A Conversation with Professor Ian Lustick: [2-state] Paradigm Lost

Dec 17 2019


Middle East Institute
1763 N St. NW,
Washington, DC

Video of FMEP event ft. Professor Ian Lustick: 

Part 1

Part 2


The Foundation for Middle East invites you to a conversation with

Professor Ian Lustick,
author of “Paradigm Lost: From Two-State Solution to One-State Reality


 Ambassador (Retired) Phil Wilcox

When: December 17, 2019, 10:30am
Where: the Middle East Institute, 1763 N St. NW



Many Americans still support a division of historic Palestine into two states, viewing this as the only viable solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The case for this two-state solution is based on the premise that the territory can still be divided into two ethnically majoritarian states, in which two different societies could each live safely in sovereign democratic states of their own.

Lustick, who once thought two states were possible, now argues, in sorrow, that 50+ years of occupation, settlement construction, and other elements of creeping annexation, coupled with and facilitated by feckess, failed, and naive policies of successive U.S. administrations, have irreversibly created the current one-state reality.

The challenge facing the U.S. (and the world) today, he suggests, is how to forge ahead with a policy that, rather than deepening the conflict by chasing after the shattered two-state ideal, transforms the present dismal and dangerous de facto one- state failure into a new framework for a successful one-state polity. Such a polity, which could take generations to achieve, would be , based on justice, and on pragmatic cooperation between and among Jews and Arabs who share common interests.


Dr. Ian S. Lustick holds the Bess W. Heyman Chair in the Political Science Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches Middle Eastern politics, comparative politics, and computer modeling. He is a recipient of awards from the Carnegie Corporation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Sciences Research Council. Before coming to Penn he taught for fifteen years at Dartmouth College and worked for one year in the Department of State. He has been a consultant on Middle East politics and policies for most agencies of the US government and across almost every administration since Jimmy Carter’s. His present research focuses on the implications of the disappearance of the option of a negotiated “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and techniques of counterfactual forecasting. He is a past president of the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association and of the Association for Israel Studies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Among his books are Arabs in the Jewish State (1980); For the Land and the Lord (1988, 1994); Unsettled States, Disputed Lands (1993); Trapped in the War on Terror (2006); and Paradigm Lost (2019).

Ambassador (Ret.) Phil Wilcox was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer for 32 years, serving overseas in Laos, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and as Chief of Mission and Consulate General in the former U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. In Washington, he worked on the Israel-Palestine peace process for many years and was Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism. Wilcox was President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace for 14 years.


Praise for “Paradise Lost: From Two-State Solution to One-State Reality”:

“Ian Lustick has written a richly informed and persuasive account of how the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians has become the seemingly dead-end tragedy it is today. This book provides an especially insightful analysis of why Israeli attitudes toward this issue evolved as they did. It is essential reading for anyone concerned about this conflict and hungry for new ways to think about it.”—Paul R. Pillar, former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia

More information, including chapter summaries, is available at www.paradigmlostbook.com