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
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.