“Israel as a country should be appreciated and celebrated,” Avraham Burg says, but it should no longer be looked upon as the land of “oranges and equality.”
You might think those comments come from an anti-Israel professor at an elite US university. Instead, Avraham Burg is part of Israel’s history. His father was a member of the founding generation. Burg served as Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and in the Labor government of Shimon Peres before retiring from politics in 2004.
This personal history is why it’s so surprising to hear him declare that the Israel of 1948 is not there anymore.
Burg argues in his conversation with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, that the only guarantor of today motivations of sovereignty and security is a call for what he sees as a one-state solution. One central government and some kind of confederation of two regimes. He suggests that, in his view of the world, the Israeli-Palestinian issues are no longer at the center of global consciousness. Much of the world has moved on.
Further, he thinks that the Zionist experiment may have passed its sell-by date, and that Israeli politics is “hollowed out.” Zionism was a necessary “scaffolding” for building Israel's sovereignty, Burg says, but is it’s no longer relevant. The future may require a secular state that maintains a close, fruitful relationship with the Jewish and Israeli diaspora.