Israel’s one-state reality is sowing chaos in American politics

A mural depicting US President Donald Trump on the separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Aug 4, 2017. (Flash90)
Until US lawmakers and major Jewish organizations adjust to the current one-state reality, the acrimony that has marked the last several years under Netanyahu and Trump will only intensify.

By Joshua Leifer | +972 Magazine | Aug 26, 2019

‘If the two-state solution ceased to be possible, 64 percent of Americans would choose the democracy of Israel, even if that meant that Israel would cease to be a politically Jewish state, over the Jewishness of Israel, if the latter meant Palestinians would not be fully equal.’
— University of Maryland poll, 2018

For decades, the two-state solution has been the central pillar of the bipartisan pro-Israel consensus in Washington. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, every single US administration has been committed, at least nominally, to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Yet the expiration of the two-state paradigm under Prime Minister Netanyahu and the lack of a clear alternative to take its place has kicked that pillar away, disordering the politics of Israel–Palestine in the United States. Until American decision-makers adjust to the current one-state reality, the acrimony, chaos, and division that have marked the past several years will only intensify.

Without the pretext of a peace process, the Trump administration is pursuing a post-two-state agenda rife with draconian measures taken against key Palestinian institutions, from closing the PLO office in Washington to slashing funding to UNRWA. Today, the administration’s Middle East policy is being set by right-wing, pro-settlement officials, and Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” if it is ever released, is sure to be a gift to the Israeli territorial-maximalist right and will not likely include a Palestinian state. These shifts dovetail perfectly with Israel’s annexationist policies on the ground in the occupied territories. . . .

The result has been the zombification of the bipartisan pro-Israel consensus — an undead consensus lumbering the halls of Congress that not only no longer corresponds to the political reality in Israel-Palestine, but also no longer reflects what many ordinary American voters actually believe. Indeed, while members of Congress can still be counted on to vote overwhelmingly in Israel’s favor across partisan lines, among the broader public, bipartisan support for Israel has collapsed.

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