Fernando Teson on the Palestinian State

Fernando Teson’s opening gambit on a discussion of the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute:

Almost everyone has by now accepted the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

I wasn’t aware of that. Evidence, please?

While we wait for Teson’s response, feel free to read the Wikipedia entry on the One-state Solution at your leisure. It doesn’t seem to cohere with his claim.

If the wait is long enough, you can also read through Reason Papers’s 2012 symposium on Sari Nusseibeh’s version of the one state solution from his book, What Is a Palestinian State Worth? (Note: The RP link goes to a long PDF that requires lots of scrolling down. You can also access the symposium this way, if you find it more convenient.)

As PoT readers know, I spent two months in Palestine this summer teaching at Al Quds University. My experience doesn’t cohere with Teson’s off-the-cuff claim any more than the Wikipedia entry does. And don’t make me haul out back issues of the Journal of Palestine Studies, please. Because you know what will happen if I do?

Postscript, 10 pm: I wonder whether Professor Teson could explain in mathematical terms how majorities of 63% of Israelis and 53% of Palestinians amount to “almost everyone.” Do 37% of Israelis and 47% of Palestinians = no one? Feel free, Professor, to use scratch paper and show your work.

If Israelis and Palestinians don’t count, what about retired American diplomats in far-out radical publications like U.S. News and World Report? I mean, the one-state solution is so marginal an idea that it’s being discussed at conferences at obscure places like Harvard.

Oh, not pro-Israel enough for you, huh? Well, then, how about the current Israeli administration? Or Caroline Glick?

Oh wait, too far to the right for you, huh? Well, then, let’s make a left turn. Wrong part of the left? You could always talk to the nice folks at Dissent. They were “rethinking” things five years ago.

While we’re turning left, why not talk to some Arabs along the way? Like this one.

You want a cross-section of ethnicities? Try this. Not that I want to overdo things….

6 thoughts on “Fernando Teson on the Palestinian State

    • I cited the Wikipedia entry to provide a list of counter-examples to Teson’s claim. The claim about Buttu comes from this very tendentious piece in The Jerusalem Post.

      The conference also features Dianna Buttu, former legal advisor for the PLO and another Hamas supporter who, as Middle East scholar Richard Cravatts noted recently, “denied that thousands of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza into Israel actually had warheads on them, unlike Israeli weaponry.”

      I regard the pro-terrorist accusation as too vague and tendentious to deserve a response. Is it because she’s a former legal advisor for the PLO? Is it because she’s a “Hamas supporter”? What qualifies someone as a Hamas supporter, anyway? Is it because of her alleged denial about Hamas rockets? Is it the denial that makes her pro-terrorist, or is it the implicit claim that she’s in favor of rocket attacks as such? Etc.

      I’d prefer to set aside questions that are irrelevant to what I was blogging about in the original post, and that the accusers themselves have failed to make explicit.

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  1. Hmmm. Want to make a case for P, so begin by saying that almost everybody accepts P. But even if almost everyone does accept P, that’s at best only prima facie evidence for P, and not sufficient to answer any objection to P whatsoever. So saying that almost everybody accepts P is not a good argument for P, even if it’s true. And of course it usually isn’t true, since people rarely find the need to say that almost everyone accepts something that almost everyone accepts.

    So this seems like…a fallacy. We should have a name for it.

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    • Actually, if p is “let’s create two states,” he doesn’t want to make a case for p. He’s arguing for this earth-shatteringly original thesis instead:

      All I’m saying here is that Palestinians, like everyone else, are not entitled to create a tyrannical state.

      All he’s saying is, give banality a chance.

      Put another way:

      A group is not entitled to create a state that will enforce racial segregation, persecute dissenters, oppress women, and the like.

      It’s not? Golly. And all this time, I’d been thinking that groups could do any darn thing they wanted! What will they think of next?

      The shortest summary of the article for the tl;dr crowd: he starts with the preposterous and ends with the trivial, having traversed the irrelevant and evaded the obvious. Par for the course for Teson, but for once, I’d like a straight answer from him to my straightforward question.

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