When Richard Silverstein and I went to the New York Review of Books to publish, or publicize, our jointly-authored statement on Gaza, the editor replied that the NYRB was already publishing a statement by Daniel Barenboim. Well, with all due respect to Richard and me, I think Barenboim trumps Silverstein and Haber. And when I read the statement, I thought it worthwhile to reproduce it, especially since NYRB's online access is limited, although you can find it elsewhere.
If you compare his statement and ours, you will see that they are very different. Ours is first and foremost a cry of pain and shock as Jews, a "Not-in-Our-Name" sort of statement; his is a sober comment that does not dole out blame but looks to the future.
But the bottom line of both statements is not that different. He calls for a new initiative
which demands of all sides a common responsibility: to ensure equal rights and dignity to both peoples, and to ensure the right of each person to transcend the past and aspire to a future.
Ours says that
We affirm the rights of both Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination and self-defense, as we affirm the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This, friends, is indeed the central point. It is not a question of "one state, or two states, or no states, or blue states." Not a question of federation or union, and certainly not subordination or transfer. Not the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, or, for that matter, the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own. All these political frameworks are means to an end, but the end is as Barenboim or we say it: equal rights and dignity to both peoples, without any privileging of the other side.
Once the end is accepted, the question then – and only then – will be what is the best political framework to achieve this end. A two-state solution in which one side dominates and controls the other is no better than a one state solution in which one side dominates and controls the other.
Until people of good faith can agree on this bottom line, and get a significant segment of the both the Israeli or Palestinian peoples to buy in, then all the wearying talk of a peace process will be doomed.
There are preconditions to successful outcomes – and the principle underlying both our statements is one of the preconditions for this one.
Listen, Before It Is Too Late'
To the Editors:
Your readers may be interested in the following statement by Daniel Barenboim and the list of those who have supported it.
For the last forty years, history has proven that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict cannot be settled by force. Every effort, every possible means and resource of imagination and reflection should now be brought into play to find a new way forward. A new initiative which allays fear and suffering, acknowledges the injustice done, and leads to the security of Israelis and Palestinians alike. An initiative which demands of all sides a common responsibility: to ensure equal rights and dignity to both peoples, and to ensure the right of each person to transcend the past and aspire to a future.
Adonis, Etel Adnan, Alaa el Aswany, Dia Azzawi, Agnès B., Ted Bafaloukos, Russell Banks, Tahar Ben Jelloun, John Berger, Berlin Philharmonic, Bernardo Bertolucci, François Bayle, Idil Biret, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Boulez, Jacques Bouveresse, Alfred Brendel, Peter Brook, Adam Brooks, Carole Bouquet, Daniel Buren, Ellen Burstyn, Huguette Caland, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Carmen Castillo, Patrice Chéreau, William Christie, Paulo Coelho, J.M. Coetzee, Roger Corman, Jean Daniel, Régis Debray, Robert Delpire, Jonathan Demme, Plácido Domingo, Umberto Eco, Elliott Erwitt, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Rupert Everett, Michel Faber, Carlo and Inge Feltrinelli, Ralph Fiennes, Filarmonica della Scala, Jodie Foster, Eytan Fox, Fab 5 Freddy, Bella Freud, Martine Franck, Mary Frank, Eduardo Galeano, Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Gere, Gamal Ghitany, Amos Gitai, Edouard Glissant, Jean-Paul Goude, Nadine Gordimer, Günter Grass, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Haneke, Donald Harrison, Milton Hatoum, Sheila Hicks, Bill Irwin, Steven Isserlis, Philippe Jaccottet, Elfriede Jelinek, Samih al-Kassem, Naomi Kawase, Ya¸sar Kemal, Rachid Khalidi, Edouard Al-Kharrat, Michel Khleifi, Gérard D. Khoury, Abbas Kiarostami, Stephen King, William Klein, Abdellatif Laâbi, Jacques Leibowitch, Jemia and J.M.G. Le Clézio, Stéphane Lissner, Radu Lupu, Yo-Yo Ma, Amin Maalouf, Claudio Magris, Issa Makhlouf, Florence Malraux, Henning Mankell, James McBride, John Maybury, Zubin Mehta, Waltraud Meier, Annette Messager, Duane Michaels, Anne-Marie Miéville, Marc Minkowski, Thomas Mitchell, Ariane Mnouchkine, Sarah Moon, Edgar Morin, Jacques Monory, Fernando Morais, Jeanne Moreau, Georges Moustaki, Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Nouvel, Kenzaburo Oe, Orhan Pamuk, Clare Peploe, Michel Piccoli, Maurizio Pollini, Christian de Portzamparc, Simon Rattle, Alain Resnais, Claudia Roden, Arundhati Roy, Moustapha Safouan, Walter Salles, Susan Sarandon, Fazil Say, Elif Şafak, George Semprun, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Pierre Soulages, Wole Soyinka, Ousmane Sow, Staatskapelle Berlin, Salah Stétié, Juliet Stevenson, Meryl Streep, Elia Suleiman, Peter Suschitzky, Tilda Swinton, Sam Szafran, Zeynep Tanbay, Uma Thurman, Desmond Tutu, Shirley and Charlie Watts, Abdo Wazen, Jacques Weber, Wim Wenders, Debra Winger, Daniel Wolff, Neil Young