A Two-State Critic, and His Critics

Note: This letter appeared in The New York Times on September 17, 2013.

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times

To the Editor:

Never has the case been made more strongly, however inadvertently, for the necessity of the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than in Ian S. Lustick’s fantasy about the need to dump the idea (“Two-State Illusion,” Sunday Review, Sept. 15).

Anyone who cares about the Jewish people and takes into account both the wonderful aspects as well as the immense tragedies of Jewish history must shudder at Mr. Lustick’s willingness to dismiss the existence of the first independent Jewish state in 2,000 years. His argument about what will ensue after the abandonment of the goal of two states is a fancy version of a one-state solution that ends the concept of Jewish self-determination.

The founding of the modern state of Israel is a profound historical development. Its safety and survival must be nurtured and protected. Yes, the two-state solution is difficult to achieve, but it is the only one that provides opportunity for Palestinian self-determination without abandoning Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel.

Mr. Lustick’s essay ultimately reminds us of the need to get moving toward that goal. While there are some in Israel, too, who say there can be no two-state solution, the leadership and vast majority of its people see it as the only solution.

Unfortunately, Palestinians still have not made that leap primarily because they, like Mr. Lustick, do not place any value on a Jewish state. Indeed, some may conclude that giving up on two states may produce their old goal, the disappearance of Israel, without war, terrorism or boycott.


Kenneth Jacobson
Deputy National Director

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