended period. A commitment to, at a set point in the somewhat near future, end Israel's Jewish-majority status could end all fighting against Israel this year.

29. Jews would be forcibly removed in any non-Zionist outcome
This is clearly false. It is easy to draw an outcome that does not require Jews to be removed. Jews would have a right to leave. And Middle Eastern opponents of Zionism often make the point that if the United States believes it is critical that there be a homeland with a guaranteed Jewish majority, Jewish political rule and automatic acceptance of Jewish refugees, the United States can set aside some of its own territory for that. If there is a Palestinian majority, Jewish people who do not mind living in a state with a non-Jewish majority in Palestine would of course be free to remain.

30. Jews do not want to, and should not be asked to take the risk that they might be oppressed in a post-Zionist Israel
Israel cannot defend its status as an ethnic Jewish state on its own. Israel requires huge sacrifices from its patrons. There are many costs involved in the US and its allies ensuring that Israel has the military and economic advantages over its neighbors it needs to be safe. For example, in terms of missed opportunities for trade and resources devoted to ensuring that Iran does not become more able to comfortably confront Israel, or the costs of helping Egypt's unpopular but relatively pro-Israel dictator remain in power, or the moral cost of allying with nations that openly torture any of their own anti-Zionist citizens such as Jordan, it would probably be probably more efficient for the US to use fewer resources to arrange a long-term guarantee of the individual rights of Jews in a non-Jewish majority state.