While hoping for a deal on Gaza this morning, I took a break from Is/Pal news to listen to unrelated podcasts. “Stuff Mom Never Told You” arrived with upbeat news from the Pew Research Center that interracial marriage in the U.S. is at an all time high. The podcast also discussed the rise in multi-box-checking young people.
Of course, this kind of deep integration is not the goal of almost anyone in Israel and Palestine. Indeed, I think about a liberal Israeli group like Ir Amim advocating “an honorable divorce” in Jerusalem – essentially a full separation as preferable to continued Israeli ethnic expansion and Palestinian removal in East Jerusalem. I also reflect on the deeply segregated educational streams in Israel – not just Israeli Jews separate from Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, but ultraorthodox from religious from secular. Whole discussion boards online are full of religious Israelis making sure their children get the exact right style of religiosity in their education. Meanwhile, the level of anti-Semitism in Palestinian culture remains extremely high.
Listening to a debate between Israelis and Palestinians on the BBC’s World Have Your Say underlines how hard it is for the two peoples to listen to one another. The Palestinians see only the occupation and the oppression, and the Israelis only see the Palestinians continuing to attack even after pullouts (Lebanon and Gaza) and failing to strike peace deals (Clinton 2000).
I hope the cease fire holds. If it does, I hope it puts us on a path to a real two-state solution. At a longer-term level, it seems like we are still generations away from a time when Israelis and Palestinians can have the kind of fairly widespread positive relationships that Americans of different races continue to build with one another.