The Two State Solution and False Messiahs

“I believe in the two state solution”. This is the mantra chanted by those claiming to be seeking a way out of the current impasse which is the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It is the entry requirement to many debates on the subject – a little like how “four legs good two legs bad” in a well known mid 20th Century story of farm folk became the pass through porcine security.

The difficulty is that at present there is no solution, just hatred and killings. The response of many is to shout “two state solution” even louder as if this is a miraculous wonder-cure. And to add to this, new groups such as Yachad and Breaking the Silence are attracting followers as did the false messiahs in 17th century Eastern Europe with promises that their message is the right one.

The response then was the development and growth of the Chassidic movement. The response now needs to be thoughtful and realistic. The response should be to examine why there is no progress in the peace process and why these groups are apparently gaining so much attention despite their tiny part on the wide spectrum of views in Israeli society.

Much depends on your point of view, and this is mine. There is no progress because our opponents don’t want it. This is disappointing but current events make it difficult to see it any other way. It is clear to me that Hamas and Fatah don’t see a two state solution as a long-term reality. At best, for them, it is just a short-term road to their ultimate aim – a one state solution without Jews.

The difficulty though is that they cannot even bear to see the first stage of what is their two stage solution – acceptance of a Jewish state at stage one even if they are determined to destroy it in stage two.

This view though is contrary to popular thinking and I can understand why. If we accept that at present there is no solution then we have to also accept that the hatred and the killings will continue indefinitely. Golda Meir famously said “we will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”.

That was in 1972 – almost 44 years ago. Yet barely 18 months ago during Operation Protective Edge, Hamas demonstrated clearly that they were no further forward – their hatred of the Jews surpassed their love of their children.

Which takes me back to today. Hamas shows no sign whatsoever of letting up in their hatred of the Jews and the Jewish State. In parallel, the leader of the Palestinian Authority shows no sign whatsoever of letting up in his support of the recent spate of stabbings and shootings of Jews in and around Israel.

The answer for some is to bring on the false messiahs who claim that it is our fault that there is no peace. It is our fault that we are hated. And we are to blame that we are targets in Israel in particular and the world in general.

Here come’s the catch. If the Jews are the ones committing the “sins”, then the false messiahs can do something about it. They can complain and grumble and believe they are making progress.

They are not.

All these pretentious pontificators are doing is complaining and grumbling about the wrong things. The issue is not about the failure of the IDF to do something about some unreported problem 10 years ago or about complaining about settlements. The issue which is much much harder to accept is how do we stop people hating us and wanting to kill us?

To put it another way: how do we explain to the outside world that this is what Hamas wants to do and the Palestinian Authority is supporting without appearing to be trying to walk away from a desire to create a lasting peace.

I support no Israeli political party. I would be hard pushed to name more than 2 or 3. I do though support the right of Jewish self-determination and I do support the right of Jewish people around the world to walk freely and not to have to accept the prospect of deadly attack on a daily basis as an occupational hazard.

The answers offered by today’s false messiahs are not only wrong but also are making matters worse by distracting us from the real battle. We need to show to the world that those who hate us do not want us to have a state, do not want us in the land of our forefathers and do not want us to live at all. We need to be pushing back, in the media, on campuses and in our work places. Our efforts should be outward not inward, positive and not self-deprecating.

To the false messiahs I say you offer no solution, nothing positive and nothing that will benefit the peace process. To everyone else I say we should grasp the nettle and appreciate and expose the hatred of our enemies that is preventing that process from moving forward. We should be showing justified outrage at the blatant bias of the UN, the EU, the BDS movement and all those who support it.

In the UK at least, the law is on our side. The Equality Act 2010 makes nationality a protected characteristic. This means that discrimination in a variety of fields, including a university is vulnerable to challenge. We should be using this legislation to fight the hatred and the prejudice. The more we are able to expose this conduct the less socially acceptable those peddling it will become. There are many areas which need our urgent attention: the BBC, trades unions, local government and of course the universities. This is where the campaign lies for 2016 and beyond, not with hand wringing and breast beating.

Golda’s words might be middle aged but they are as relevant and vital today as ever. We should be working to make them work.

About the Author
Robert Festenstein is a solicitor based in Manchester with considerable experience in Court actions. He is active in representing groups opposing BDS and fighting the increase in anti-Semitism, particularly amongst the left-wing in the UK.