Re the Dec. 29 editorial, “Obama widens rift with Israel. Why now?”:
It focuses on the level of acrimony between the United States and Israel, as if the future of Israel as a democratic Jewish state depended on whether the U.S. government walked in lock-step with the Israeli government. There is a reason for acrimony: the failure of the Israeli government to face up to one undeniable fact, the demographic bomb that lies ahead.
As Secretary Kerry pointed out in his speech on Dec. 28, “There are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They have a choice. They can choose to live together in one state, or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality: If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic — it cannot be both — and it won’t ever really be at peace.”
As a leading Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, put it after the U.N. Security Council vote, “A solid majority of the countries that voted for the U.N. Security Council resolution are not anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic. The message of their vote was simple: It’s the settlements, stupid. The Security Council resolution reveals once again how clear and sharp international consensus is against the settlements.”
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The settlements are not the only obstruction to the two-state solution. Another lies in the seats in the Knesset, occupied by right-wing Israeli political parties that want to perpetuate the 50-year occupation of the West Bank as a prelude to annexing it. Without their existence and support, Netanyahu would be out of office. But the clock on the demographic time bomb continues to click toward an Arab majority. The two-state solution may be difficult to foresee now, but it is the only vehicle for avoidance of long-term violent struggle between Arabs and Jews in that land.
Richard E. Brodsky,