The best solution to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a one-state solution, said Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American journalist and author, during a sparsely attended lecture in Salomon 001 Thursday night. The lecture was organized by Brown Students for Justice in Palestine as part of its third annual Israeli Apartheid Week that began Wednesday.
"This is not an ethnic, religious or tribal struggle," Abunimah said. "It's a struggle to find human rights. That people of every background are attracted to this cause is striking to me because it shows that this is a global movement that has to be won on behalf of humanity."
His talk, titled "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse," examined the controversial and ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians in the contested holy land. During the lecture, Abunimah mainly scrutinized what he described as the Israeli government's injustices toward the Palestinian population.
Abunimah outlined past and present examples of injustice, making comparisons between Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and other historical instances of rights violations, like the South African apartheid. He criticized the notion that Israel is a democratic country, instead calling it an "ethnocracy."
Though he was born in Washington, D.C., both of Abunimah's parents hail from Palestine, he said. His mother became a refugee when she was eight years old after leaving her home village of Lifta in the 1948 Palestinian exodus. During the lecture, Abunimah criticized Israel's modern treatment of Palestinian villages like Lifta.
"We've reached the point where a two-state solution will not happen," Abunimah said. "Separation is a fantasy. … The question on everyone's mind now is which way we will wander on."
Abunimah added that he hopes peace will be achieved after the termination of what he termed Israeli occupation of the territories and through equal treatment of Jewish and non-Jewish residents.
"The lecture answered a lot of my questions," said Eduarda Araujo '15, a member of the Students for Justice in Palestine. "Part of the experience of being part of Students for Justice in Palestine is educating yourself about those issues, raising questions and challenging yourself."
Abunimah also plans to present a lecture at the "One-State Conference" at Harvard this weekend.