Monday, April 7, 2014

A Question for Reza Aslan

Another speaker on matters Middle Eastern slated for the Sydney Writers Festival next month is the Iranian-American scholar of religion, Reza Aslan.

Judging by the video clips I've seen, if Aslan broaches the subject of Palestine/Israel, he's probably going to be telling us that the two-state solution is dead and that we're heading for a de facto binational state (from the River to the Sea), based either on South-African style apartheid, where a Jewish minority rules over a disenfranchised Palestinian majority, or something more accommodating of the interests of both groups.

So far so good, analytically speaking at any rate.

Where I part company with Aslan is in relation to what he calls the "sacrifices" both sides will have to make were the second of the above two scenarios to prevail.

While he thinks it "sad" that Israeli Jews will have to give up their "dream" of a Jewish majority state, the Palestinians, he says, will have to give up their "impossible notion of the right of return."

IOW, the Israeli sacrifice involves merely giving up a very bad idea, while the Palestinian sacrifice involves giving up a very good idea (so good in fact that it's enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), namely the right of people to leave and return to their own country.

Not to mention the fact that giving up that very good idea would condemn millions of living, breathing Palestinians to a permanent exile.

Does Aslan seriously believe this, or is it that he just hasn't thought this one through?

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