Author and activist Norman Finkelstein discusses the logistics of a two state solution with Mehdi Hassan – can the two-state solution can solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
have never been better for settling the Israel-Palestine conflict,”
Norman Finkelstein, the controversial scholar and author of The Holocaust
and Method and Madness.
more violence, yet another round of failed talks and 20 years of Israeli land
annexation, is the two-state solution really still an option?
two-state settlement … is ‘Wizard of Oz stuff’, then one-state is ‘Man on the
Moon stuff’ according to Finkelstein.
to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Norman Finkelstein on his proposal for
resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, and explores whether he has changed
his tone on some of his more incendiary criticism of Israel.
described as an ‘American Radical’, Finkelstein has also been branded by some a
liberal Zionist, for his opposition to the one-state solution and the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which he vehemently
describes as “a cult.”
the BDS movement violate international law, and does it really aim to dismantle
the Israeli state?
the discussion are Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a leading Palestinian activist and human
rights lawyer in London; Jeff Halper, the director of the Israeli Committee
Against House Demolitions in Jerusalem; and Oliver Kamm, a writer and
journalist at The Times and The Jewish Chronicle newspapers, and
outspoken supporter of Israel.
My own view
It was very interesting and
worth watching and Mehdi Hassan was good as an interviewer. Despite his
verbal dexterity, Norman Finkelstein sounded more hackneyed than ever,
resorting to ‘world public opinion’ and other subjective formulations, when it
is the interests of great powers, most especially the United States, that
predominate. That public opinion in Europe has changed is not disputed
but it has had little effect on the elites.
Finkelstein was at his more
disingenuous when he asserted that he always supported BDS but that his attack
on it as a ‘cult’ was because it made BDS a goal rather than a tactic.
Those of us with longer memories will recall that his attack on it was because
it would have no effect as a tactic.
His primary weakness is his
assertion that Israel was established by international law and therefore you
cannot support a Palestinian state without an existing Israeli Jewish
state. Leaving aside the question of what constitutes international law
and whether there really is such a thing when it comes to the formation of
states and inter-state relations (who has been held accountable over the CIA
torture programme?) the practice of Apartheid is definitely contrary to
international public law yet the continuance of the ‘Jewish’ state would
guarantee just this fact.
Law follows facts as the
Zionists often say and the question is whether or not we should support
the continuation of the Israeli state and its perpetuating in the form of the
permanent Partition of Palestine. Bearing in mind that Partition is an
imperialist solution which simply reinforces antagonisms, hatreds and racism –
as Ireland and India have demonstrated. Finkelstein sees Israel as just
another state rather than a settler colonial state.
However he was challenged on much
of this. The one bright spot was when he dealt with the obnoxious Oliver
Kamm, a Times and Jewish Chronicle columnist who suggested that his Holocaust
Industry was no different from the notorious anti-Semitic forgery the Protocols
of the Elders of Zion. He pasted him all over the Oxford Union and Kamm
fared no better when he tried to argue that calling Israel an apartheid state
Watch it and decide for yourself,
but I thought it was one of the best programmes on Palestine and one or
two states that there have been