Yesterday COL Lang reported on the brouhaha caused by Secretary Kerry's remarks that if a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute failed, then it would lead to one of two potential unitary state options for the Israelis. The first would be that Israel if it preserved its democratic system would lose its Jewish majority, ceasing to be either a Jewish State or a State for Jews because of potential/projected demographic changes vis a vis the Palestinians. The other possibility was to become a unitary state that relegates the Palestinians to second class status. Secretary Kerry asserted that should Israel go this latter route it would mean that Israel would become an apartheid state. His larger point, however, was that neither of these are in Israel's interests. This seems to have been meant as a supporting argument for why a two state solution is preferable in general and as a specific push for the ongoing US led efforts. As COL Lang anticipated this set off the usual freakout from all the expected players.
What's really interesing, however, is that this is not the first time a senior or strategic leader has made this type of remark. After the 1967 Six Day War David Ben Gurion remarked that if Israel did not rid itself of its territories and their Arab population quickly it risked becoming an apartheid state (h/t Corey Robin). Ehud Olmert issued a similar warning in 2007 and Ehud Barak reiterated this concern in 2010 (h/t for both Little Green Footballs).
All of this is part and parcel of the warped nature of America's discussion - both popular and strategic/policy - regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Regardless of how it has happened, and that's a series of posts all their own, we have limited our ability to speak openly and honestly with each other about this issues, about what is really good for the US or in the US's interests, what is really good for Israel from a US perspective given that Israel is a statutory ally and client, and what is really good for the US's other allies, from the US's perspectives in the region. The narrow limits that we have placed on ourselves regarding these issues do not serve us and our interests well.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.