Yesterday, within hours of President Trump and PM Netanyahu announcing the details of their peace(-less) plan, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) took swift steps to draft and win support for a letter (PDF) that roundly criticized the contents of the plan. Even more significantly, among the first 12 signatories he gathered for the letter were all three of the Democratic senators contending in the Democratic primary.
These facts demonstrate that the “great realignment” of the U.S. parties that I wrote about on Mondoweiss a year ago is now nearly complete. In that article, I noted how, 30 years ago, the Democrats were lined up solidly behind Israel while the main support the Palestinians received within the U.S. party system came from a small handful of liberal Republicans. Many factors– including smart, persistent grassroots organizing by supporters of Palestinian rights around the United States– have led to this sea-change. (Read that article to learn more.)
It’s worth noting, too, that one week after publishing that piece, I wrote a follow-up, “The curious case of US domination of Palestine-Israel peacemaking” in which I placed Washington’s sorry record on this issue in a more international context. Clearly, those of us here in the United States who want to see the Palestinians regain the whole panoply of the human rights that have been denied them for so many decades now need to explore and support all the ways in which we can end Washington’s monopoly of control of this task. This will require working with numerous allies around the world, governmental and non-governmental.
Palestinian rights are human rights. (Duh!)
In this context, it is a pity to have to note that the main thrust of the latest “Senators’ Letter” is to express support for a two-state solution. The letter argues that the Trump-Netanyahu deal “will risk eliminating any remaining prospects for achievement of a peaceful and viable two-state solution”.
It also dumps on the concept of a one-state solution (such as one that could provide a welcoming home for all Israelis and Palestinians ready to live in a situation of civic equality within a single democratic state), arguing baldly that a one-state solution would “undermine the vision of a democratic Jewish state” and that a one-state solution– like the teeny-Bantustan proposal sketched out in the Trump-Netanyahu plan– is an outcome that would not “support the legitimate rights and aspirations of both sides.”
Oh well. It is still good to see these 12 Senators come out swinging against the T-N plan. And others, including Sen Chris Murphy (D-CT), have also come out against it.