Max Ajl wonders the same thing in Monthly Review:
One state or two? … Boycott of Israeli goods or goods from the settlements? … Is the lobby the genesis of American wrongdoing in Palestine or is it imperialism? … The questions — regarding vision, strategy, and analysis — produce sharp cleavages on the Left. … Indeed, generally ones much deeper than they need to be. … And they remain stubbornly unsettled.
They also congeal in the person of Norman Finkelstein, who has taken some unpopular positions — his insistent call for a two-state solution, his references to “cultish” aspects of BDS — as well as more popular ones, like blaming the occupation solely on the Israel lobby. … For that reason he has become a lightning rod, attracting furious bolts of criticism and support. … The core issues, however, remain obscured amidst a charged atmosphere of extravagant denunciations (catcalls of Zionism and worse) from one side and fierce defenses from the other.
From one perspective, it’s an odd contretemps. … Finkelstein has spent decades fighting for Palestinian dignity and a place for Palestinians to live free of the occupation’s suffocating violence and capricious indignities. … He is the maverick scholar who exposed the American intellectual community as a gaggle of hacks by dissecting Joan Peters’s… From Time Immemorial, showing it to be a hoax intended to deny the Palestinians peoplehood by painting them as peripatetics who had fabricated a “Palestinian” identity to ride the wave of Israel’s successful nation-building project. … And his forensic dismantling of Israeli scholarly mythologies in… Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict… remains one of the very best primers on the prejudices that surround the conflict.
For all that time his fight has been for a two-state settlement: something that seemed reasonable in 1988 and in the early 1990s. … But what seemed possible twenty years ago — with the Israeli electorate temporarily shaken by the savage repression of the 1st… intifada… and Israeli capital needing to recover from the aftermath of the destabilizing military-industrial accumulation patterns of the 1970s and 1980s, break through the sectoral envelope of… domestic accumulation, and… globalize… — seems less possible now, with… militarized accumulation… again on the rise in the Middle East and elsewhere. … In some ways, the argument for two states has become a relic when so much of the discourse (less so the organizing) of the radical pro-Palestinian Left in the West and the Palestinian Left in the Occupied Territories is oriented towards one single state.
Furthermore, the constituency for partition is far from a majority of the Israeli population. … Those accepting removal of all settlements totaled 18 percent of the population in 2006 and declined to… 14 percent in 2007. … So, the Israeli state is in sync with the sentiments of the Israeli people. … Rejectionism is consensual, while disagreements are technical, niggling about how tight should be the noose around Palestinian society’s neck. … Thus a program for a forced withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders is a challenge to Israeli power. … Two states with a just resolution of the refugee question and UN SC 242 borders is rabidly rejected by not only Israel but also America. … It makes little sense to speak of “selling out” when the two-state solution is so stolidly rejected by those who must consent to its implementation for it to have meaning.