‘New York Review of Books’ calls it ‘apartheid’ and prepares Americans for the end of the Jewish state

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 41 Comments

As a promoter of Peter Beinart’s new book The Crisis of Zionism (albeit with major differences), I was overjoyed to read David Shulman’s review of the book in the new New York Review of Books. The piece is not yet online, I got it in the mail. But it shows what an important blow Beinart has struck: his liberal-Zionist attack on the Israel lobby and the occupation has licensed a leftwing writer to bring important news to influential Americans: the two state solution is over, and there goes the Jewish state.

Almost every other mainstream review of Beinart has been negative and ultra-Zionist. But Shulman’s piece is a lot closer to Austin Branion’s review here (which was negative and not Zionist). Shulman praises Beinart’s bravery, and says he does not go far enough.

I’ll post longer excerpts from the piece when it’s online, but the revelations in the article are: What about that word apartheid?

“Those who recoil at the term ‘apartheid’ are invited to offer a better one; but note that one of the main architects of this system, Ariel Sharon, himself reportedly adopted South African terminology, referring to the noncontiguous Palestinian enclaves he envisaged for the West Bank as ‘Bantustans.'”

What should Americans do? They should come to the West Bank and protect Palestinian civilians from “marauding settlers and the soldiers who inevitably back the settlers up.”

What will the new coalition do for the Palestinians and the two state solution? Diddly.

“The new cabinet will continue to entrench the occupation and to legalize the massive theft of Palestinian lands while loudly complaining that the Palestinians are responsible for the collapse of negotiations.”

And what should Americans prepare themselves for? It’s one state, dears, it’s inevitable, and it should be a democratic place.

“It is impossible to keep millions of human beings disenfranchised for long and to systematically rob them of their dignity and their land…

Thus the likelhood must be faced that unless the Occupation ends, there will also, in the not so distant future, be no Jewish state.”

That’s the ending. Without tears. Shulman stakes out the New York Review’s historical territory, surveyed by Tony Judt in 2003 with his one-state argument. I hope that this great moral presence in our intellectual culture has resumed its work on this question, and the NYRB– which is so outspoken about women’s rights in Egypt, and the failure of Freudianism– will now take up a vital role, leading Jews to embrace democracy.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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41 Responses

  1. seafoid
    May 16, 2012, 12:26 pm

    The NYR has been a severe disappointment over the last few years, Shulman notwithstanding. Presumably they’ll wheel out Agha and Malley or Freedland to add some “balance” in a forthcoming issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them welcome a senior Israeli minister to press the crumbling Israeli case.

  2. seafoid
    May 16, 2012, 12:37 pm

    The NYR gives space to too many pundits who make a living from the danse macabre that is the “peace process” of Israeli colonisation of the West Bank


  3. Dan Crowther
    May 16, 2012, 12:40 pm

    cheers phil – i look forward to reading this

  4. Citizen
    May 16, 2012, 12:40 pm

    It was about six years ago when Walt & Mearsheimer came out with The Israel Lobby.
    Remember the rage that inspired, the slurs, etc? The Wiki page on that book is mostly filled with heavy negative criticism of the book.

    And now we have this little tempest.

    Where are we heading?

  5. Terryscott
    May 16, 2012, 12:53 pm

    The NYRB is of no significance to people under 60 who live outside of the 10024 and 10025 zip code

    • seafoid
      May 16, 2012, 1:01 pm

      The NYR is read in Paris on the left bank, across tuscany during q3, all over the Hamptons
      but also most places where intellectual English speaking people live

      I would love to see what sort of support Israel registers in Oxford, Bologna, Heidelberg, Edinburgh, Kyoto

      i guess not much

      • seanmcbride
        May 16, 2012, 2:29 pm


        You wrote:

        “I would love to see what sort of support Israel registers in Oxford, Bologna, Heidelberg, Edinburgh, Kyoto… i guess not much”

        Zing! But they are mere members of “the nations” — and Hashem and Moshiach are going to teach them a lesson in correct thinking. (Possibly using WMDs down the line.) They’ll learn the error of their ways.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 16, 2012, 10:47 pm

        “The NYR is read in Paris on the left bank,”

        Exactly! It’s via the NYRB that I discovered David Levine’s caricatured portraits (there was almost one in every page) of which I fell in love while a debuting illustrator. In many ways it has determined the course of my work over a decade period.

      • AllenBee
        May 17, 2012, 1:10 pm

        The University of Bologna was established in 1088 AD.

        In about 1517 AD, doctoral degrees were first conferred upon Jews.

        The New York Review of Books was established in 1963 AD.

    • Michael Levin
      May 16, 2012, 1:36 pm

      Every day without silly generalizations is like a day without sunshine.
      I remain,
      a subscriber under sixty living outside of 10024/10025 zip codes.

      • seafoid
        May 16, 2012, 2:45 pm

        Me too.
        I don’t believe Terry is familiar with the organ.

    • marc b.
      May 16, 2012, 4:53 pm

      The NYRB is of no significance to people under 60 who live outside of the 10024 and 10025 zip code.

      i’m under 60 and don’t live in manhattan, and the nyrb and lrb are the only magazines i pay money for regularly. but thanks for trolling to the rescue, scotty. luckily you and a few selfless others have the time to invest in saving us from the insignificant, irrelevant and ineffectual. if you only had time to devote to important matters as well, the world might be a better place.

    • dbroncos
      May 16, 2012, 8:53 pm

      Israeli motives are much darker and more sinister than those of SA whites in the sense that Israelis don’t want Palestinians in the Jewish State, not even as cheap labor, because their existence is a material threat to Zionism.

  6. Nevada Ned
    May 16, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Israel decided to grant the same rights to Palestinians that Israeli Jews enjoy.
    Would that mean “the end of Israel”?
    Of course, to some extremists among Israeli Jews, it would mean the end of Israel.
    I believe it would “only” mean the end of Israeli racism.

    It might mean the “end of Israel as an exclusively Jewish state”. But Israel has always had a non-Jewish minority (now about 20% within the Green line).

    Nearly all Israeli Jews want to be a majority. Because sometimes minorities are oppressed. (Just ask the Palestinians about this….)

    But the point is: ending racism would be a big change, not a small change, for Israel. It was a big change for Mississippi and Alabama.

    The conversation ought to begin now. What guarantees, what policies, would help ease the transition from the present racist policies and practices to Israel as a state of all of its citizens, regardless of race?

    I think that this is what Norman Finkelstein is getting at recently: he wants to formulate an approach that could, potentially attract some Israeli Jewish support. Right now there would be little favorable response. But Finkelstein hopes that the right approach, based on international law, might attract some support in the future from some significant number of Israeli Jews.

    Put it the other way: with the wrong approach, it will not be possible to get any significant Israeli Jewish support for a non-racist future.

    • MLE
      May 16, 2012, 4:11 pm

      There are some people who really never really happy unless they have another group to look down on. So they can say, sure my life is shit, but at least I’m not ______enter ethnic group here_____.

  7. gracie fr
    May 16, 2012, 1:26 pm

    David Shulman writes, “”The new cabinet will continue to entrench the occupation and to legalize the massive theft of Palestinian lands while loudly complaining that the Palestinians are responsible for the collapse of negotiations.” And of course in view of Israeli front page news manipulations, subversions and reverse psychology this is likely to come to pass over time. However, under the cover of an attack on Iran (as all options still remain on the table) the fate of thousands of Palestinians could get a lot worse should the Jewish state begin to accuse them collectively of being potential fifth column. Notwithstanding unsubstantiated evidence and/or false flag attacks, the Jewish state will finally have the ideal excuse to initiate the long dreamed of “Transfer process” in a final step to rid Eretz Israel of its unwanted inhabitants…..Has anybody else had this nightmare…????

    • seafoid
      May 16, 2012, 2:51 pm

      I think it would be followed by a mass invasion by the Egyptian people, honestly.
      And would end in mass abandonment of Israel by the Jews who can get out. There would also be a series of runs on the banks in Israel.

      • WeAreAllMadeOfStars
        May 16, 2012, 4:13 pm

        “a mass invasion by the Egyptian people” ? I don’t think so … I have never witnessed the IOF caring for goyims’ blood. Remember last year when they didn’t hesitate to shoot unarmed protesters at the border.

        Egyptians are great people but in don’t think they would martyr en masse for Palestine

        The sieged mentality now prevailing would allow Israel to bring desolation and wanton destruction all over the places (Cairo, Beirut, South Lebanon) without any kind moral restriction (yeah the most moral army in the world canard) and with the help of the Western World (I am so ashamed to be part of).

        Israel would be presented as the “villa in the jungle” and the victim. We know they excel at that and our politicians are too willing to be on the Israeli side.

        Last, some Jews would flee no doubt … But how many would go? Don’t forget that last September the French Betar was ready to set up an armed militia to help the settlers. And after a while, how many Jews would return in a new Greater Israel where the emptied land would need new forces ?

      • Terryscott
        May 16, 2012, 4:14 pm

        Great prediction, Seafoid, and itBsounds like fun! Should we start preparing for this now by pulling our money from Israel and investing in Greek utilities?

      • Taxi
        May 17, 2012, 2:33 am

        you could start by packing your suitcase and going the hell back to your european country.

      • Terryscott
        May 17, 2012, 2:56 am

        As a matter of fact I AM back in Ireland, having all but finished my research in Turkey.

      • seafoid
        May 17, 2012, 4:22 am


        when it all goes tits up and Jews are trying to figure out what happened the period after Sharon went vegi will be seen as key. The US had its worst ever president and Israel chose to ride on his coattails and go deeper into immorality instead of cutting a deal with the Palestinians that would have secured the Jewish state. Dov Weisglass decided the Palestinians could be drowned in enough formaldehyde so they never moved .

        Now the world is beginning to move and the Palestinians are back.

        But Israel can’t go back to 2005. Path dependency is such a bitch.

      • seafoid
        May 17, 2012, 8:54 am

        As a matter of fact I AM back in Ireland, having all but finished my research in Turkey.

        Cen sort Gaeilge ata agat?

      • Mooser
        May 17, 2012, 5:45 pm

        “my research in Turkey.”

        Yessiree, Terryscott, when I think of “research” a person with your open mind, disinterestedness, and willingness to go where the facts lead, combined with a rock-solid moral base is exactly what I think of. Yeah, you bet.

    • WeAreAllMadeOfStars
      May 16, 2012, 3:58 pm

      “Has anybody else had this nightmare…????”

      I must have read it somewhere between the lines and it is also an uncomfortable feeling I share.

      I don’t believe Israel would attack Iran for the nuke. Just like you, I think the whole idea is to destabilize the entire area and get rid of the whole Arab population inside Israel proper and the OT. Iran would certainly retaliate to any attack but even without being an expert in the matter, I don’t think they could really do much harm to Israel.
      Add to this the fact that our puppet governments would do all they can to help Israel in any way they can in these “difficult time”, including turning a blind on the final ethnic cleansing of Palestine. This is also where organized and state-sponsored islamophobia is leading us. Few would care for those Iranians or Palestinians, they’re all islamists after all.

    • bijou
      May 16, 2012, 9:05 pm

      gracie fr: YES. There are many ominous signs that this could be the real plan.

  8. Blake
    May 16, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Very rational review indeed from Mr Shulman.

  9. Kathleen
    May 16, 2012, 4:09 pm

    Reading the writing on the wall out loud. Joining the better late than never crowd. A good thing

    • seafoid
      May 17, 2012, 3:54 am

      Hi Kathleen

      Shulman is one of the better commentators in the NYR. He has been drawing attention to where the YESHA project is headed for a number of years


      As an Israeli, I am not comforted in the least by the relatively low civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio that Mr. Robinowitz, in the manner of other apologists, finds so impressive. Indeed, I find such self-righteous arguments horrific. I grieve for each of those civilian deaths, and I protest the active decisions taken by officers, officials, and individual soldiers in the critical moment of choice that made many of these deaths inevitable. I also lament the more general, sadly widespread moral obtuseness—especially in matters relating to Palestinians—that has overtaken Israeli society and its central institutions at this time.

      Indeed, were the State of Israel to assume responsibility for what its army did in Gaza, and were it to transform its policy toward Palestinians into something that was minimally rational, constructive, and humane, it would soon emerge from the overwhelming isolation it now suffers in the international arena

      My claim, on the basis of direct testimonies from soldiers who took part in the Cast Lead campaign, is that previously accepted rules of engagement were changed and that a “zero-risk” policy was adopted—for the first time in Israel’s history. In effect, this can only mean greater civilian casualties. Mine is by no means the only Israeli voice protesting the new modus operandi as falling short of the ethical standard that the army had hitherto set as its norm (even if it sometimes, perhaps often, failed to live up to this norm).


      The political background to the report is, before all else, a cultural and moral one. I do not believe that a society can disenfranchise, dispossess, and effectively dehumanize large numbers of people living between Jenin and Hebron without this process influencing the way it conducts a war in Gaza. No one who regularly visits the Palestinian territories controlled by Israel has to speculate about whether or not Israel is engaged in the routine abuse of human rights.

      Such abuse is the very stuff of the occupation—a daily reality exacerbated above all by the endless hunger for more land and the ever-expanding settlement project. That reality has been amply documented by Israeli human rights organizations such as B’Tselem and, more recently, Yesh Din (which offers legal aid to Palestinians), as well as by a large corpus of writings produced by firsthand witnesses, including those discussed in my bookDark Hope.

      Since the publication ofDark Hope and, in particular, since the formation of the present Israeli government last spring, the situation on the ground has markedly deteriorated

  10. radii
    May 16, 2012, 4:51 pm

    laws guaranteeing equal rights
    enforcement of equal rights

    without these israel evaporates

  11. MHughes976
    May 16, 2012, 5:59 pm

    Everything’s unique and I don’t think that SA ‘apartheid’ has been replicated exactly in the ME. But we do have a sovereign power ruling non-franchised people, treating people differently on grounds that relate to ancestry, talking of independent enclaves that would always be subordinate if they ever came into existence, inflicting intense humiliation on individuals, making the situation more painful by making it drag on and on. But ‘apartheid’ and ‘separate development’ somehow miss the point.

    • dbroncos
      May 16, 2012, 8:55 pm

      Israeli motives are much darker and more sinister than those of SA whites in the sense that Israelis don’t want Palestinians in the Jewish State, not even as cheap labor, because their existence is a material threat to Zionism.

    • bijou
      May 16, 2012, 9:04 pm

      Many South Africans who have been to the unholy land have said the situation is far worse than apartheid.

    • seafoid
      May 17, 2012, 3:56 am


      the first minute of this video shows how the system of institutionalised humiliation works, in this case in occupied Hebron

      • MHughes976
        May 17, 2012, 12:20 pm

        Not sure, for the good of my health, that I want to see humiliation close up – but I suspect that the institutions and rituals of humiliation are as bad a crime as the violence.
        The presence of the Palestinians and their steady gains in the demographic battle are indeed a material threat. Also a kind of moral mockery. The whole idea of Zionism is that Jewish people have a natural right, birthright, to be there, others just don’t. That the heart and the soul of the matter. If there is something here ‘worse than apartheid’ that’s why it’s worse.

      • seafoid
        May 18, 2012, 3:37 pm

        Zionism is a zero sum game. That is its death sentence.

  12. seafoid
    May 17, 2012, 5:03 am


    Sir, – I write in response to the Arthur Beesley and Mark Weiss article, (“State may seek boycott of goods from Israeli settlements”, Home News, May 15th). The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is a programme of the World Council of Churches. In recent years more than 20 Irish people have served as human rights observers in Palestine and Israel with EAPPI. We have seen first-hand how illegal settlements are not just destroying any hope of peace but how they are devastating lives, livelihoods, homes and communities of ordinary Palestinian men, women and children.

    Currently Ireland and many other EU states are supporting illegal settlements by allowing goods from illegal settlements into their markets.

    The Tánaiste’s proposal that Ireland may push for the EU to ban goods from Israeli settlements if Israel does not quickly change its settlements policy in Palestinian territories is a welcome development that is both measured and moral.

    The key characteristic of the proposal is the fact that it is aimed at illegality and not the internationally recognised state of Israel. Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory have long been recognised as illegal under international law. So while there may be arguments against the proposal it is important to be mindful of the fact that such a measure is an attempt to wash ours and the EU’s hands of illegality and involvement in the illegal settlement project. – Yours, etc,


    Ireland Advocacy Co-Ordinator,

    Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel,

    Mourne View,

    Skerries, Co Dublin.

  13. tombishop
    May 17, 2012, 9:25 am

    The analogy of South African apartheid to the situation on the West Bank is limited. For one thing, the apartheid government of South Africa attempted to exploit the cheap labor of the black majority for its policies and privileges. The same is not true on the West Bank where it is clear that the primary goal is ethnic cleansing.

    A more accurate analogy would be what the government of the United States has done to the Native American population of North America over the last 200 years. Many Zionists cite this as a justification and guide for what they are doing to the Palestinians. The Trail of Tears of broken treaties, forced relocation, and mass genocide are a horrible legacy that the United States continues to ignore today as the conditions of Native American reservations show. It is also probably a factor in why so many Americans find what is happening to the Palestinians acceptable.

    • Talkback
      May 17, 2012, 5:00 pm

      @ tombishop

      “The analogy of South African apartheid to the situation on the West Bank is limited.”

      Read the international definition of the crime of Apartheid.

  14. yourstruly
    May 17, 2012, 11:26 am

    what should americans do? whatever it takes to force our government to end its special relationship with the apartheid zionist entity. once this happens, the now completely isolated entity will have no choice but to sit down with palestinians and work things out on the basis of one equals one with liberty and justice for all. unless, of course, it opts for the masada “solution” with all its implications in terms of a nuclear winter. except if it comes down to israel’s even considering the latter destructive path, look for the entity’s jewish population to shrink dramatically, as a massive exodus takes place to the west, such that there’ll be nobody left to press the button.

  15. MHughes976
    May 17, 2012, 12:26 pm

    The ‘Masada solution’ – suicide! – is basically unrealistic, don’t you think? Mind you, I think that Josephus’ account of the suicide is questionable – he wasn’t there, he despised both the Masadists and the idea of suicide and there’s so far no archaeological confirmation.

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