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NY Times says a Palestinian majority would ‘endanger Israel’s democratic ideals’

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A New York Times editorial on the “elusive dream of a Palestinian state,” says that everyone with any sense wants that outcome, and assigns one-state talk chiefly to Israeli rightwingers, ignoring the leftwing push for one democratic state. David Remnick in the New Yorker was much more honest about this matter; the Times doesn’t even cite Ali Abunimah, or Virginia Tilley, or Meron Benvenisti.
With the failure of peace talks, opines the Times, “it is little surprise that some are seeking alternatives….”
[S]ome Palestinians are also tempted by a one-state solution, but talk of full rights draws skepticism. Many Palestinians who live in Israel and are citizens already feel they are discriminated against and fear this will worsen if Israel adopts a new law under consideration emphasizing the country’s Jewishness over democracy. There are risks in annexation and a one-state solution for Israelis, too. Many Israelis worry that will lead to a Palestinian majority, thus endangering the country’s democratic ideals and Jewish character.
Palestinians feel themselves to be discriminated against? According to Adalah, there are 50 laws that discriminate between Jews and Palestinians, Shira Robinson just published a scholarly book on this question, and any fool knows that I can move to Israel tomorrow because I’m Jewish while a Palestinian can’t even bring a spouse into the country from the West Bank.
And: “a Palestinian majority” would not just endanger Israel’s Jewish character, but its “democratic ideals?” Isn’t that like saying democracy would endanger a democracy? Not when you’re talking about Arabs! Writes Donald Johnson: “Imagine them saying that about any other ethnic group in the world. Interpreted charitably, they might be saying that a one state solution might lead to ethnic strife between extremists on one or both sides, or something like that, but if so, they should spell it out. Their brains just shut down when writing on this subject.”
The racism against Palestinians in the mainstream press is so casual it’s shocking. People would be picketed if they wrote this about an American ethnic group.

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29 Responses

  1. ramzijaber on December 20, 2014, 1:12 pm


    “NY Times says a Palestinian majority would ‘endanger Israel’s democratic ideals”. WHY?

    Because Palestinians (and Arabs) are by their nature undemocratic and have no good ideals?

    That’s the antithesis of democracy. What nytimes and zionists are saying, Palestinians are a threat to zionism. You’re damn right we are!

    We have nothing against Jews. So when nytimes says Palestinians are a danger to the zionist’s regime “Jewish character”, that’s because nytimes and zionists know that they can’t have “democratic AND jewish”. It just does not work.

    so nytimes is showing its racist and religious biases under the guise of democracy and the long-held beliefs of the zionists that Arabs and Palestinians are animals and beasts, can never be democratic.

    Give me a break nytimes, peddler of racism and religious-ethno centric biases…

  2. Boomer on December 20, 2014, 1:53 pm

    I earlier posted a question about that editorial in an older thread. Since it is directly relevant here, I’ll take the liberty of asking the question again, where it may attract an answer from someone who understands better than I do. Even taking the editorial on its own terms, the logic of the last paragraph escapes me. That’s where they say it is wise to delay action until after Israel’s elections. My confusion about their logic may stem from my ignorance of the nuances of Israeli politics. Or it may simply be that there isn’t much logic there, beyond the desire for delay and more delay and always ever-more delay, while “facts on the ground” continue to change. Is there some party in Israel that wants a just solution and that has a chance of winning, if only we wait until after the election? I have not read of such. Can someone here who understands such matters explain?

    • annie on December 20, 2014, 2:29 pm

      boomer, the nyt is making a lot of assumptions but there is a key to their “logic” in the framing. let’s parse it out:

      The United States, trying to protect Israel’s interest, wants at the very least to delay a Security Council vote until after the Israeli election. That makes sense, since a showdown now almost certainly will benefit the opponents of a two-state solution. The campaign — in which a coalition formed by Isaac Herzog, head of the opposition Labor party, and Tzipi Livni, the recently dismissed justice minister, favors a two-state solution — is likely to focus on domestic issues. But the outcome could well determine the prospects for the elusive dream of a Palestinian state.

      there is this assumption/theory, taken for granted by the nyt, that a ‘showdown’ between the UN and Israel would benefit netanyahu or bennett parties on the right and threaten the ‘moderate’ labor party politicians. and this assumption is carefully framed and a given, a throw away in the framing (“almost certainly will benefit the opponents of a two-state solution.”) as if everyone who’s anyone knows this already.

      to give you an idea of where this “theory” comes from or who backs this ‘logic’ (which imho is more like an excuse because the transitional member states at the security council are set to change in january AND and any kind of 2 year deadline made after this year will not come to fruition until after obama’s term is up, so there are many reasons why pushing this down the road is helpful for israel), see this article and note the source of the quotes, elliot abrams and some guy from Center for a New American Security

      Israel Election 2015: Netanyahu Leverages European Censure For Domestic Political Support

      A Hamas Takeover?

      A looming United Nations Security Council resolution that seeks to set a two-year deadline to reach an agreement on the issue of Palestinian statehood could also influence Israel’s election. Netanyahu warned on Thursday that if the resolution was passed it could lead to “a Hamas takeover” of the West Bank, according to Haaretz.

      Depending on whether the draft is approved by the council and what the final version of the resolution looks like, Netanyahu could have a powerful electoral weapon against his left-wing rivals, said Ilan Goldenberg, the director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C. “That is a significant major step, and if it does happen, it gives [Netanyahu] an opportunity to rally his base and reach across the center and grab some of those [parliament] seats,” he said.

      Netanyahu’s biggest threat in the upcoming March elections is a center-left coalition party led by Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog and Hatnuah Party Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who have made surprising gains in popularity and are currently neck and neck with Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, according to the Channel 2 poll.

      Netanyahu’s Likud Party would need to win 61 seats in Israel’s Knesset in order to stay in power in March. Herzog’s Labor coalition has made a powerful play to attract more support from the center, and this effort could actually be successful unless the Europeans push Israel too hard, according to Goldenberg. “The left has its own narrative that is credible as long as the Europeans don’t overstep and do things that are universally unpopular and seen as damaging in Israel,” he said.

      The political challenge from the left means that Netanyahu will be eager to emphasize the various international threats Israel faces. “He wants to argue that there is only one alternative for PM right now,” said Abrams. “He wants to argue Herzog is weak, so pointing to the threats Israel faces, whether diplomatic and economic threats from Europe or military threats from Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran, is probably a good strategy.”

      my personal opinion is that these are designed talking pts meant to get out in front of news. note the framing that Labor (the good guys!) “could actually be successful unless the Europeans push Israel too hard“.

      so there’s an element of fantasy here that labor would be better for a 2 state solution and if europe pushes israel will go further right. hello, this just pushes everything down the road. we need to get the US out of this so called negotiation project. and israelis are not stupid. if there is a looming threat of international sanctions i’m sure they can figure out on their own that the farther to the right they vote the more they clash w/the international community. the implication here is that if labor wins the security council won’t need to pressure israel to the same degree because the parties in power will be for a palestinian state, or something. the implication here is “if you push israel now you may be tanking the only chance for peace!! ahhh!!!”.

      it’s stupid. the nyt says “the outcome [of the election] could well determine the prospects for the elusive dream of a Palestinian state”

      that is simply untrue. the only thing that can move israel is BDS, outside pressure from the global community and continued palestinian sumud.

      • Boomer on December 20, 2014, 3:52 pm

        Thanks Annie. I had a similar impression of the situation, but not enough facts to be sure, or to articulate things as well as you did. After so many years, waiting longer does not seem like a winning strategy for the Palestinians, or for those Americans who want to end their complicity in the oppression, dispossession, and victimization of the Palestinians.

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 20, 2014, 1:55 pm

    ”Many Israelis worry that will lead to a Palestinian majority, thus endangering the country’s democratic ideals and Jewish character. ”

    Oh, cry me a river! If the thought of their little lalaland being swarmed by the Arab masses keeps Yossi and Ayalet up at night, why didn’t they push for a two state solution when – maybe – there was a chance? None of these ‘liberal left-wing Israelis’ have ever lifted a finger to prevent the spread of the ‘settlements’ which have rendered any 2 state solution impossible, yet now they are fretting about how their Jewish Disneyland might have its ethnic purity sullied?

    And yes, the casual racism is indeed stunning. Imagine if anyone in the US, or Britain, or France were to say that theirs is a Christian state, and x number of Jews would endanger its democratic ideals and Christian character? There would be uproar, and rightly so. But for Jewish Israelis to openly speak of the ‘demographic threat’ posed by granting equal rights to non-Jews, that’s perfectly reasonable.

  4. a blah chick on December 20, 2014, 3:04 pm

    Maintaining a Jewish majority is not about deomcracy, peace or freedom. The only reason Israel needs a Jewish majority is to keep the Ashkenazi elite in power.

    That is all this is about.

    • Mooser on December 20, 2014, 6:39 pm

      “The only reason Israel needs a Jewish majority is to keep the Ashkenazi elite in power.”

      Oh well, so much for tribal unity!

  5. Ismail on December 20, 2014, 3:27 pm

    “…and any fool knows that I can move to Israel tomorrow because I’m Jewish …”

    I’m not so sure. I can imagine Israel’s stalwart airport monitors Finkelsteining you, Phil.
    Keep yer US passport and bring a toothbrush – I hear amenities in those airport holding cells are not up to snuff.

    • Mooser on December 20, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Ismail, Phil won’t have any trouble. He has the Mott’s Juice!

  6. mash27 on December 20, 2014, 4:46 pm

    I must have missed the meeting when it was decided that supremacist regimes based on ethnic and religious exclusion are considered democratic. So I guess retrospectively the Germany Reich had lofty democratic ideals as noble as Israel’s. So it’s decided, henceforth the definition of a democracy is when a regime controls a particular territory and subjects the majority of that territory’s population to military occupation based on their religion and ethnicity. The remaining minority also determined based on religion and ethnicity is then afforded all the rights as well as movement, land and water privileges. Who knew democracy was so easy and simple? Any country aspiring to become a democracy just needs to subject the majority to martial law and give all the privileges to the minority. However to be a truly outstanding democracy as advanced as the one Israel has achieved it is preferable if the militarily dominated majority is native to the territory being governed and if the minority is composed entirely of immigrants. It sounds like colonialism but its not, it’s modern democracy pioneered by Israel and the countries of the free world must defend it tooth and nail. Thank you NYT for warning us about the threat to Israel’s democracy. We must indeed remain vigilant and ensure no native majority is every able to destroy the foundations of modern democracy.

    • piotr on December 22, 2014, 9:11 am

      In “1066 and all such” you can learn that this is persistent theme in the most advanced country. Britain was a benighted barbaric corner of Europe up to the advent of British Occupation. After a civilizational setback of Ango-Saxon domination, highly cultured Normans conquered and for a while the country was ruled by French speaking nobility. In time, a hybrid Germanic-French language was formed, spoken outside barbaric Celtic fringes, and Britain became a “top country”.

      This book is satitical, but it depicts well the mode of thinking of the British ruling class at the time it supported the project to “restore Jewish national home”.

      • RoHa on December 22, 2014, 5:21 pm

        1066 and All That”.

        by Sellar and Yeatman.

        This is a digest of History*, not as it was taught, but as you remember it after leaving school. Particularly useful for the Good Thing/Bad Thing classification.

        (*Which means British History, of course. There is no other.)

  7. wondering jew on December 20, 2014, 5:05 pm

    Off topic- A very interesting article by eva Illouz in Friday’s Haaretz.

    I googled “where was the left when the settlers hijacked zionism eva illouz” and was granted access to the article without the paywall.

  8. justicewillprevail on December 20, 2014, 5:48 pm

    You can only ask, in wonderment, what democratic ideals? Where is this idea that Israel ever had, or has, democratic ideals? Other than paying lip service to the idea of democracy, they have always made clear that Jewish rule comes first, and the only possible interpretation of democracy in Israel is of Jews deciding which Jewish party gets in, not Israelis, or the people ruled by them denied a vote. The same whining and apocalyptic language was routinely deployed by S African whites when the subject of democracy for all came up – the blacks weren’t ready for it, it wasn’t in their culture blah blah blah. Gerrymandering democracy to ensure a genuine democracy is not possible isn’t, of course, democracy at all. The NYT should know better, instead of printing superficial PR from hasbara central. That is if they want to be taken seriously outside of their own circle jerk.

    • piotr on December 22, 2014, 9:04 am

      Non sequitur alert: “The United States, trying to protect Israel’s interest, wants at the very least to delay a Security Council vote until after the Israeli election. That makes sense, since a showdown now almost certainly will benefit the opponents of a two-state solution.”

      I am agnostic if United States should protect “Israel’s interest”, but “That makes sense, since” is followed by the explanation that the election have nothing to do with the subject of the Security Council vote. A larger question is what is “Israel’s interest”, because “protecting it” without knowing what is it is what my people would call “buying a cat in a sack” (dictionary says that it translates into “pig in a poke”, but what is a poke?).

  9. pgtl10 on December 20, 2014, 11:16 pm

    Anybody else read the comments on the NYTimes? The editor picks include comments that call on Jordan to take over the Palestinians. That tells me all I need to know about the NYTimes stance.

    • Walid on December 21, 2014, 4:27 am

      Jordan is already 3/4 Palestinian. It would have been a logical move but Jordan itself with hardly any water or exports is barely hanging on and surviving on grants and loans from everywhere and not in any position to take on anything, especially Palestinians that are in the same sorry situation.

      • talknic on December 21, 2014, 7:45 am

        Walid “Jordan is already 3/4 Palestinian”

        No it isn’t!

        All of Jordan’s citizens are Jordanian

        Palestine and Palestinian refugees are not Jordanian

        Refugees who came from and have RoR to what remained of Palestine after Israel was proclaimed independent of Palestine of 1948 are Palestinians

        Refugees who were from the area that became Israel are Israelis

      • Walid on December 21, 2014, 11:08 am

        “All of Jordan’s citizens are Jordanian”

        Exactly, talknic, I was talking about the national roots of Jordanian citizens. Jordan was created by Sykes-Picot with a Saudi Hashemite king appointed to rule over it. In the end, just as much as the Hashemite rulers have Saudi national roots, 3/4 of the citizens have Palestinian national roots.

      • talknic on December 22, 2014, 4:34 am

        Walid “I was talking about the national roots of Jordanian citizens. …. 3/4 of the citizens have Palestinian national roots.”

        They are Palestinian Jordanians with pre-1922 Palestinian roots. No less Jordanian than Italian Americans are Americans and no more Palestinian than are Italian Americans are Italian.

        Zionist Colonizers have had more than a hundred years using every possible means to foster misunderstanding. Best not to give the opportunity, ever!

      • Walid on December 22, 2014, 6:18 am

        You’re right about not giving them the opportunity. If some have become Jordanian citizens, it’s because their land was stolen from them by the Zionists, the West and those out of Arabia that were parachuted to rule over them. Jordan and Iraq were the Hashemites’consolation prizes for having dropped the Greater Syria promised them and having lost Arabia to the Sauds despite being descended from the Prophet. Faisal’s admiration of the Zionists was nauseating.

  10. talknic on December 21, 2014, 12:04 am

    If it is to be a one state solution, why would it or should be called Israel or have Israeli laws or be concerned about retaining a Jewish majority?

    A normal secular democratic state with freedom of religion isn’t an option?

  11. eljay on December 21, 2014, 8:54 am

    There are risks in annexation and a one-state solution for Israelis, too. Many Israelis worry that will lead to a Palestinian majority, thus endangering the country’s democratic ideals and Jewish character.

    Many Israelis should be upset that they and/or their Zio-supremacist co-collectivists envisioned, established and have maintained Israel:
    – not as a secular and democratic Israeli state – a state of and for all of Israel’s citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees; but, rather,
    – as an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of (Greater) Israel – a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

  12. joemowrey on December 21, 2014, 9:33 am

    I can always be counted on to point out that the NYT is a blatant propagandistic enterprise, not just as concerns its biases on Israel, but as concerns it’s international and foreign policy coverage as well. This begs the question, why do we keep writing about it, quoting it, and pretending it is a legitimate news organization? This is a waste of time and a useless intellectual exercise that only enables the Times’ often criminal program of disinformation.

    Can we just stop now?

  13. Mooser on December 21, 2014, 11:48 am

    “A normal secular democratic state with freedom of religion isn’t an option? “

    One that gives Palestinians full and equal access to the courts, politics, cultural and social life of Palestine? No I don’t think that is actually an option. Can Israel afford it?

  14. OyVey00 on December 21, 2014, 11:55 pm

    Can’t endanger anything that isn’t there in the first place.

    • pjdude on December 22, 2014, 4:09 pm

      exactly. when a group of people are systemically denied meaningful representation that is not a democratic ideal.

  15. adpucci on December 22, 2014, 8:09 am

    yes, well, I’m still reeling from Cohen’s “What Will Israel Become?” piece…

  16. Vera Gottlieb on December 22, 2014, 10:28 am

    New York Times…what else is there to expect??? Didn’t know that israel had ‘democratic ideals’. It is an apartheid state filled with hatred.

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