The perverse and perplexing paradox of Palestine

by Martin Sherman
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Why do professed liberals continue to support creating a state that would reject all the values they supposedly cherish?

(JNS) Recently, the idea of a Palestinian state has—like a ghoulish zombie arising from its grave—reemerged as a subject of international discourse.

The tyrannical dictates of political correctness

After being thrust to the outer margins of the debate during the Trump administration, the Biden administration has breathed new life into the failed two-state formula, the attempted implementation of which has wrought trauma and tragedy on Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Perversely, the Palestinians, the intended beneficiaries of the ill-conceived notion, were by far its greatest victims. Indeed, the casualties and socioeconomic disruption they suffered greatly outstripped anything endured by Israel.

But this is not the only perverse aspect of Palestinian statehood and advocacy on its behalf. It was also brutally imposed on those who doubted it.

Support for the two-state formula became a requirement for access to “polite company.” It was considered an indispensable credential for anyone aspiring to be part of “bon-ton” liberal circles. Daring individuals with the temerity to question it faced grave consequences to their personal and professional standing.

Impervious to past precedents and future probabilities

Vindictiveness aside, liberal support for the two-state solution is not only perverse but also paradoxical and perplexing. After all, there is virtually no doubt that any future Palestinian state will be the embodiment of values that are the antithesis of those to which left-leaning progressive liberals profess to subscribe.

A prospective Palestinian state, in any conceivably plausible form, will be what most other Arab states are: A homophobic, misogynist Muslim-majority tyranny. Its hallmarks will be gender discrimination, persecution of homosexuals, religious intolerance and oppression of political dissidents.

Accordingly, it is baffling that so-called “progressives,” who purportedly cherish diversity, religious freedom and individual liberty, cling so doggedly to the idea.

No reason to believe that what was in the past will not be again in the future

This is particularly pertinent given what has transpired in Gaza—perhaps the ultimate indictment of two-statism—in which Palestinians were first given a shot at self-governance. Gaza has become a bastion of Islamist governance and a safe haven for jihadi terror.

There is scant cause to believe that what was in the past will not be again in the future. After all, even the most fervent two-state enthusiast has yet to offer a persuasive argument why the envisioned Palestinian state would not quickly emerge as a homophobic, misogynistic tyranny.

As Albert Einstein reportedly said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Clearly, the turmoil of today is the result of trying to foist statehood on the Palestinians.

Thus, there is little reason to believe that persisting in the same thinking that created the seemingly perennial violence we face will contribute in any way to its cessation.

This perverse and perplexing paradox is something that has not been adequately addressed in the public discourse on the Middle East. Indeed, it is rarely—if ever—fully articulated. The time has come to do so.

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