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I was doing research on a single-state solution, and found the Balad (the Arab Party) expressed support for a single-state solution, and was subsequently banned for "acts against Israel as a Jewish and democratic state". Has any Jewish politician or party in Israel ever came out in favor of a one-state solution while (or before) elected?

  • Single-state solution: a single bi-national state for all peoples of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
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    You may need to define "single state solution". It implies some kind of recognition for Palestinians as a nation I presume? Because the kind of ethnic cleansing supported by Kahane and the like is arguably a single state "solution", depending on how you frame the problem.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 2:14
  • I suggest restricting the time frame to post-Oslo period. Obviously, before that there was no talk of a Palestinian state, and before 1948 there were no Jewish state either, so one could say/write anything.
    – Morisco
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 6:35

2 Answers 2

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Meir Vilner

Quote from "Arab-Jewish Unity for the Solution of Palestine's Problems as published" in Political Affairs publishing a statement made to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on March 25, 1946.

All problems of this country can and must be solved by a Jewish-Arab agreement based on the following foundations:

  • An independent and democratic Arab-Jewish state.
  • Establishment of democratic and elected institutions -legislative and executive- which express the bi-national character of the country and are based on the unshakable principles of equality of civil and national rights for both peoples.

He would later go onto sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, and go on to serve in the First Knesset and subsequent terms (1949-1959, 1961, and later under Hadash).


Other elected members of Maki include Shmuel Mikunis and Esther Vilenska which likely made other similar statements, though they're much harder to find as other minor party members. Worth mentioning, in 1948, 700 of Maki's 1000 members were Jewish

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    I recommend Walter Laqueur's book, which has a whole chapter on Arab-Jewish relations before the establishment of the state - whether Jews should have their own state, a bi-national one, or autonomy within an Arab state was an open question before 1948. It is however meaningless to speak of Israeli politicians before 1948 - i.e., the year when Israel was established.
    – Morisco
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 9:11
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    Vilner was not an elected Israeli politician in 1946. Moreover, the USSR supported the partition plan and so did the Israeli Communist Party (Maki), which he was heading. The party is also infamous for facilitating arms shipment from Czechoslovakia to the Zionist forces and for some of its Hebrew members actively participating in the ethnic cleansing. So I would not really count him.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 14:00
  • @einpoklum I've updated the question. What I sought to exclude was a potential Jewish politician who made the proclamation on their death bed. I believe the question was too broad for that. It's correct to say that at the time Maki held the position there was some degree of support for it and their leaders within Israeli society. This is the conclusion I was looking for support for. There is evidence of at least 700 Jewish members of Maki in 1948. And, however discouraging it seems Palestinian nationalism was partially to blame for Maki's decline. Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 15:19
  • @EvanCarroll: You may be interested in reading about the Brit Shalom group, which is close to what you were asking for, but made up of academics rather than politicians.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 15:49
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Albert Einstein was not an Israeli citizen or politician though he was popular enough to be officially invited, in 1952, to be the second President of the State of Israel - so I think he fits your requirement as he was a very influential political activist. In his book Albert Einstein: A Biography, the author Albrecht Folsing reveals how uncomfortable Israel's then political leaders were with Einstein's Presidency:

While Ben-Gurion was awaiting Einstein's decision, he asked his assistant, the future president Yitzak Navon, over a cup of coffee: 'Tell me what to do if he says yes! I have had to offer the post to him because it's impossible not to. But if he accepts we're in for trouble'. (Ref. 1)

Luckily for the former Israeli PM Ben-Guiron, Einstein declined to be the President publicly claiming that he wasn't good with people. A more pertinent reason was also ideological differences with the zionists in Israel, as he explained to his stepdaughter:

"If I were to be president, sometime I would have to say to the Israeli people things they would not like to hear". (Ref. 2)

He was popular in Israel as he was a dedicated Zionist activist who believed Jews needed their own homeland, and was respected as a scientist. He however differed with other Zionists on one major aspect - he did not subscribe to the idea of an independent country, a Jewish state, with its own government and army. He made this very clear in his speech "Our Debt to Zionism", on April 17, 1938:

Just one more personal word on the question of partition. I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the ideas of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain - especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state. We are no longer the Jews of the Maccabee period. A return to a nation in the political sense of the word would be equivalent to turning away from the spiritualization of our community which we owe to the genius of our prophets. (emphasis added)

He was one of the strong advocates for what is now called the one-state solution. In 1946 he wrote:

Letter by Einstein advocating for Jews to strive for bi-national status in a Palestine State.

I am in favour of Palestine being developed as a Jewish Homeland but not as a separate state. It seems to me a matter for simple common sense that we cannot ask to be given the political rule over Palestine where two-thirds of the population are not Jewish. What we can and should ask is a secured bi-national status in Palestine with free immigration. If we ask more we are damaging our own cause and it is difficult for me to grasp that our Zionists are taking such an intransigent position which can only impair our cause. (Ref. 3) (emphasis added)

At the same time, he was also very blunt with other religious fundamentalist Zionists, who advocated violence, that he would never support them. This is apparent from the following letter he wrote:

Letter by Einstein denouncing Zionist terrorist and refusing to support them.

When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations build up from our own ranks. I am not willing to see anybody associated with those misled and criminal people. (Ref. 3) (emphasis added)

Later, when the State of Israel was formed, he accepted it as inevitable, and supported it. But he still had a lot of misgivings about its leaders because he saw that his earlier fears were coming true - some religious fundamentalist Jews in Israel, in their hubris, were behaving increasingly like the German Nazis (in his opinion). He agreed to share this view in public, with other like-minded people, in a joint letter to the New York Times:

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine ... The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

... A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants (240 men, women, and children) and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.

... Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model ... Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

... This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal. (Ref. 3) (emphasis added)

This same right-wing terrorist, and a leader of the Ḥerut (“Freedom”) Party, Menachem Begin, later founded the Likud party (Ref. 5), today run by Netanyahu. (Needless to say, it still follows its right-wing fascist ideological goals).

Look at the irony of it all - a party founded by a jewish terrorist, that once used the same tactics of killing and raping innocent Arab Palestinians, like Hamas (muslim terrorists) did recently, today claims Hamas are "animals" and shouldn't be in politics! Einstein had once perceived that an Israeli State, with its own army, would be involved in "endless strife". History continues to prove him right.

References:

  1. Albert Einstein: A Biography (1997) by Albrecht Fölsing

  2. The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist (2003) by Fred Jerome

  3. Albert Einstein: Original Letters in Aid of his Brethren.

  4. Albert Einstein Letter to The New York Times - December 4, 1948.

  5. Menachem Begin

  6. Einstein, Zionism and Israel: Setting the Record Straight by Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq .

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    It sounds like it's a pity Einstein didn't accept the position, then. Who knows how things would have turned out if he had?
    – nick012000
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 21:53

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