Last night David Makovsky and Gaith al-Omari spoke at the Schusterman Center—Brandeis University—about the upcoming bid for the UN recognition of a Palestinian State this Fall. It was fabulous. The talks were introduced by Brandeis Professor and Schusterman Director Ilan Troen, and moderated by Crown Center Director Shai Feldman. I couldn’t stay for the extended discussion session—which probably turned out to be more interesting than the presentations—but here’s one of the conclusions that I found particularly refreshing:
Pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians around the world (and around US campuses) need to grow up already. The conflict is about lives, not about ideals that whacko extremists brandish on both sides. If Palestinians and Israelis on the ground have come to an understanding (and they have) that both their narratives are valid, and that both their decisions and behaviors affect the lives of people living inside the conflict, then so must their “supporters” who pontificate and posture and wave flags from outside the conflict. There is no solution—and therefore no possibility for a Palestinians state to emerge—outside of the “two-state” solution. Palestinians are only now coming to realize that they made a big booboo in 1947 by rejecting the UN “two-state” partition resolution. Better late than never. Palestinians can no longer deny the Jews’ connection to (what in 1920 became) British Mandatory Palestine; today Israel. Israelis can no longer say “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people.” That is silly, and both parties recognize the mistakes of their past posturing. They don’t necessarily have to like each other’s narratives—and again, it’s silly to expect them to. But they’re coming to terms with those narratives, and they are learning to respect them. It is time their supporters on the outside—and around US campuses—became responsible adults and followed suit.
I will try to post a transcript of the talks when I have time.