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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

Leading one-state solution advocate explains how to bring justice in Palestine


Posted: 10 Mar 2012


Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian, key advocate for BDS against Israel and supporter of a one-state solution for Israel and Palestine. He’s passionate, cluey, media savvy and opposed to racism committed by Israelis, Palestinians or anybody else.

He’s been profiled in the Jewish newspaper Forward at a time when one-state advocates are becoming far more respected and heard in the mainstream. Just this week information about my forthcoming book with co-editor Ahmed Moor,After Zionism, on the one-state solution, went public.

Here’s Abunimah in the Forward:

Abunimah’s idea, on which he elaborates in his 2006 book, “One Country: A Bold Proposal To End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse,” is based on the notion that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are willing to cede the minimal amount of land to satisfy the demands of the opposite side. The two-state solution, he likes to say, is pure “political science fiction.”

For Abunimah, 41, an American of Palestinian parentage, the one-state solution is as much a pragmatic remedy to an intractable conflict as it is a way to rectify Zionism’s historical wrongs. In Abunimah’s single state, Palestinian refugees who were forced out or fled in 1948 and 1967 would have the right to return to their homeland. But Abunimah can grow vague when pressed on just how things would work out from there.

In his book, for example, Abunimah says, somewhat boldly, that the one state he envisions would retain a Law of Return for Jews even as Palestinian refugees could also return under its reach. But Abunimah dialed back that concession in his interview with the Forward. Jews will be subject to what Abunimah terms a “nondiscriminatory” immigration policy, he said. “It is not a question of Jews coming or not coming,” he said. “It should be a home to anyone who is persecuted.”

Most of the returning Palestinians would move to new cities on empty land. Some would demand to return to their homes in Israeli cities, and these cases should be handled “as ethically as possible.” Certain settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would remain in place, no doubt, transformed from Jewish-only municipalities into mixed neighborhoods. Like the white flight from South Africa at the end of apartheid, many elite Jews would leave, Abunimah predicts. But most would stay — in particular, poor Jews, religious Jews and Jews of Arab origin.

“The people most likely to leave would be those with means, those with second passports, those who aren’t prepared to muck it along in a society where they don’t have so many built-in advantages,” he said. “It is very important to recognize that for some people it is about privilege.”

Abunimah is under no illusion that the majority of American Jews or Israelis would willingly agree to such a proposition. In fact, most would go “kicking and screaming.” Already, Abunimah’s detractors, who include Zionists on the left, have painted his idea as a kind of reverse Nakba — the term Palestinians use to refer to their ejection in 1948 — with Israel devolving into violent chaos and Jews fleeing.

And yet, as the two-state vision stagnates, with even negotiations towards it seeming distant while Jewish-only settlements continue to spread in the occupied West Bank, Abunimah seems to be gaining traction. Abunimah’s knee surgery will pause his touring for now, capping a weeklong speaking tour of some of the most elite schools in the country: Oberlin College, Brown University, Brandeis and, most recently, Harvard, which played host to a conference on the one-state solution. To his detractors, Abunimah is preaching to the choir, a tiny sliver of far-left Israel haters with an outsized voice on college campuses. Indeed, the one-state solution has zero backing from Palestinian, Israeli and American political leadership. But Abunimah sees things differently.

“People see that there is really not a two-state solution; there is no peace process,” Abunimah said. “We are at the point where there is nothing left to pin false hopes on, and that is pushing people to say, ‘What are the alternatives to this?’”

What Arabs really think (and guess what, Iran and America are the real threats)


Posted: 09 Mar 2012


Fascinating new research, published on Al Jazeera, that reflects Arab opinions more than one year after the Arab Spring:

  • A majority describe themselves as religious, but they mostly don’t support the interference of religious authorities in citizens’ political choices.
  • 71 per cent say they don’t distinguish between religious and non-religious people in their economic and social relations.
  • 77 per cent trust their military, half trust their police, 47 per cent trust their governments and 36 per cent trust their local councils before the revolutions.
  • A high 83 per cent believe corruption is widespread in their countries.
  • Only 19 per cent see their states implement the law equally among its citizens.
  • Three quarters of those polled believe that Arab states should take measures to bring their nations closer. An equal percentage believes that states should lift restrictions on free travel and 67 per cent are not satisfied with Arab-Arab co-operation.
  • Contrary to mainstream global media coverage, 73 per cent of those polled see Israel and the US as the two most threatening countries. Five per cent see Iran as the most threatening, a percentage that varies between countries and regions.
  • A high 84 per cent believe the Palestinian question is the cause of all Arabs and not the Palestinians only.
  • A high 84 per cent reject the notion of their state’s recognition of Israel and only 21 per cent support, to a certain degree, the peace agreement signed between Egypt, Jordan and the PLO with Israel. Less than a third agree with their government’s foreign policy.
  • When it comes to WMD, 55 per cent support a region free of nuclear weapons and 55 per cent see Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons as justifying there possession by other countries in the region.

Rejecting Serco in Australia


Posted: 09 Mar 2012


All power to these people, highlighting to the public the reality of the rapacious British multinational Serco:

Opponents of the privatisation of government services today took their concerns to the door of the Perth office of multi-national provider, Serco.

About 60 people under the banner of Occupy Perth – the same group that held a multi-day sit-in last year – vented their anger at the state government’s repeated use of Serco to provide services in public hospitals, detention centres, juvenile detention centres and for corrective services.

Similar protests are expected to take place in Melbourne, Sydney and London, where Serco also is prominent.

The group, including community activists, refugee rights, unionists Aboriginal deaths in custody activists, are concerned by what they say is a poor history of privatised government services.

Numerous deaths and serious illness from hospital infections had been caused by poor quality privately provided services, they claimed.

The issue has become increasingly prominent following the death in custody of Aboriginal man Mr Ward, who died in the back of an un-airconditioned prison van while being transported by private company G4-S.

Public outrage led to the company losing the contract to provide transport for corrective services.

Other protesters claimed the privatisation of hospital services would reduce the quality of care.

“Any corporation is there to make a profit,” one protester Dave Hume told the crowd.

“Any deal with Serco is a bad deal, be it prisons, be it detention centres, be it hospitals – Serco is a bad company to deal with. They’re an international company and they’re in bed with our state government.”

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