For a democratic-secular state!

Submitted by Anon on 30 September, 2001 - 1:04

Looking at your website article on Israel, I think you write off too easily the idea of a democratic secular state to solve the problem of Israel and the Palestinians. You consider it either as a utopian scheme or as a call for the military demolition of Israel by the neighbouring Arab states. Either way it is not an option, and you call for a two-state solution, an Israeli state next to a Palestinian one.

Under present conditions, a two-state ‘solution’ would mean the Palestinians getting a few tracts of land, the bits that they presently control plus a few others. The Israeli government would give to the Palestinians — by analogy — the sink estates of Peckham and Hackney, Thamesmead and a few other run-down areas of London, and keep the rest of the capital for itself. More importantly, partition would reinforce the growing reactionary trends in Israel — fascistic, fundamentalist tendencies in both Judaeism and Islam. This would drive deeper divisions between Jews and Palestinians, and would lead to exclusivist sentiments within both states, with dire consequences for those who don’t “fit in” — Arab Israeli citizens, Christians, etc.

Partition is a reactionary solution. The partition of Ireland led to priest-ridden societies north and south; the partition of India led to huge massacres and continual tension between India and Pakistan. Similar reactionary consequences will follow a partition of Israel and the setting up of a Palestinian state. Is that what you want, because that’s what will happen.
No, however “utopian” it seems, a democratic secular state is a sensible idea. It means one in which all its inhabitants can live within a single state with no religion or nationality receiving favoured or detrimental treatment. In short, the demand that Israel behaves as a proper bourgeois republic.

And if that sounds utopian, does not the idea of socialism seem “utopian” at the moment? But that will not prevent either you or I from calling for it.

Paul Flewers

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