By Jack Saltzberg
Every time I meet Jews who support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, I ask them, “What do you think the Palestinians want?” Inevitably, the answer is almost universally the same: two states, with Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in peace.
With that in mind, in a recent Newsweek propaganda piece that doubles as an op-ed, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, leveled his typical platitudes of half-truths, distortions and lies against Israel. His alternative facts and statements were so fallacious, it’s remarkable that Newsweek published it. Word by word, line-by-line, Barghouti’s contextual layering of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was skewed beyond the norm, but apparently that’s irrelevant. When it comes to BDS, the first victims are facts.
I won’t counter Barghouti’s 51 inaccurate statements (I counted) because that’s his intention, to place Israel on the defensive, even if it is defending itself against lies. Like Goebbels before him infamously said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” And people the world over believe Barghouti’s and the BDS movement’s lies.
The most fascinating part of Barghouti’s piece was his apparent concern for the possible demise of the two-state dream and the dire effect it will have on the Palestinians. Barghouti wrote:
“Trump’s sharp departure from the ‘two-state orthodoxy’ at the joint press conference [with Netanyahu], including his casual mention of the ‘one state formulation’ as a serious option for ending the Palestinian-Israeli ‘conflict,’ has exacerbated Palestinian fears.”
This would lead one to think that the BDS co-founder himself is fearful that the two-state solution might be in jeopardy. But how can that be? Let’s read what Barghouti wrote in Couterpunch in 2003:
“Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.”
Or consider what Barghouti said in a symposium:
“Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
Or what Barghouti said in an interview with Electronic Intifada in 2009:
“A two-state solution was never moral and it’s no longer working – it’s impossible with all the Israeli settlements and so on.”
If that is not enough to convince the world that the BDS co-founder does not desire a Palestinian state existing in peace next to Israel, the Electronic Intifada’s “One State Declaration,” a covenant adopted and signed in Madrid in July 2007, calls for a one-state Palestine replacing Israel. One of the 15 authors: Omar Barghouti.
Lastly, instead of Barghouti’s doublespeak, let’s ask the Palestinians themselves. In a poll taken in the West Bank and Gaza in December 2016, more than 65 percent of Palestinians opposed a two-state solution.
With this factual and contextual background, it is laughable when Barghouti feigns concern for Palestinian fears of losing their “dream” of one day living in their own state peacefully next to Israel. They have no fears because they don’t want it, just as Barghouti knows, and doesn’t want it either.
Let’s be clear: Barghouti is in favor of a one-state solution, but that state is not Israel.
The fact is that Barghouti will stop his BDS campaign against Israel only when the solitary Jewish country is wiped off the map and replaced by a Muslim majority state by the name of Palestine.
Netanyahu, settlements, Zionism and, now, President Trump are not to blame for a two-state solution not materializing; it’s because Palestinians have rejected all reasonable offers to make it happen, and they’ve always chosen violence over peace.
Jack Saltzberg is the founder and executive director of The Israel Group, a nonprofit that protects Israel in the diaspora. He is working on a book about political warfare against Israel.