Why does Uri Avnery know so little about Palestinian citizens of Israel?

Yes, I know. Uri Avnery has achieved many great things as a journalist and a peace activist. He has probably done more to educate people around the world about the terrible situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and for longer, than any other single human being. And, to boot, he’s celebrating his 90th birthday this week. So best wishes to him.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

Nonetheless, it is important to challenge the many fallacious claims Avnery makes to bolster the arguments in his latest article, dismissing the growing comparisons being made between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

There is much to criticise in his weakly argued piece, based on a recent conversation with an unnamed “expert”. Avnery, like many before him, makes the mistake of thinking that, by pointing out the differences between Israel and apartheid South Africa, he proves that Israel is not an apartheid state. But this is the ultimate straw-man argument. No one claims Israel is identical to South Africa. You don’t need an expert to realise that.

When people call Israel an apartheid state, they are referring to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law. According to the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, apartheid comprises inhumane acts “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.

So what colour the victims of apartheid are, what proportion of the population they constitute, whether the economy depends on their productive labour, whether the early Zionists were socialists, whether the Palestinians have a Nelson Mandela, and so on have precisely zero relevance to determining whether Israel is an apartheid state.

A key distinction for Avnery is between “Israel proper” and the occupied territories. In the territories, Avnery admits, there are some parallels with apartheid South Africa. But inside Israel, he thinks the comparison is outrageously unfair.

Let’s set aside the not-insignificant matter that Israel refuses to recognise its internationally defined borders; or that one of its major strategies is a colonial-style divide-and-rule policy that depends on establishing differences in rights for Palestinians under its rule as a way to better oppress them.

Avnery’s motives in highlighting this territorial distinction should be fairly clear. He believes the occupation is a crime and that it must end. But he also believes that Israel as a Jewish state should continue after the occupation ends. In fact, he sees the two matters as inextricably tied. In his view, Israel’s long-term survival as a Jewish state depends on severing it from the occupied territories.

This concurs with fairly standard liberal Zionist ideology: segregation is seen as offering protection from demographic threats posed by non-Jews to the future success of the Jewish state, and has reached its apotheosis in the building of the West Bank wall and the disengagement from Gaza. Avnery is simply one of the most humane proponents of this line of thinking.

But for this reason, as I have argued before, Avnery should be treated as an unreliable mentor and guide on matters relating to Palestinians inside Israel – the group that is hardest to deal with under a strictly segregationist approach.

Avnery is unlikely to treat criticism of “Israel proper”, such as the apartheid comparison, based on the merits of the case. He will react defensively. Admitting that Israel is an apartheid state inside its internationally recognised borders would undermine the legitimacy of his prized Jewish state. It would indicate that his life’s work of campaigning for the creation of a Palestinian state to preserve his Jewish state was misguided, and probably harmful.

The most outrageous claim Avnery makes in the article, precisely to deflect attention from the problem of a self-defined Jewish state and its relations with a large Palestinian minority, is the following:

“On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe and elsewhere. They enjoy equality under the law, vote for parliament, are represented by very lively parties of their own, but in practice suffer discrimination in many areas. To call this apartheid would be grossly misleading.”

One does not need to concede that the comparison with apartheid is right, both in the occupied territories and inside “Israel proper” – though I do – to understand that it is, in fact, Avnery who is being grossly misleading here.

There is no sense in which Israel’s treatment of its 1.5 million Palestinian citizens is comparable, as Avnery argues, to the situation of national minorities in European states. Palestinian citizens do not simply face unofficial, informal or spontaneous discrimination. It is structural, institutionalised and systematic.

Here are a few questions Avnery or those who agree with him need to answer:

* Which European states have, like Israel, nationalised 93 per cent of their land so that one ethnic group (in Israel’s case, Jewish citizens) can exclude another ethnic group (Palestinian Arab citizens)?

* Which European states operate vetting committees, enshrined in law, in hundreds of rural communities precisely to prevent one ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs) from living in these communities?

* Which European states have separate citizenship laws – in Israel’s case, the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – based on ethnic belonging?

* Which European states have designed their citizenship laws, as Israel has done, to confer rights on members of an ethnic group (in Israel’s case, Jews) who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over a group (Palestinian Arabs) who do have citizenship and are present in the state?

* Which European states have more than 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group a citizen belongs to?

* Which European states, like Israel, defer some of what should be their sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies – in Israel’s case, to the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund – whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging?

* Which European states deny their citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders?

* Which European states do not recognise their own nationality, and make it possible to join the dominant national group (in Israel’s case, Jews) or to immigrate only through conversion?

Maybe Avnery can find the odd European state with one such perverse practise, or something similar. But I have no doubt he cannot find a European state that has more than one such characteristic. Israel has all of these and more; in fact, too many for me to enumerate them all.

So if Israel inside its recognised borders is nothing like European states or the United States, or any other state we usually classify as democratic, maybe Avnery or his supporters can explain exactly what kind of state Israel is like.

About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, One state/Two states

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

  1. Woody Tanaka says:

    Excellent summation.

  2. Talkback says:

    Avnery probably doesn’t even understand what Cook’s talking about. Maybe he notices only a very bright light.

    • pabelmont says:

      It’s not (only) a question of “understanding”.

      [1] Avnery almost certainly is controlled by a variety of PSYCHOLOGICAL constraints which make it difficult for him to admit (even to himself) the facts about Israel which Cook makes plain here.

      [2] In addition, Avnery must LIVE AMONG fanatical racists (read GOLIATH– you see this on almost every one of its 400+ pages) and therefore could not EASILY and SAFELY admit publicly what Cook here characterizes as evidence of APARTHEID within green-line Israel. Remember, all, that Kahane’s views are alive and well and triumphing today in Israel. Violent racism is on a roll in Israel today, and it is not safe for Jewish Israelis to stand up in opposition. Possibly not even safe for Jewish Israelis to STATE THE FACTS without drawing the conclusions.

      Think Brownshirts, Germany, 1930s. The N’nai Brith and ADL are not going to admit this stuff in the USA, are they?

  3. NickJOCW says:

    Calling Israel an apartheid state isn’t supposed to be an exercise is linguistic exactitude; it expresses a feeling, not an intellectual conclusion, and what it means is that Israeli treatment of Palestinians looks and smells just like the white settlers’ treatment of the indigenous African population and should be responded to and dealt with in the same way.

  4. Mayhem says:

    Why does Cook restrict his search for an apartheid state to just Europe? If he wasn’t trying to be evasive he would have opened up his search criteria to any country in the world and if he had been honest enough to do that he would have immediately caught the Muslim country Malaysia first in his net – unlike Israel a truly representative example of blatant apartheid. Consider the following:
    In Malaysia:

    (1) Of the five major banks, only one is multi-racial, the rest are controlled by Malays.
    (2) 99% of leading gas company Petronas directors are Malays.
    (3) 3% of Petronas employees are Chinese.
    (4) 99% of 2000 Petronas gasoline stations are owned by Malays.
    (5) 100% all contractors working under Petronas projects must be of Bumis status (special position of the Malays provided in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia).
    (6) 0% of non-Malay staff are legally required in Malay companies. But there must be 30% Malay staffs in Chinese companies.
    (7) 5% of all new intake for government police, nurses, army, are non-Malays.
    (8) 2% is the present Chinese staff in Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), a drop from 40% in 1960.
    (9) 2% is the percentage of non-Malay government servants in Putrajaya, but Malays make up 98%.
    (10) 7% is the percentage of Chinese government servants in the entire government (in 2004); a drop from 30% in 1960

    con’t….

    There are hundreds more examples of racial discrimination in Malaysia that could be added to the above list. What makes me squirm is that Malaysia practises apartheid under the nose of the world community and gets away with it. Malaysian leaders have the chutzpah to suggest that Israel has an apartheid regime and yet they practise full-blooded racist apartheid in their own backyard! Cook is just as hypocritical.

    link to twiart.blogspot.com

    • Why does Cook restrict his search for an apartheid state to just Europe? If he wasn’t trying to be evasive …… if he had been honest enough to do

      hmm, probably because he was addressing Avnery’s claims (provided in the blockquote above) in Avnery’s quote here:

      “On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe….”

      If Mayhem wasn’t trying to be evasive …… if he had been honest enough….

      “What makes me squirm is that Malaysia practises apartheid under the nose of the world community and gets away with it. ”

      a huh. so tell me, why do you squirm over malaysias’ alleged ‘apartheid’ yet show no distain for israeli apartheid?

      also, do you know where this list originated? because a simple search comes up Helen Ang (CPI Asia). CPI is a CPI Governance (CPI), a consulting firm specializing in risk management, finance and governance assisting corporations and financial institutions link to pr.com

      • bilal a says:

        Affirmative action for indigenous majorities is a good thing, especially when it involves transnational networking and dual loyalties.

        “The overseas Chinese themselves are not always like-minded: They are often at odds over how much to assimilate, if at all. In some Southeast Asian countries, small businessmen who have been the hardest hit during anti-Chinese violence resent the high-profile tycoons whose actions stir popular resentment and who, in the future, could endanger the entire Chinese minority once again…

        `My father regretted sending his kids back to China, but he still wanted China to become strong and prosperous,” she says. “My mother complains about politics, but she would never say this to outsiders or foreigners. She says I can’t blame my own country.”

        “As for me, China is still my motherland. But the concept of motherland should be separated from the regim”

        link to csmonitor.com

    • talknic says:

      Seems Mayhem will steal anything that ain’t nailed down link to mondoweiss.net

      link to google.com

      Two or more wrongs make a right eh Mayhem? BRAVO!

      • yeah, i added one ‘source’ link to it talknic, it is a list that’s been floating around the internet for at least 7 years. i just wish people would use quotemarks, w/blockquote and source if they are going to copy texts. and respect fair use.

  5. MHughes976 says:

    Cook’s various points develop Avnery’s ‘suffering discrimination in many areas’. This discrimination is based on racial status. It depends what you mean by ‘apartheid’. The fact that the status of Palestinians between river and sea is not uniform doesn’t create or begin to create a regime of racial equality. Equality would come only from the idea that Jewish and Palestinian people have an equal right to be in the whole river to sea area.

  6. seafoid says:

    Avnery is like an American activist who has spent 60 years working for single payer health insurance . (With loads of his own insurance BTW ).
    And says it will come next year.
    And that the system is fine otherwise.

    But the system is headed for the cliff. And he has poured so much energy into the cause. So he tells himself and anyone who cares to ask that everything is fine.

    It’s delusion.

  7. seafoid says:

    How many Israelis are actually searingly honest about the way things are headed ? Hass, Levy, Gurvitz , Zochrot , the Elhanans and who else?

  8. Walid says:

    I’ve always had my doubts about Avnery ever since I read that he started out as an ethnic cleanser in the war of 48. No matter how hard he tried to change that image, my mind always went back to his cleansing roots.

    • W.Jones says:

      Walid, has he developed a different analysis of the Nakba since then, and says it was very bad?

      • Walid says:

        “Walid, has he developed a different analysis of the Nakba since then, and says it was very bad?”

        I don’t know that he has, W.Jones, but he eventually went against the Zionist tide in speaking up for the Palestinians, but now he seems to be backtracking in defending Israel or simply coming out of the closet; he is evidently doing it for Israel’s sake more than for that of the Palestinians, which was his vocation from the start. Seafoid’s “Hass, Levy, Gurvitz , Zochrot , the Elhanans” are probably in the same category that are doing it to save Israel from itself. Same for Phil here. It’s not really about the Palestinians, it’s more about getting Israel to do the right thing.

        • kayq says:

          Walid, I can’t speak for the others, but Zochrot are an Israeli Nakba-rememberance organisation. They are pro-one state, pro-return. Also mostly anarchists. If anything, I doubt they’d want to “save” Israel.

        • Walid says:

          Kayk, I know how much Zochrot is working at bringing back Palestinian culture and heritage. “Zachirat” (ذاكرات) says it all. It’s impossible for any Jew to want the destruction of Israel, so in the end, Zochrot too is trying to save Israel from itself by repairing the wrong done by the Zionists.

    • seafoid says:

      But Walid it was worth it to see the Jews flowering and nobody could have predicted that they would become so violent and if they just agree to 2 states everything will be fluffy

  9. NormanF says:

    In the first place – Israel has no official eastern border – the Armistice Agreement with Jordan left them up for future negotiation. The same thing is specified in the Oslo Accords. And UN 242 makes no mention of borders, only that they should be mutually agreed upon by the parties.

    But only Israel is blamed for having territorial claims. This is a double standard.

    As for Israel’s privileged treatment of Jews, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Russia and China give preferential treatment to returning nationals in order to reinforce and preserve their national character.

    The only country in the world blamed for seeking to remain Jewish is…. Israel! And Uri Avineri would be correct this is a double standard. Many of the circumstances are unique to Israel but they still don’t violate minority rights.

    It should be noted the apartheid charge lodged against the Jewish State comes from racist Arab countries that are themselves apartheid regimes based on religious supremacy and discriminatory treatment of non-Muslim minorities. Pot meet kettle!

    Israel is expected to be more perfect than every other country on earth. And Israel’s critics give it no credit for its liberal, free and open society. None of its neighbors anywhere come close to Israel in preserving life, limb, liberty and the security of property for their citizens.

    Avineri would surely agree: enough with the double standards!

    • Byzantium says:

      But Norman, isn’t the entire point of being Jewish to subject oneself to a double standard? Isn’t Judaism all about being “a nation of priests and a holy nation” as per the Torah, i.e. holding oneself to a higher and more perfect standard? What does the Aleinu prayer we recite every day say (forgive the transliteration): “she lo asanu k’goye ha-aratzot”, meaning precisely that we were not made to be merely one nation among others. Only by separating your Jewishness entirely from Judaism can you ignore this responsibility. Now of course you are welcome to do so, but then your state should as well and not make explicit use of the symbols and terminology of Judaism to identify and promote itself.

  10. W.Jones says:

    The fact that the worst stuff happens outside the State proper does not stop it from being Apartheid. In S.A., there were separate “bantustans”, which were outside the state proper. Weren’t people there even worse off than in the State proper?

  11. W.Jones says:

    Wasn’t Uri Avnery part of a “Canaanite” movement to unite the Palestinian and Jewish peoples in their own nationalist state a long time ago, and to be part of an “Canaanite” Arab federation at the time?

  12. Ludwig says:

    Even a stopped watch is correct twice a day.

  13. seafoid says:

    link to haaretz.com

    “The Contributors to the State bill, which was approved Monday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, was supposed to eliminate the worst of the discriminatory excesses of the original version of the draft law.

    The original bill, which was sponsored by coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin, was also approved by the ministerial committee, over the opposition of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health and Minister Yael German. Its provisions included preferential treatment for military or civilian national service veterans in admission to higher education, in government hiring (and wages and benefits), and in residential building rights. Weinstein ruled that the bill would cause injury to population groups that already suffer from severe discrimination and would violate the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom.

    The new version, which was drafted in consultation with Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon, provides for “softer” benefits, such as letting soldiers in uniform jump the queue at entertainment venues, giving preference to military or nonmilitary veterans in allocating university housing and limited preference in real estate tenders. Nevertheless, it seems as if Levin and many cabinet ministers still haven’t grasped the ethical failure such a law’s very existence entails.

    The Contributors to the State bill in effect constitutes systematic discrimination, in every walk of life, against entire population groups that are by law exempt from compulsory military or civilian national service. No democracy can accept such discrimination, especially when it affects already disadvantaged communities, namely Israeli Arabs (sic) and ultra-Orthodox Jews. The fact that military service is compulsory for a large part of the population does not justify a law that would have far-reaching consequences on civilian life, far beyond the military realm”

    But what else would you expect from the world’s only Jewish minority state ?

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Disgusting. The lengths that these people will go to to enforce their judeofascism is quite disgusting.

    • pabelmont says:

      Do you mean “only Jewish state notwithstanding having a Jewish minority”? In counting, I assume it proper NOT to count all the Jews in the world who have not moved to Israel and apparently do not want or intend to, but to count all the Palestinians who do not live in greater Israel (aka Palestine) but would very much like to and have been saying so since 1948.

      On this counting, Israel has a distinct Jewish minority.

      • W.Jones says:

        Actually, Israel may not be the only “Jewish State”: Birobidzhan is an autonomous (self-governing) state, also known as the “Jewish Autonomous Oblast”. You may want to remember that the next time you hear the phrase.

        See: Birobidjan: The Story of the First Jewish State
        link to studentpulse.com

        So often we hear phrases like the “only state”, or “only democracy in the Middle East” and do not reflect on it any deeper.

  14. Which European states systematically separate majority and minority citizens at the airports, subjecting the latter to longer and often humiliating searches?

    Which European states confer on majority citizens the ability to pass their citizenship on to both their children and their grandchildren, while minority citizens can only pass it on to their children?

    Which European states have unofficial policies that block minority citizens from employment at the state electric company?

    Which European states allow state-paid religious figures to call on their followers not to rent houses to minority citizens?

    Which European states cooperate with institutions devoted to prevent miscegenation, “rescuing” women in the “wrong” marriages without a judge’s warrant?

    In which European state would a leading religious figure be allowed to claim that the minority exists to serve the majority?

    Avnery’s analogy is the height of bad faith.

    • Tuyzentfloot says:

      Hasbara Buster says: Avnery’s analogy is the height of bad faith.

      I think there is no convincing base for such an unfriendly conclusion , and because proof is merely lack of imagination I have much more imagination than you. Cook puts it very well, not going too much into the motivations, just saying that Avnery should be treated as an unreliable mentor and guide on matters relating to Palestinians inside Israel .

      Gideon Levy gives a completely different assessment about the motivations of Oz and Grossmann that they mean well but they lack courage . link to newleftproject.org . I wonder if the pun on Oz’ name was intended.
      I could use a different angle: Avnery’s too nice. He’s not intellectually ruthless enough. But of course holding that opinion might make it harder to advocate things that go against the interests or convictions of nice people. Maybe you’re just not ruthless enough for that so you prefer to look at it as bad faith.

      • Sibiriak says:

        Tuyzentfloot:

        Gideon Levy gives a completely different assessment about the motivations of Oz and Grossmann that they mean well but they lack courage . link to newleftproject.org

        Indeed. In that interview Levy clearly rejects Zionism:

        I think that Oz and Yehoshua and Grossman, who I know very well personally, mean well. But in many ways they are still chained in the Zionistic ideology. They haven’t released themselves from the old Zionistic ideology, which basically hasn’t changed since ’48 – namely, that the Jews have the right to this land, almost the exclusive right. They are trying to find their way to be Zionistic, and to be for peace, and to be for justice.

        The problem is that Zionism in its present meaning, in its common meaning, is contradictory to human rights, to equality, to democracy, and they don’t recognise it. It’s too hard for them to recognise it, to realise it.

        But his position on 2SS vs 1SS is quite similar to Avnery’s, though he seems to take it a pessimistic step further, like I do, and sees a 1.5 state non-solution as the most likely future:

        The ideal, the utopia? One state for Palestinians and Jews, with equal rights, a real democracy, with real equality between the two peoples. The problem is that I don’t see it happening now, and I’m very afraid that a one-state would become an apartheid state.

        The two communities are very – there is a big gap between them. We have to realise that the Jewish community in Israel is more developed today, more rich, and to immediately mix both societies will create a lot of friction. There is also a lot of bad blood between the two communities. I don’t see it working, and for sure I don’t see it working in equal terms.

        So the only other solution left is the two-state solution. The problem is that it’s starting to become too late for this, because to evacuate half a million settlers – who will do it? No one. So I’m quite desperate. And the other solution, which I think will be the most probable, will be all kinds of artificial solutions – of half a Palestinian state, on half the land…this will not last, and this will not solve anything.

        On the Palestinian “right of return”, I don’t think there is any difference between Levy and Avnery.

        Levy:

        Full return means creating new refugees. The place I live in Tel Aviv belonged to a Palestinian village. If the owners of this village will come back, I will have to go somewhere else. All Israel is originally Palestinian – if not its villages then its land, its fields… almost all of it belonged to the Palestinians. So if you do a total return, you create a new problem. And also there are very few precedents in history in which everyone was allowed to return to his original home decades after the war. But it must be solved.

        I think there could be a solution, but it requires Israel to have good will – which it doesn’t have. It would involve, first of all, Israel recognising its moral responsibility. That’s the first condition. It’s about time for Israel to take accountability for what happened in ’48 and realise and recognise that there was a kind of ethnic cleansing, and expelling 650,000 people from their lands was not inevitable and was criminal. I think that taking responsibility will be the first step.

        Second step, Israel has to participate in an international project of rehabilitating the refugees – some of them in the places where they live.

        The third stage, obviously, is full return to the Palestinian state, if there will be a Palestinian state. And the last stage should be a symbolic, limited return also into Israel.

  15. piotr says:

    I would give some slack to Avnery. Like Jerry Seinfeld said “people should be allowed to drive their age, if you are seventy, you can drive seventy (miles per hour), if you are ninety, you can drive ninety”. Unlike much younger Eric Alterman, he may be excused for not absorbing completely the events of the last twenty years.

    Moreover, within Israel supporting sanctions on Israel amounts to high treason, or at least mild treason subjected to civil lawsuits. There is also considerable social opprobrium and rather few can withstand the pressure (again, hard to marshall such excuses for Americans).

    • pabelmont says:

      piotr: it is not supporting (other government’s) sanctions that Israel legislated against, as I understand it, but personally advising Israelis to boycott ANY Israeli goods. Maybe I am wrong. And I do not know the legal danger to an Israeli who would boldly state that while he has no purchasing advice to offer any other person, he himself would never, ever buy XXX Israeli product (say from the West Bank).

      • W.Jones says:

        Pabelmont,

        OK, there is social opprobrium and penalties, but why then actively write an article affirming that the system is egalitarian or nondiscriminatory?

  16. W.Jones says:

    It is nice that Avnery has a vision of the system’s tolerance. I hope he can help make it reality.

  17. W.Jones says:

    So this is a belief of “Gush-Shalom, Israeli Peace Bloc” or such a leading progressive peace figure?

    THE DIFFERENCES between the two cases are obvious. Then there are the numbers. In SA there was a huge black majority.

    In Israel proper, the Arab citizens constitute a minority of about 20%. Yes, and those citizens are what portion of those whose parents and grandparents came from that territory?

  18. German Lefty says:

    Why does Uri Avnery know so little about Palestinian citizens of Israel?

    Easy: Because he’s a Zionist.

    • Sibiriak says:

      German Lefty:

      Why does Uri Avnery know so little about Palestinian citizens of Israel?

      Easy: Because he’s a Zionist.

      Uri Avnery :

      For myself, I reject any demographic way of thinking. I would say that politics plus demographics equals Fascism. Every thinking based on demographic calculations reeks of Fascism.

      • German Lefty says:

        I reject any demographic way of thinking. I would say that politics plus demographics equals Fascism. Every thinking based on demographic calculations reeks of Fascism.

        Well, what he writes is total bullshit.
        Wikipedia: “[Demography] encompasses the study of the size, structure, and distribution of these populations, and spatial and/or temporal changes in them in response to birth, migration, aging and death.” Demography is not just about race or ethnicity. It’s also about how many young or old people there are, how many people live in cities or in rural areas, how many people need education, jobs, or elderly care in what region. Demographic analysis is very important for politics and for adapting policies to the needs of the people.
        Demonising demography is NOT the way to go. Misusing demography for racist purposes – that’s the problem. That’s what Israel does and Mr. Avnery doesn’t want to see this or at least not all of it.

        • Sibiriak says:

          German Lefty

          Misusing demography for racist purposes – that’s the problem.

          That’s what Avnery was talking about–not just demography in general, but a specific, historically and currently manifested *demographic way of thinking* — coherent ideology based on ethnic/racial group identities–guiding politics, which tends toward fascism. I think his meaning was clear to most readers.

        • Sibiriak says:

          German Lefty, you need to understand the political and ideological context of Avnery’s remarks about a “demographic way of thinking” in politics.

          Uri Avnery:

          It sounds like a bad joke, but it really happened: A rabbi went from Israel to Peru, converted a group of Native Americans to Judaism, brought them to this country and put them in a settlement, on land taken away from its Palestinian owners. There they receive, as all settlers do, generous government subsidies, paid for with money taken away from thousands of Israelis living below the poverty line. There they can live happily ever after (unless they leave the settlement in an unarmored car, in which case they may be ambushed by the original Palestinian owners.)

          What causes a state to bring total strangers from another hemisphere in order to displace the native people, who gave lived there for many centuries, at the price of an eternal bloody conflict? The answer touches the foundations of Israel.

          Since the founding of the state, its emissaries have been searching for “Jews”. In the former Soviet Union, Jews were discovered either by finding Christians with remote Jewish family connections (the “Jewish grandmother”) or by simply forging documents. Nobody knows how many non-Jews were thus brought to Israel by the Jewish Agency and other organizations – at least 200 thousand, perhaps 400 thousand. According to the laws of Israel, they were automatically accorded citizenship.

          A few days ago, the “National Demographic Council” was revived, after being condemned to inactivity for some years. This is an institution that is supposed to deal with what many Israelis consider the state’s most important problem – more important than the war with the Palestinians, Saddam’s weapons of annihilation, growing unemployment and the economic crisis.

          The “demographic problem” is being pondered in universities, talked about in the media, expounded by politicians and commentators.

          “Experts” with computers are calculating what will be the percentage of Jews in Israel in 10, 25, 50 or a hundred years time. Will they be less than 78%? Or – God forbid! – only 75%? Will the womb of the orthodox Jewish woman, in addition to expected immigration, balance the production of the Arab uterus?

          ———-

          In reality, this is not a “Jewish democratic state” but a “Jewish demographic state”. Demography overcomes democracy in all fields of action. An Arab citizen feels at every turn, since childhood, that he has no part in the state, that he is, at most, a tolerated resident. In every government office, police station or place of work, even in the Knesset, he is treated differently from a Jew, even in times of quiet. True, apart from the Law of Return, which gives a “Jew” and his family (but not to Arab refugees) the absolute right to come to Israel, no law discriminates between a “Jew” and a non-Jew. But this is only make-believe: numerous laws accord special privileges to persons “to whom the Law of Return applies”, without mentioning “Jews” specifically.

          This is so self evident, that all state officials act accordingly without even being aware of it. The “Israel Land Authority” distributes land to Jews, not to Arabs. All state development projects include Jews only. Among the hundreds of new towns and villages set up since the founding of Israel, not a single one was established for Arabs. There is no Arab minister in the Government, no Arab judge on the Supreme Court bench.

          Usually, all these omissions are explained away by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, Israel’s Arab citizens are Palestinians, too. But the question is what causes what: does the conflict create the anti-Arab attitude or does the anti-Arab attitude prolong the conflict?

          Critics of Israel accuse it of practicing “Apartheid”, the South African racist doctrine. This analogy may be partly misleading. Unlike Apartheid, Zionism is not based on race, but on a mixture of ghetto mentality and 19th century European nationalism.

          Ghetto mentality is the spirit of a persecuted, isolated community, which saw the whole world as divided between Jews and Goyim (gentiles). European nationalism strove for a homogeneous national-ethnic state. The Jewish demographic state has absorbed both these elements: a homogeneous Jewish national-ethnic state, with as few non-Jews as possible.

          In Europe, where classical nationalism was born, it is giving way to the modern American outlook, which considers that every holder of a US passport belongs to the American nation, irrespective of race and ethnic origin. This has helped it becoming the most powerful state in the world, culturally, economically, and militarily. European nation-states are gradually ceding sovereignty to the European Union, and their citizenship is accorded to foreign immigrants, too, who contribute to their economy and safeguard their social welfare system. In Germany, children of immigrants born in the country receive citizenship, Britain and France are even more liberal.

          Israel is faced with a historical choice: to go back to being a Jewish ghetto, with demographic anxieties and state trappings, or to go forwards towards a new national outlook, on the American-European model.

          Zionism was the last European national movement. Israeli colonialism, too, has come 200 years too late. So it is perhaps natural that the challenge of adopting a new national outlook comes rather late.

          But in the end, I hope, the Jewish Demographic State will be replaced by the Israeli Democratic Republic, for the welfare and security of its citizens.

          Replacing the Jewish Demographic state with an Israeli Democratic Republic–what brand of Zionism is that?

        • W.Jones says:

          In his “Dear Dov” letter, Avnery writes to Dov, an Israeli friend, who says he renounces the current State. Dov had written that Herzl, “Chaim Weizmann and most of the pioneers, the fathers and mothers of my generation” would be shocked and miserable over the situation.

          Avnery replies:

          When I think of our youth, yours and mine, one scene is never far from my mind: the 1947 Dalia festival. [He gives a vivid description of it as a celebration of culture there, which mentioned a group of Arabs dancing. This part is probably an estimate of what Avnery envisions.]

          What state did we set out to create? But is this the society, is this the state, which we saw in our mind’s eye on the day it was set up? Is this the army that you and I swore allegiance to on the day it was founded?

          …61 years ago we had another state in mind. Now, after our state has tumbled to where it is today, we must remember that other state [that we had in mind], and remind everybody, every day, what the state should have been like, what it can be like, and not allow our vision to disappear like a dream. Let’s lend our shoulders to every effort to repair and heal!

          link to opendemocracy.net

          Certainly the situation is very sad for him, Dov, and for Palestinians. It is a tragic and nostalgic letter about the change from the dream Avnery had and has to the current harshness.

        • W.Jones says:

          Reading the letter, you can feel a positive “dream” for strong nationalism, with a demographic and cultural element, but you may also question whether it is also a “dream” that the founders and their generation would really be shocked at the current situation, since there were similar decisions that were made even starting in 1947 and 1967.

      • W.Jones says:

        Uri Avnery writes in “Talking Zionism”:

        I may be the only person in Israel who has an official confirmation that he is not an anti-Zionist.

        I had published a book entitled Israel Without Zionists… I coined a new term: “Post-Zionism.” my position is that Zionism was a historical movement with its glorious achievements as well as its darker side. One can admire or condemn it, but either way Zionism has come to its logical end with the creation of the State of Israel. Zionism was the scaffolding that made the building of the state possible, but once the house is built, the scaffolding becomes a hindrance and must be removed.

        Theodor Herzl, the founder, wanted a liberal, secular state. …more likely [than "ethnic cleansing"] is the reality of an apartheid state, in which Jews will soon be a minority. That is not a reality envisioned by the Zionist founding fathers.

        The only alternative is peace — Palestine and Israel, side by side. But that is called “post-Zionism,” God forbid… the contradictions of Zionism will have to be faced.

        In other words, Avnery has a sympathetic, but mixed view of Zionism up to the point of the State’s founding, after which he thinks two states should be achieved.

        In fact though, isn’t the creation of two states still an affirmation of Zionism? That is not to say Zionism or two states are necessarily a bad outcome, but wasn’t the goal of two states one of the desired possible outcomes by those founders? In other words, if one supports the initial movement and then the desired outcome, then what position would that be called?

        • German Lefty says:

          @ W.Jones
          Thanks for showing me this article from “Talking Zionism”. I think that it’s very telling.
          To me, it sounds like “post-Zionist” is just another term for “liberal Zionist”. That’s a “new” term for Zionists who don’t want to call themselves “Zionists” anymore.

          my position is that Zionism was a historical movement with its glorious achievements as well as its darker side. Zionism has come to its logical end with the creation of the State of Israel.
          Apparently, Avnery’s definition of Zionism differs from ours. He limits the definition to the creation and does not include the preservation of the state.
          Zionism = creating the (Jewish) State of Israel
          Since Avnery does not want to expand the State of Israel beyond its internationally recognised borders, he doesn’t view himself as a Zionist. To him, only those people who seek a Greater Israel are Zionists, because they are still in the “creation phase”.

          more likely is the reality of an apartheid state, in which Jews will soon be a minority. That is not a reality envisioned by the Zionist founding fathers. [...] The only alternative is peace — Palestine and Israel, side by side.
          Here it becomes very clear that he supports a two-state solution as a means to prevent a one-state solution with a Jewish minority. He says that a Jewish-minority state would not be in the interests of the ZIONIST founders. So, he argues from a Zionist perspective. He wants to have a separate Palestinian state in order to reduce the demographic threat within Israel. He wants to take the demographic pressure off of Israel, so that it can keep pretending to be a democracy. What does Avnery say about the right of return for Palestinian refugees? Does he support it? If not, then I am right and he is a “liberal Zionist” disguised as a “post-Zionist”.

          Avnery was the first “pro-Palestinian” Israeli Jew that I had ever heard of. However, my enthusiasm for him ended very quickly when I understood that he only supports a Palestinian state for selfish (i.e. Zionist) reasons. Therefore, I stopped reading his articles. I don’t think that his views have changed since then.

        • German Lefty says:

          “I may be the only person in Israel who has an official confirmation that he is not an anti-Zionist. I had published a book entitled Israel Without Zionists. I coined a new term: “Post-Zionism.” My position is that Zionism was a historical movement with its glorious achievements as well as its darker side. One can admire or condemn it, but either way Zionism has come to its logical end with the creation of the State of Israel.”

          I may be the only person in The Third Reich who has an official confirmation that he is not an anti-Nazi. I had published a book entitled The Third Reich Without Nazis. I coined a new term: “Post-Nazism.” My position is that Nazism was a historical movement with its glorious achievements as well as its darker side. One can admire or condemn it, but either way Nazism has come to its logical end with the creation of The Third Reich.

        • Sibiriak says:

          German Lefty:

          He limits the definition to the creation and does not include the preservation of the state.

          Zionism = creating the (Jewish) State of Israel

          Why do you put “Jewish” in parentheses? Zionism = creating a state that is Jewish dominated– that Jewish domination is essential, not parenthetical, to Zionism.

          Your error, imho, is to assume with out proof or argument that the State of Israel can never, ever–not even in a 100 years– transition out of Zionism into democracy.You think that not only the creation of a Zionist state can be undone, but the creation of the State of Israel as well.

          Avnery, on the other hand, thinks Zionism can be eventually be eliminated, but the State of Israel cannot–at least not as the first step to end the conflict.

          Perhaps you are right—that the creation of Israel can be undone in the near future—but there are strong arguments to the contrary. And if one finds those arguments compelling, that does not make one a Zionist.

          But how would a Single State actually be implemented, anyway?

          Uri Avnery:

          I suppose it should look like this: The Palestinans will give up their independence struggle and their wish for a national state of their own. They will announce that they want to live in a Single Joint State.

          And how long wouldl it take for such a state to be created? Israeli Jews, backed by international governmental consensus and broad global support, will fight to the last breath against such a Single State being imposed on them, and they will continue to argue that the Palestinians are rejecting peace via a 2SS.

          As Hostage wrote:

          How long do Palestinians in the occupied territories have to go on dying while we wait for a one state settlement to materialize for the Palestinian diaspora?

          It would be the best thing that ever happened if we could solve one problem at a time and tackle the life and death issues first.

          Still, let’s assume that against all odds the struggle is successful, and a Single Joint State is created de jure. Then what?

          Uri Avnery:

          After that state is created, [Palestinians] would have to struggle in its framework for their civil rights. Many good people around the world will support that struggle, as they did in the case of South Africa. Israel will be boycotted. Israel will be isolated. Millions of refugees will return to the country, until the wheel turns a full circle and the Palestinians assume power.

          If that was possible at all, how much time would it take? Two generations? Three generations? Four generations?

          “Not realistic”. We hear that over and over from Liberal Zionists. But a two state solution is also not realistic. The so-called “peace process” is, and has always been a total sham–duplicitous cover for continued setttlement, expulsions, and the creation of a Greater Israel. So if we are going to dwell in the land of the Unreal, it does make sense to choose as a goal the highest moral ground—a Single Democratic State.

          But what about in the land of the Real?

          Uri Avnery:

          There are those who say: It already exists. Israel already rules one state from the sea to the river, you only need to change the regime. So, first of all: There is no such thing. There is an occupying state and an occupied territory. It is far easier to dismantle a settlement, to dismantle settlements, to dismantle ALL the settlements – far easier than to FORCE six million Jewish Israelis to dismantle their state. No, the Single State would not come about.

          (Emphasis added. N.B.: Avnery talks about *forcing* the dismantlement of the Jewish-dominated Israeli state; there is no question of getting Jewish Israelis to voluntarily accept a Single State, just as there is no question of Jewish Israelis voluntarily abandoning the Greater Israel project in so-called “peace negotiations”.)

          Uri Avnery:

          But let us ask ourselves – should it somehow be erected, would that be a good thing? My answer is: absolutely not.

          Let’s try to imagine this state – not as ideal creation of the imagination, but as it might be in reality. In this state the Israelis will be dominant. They have an enormous dominance in nearly all spheres: standard of living, military power, level of education, technological capacity.

          Israeli per capita income is 25 times – 25 times! – that of the Palestinians, 20,000 dollars per year compared to 800 Dollars a year. In such a state the Palestinians will be “cutters of wood and hewers of water” for a long, long time.

          It will be occupation by other means, a disguised occupation . It will not end the historical conflict, but just move it to a new stage.

          Would this solution bring about a just peace? In my view, exactly the opposite. This state would be a battlefield. Each side will try to take over a maximum of land. Bring in a maximum number of people. The Jews would fight by all possible means in order to prevent the Palestinians from gaining a majority and taking power. In practice, it would be an Apartheid state.

          ———–

          Can anybody imagine how such a state would function in practice? An inhabitant of Bil’in paying the same taxes as an inhabitant of Kfar Sava? Inhabitants of Jenin and of Netanya together formulating a constitution for the state? The inhabitants of Hebron and the Hebron settlers serving side by side in the same army, the same police, obey the same laws? Is this realistic? This is not realistic today, nor would it be realistic tomorrow

          So, I ask again: why should Palestinians be asked to share power with six million mostly anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, Jews who would be dominant in practically every sphere?

        • German Lefty says:

          @ Sibiriak

          Why do you put “Jewish” in parentheses? Zionism = creating a state that is Jewish dominated– that Jewish domination is essential, not parenthetical, to Zionism.
          I know. However, I talked about Avnery’s definition and it was him who wrote: “Zionism has come to its logical end with the creation of the State of Israel.” So, according to him:
          Zionism = the creation of the State of Israel
          He doesn’t mention “Jewish dominated” at all. From this one can infer that in his opinion the State of Israel is inherently Jewish dominated. Without the Jewish domination, it’s not Israel anymore.

          Your error is to assume without proof or argument that the State of Israel can never, ever transition out of Zionism into democracy.
          No, that’s not what I assume at all. In my previous post, I merely wrote about how I interpret Avnery’s writing. It is Avnery who equates “Israel” with “Zionism”, not me.

          You think that not only the creation of a Zionist state can be undone, but the creation of the State of Israel as well.
          Of course, the State of Israel can be dismantled. The GDR was dismantled. Germany and the German people were reunited. Palestine and the Palestinian people can be reunited, too.
          Besides, Israel does not even have agreed-upon borders. The government changes Israel’s borders from day to day. As long as Israel’s borders are THAT flexible, you might as well make one state out of historic Palestine … unless, of course, you worry about demography (in a Zionist way).
          Furthermore, you have to consider that Israel already controls the entire area. So, why not simply grant all people under Israeli control Israeli citizenship and equal rights? That’s the most reasonable solution.

          Avnery thinks Zionism can be eventually be eliminated, but the State of Israel cannot–at least not as the first step to end the conflict.
          No. Avnery doesn’t write that Israel can’t be eliminated. It looks like he just doesn’t want Israel to be eliminated. Obviously, he worries about demography and supports a two-state solution as a means to preserve the Jewish-majority state.

          The Palestinans will give up their independence struggle and their wish for a national state of their own. They will announce that they want to live in a Single Joint State.
          Weird! What makes Avnery think that Palestinians struggle for independence? Palestinians simply want their rights back. Once they have them back, they can democratically decide about how many states there should be on their homeland, i.e. the area of historic Palestine. The BDS goals only contain Palestinian rights. There’s no mention of achieving statehood.

          Should it somehow be erected, would that be a good thing? My answer is: absolutely not. It will be occupation by other means, a disguised occupation . It will not end the historical conflict, but just move it to a new stage. In my view, exactly the opposite. This state would be a battlefield. Each side will try to take over a maximum of land. Bring in a maximum number of people. The Jews would fight by all possible means in order to prevent the Palestinians from gaining a majority and taking power. In practice, it would be an Apartheid state.
          Typical Zionist scaremongering. Avnery disguises his Zionism as concern for Palestinians. What he describes is actually the status quo. If all Palestinians currently under Israeli occupation had the right to vote in Israel, then this would definitely be an improvement.

          why should Palestinians be asked to share power with six million mostly anti-Arab, anti-Muslim Jews?
          Nobody says that they should. The purpose of BDS is to give Palestinians their rights back so that they can freely choose if they want to share a state with Jews or create a separate state. Avnery, however, wants to impose the two-state solution on Palestinians so that he can keep his Jewish-majority state. He is patronising and selfish.

  19. piotr says:

    A careful reading shows that Avnery is more mentally agile at 90 than most of us. He does not deny apatheid in Israel, and he cites some important examples — this is a column, so he was not comprehensive.

    Unlike Alterman or Finkelstein he did not attack proponents of the boycott. He tiptoes and quibbles. Presents two sides, “some say that Israel is worse than South African apartheid, some think the opposite”. Hasbara it is not. Quite melancholic.

  20. Sibiriak says:

    When people call Israel an apartheid state, they are referring to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law. According to the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court …

    Really? You can safely assume that a lot of people who use the phrase “apartheid state” have no idea about the details of the 2002 Rome Statute, if they know about it at all. For many people
    “apartheid state” means a state essentially like the one that existed in South Africa.

  21. Truthbug says:

    Excellent article. It’s one more illustration of the infinite moldability of the human psyche. How could such a man (Avnery) be so “right on” when it comes to the occupation and Israel’s refusal to facilitate a just solution to the Nakba, yet be so blind sighted on the true, basic meaning of the “Jewish State?”

    • Sibiriak says:

      Truthbug:

      …be so blind sighted on the true, basic meaning of the “Jewish State?

      Uri Avnery:

      So the real question is: if this policy goes on, what kind of state will [Israel] be? As it is today, it is an Apartheid state, a full apartheid in the occupied territories and a growing apartheid in Israel – and if this goes on, it will be full apartheid throughout the country, incontestably.

      It would be nice if more people were that blind.

      • Truthbug says:

        I don’t wish blindness on anyone. From the facts in this article, it seems Avnery supports the Jewish state, and although he may not like the fact that Israel is progressing to apartheid, he doesn’t seem to understand that this outcome is inevitable for a Jewish state, immersed in a sea of Arabs. What else can he expect? The Jewish state cannot survive without becoming apartheid. Of course, it also cannot survive without becoming apartheid. This is true of any state based on racial preference – in this case, preference for Jews. How much clearer can such reasoning be? The author already made it crystal clear – except for those too blind to see.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Truthbug:

          From the facts in this article, it seems Avnery supports the Jewish state….

          No, he supports a democratic Israeli state, not a Jewish supremacist state.

          Avnery:

          I hope, the Jewish Demographic State will be replaced by the Israeli Democratic Republic…

          .

          That’s crystal clear.

          Avnery also supports a Palestinian State *in its own right*:

          The Palestinian People want a state of their own, too. That is is needed in order to satisfy their most basic aspirations, the restoration of their national pride and the healing of their trauma. Even the Hamas leaders with whom we spoke want it.

          Avnery may be right or wrong in wanting TWO *democratic, non-ethnocratic, non-theocratic* states, one Israeli (not “Jewish”), one Palestinian, but that’s his position. It’s also the position of Norman Finkelstein, Shlomo Sand and others: end the occupation, create two states, transition Israel to democracy ( and perhaps move toward eventual confederation or union between the two *democratic* states.)

          One doesn’t have to agree with that view, of course, but let’s at least represent it accurately.

        • eljay says:

          >> … end the occupation, create two states, transition Israel to democracy (and perhaps move toward eventual confederation or union between the two *democratic* states.)

          I agree with a vision of two secular, democratic and egalitarian states based on Partition borders: Israel, the “culturally Jewish” state of and for all Israelis, equally; and Palestine, the “culturally Palestinian” state of and for all Palestinians, equally. Jerusalem would become a separate entity, as envisioned by the Partition plan.

          Each state would have the right to extend preferential immigration status to people originally from or up to n-generations removed from its geographic region (and not to people with any sort of “tribal” affiliation).

          Resources would be equitably re-allocated by an impartial (or as impartial as possible) external body.

          My biggest concern is that Zio-supremacists within a supremacist “Jewish State” that has not yet transitioned into being a secular, democratic and egalitarian Isareli state will view a Palestinian state as a dumping ground for existing refugees from Partition-borders Israel as well as any “undesirable” non-Jewish Israeli citizens. This would be entirely unacceptable.

  22. markolopa says:

    Very good answer to Uri’s unacceptable message! I am glad that the paragraph that bothered me the most also bothered you.

    I would add this, mentioning the non-existance of civil marriage:
    * Which European state refuses to recognize civil marriage, expecting that religious constraints will forbid the mixing of populations?

    In a private mail sent to him, I have also reacted to another paragraph.

    > Will a boycott of Israel have the same effect? I doubt it. Jews are used to
    > being isolated. “The whole world against us” is, for them, a natural
    > situation. Indeed, I sometimes have the feeling that many Jews feel
    > uncomfortable when the situation is different.

    Really? So then why don’t you try to convince your neighbours that BDS
    is good for Israel? And that it will help to glue together the Israelis
    more tightly? Maybe this will even bring some funding :-)

    Thanks!
    Marko

  23. German Lefty says:

    @ Sibiriak
    As it is today, it is an Apartheid state, a full apartheid in the occupied territories and a growing apartheid in Israel
    Actually, within Israel it’s even worse than mere apartheid. Because of the Nakba and the denial of the right of return, most of the Palestinians who should be citizens of Israel now are not segregated INSIDE of Israel but displaced OUTSIDE of Israel. So, it’s cross-border apartheid.

    I hope, the Jewish Demographic State will be replaced by the Israeli Democratic Republic
    Really? And would this Israeli democracy include all the Palestinian refugees (and descendants) who exercise their right of return within the Green Line? As long as Israel withholds citizenship and voting rights from these people, it can’t be called a democracy.

    The Palestinian People want a state of their own, too.
    Really? And who are the other people who want a state of their own? The Israeli people? Is there even an Israeli people? The Supreme Court says no. Besides, 20% of Israelis are Palestinians. So, what kind of state would there be next to a Palestinian state?
    Israelis – Palestinians = Jews
    Therefore, it would not be an Israeli state but a Jewish state. The only purpose of creating a separate Palestinian state is to retroactively justify and preserve the Jewish state. Then the Zionists can say: “See? These Palestinians want segregation, too! They are not any better than us.”
    Also, Tzipi Livni can tell the Palestinian residents of Israel: “Your national aspirations lie elsewhere.” In the words of Professor Yehuda Shenhav: “Return is not possible in two states for two peoples [...] That’s why anyone who wants two states for two peoples requires we forget what happened in 1948″. Former chair of Meretz MK Chaim Oron once explained how “two states for two peoples” means “the problem of refugees will be solved within the Palestinian state, and there will be no right of return to the state of Israel”, adding the instructive comment: “It is in Israel’s supreme interest that the refugee problem should be solved.”
    link to aljazeera.com

    • Sibiriak says:

      German Lefty:

      I s there even an Israeli people? The Supreme Court says no.

      And you follow the dictates of the Zionist Supreme Court? Why? I would have thought you’d agree with the plaintiff in that case.

      Besides, 20% of Israelis are Palestinians. So, what kind of state would there be next to a Palestinian state?

      Israelis – Palestinians = Jews

      Why are you subtracting “Palestinians”?

      Therefore, it would not be an Israeli state but a Jewish state.

      No, not if Zionist discriminatory laws and culture are eliminated. Of course, that won’t happen for some time and after a long struggle, but there is no logic in your position that any state with a lot of Jews in it can never be democratic, simply because there are a lot of Jews in it.

      The only purpose of creating a separate Palestinian state is to retroactively justify and preserve the Jewish state.

    • Sibiriak says:

      German Lefty:

      The only purpose of creating a separate Palestinian state is to retroactively justify and preserve the Jewish state.

      No. That it is not the only purpose. Some liberal Zionists view it that way, but most Zionists do not–they don’t want any Palestinian state at all.

      Another purpose for creating a separate Palestinian state–one supported by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian organizations backing BDS–is to fulfill Palestinian national aspirations.

      Philip Weiss:

      … when I attended the Third National BDS Conference in Hebron this past December one attendee asked Omar Barghouti why the movement doesn’t explicitly endorse one state?

      He responded by saying it’s because the overwhelming number of Palestinian organizations that endorsed the BDS call support two states.

      Now, those Palestinian organizations and the many Palestinians who who their views–supporting two states– may be misguided or not, but surely they are not Zionists.

      Why should Palestinians be asked to share power with some six million Jews in a single state?

      How would that actually work?

  24. Tuyzentfloot says:

    I have a general feeling the matter of Palestinians inside Israel is treated as a side issue, partly for strategic reasons: the case for Gaza or the Westbank is easier to make and there are more people on your side. And they’re suffering most.

    But I’d like there to be a strong focus on those Palestinians who are better off because they’re inside Israel and they’re not Bedouin. “Look, this is what it means even in the best cases.”
    Jonathan Cook’s ‘Blood and Religion’ did a good job there. Hatim Kanaaneh may be available for elaborating on the matter. His book is mostly about the eighties. I’m eager to read Kanaaneh’s pieces. Also a bit apprehensive because he has a way of evading my defenses and sneaking up on me :)