By Gal Sitty
The antisemitic “One-State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution” will be taking place this weekend at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. This conference is actually a deceitful, slanderous display of bigotry. Their carefully chosen words are designed to give an appearance of academic neutrality and positive scholarly debate, however the makeup and agenda of this conference in no way embodies those intellectual ideals. A brief look at their own words and actions reveal their true devious intents.
- The organizers say their aim is to “expand the range of academic debate on this issue.” However, their list of sponsors and list of speakers clearly represent only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many of the speakers are infamous for holding extreme anti-Israel, and in some cases antisemitic, views. No speaker nor sponsoring organization holds a favorable view of Israel or the internationally accepted two-state solution. How can a conference that only hosts like minded people with no differing views ”expand the range of academic debate?”
- The conference organizers also claim that “two-states for two people is no longer a viable option.” The Quartet for Middle East Peace (the US, EU, Russia and the UN), the Arab League, successive Israeli governments and many Palestinian leaders all support a two-state solution. The two-state solution ensures that the two distinct peoples with their own cultures, language, national identity, etc. have the right to self-determination as enshrined in international law. The one-state solution denies at least one side the right to self-determination. Given the anti-Israel composition of the conference it is clear that the side which they seek to deny nationhood is Israel. Denying the world’s only Jewish state the same right that international law affords to everyone else is highly questionable at best but perhaps outright antisemitic in practice.
- Their website also says that “as in other conflict zones, the Palestinians and Israelis will one day need to share the same land and resources in one country.” The truth is that solutions in “other conflict zones” almost always involved separating the populations into different states. This is true throughout history and even in modern times as we’ve seen in the Balkans with the breakup of the former Yugoslav Republic into the states of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia, and more recently with the newly formed state of South Sudan. While natural resources may still be shared, peace was achieved only by establishing separate countries. The two-state solution is obviously the most viable, if not the only viable, solution to the conflict. Why then would anyone want to organize an entire conference denying the viability of a formula that has worked repeatedly throughout history in ending violent conflicts?
It is especially ironic that this conference coincides with the annual AIPAC Policy Conference. While the latter does not present itself as an academically neutral event they nonetheless have many different viewpoints represented, top Republican and Democratic leaders are confirmed as speakers as well as a wide variety of accomplished journalists from media outlets. Many pro-Palestinian advocates may not be too thrilled with the existence of the AIPAC conference, but one thing they cannot complain about is it being dishonest. AIPAC is straightforward in its mission and goals (to strengthen the ties between the United States and Israel). The sponsors and organizers of the “One-State Conference” however hide their ill-intentions destructive mission while being deceitful about the academic merits of their venture.