Mustafa Barghouthi – ‘The choice is Israel’s: two states or apartheid’

Mustafa Barghouthi responds to the Obama/Netanyahu meeting in an LA Times oped “Can Obama meet Netanyahu’s challenge?“:

More recently, Netanyahu has added a new demand: that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is intended only to confuse and delay peace talks. And it’s wrong. Palestinians in the occupied territories have no standing to sign away the rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel in order to get Israel to the negotiating table. To tell the truth, we don’t believe that Israel can be a true democracy and an exclusivist Jewish state at the same time. Yet Israeli leaders seem oblivious — or pretend to be oblivious — to why Palestinians would decline to acknowledge Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

Increasingly, Israel is out of step with a world hurtling into the 21st
century with Obama. This is no longer the segregated world of President
Truman and David Ben-Gurion at Israel’s founding. Yet Netanyahu’s
selection of Lieberman, who once stated that “minorities are the
biggest problem in the world,” exemplifies Israel’s tone-deafness in a
changed world.

The choice is Israel’s: two states, or
increasing isolation by a world that will not accept apartheid dressed
up as an economic development plan. Tragically, the consequences of
further delay and oppression will be endured by Palestinians — both in
the occupied territories and in an increasingly exclusivist Jewish
state whose self-definition comes at the expense of Palestinian

Barghouthi makes a point that we’ve made on this site many times – Israel’s demand for an exclusive Jewish state is an anti-democratic anachronism in a world that celebrated Obama’s election. Israel is quickly finding itself on the wrong side of history.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East

{ 17 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Kathleen says:


  2. Kathleen says:

    Great that the word "apartheid' has made it to this site. But many have been calling the situation that the Palestinians have been pushed into "apartheid" for a very long time. Edward Said, Vanessa Redgrave, Archbishop Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Norman Finkelstein, Art and Peggy Gish. There have been many speaking the truth for years. Important to acknowledge the people who have been focused on the horrendous Palestinian situation for many many years

  3. Kashmri Nomad says:

    Adam, Israel may be finding itself on the wrong side of history but as they say "might is right." As long as Israel is the religion super-power and has powerful backers in the west there is no incentive on her to change the status quo. No amount of hand-wringing by the Palestinians nor anyone else is going to make a difference.

  4. RichardWitty says:

    Israel is not an exclusivist Jewish state. It is a descriptive Jewish state. What about Palestine? Should be an exclusivist Palestinian state?

  5. asiswhen says:

    people talk in binary absolutes: apartheid or two-states. there's also the possiblity of the one-state solution.. sometimes I think Palestinians insist on the two-state idea because they feel it's so close at hand. the kind of Palestinian state that was being discussed by those two clowns (Obamanyahu) is a Banthustan state, with no real sovereignty at all, just a flag.

  6. dalybean says:

    Does everyone remember when Michelle Obama shrieked in an interview once, "Barack could get killed just walking across the street." For some reason, I'm thinking her statement has resonance in this situation. I think it's why Israel's public relations campaign just seems a little off.

  7. Marion says:

    This is one very honest man who if I were Palestinian I would wish to elect as a future President…

  8. contrarian says:

    Jesus, Witty, do you ever stop making excuses? So is the United States a "descriptive" Christian nation? How would you feel about an American politician who demanded that it be referred to as such? A little alienated, methinks. And with good reason.

  9. contrarian says:

    Jesus, Witty, do you ever stop making excuses? So is the United States a "descriptive" Christian nation? How would you feel about an American politician who demanded that it be referred to as such? A little alienated, methinks. And with good reason.

  10. Saleema says:

    I like that, "religious super-power," I will use it and when I do I will attribute it to you. Now, you mean you are Kashmiri, right?

  11. Eva Smagacz says:

    Don't be a pessimist asiswhen, if they are allowed both own stamps and own flag they will DOUBLE their sovereignty!!

  12. Joshua says:

    Very dishonest post by Adam. Israel has never asked for recognition as an "exclusive" Jewish state.

  13. asiswhen says:

    right.. i forgot about the stamps. what about a football team?

  14. Colin_Murray says:

    Israel has chosen apartheid. The question is what are the people who suffer from it going to do about it? It is unethical and damaging to our interests for America to continue defending an apartheid state. If we are involved at all, it should be supporting Palestinian sovereignty.

  15. J P says:

    Israel's rejection of a just two state solution is linked to Iran in at least one way. If peace is not possible because Israel is unwilling to accept a just solution as per International law then the occupation will continue. If the occupation continues then those within the wider Middle East who give support to those that oppose it (ie Iran) will grow in authority. To balance this, to maintain the present status quo of Israeli regional hegemony, increased wider pressure including use of military force will likely be required. Hence it is logical from the Likud point of view to emphasis attacks on Iran as they know that peace is not possible due to their own activities. Which is scary as it is depressing.

  16. contrarian says:

    What the hell is the difference, Joshua? If America's leaders demanded recognition as a "Christian democracy," I doubt Jews would be very pleased with it — even if those leaders insisted the terms Christian was just "descriptive" and not "exclusivist."

  17. rfjk says:

    The first false fear. Dennis Ross cannot sabotage Obama's I/P initiative because the token is consigned and checkmated to another pigeon hole where he can do no harm. Second false fear. Obama is not Clinton and Netanyahu knows he has got a big fight on his hands with this President. Third false fear. Netanyahu failed in forcing Obama to declare military action against Iran by August, getting instead a very ambiguous promise to do something when Obama appraises the status of his negotiations with Iran by early next year. The only clear an unambiguous line of action Obama may execute against Iran are stronger trade sanctions. As far as American security is concerned "all options are on the table," and that's naturally and sensibly related only to US security. And its no big deal to say that Israel has a right to defend itself. The Principality of Liechtenstein has that right too, let alone Gazans and Palestinians on the West Bank. Fourth false fear. An Iran/Israeli linkage only exists in Netanyahu's mind. Obama on several occasions stated he didn't agree and corrected that false flag presumption during the meeting.