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Professor Yehuda Bauer (age 87) of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is considered among the world’s leading historians of the Holocaust.

The following are excerpts from a long interview just published in the weekend magazine of Haaretz. He reflects on matters personal and historic, including the love of his life, the Holocaust and genocide, Zionism, extremism, the historical significance of the State of Israel, the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, the settlements, and why a two-state solution is the only alternative to preserve a Jewish democratic state.

He says matter-of-factly this of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“Netanyahu doesn’t know history, even though he is the son of a historian, reads a great deal and is extraordinarily intelligent. Netanyahu is an ideologue and a tactician, but not a gifted strategist. As an ideologue, he believes wholeheartedly that we should rule the whole of the Land of Israel.”

Professor Bauer articulated what many believe to be true, that despite Netanyahu’s public acceptance of a two-state solution, in truth he may really be a “one-state” advocate.

In advance of the upcoming visit of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to the Middle East, it would be well to reflect upon Professor’s Bauer’s historical perspective.

The following are excerpts from a long and compelling interview, which I recommend you read in its entirety – http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/history-professor-yehuda-bauer-netanyahu-doesn-t-know-history.premium-1.504937

“The Jews were always in opposition to the whole world. The Jewish people would be endangered by unity. The quarrels and disputes are the engine that drives its culture forward, backward or sideways. That is its elixir of life.

…If we are deprived of the constant ability to quarrel, we will be finished.

The endless debates, from the Middle Ages to our own time, constitute the vitality of this people…

We live in a country that is divided into four states, all of them within the boundaries of the Land of Israel. In a small country that lies between the Jordan and the sea is a state called Israel. Next to it, in Gaza, is the State of Hamastan. In the West Bank there is the State of the Palestinian Authority, which is under Israeli occupation, and within all of these is the State of Judea of the settlers…

The dream of a Jewish democratic state will come to an end only if the right wing is in power.

A democratic state within the 1967 boundaries, with certain territorial exchanges, will be a Zionist Jewish state that is obliged not only to make peace with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors, but offers the possibility for national-cultural development and full equal rights to the Arab minority living in the State of Israel. The settlement policy is working against us and endangering us. We have to remove the majority of the settlers from the territories, which are actually areas of the State of Palestine…

The dream of a binational state and a state of all its citizens has no chance. That dream would mean a permanent civil war and mutual killing. Those who want to foment potential genocide here can do so by advocating a binational state for all its citizens. That, of course, would mean the end of Zionism in the sense of a state possessing a solid Jewish majority in which an Arab minority possessing equal rights lives.

Extreme religion is utopian by its very essence, anticipating ‘redemption’ and the Last Days, and the coming of the messiah to fulfill the utopia − which… is a murdering utopia. Every utopia murders. Beware of those who believe in the coming of the messiah.

I don’t think it is right to say that no Zionist party treats the Palestinian population in Israel as equals. Meretz not only does this, it also has an Arab MK, as is proper for a fifth of Israel’s population. The Zionist left always advocated this. … Well, in my aging eyes, Zionism is not Zionism when it does not treat the non-Jewish minority equally. after all, am a dinosaur, so the question becomes superfluous from this point of view.”