Nation statehood may have been, in the 19th Century, a progressive concept, especially for people suffering under the various Empires of that time. For the Jews particularly, with their long centuries of exile, pogroms, and being driven from place to place at the whim of petty princes and manipulative politicians, the idea that they should have a state of their own, with all the legal and diplomatic protections that statehood confers on its citizens, was a progressive idea. It was intelligent. It was humane.
Tragically, the State of Israel was promised to the Zionists by the same people who had promised the Palestinian Arabs their own State, on the same piece of land. It is merely another piece of British imperial arrogance, no different from all the other examples. Someone drew a line on a map, or signed a piece of paper, with no real concern for the ethnic, religious or cultural make-up of the peoples living in the area.
In this way the concept of the nation state failed to live up to its promise. The artificial entities that were created as those Empires ripped each other apart in the early 20th Century, became, or are currently becoming, the “failed states”of the early 21st.
Today, with travel, communications, manufacturing and commerce all operating in a shrinking global village, the nation state is losing any meaning it ever had.
Israel is a lost cause. The absurd idea that ‘God’ promised a particular bit of scrubland to a particular tribe of pastoralists is not a valid reason for continuing the agony, the torture, the mass slaughter that is happening in Palestine. Nor do hazy histories of iron-age conquest offer any justification for such suffering.
One state is needed; a single, modern democracy, with equal rights for all citizens, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, or choice of folk-tale. This will be difficult to achieve. But every other solution is impossible.
The ‘two-state’ solution is not going to happen. Decade after decade, the Zionists’ relentless creation of ‘facts on the ground’ has made clear what has very rarely been voiced openly; namely that the two-state solution never was any part of the Zionist strategy. On the contrary, the Zionist strategy has been, from the start, to drive the Palestinians out of their geography, out of their history, out of the collective memory of the world. In the words of David Ben Gurion: “The old will die; the young will forget.” That is a statement of unashamed genocidal intent; that the Palestinians, as a people, will cease to exist, and indeed it will be claimed that they never have existed. We are watching a slow but systematic act of genocide. You and I, and every other individual currently alive and capable of political engagement, is faced with a stark three way choice: actively to oppose this genocide, actively to support it, or inactively to acquiesce, pretending innocence.