On March 29, 2019, Arab Center Washington DC hosted author and journalist Ben White for a discussion titled, “Palestinian Rights and Israeli Policies: Shifts in International Opinion.” White’s work has been published in The Guardian, The Independent, Newsweek Middle East, and many other publications. He is also a frequent guest expert on Al Jazeera and a contributor for Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. White is the author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide (Pluto, 2014) and, most recently, Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel (Pluto, 2018).
Based on his observations and analyses, White surmises that there are positive developments emanating from the grassroots level in communities around the globe that are challenging Israel’s ability to maintain the apartheid status quo over the Palestinians—in other words, these developments are the proverbial cracks in the wall that represents support for Israeli policy. Those cracks, he argues, are exemplified by the fragmentation of American Jewish views on Israel, Palestinian rights, and Zionism; the growing polarization and weakening of the historically bipartisan support for Israel in the United States; and the success of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement in changing the discourse about the conflict and, among other things, framing the plight of the Palestinians as one of human rights and equality.
Cracks in the Wall, according to White, is his way of “helping people try and imagine that what has been a marginalized idea”—that the solution to the conflict is a single democratic state with equal rights for all Israelis and Palestinians—“is going to come back” to mainstream discourse. In fact, he argues that “we are currently in a transition phase between the hegemonic approach of the two-state framework into something else.” White’s work is an illustration of “the optimal future vision” where solutions to the issues at the heart of the conflict must “distinguish between illegitimate demands that are made by Israel and by the Zionist ideology of Israeli political parties” and “the legitimate rights of Jewish Israelis,” as well as the rights of Palestinians. If this process unfolds, then the result undoubtedly “leads toward a single democratic state where Jewish Israelis and Palestinians are equal citizens in the same state,” White concludes.