In yesterday's "Best of the Web" (OpinionJournal.com), James Taranto took the New York Times to task for providing Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi an op-ed platform upon which to wax poetic about his supposed solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Qaddafi is a proponent of the "one-state solution," whereby Israelis and Palestinians are to live together in a single, secular, democratic state he terms "Isratine." He's even written something called the "White Book" outlining his proposal. The problem is, as Taranto put it:
Whatever appeal this idea may have in theory, in practice it is even more fanciful than the two-state solution. Even assuming that Israel's democratic institutions remain intact in form after the transition, "Isratine's" Jews would soon be outnumbered by Arabs, given demographic trends and the "right of return," which Gadhafi endorses.
In theory there is no reason an Arab majority in a democracy could not respect the rights of a Jewish minority. In practice, however, the Arab track record in this regard is dismal--and the Arabs of the disputed territories have been indoctrinated for generations in Nazi-style Jew-hatred--often, especially in recent years, with a religious justification. An actual "Isratine" would likely be another backward Arab-dominated regime, with Jews subjugated or worse. Israeli Arabs would be far worse off than they are today; Palestinian Arabs, probably not much better off.
Qaddafi is hardly a reliable source on the matter, particularly, as Taranto notes, in light of his persecution of Libya's now-nonexistent Jewish community, not to mention his past terrorist associations. Moreover, his "Isratine" op-ed is merely cleverly disguised propaganda aimed at the destruction of Israel.
Not coincidentally, the one-state solution is popular among the Middle East studies establishment, which, by and large, is obsessed with putting an end to the Jewish state. This may explain why Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) hosted a videoconference earlier this week on the very same subject given by none other than Muammar Qaddafi. Qaddafi, as described breathlessly at the CCAS website, was invited to "discuss his vision for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as outlined in his ‘White Book.'" Apparently, Georgetown University and the New York Times share the same delusions.
One has to wonder at the wisdom of inviting dictators to lecture Western students about statecraft and international ethics, but this is par for the course for Middle East studies departments, which have clearly lost their moral bearings. In the case of Qaddafi, they should have asked themselves, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" and acted accordingly.
Update: A reader pointed out to me that ExxonMobil Corp. co-sponsored the CCAS event featuring Qaddafi. Oil money, dictators, and universities: a potent combination. But does this cross the line?