Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) offered a novel justification for the two-state solution Wednesday night, suggesting that the frighteningly high levels of anti-Semitism among Palestinian Authority Arabs validated her support for a Palestinian state.
Livni’s comments came during a town hall meeting in Boston on Wednesday night. The event, which drew some 1,000 people, was moderated by Dovid Efune, Editor-in-Chief of Algemeiner.
Despite her ties to the Israeli nationalist camp, Livni has steadily moved towards the left since she entered politics in 1999.
The daughter of Eitan and Sara Livni, prominent members of the Irgun pre-state Jewish underground, Tzipi Livni began her political career in the right-of-center Likud. When Ariel Sharon left the party and founded Kadima, Livni followed. After leading Kadima for four years, Livni founded the HaTnuah party, which merged with the Labor party in 2015 to form the Zionist Camp.
Since the Gaza Disengagement plan of 2005 and her subsequent departure from the Likud, Livni has been a consistent advocate of the two-state solution, arguing that Israel must surrender Judea and Samaria to ensure the country’s survival as a Jewish state.
Hitherto her argument in favor of Palestinian statehood has been couched in terms of demographic issues – specifically, the complexities involved in adding millions of Arabs to the State of Israel.
On Wednesday night, however, Livni offered a new line of reasoning for a Palestinian state: Arab anti-Semitism.
At one point in the town hall, Efune questioned the viability of Livni’s vision given the high rates of anti-Jewish sentiment among Arab residents of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
"93% of people in the Palestinian Territories hold anti-Semitic views according to an ADL poll,” Efune pointed out. “How do we make your vision a reality in this climate?"
Livni responded that in the Middle East “the choice is usually between bad options”, seemingly acknowledging the flaws of her own solution. She then proceeded to argue that in fact the high number of anti-Semites among the Arab population validated her position.
"What is the suggestion? That we live with all of these anti-Semitics [sic] in one state? No. The whole idea is to separate us from the Palestinians, to live in two states for two people."
Livni’s argument comes as support for Palestinian statehood continues to decline, even in the United States. Support for the two-state solution has waned since the violence of the Second Intifada raised fears that a Palestinian state would serve as an effective tool for perpetuating the violence so often supported by the Palestinian Authority government.