Professor Mir Faizal is an Adjunct Professor in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Lethbridge. I wrote an article for Science, Technology & Philosophy, which gained the attention of one of the people related to the work in the article. It happened to be professor Faizal. He reached out in appreciation for the publication and the accuracy of the reportage on the research. I then returned with a request for an interview because… physics and astronomy. I love the field. Previous interview in Canadian Atheist. Here we talk about some of the work continuing an educational and exploratory series.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the difference between classical and quantum logic?
Professor Mir Faizal: There is a fundamental difference between quantum and classical logic, or classical and quantum ways of thinking. In classical logic, two contradictory possibilities cannot be simultaneously actualized, but in quantum logic, this is exactly what happens. A cat can be both dead and alive, and a single particle can be present at two different places at the same time. Similarly, light is both a particle and wave in quantum mechanics. This is not a mere philosophy, but this way of thinking is essential to the correct understanding of nature. I would argue that this fuzzy way of thinking can also help resolve real-life problems, and the Israeli–Palestinian being one of them. In doing so, it would be not only possible to reconcile Zionism with democracy, but it would also be possible to reconcile Zionism with Palestinian Nationalism.
Jacobsen: How can quantum logic be applied to such a political problem?
Faizal: Just like we have to accept that the cat is dead and the cat is alive, at the same time, in the quantum world, we have to accept that all the land belongs to Jews and all the land belongs to the Palestinians, at the same time in the political world. So, this is where we need to think quantum mechanically. Just as wave nature of light and particle nature of light are both needed to get a complete picture, and relying on only one of these will create problems in understanding natural phenomena, we need to accept both the claims of Jews and Palestinians to all the land as being simultaneously true, to understand this social phenomenon. Accepting this quantum logic will help both the Jewish and Palestinians population to see the others point of view, without having to compromise their own point of view. They can even empathize with the other point of view, as both these communities have been historically displaced from their homeland, and have similar aspirations and the similar basis for their National moments.
Jacobsen: What is the basis on which you have stated that claims of both the Jews and the Palestinian simultaneously true?
Faizal: To do so, let us first understand what gives a certain part of human population preferentially more rights to live in a certain region of the earth (country), than the rest of humanity. When a group of humans lives in a certain region, they develop an emotional attachment to that region, and this gives them a preferential right to live in that region. This is the basis on which the concept of nationality is formed, and holds true for almost all nation on earth. Furthermore, when a new group lives in that region and develops a similar emotional attachment to that region, then that group also acquires a similar preferential right to live in that region of the earth. This is the reason why in most countries, citizenship can be acquired by staying in that country for a sufficiently long time.
Jacobsen: Does a group of people not lose this preferential right to live in a land, after living away from it for long? After all, humans evolved from Africa, but not all humans can claim citizenship of African countries.
Faizal: Now, there is also a question of people losing this preferential right. All the humanity has evolved from Africa, but most of the humanity does not have this emotional attachment with Africa. So if a group loses this emotional attachment to a region, it also loses this preferential right to live in that region. This usually occurs in a century for most groups, but the important question is what happens if a group does not lose this emotional attachment to a region. It is only logical to suppose that if a group of humans does not lose this emotional attachment to a region, they should also not lose the preferential rights to live in that region.
Jacobsen: Who according to this logic has the claim to the land?
Faizal: I would say that all the land belongs to Jews, and all the land belongs to Palestinians, and both these claims are simultaneously true. The only and strongest basis on which Zionism is justified is that the Jews have historically lived in Israel, and even though they have been removed from that region, they have not lost the emotional attachment with the land of Israel. A Jew has as much right to be in Israel as a German has to be in Germany, or a British has to be in Britain. But for the same reason, a Palestinian has as much right to be in Palestinian as a Jew has to be in Israel. Just like the Jews, Palestinians have also historically lived in that land, and have an emotional attachment to that land. What makes this situation interesting is that both these claims are equally true, and for the same reasons. Both these groups of people (Jews and Palestinians) have lived in that region, and have an emotional attachment to that land.
Jacobsen: What would be the practical implications of this for Israeli–Palestinian conflict?
Faizal: Now having established that all the land belongs to Jews, and all the land belongs to Palestinians as simultaneously true claims, we can think of real practical solutions for the issue. First of all, it would really help Zionism, if it accepts the claim of Palestinian Nationalism, and then used the same argument to argue for Zionism, as it would then win the support of moderate Palestinians, and greatly reduce the violence against Jewish people in Israel. Similarly, it would help Palestinians, if they accepted Zionism’s, and then argued for their cases using the same argument. As this would win them the support of moderate Jews, and that would, in turn, improve the rights of Palestinians. So, such an acceptance of Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism as simultaneously true would directly reduce the violence against Jews, and improve the lives of Palestinians.
Jacobsen: Is it practically possible for Jews to accept Palestinian Nationalism, given the high levels of anti-Semitism in Palestinians?
Faizal: It is important to point out that certain ideas have now mixed with both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism, with is neither beneficial for these moments nor essential to them. The problem with Palestinian Nationalism is that is has been mixed with anti-Semitism, and a desire to remove the Jewish population from Israel. It does the most harm to the Palestinian cause, as it promotes right-wing political parties in Israel. Realistically, if the Palestinians leadership took a bold step and encouraged Jewish immigration and integration into Palestine, then Israel would be forced to be more restrained militarily, and more generous economically towards Palestinians territories. Also, the settlers would lose all motivations to live in settlements, if they could legally live in Palestinian territories along with Palestinians as Palestinian citizens. This would also cause a decline in right winged political parties in Israel, and this would be beneficial for the Palestinian cause. This new form of Palestinian Nationalism would be acceptable to most moderate Jews.
Jacobsen: Is it possible for Palestinians to accept Zionism as Zionism made them lose their homeland?
Faizal: The problem with Zionism is that a justified desire for the Jewish population to live in Israel has been mixed with an unjustified desire for the Palestinian population not to live in that region. In fact, if Zionism accepts the rights of Palestinians to live there, and uses this argument for the Jews to live there too, it will be viewed as great liberation moment and this way Israel can emerge as a real democracy. This will also cause a decline in support for groups which support violence, and increase the support for Israel in moderate Palestinians. This will cause a real decline in the violence against Jews in Israel. Furthermore, this would be the only way in which Israel can emerge as a real Jewish democracy. This new form of Zionism would be acceptable to most moderate Palestinians.
Jacobsen: A real concern for Jews to accept all Palestinians would be that they can easily vote Zionism out of existence, so how can Jews accept all the Palestinians to live in Israel/Palestine?
Faizal: It is logical for most Jews to be afraid of doing this because by allowing all Palestinians to return and give them equal rights, then they can vote the Zionism out of existence.
So, sadly at present, there seems to be only one solution. To allow Palestinians to return and give them equal rights, but freeze their vote to its present vote share. They can have a weighted vote. Apart from this all the Jews of the world should be given a vote in Israel, even if they are not legal citizens or residents of Israel. This political discrimination will end all social discriminations against Palestinians. Hopefully in future, when anti-Semitismends in Palestinians and most Jews are living nicely in Israel, then this discrimination can end too. But at present, the only way to end social and economic discrimination against Palestinians is for Israel to allow all the Palestinians the right to live in Israel, and equality in all aspects of life, but discriminate against them politically.
This is also important for the survival of Israel as a place for Jews to return, as both the Palestinian population with Israeli citizenship, and anti-Semitism in this population, can grow and vote Zionism out of existence in the future. However, such a discrimination need only be a temporary measure, it can end when a greater sense of nationhood develops in both these populations, and all the Jews have Israeli citizenship.
Jacobsen: As there is a religious dimension to this problem, what can be done about that?
Faizal: There is definitely a religious dimension to this problem. The central problem is that the Temple Mount/Majid Al Aqsa is holy to both the religions. However, in the Jewish tradition, it is allowed for non-Jewish monotheists (Beni Nao) to pray in Temple Mount, and they used to do that in early times. Furthermore, most Jews consider Muslims to be from Bnei Noa, and hence according to Jewish religious tradition they can pray at the Temple Mount.
According to Muslim traditions, a group of Christians was allowed by Muhammad to pray in his Mosque. Based on this, it is religiously possible for both these religions to share the Temple Mount/Majid Al Aqsa. There are also problematic traditions of Hadith, and verses in the Old Testament, which are used by certain religious groups to promote violence. However, the many interpretations have nicely justified the violence of such traditions away, and such interpretations should be promoted, and this would be beneficial for both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism.
Jacobsen: What is your reaction to those who claim the land should only belong to the Jews or Palestinians?
Faizal: It should be realized that even if Israeli Jews wanted they cannot leave Israel, and even if Palestinians wanted they cannot leave Palestinian. No country will accept so many new immigrants. So there seems to be no other way than living together. In summary, the only practical solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue can come if both the contradictory claims are accepted as simultaneously true, and then real rational solutions are worked out to resolve this issue.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time.
Original publication in Humanist Voices.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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