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Selective voting in the land of Greater Israel

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Can a country that has deprived over a third of its population  of basic civil rights, including the right to vote, for nearly half a century, be called a democracy?  Next week, citizens of Israel, who proudly claim they are the only democracy in the Middle East, will vote in the fifteenth national election they’ve had since 1967. In June of that year, Israel captured and occupied the entirety of Palestine including the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the areas most presumed would soon become the long-delayed Palestinian state. 

Sadly, after decades of fruitless negotiations, the goal of an independent state for the Palestinian people seems more and more a cruel chimera.  There is little remaining support for a two state solution among the Israeli electorate and Israeli leaders, including its prime minister, now admit publicly there will be no Palestinian state.  The bleak reality of nearly half a century of Israeli military occupation and settlement of the Palestinian territories has made it obvious that the Zionist goal of creating so-called Greater Israel, or Eretz Israel, which includes pre-1967 Israel, as well as the West Bank and East Jerusalem (Judea and Samaria), was achieved in 1967.  Greater Israel has only been strengthened and solidified in the ensuing 48 years as Israel gradually transferred over 10 percent of its Jewish population into over 200 illegal, all-Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.   It continues to build new settlements at a frenetic pace.  Israel’s Minister of Housing predicts a 50 percent increase in the Jewish West Bank settler population from 400,000 in 2014 to about 600,000 in four years.  The current Jewish settler population of 300-350,000 in East Jerusalem will likely grow at the same rate. 

Greater Israel has every appearance of being a fait accompli,   This sad fact raises the question of whether the non-Jewish Palestinian population of Greater Israel will be ever be afforded basic human civil rights including the right to vote.  Half a century is certainly far too long to wait to be treated like a human being.   Even the most complicated military occupation in history, the US occupation of Italy, Germany, and Japan at the end of World War II, was ended in less than eight years.   After helping rebuild infrastructure and civil institutions, the US returned full sovereignty and all territory to its three former enemies.  Despite its 48 year military occupation, Israel has accomplished none of those tasks.  Instead, it has illegally seized more and more Palestinian land and property, while transferring greater and greater numbers of its Jewish citizens into Palestine to solidify its seizure of Greater Israel.

The current population of the Greater Israel is about 12.9 million: 6.2 million Jewish Israeli citizens, 2.1 million non-Jewish Israeli citizens, and 4.5 million non-Jewish Palestinians who are not recognized by Israel as its citizens even though they’ve been under Israeli occupation and control for 48 years.  In next week’s election, 48 percent of Greater Israel’s population, Israeli Jews, will be allowed to vote, as will the 16 percent who are non-Jewish citizens of pre-1967 Israel, the so-called Arab Israelis.  The remaining 36 percent, the non-Jewish, mostly Muslim Palestinians, who live in the West Bank and Gaza, will be excluded from voting as they have been in all prior national elections since 1967. 

Jewish Israelis who live in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, and who now comprise about 20 percent of the West Bank population, will be allowed to vote in this election even though they, like their Palestinian neighbors, live outside the borders of pre-1967 Israel.  Basic human civil rights, including the right to vote, are extended only to Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  Muslims, Christians, Druze, and other non-Jews apparently don’t qualify for these rights.  

As many have pointed out, Israel faces a conundrum: If it insists on having its Greater Israel, including the occupied territories, it must also accept the 4.5 million non-Jewish inhabitants of those territories as fellow citizens and afford them the same civil rights, including the right to vote, it affords its Jewish Israeli and Israeli citizens.   If it fails to do so, as it has for nearly half a century, it richly deserves the label of  apartheid state

Stephen Robert, the former chancellor of Brown University and a Jewish-American and major life-long supporter of Israel, concluded in 2012, after a humanitarian aid trip to East Jerusalem and the West Bank, that “… Israel has created a system of apartheid on steroids.”  Americans in general, and Jewish Americans in particular, need to face up to this hard reality.  The Israel of their dreams does not reflect the reality and brutality of today’s Israel, which certainly does not share or reflect the values of our own democracy.  The Israel of today is a country that has brutally occupied and controlled millions of non-Jews for nearly half a century while denying them the most basic civil rights including the right to vote. 

Congress’s contemptible fawning support for this atrocious behavior needs to stop.  We need to send a strong and clear message to our fellow citizens and to our representatives in Congress that Israel’s abhorrent behavior is immoral and unacceptable.  Israel must end its apartheid-like control of the Palestinians and allow them to have a nation of their own along the internationally-recognized pre-1967 borders, or it must accept non-Jewish Palestinians as equal citizens with all the rights and privileges currently afforded to Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis, including the right to vote.

The Palestinian people have been waiting and fighting for their freedom and a state of their own for nearly half a century.  They’ve waited long enough.  Israel must either give them full citizenship rights as fellow Israelis or give them their freedom.  In a few days, Israel’s will hold an election which will exclude over a third of its population, making a mockery of its claim to be democratic.   It is high time we shouted that unpleasant fact from the rooftops of Congress.

Gil Maguire

Gil Maguire is a retired civil rights attorney and writer of both fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Oxnard. His blog, Irish Moses, is named in honor of his father, Robert F. Maguire, who was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2004 for “his heroic efforts that helped to rescue tens of thousands of Jews” during 1948-49 after the founding of the State of Israel.

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20 Responses

  1. just on March 14, 2015, 9:07 am

    A very cogently written piece. Thanks Gil. I wish this was front- paged @ the NYT rather than the detritus presently there:

    “Big front-page NYT article on ‘settlements’ does not quote one single Palestinian” – See more at:

    I’ve been hollering about this since my teens. How can we shout louder as a group and expose this shamocracy for what it is? How can we make the government at least be honest about who they are supporting with taxpayer billions and the invaluable and enabling veto @ the UN?

  2. Pauline on March 14, 2015, 11:00 am

    If Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton & Elizabeth Warren proposed that Congress enact a law excluding 36% of all Americans from the right to vote based on race or ethnicity — e.g., all African Americans, Latinos & Asian Americans — would anyone still regard them as ‘progressive’? And yet, all three support Israel’s disenfranchisement of 36% of the population under its control based solely on their race or ethnicity; how progressive is that…?

    • irishmoses on March 14, 2015, 12:04 pm

      Great comment Pauline. What’s the expression? “PEP” – Progressive Except for Palestine.

  3. pjdude on March 14, 2015, 12:53 pm

    its my firm belief that the only way long term peace will happen is one palestinian state on all of historic palestine for everyone who wants to be an equal citizen of the territory.

    • irishmoses on March 14, 2015, 2:03 pm

      I agree with you in theory, PJ, but I think practically it can never happen. Here’s my reasoning from an older thread:

      • pjdude on March 14, 2015, 2:23 pm

        while i agree a jewish sense of entitlement in zionism is a major roadblock i think it can happen. not soon it would take decades of work and the Israelis would more than likely choose to kill everybody than cede dominion i believe there is a small but real chance that it could be achieved.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 14, 2015, 4:09 pm

        A 2 state solution can practically never happen either.


        There is no way in hell Israel can uproot hundreds of thousands of squatters, many of them armed fanatics, without risking civil war;

        As the great David Hirst has said, Zionism has always veered towards its most extreme direction. Israel will never be satisfied with their legally defined borders;

        How to link Gaza and the WB? Unless they have a physical link, Gaza will remain a ‘3rd state’;

        The two states would be just too small and resource poor to exist as independent nations;

        There are probably more reasons that I can’t think of right now, but Israel has simply made too many enemies to ever exist long term as a nation state. It’s either one state or no states. The ‘2 state solution’ is a chimera.

  4. Daniel Rich on March 14, 2015, 4:03 pm

    Do people hate the star of David?

    Aka “Your first taste of antisemitism [Palestinian, Arabs and Muslims fully excluded]!”

    • irishmoses on March 14, 2015, 5:40 pm

      Daniel, thanks for the link. It’s my home town but I didn’t notice it this morning in the LA Times. Maybe it will be in tommorrow’s.

      Here’s the money quote:

      “A second root cause of anti-Semitism derives from an irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel. Far too many people see Israel as an apartheid state and blame the people of an entire religion for what, in truth, are internal national-policy decisions.”

      • SonofDaffyDuck on March 15, 2015, 12:23 pm

        This is crazy…it’s the internal national policies of Israel that HAVE created the Apartheid State. Who is blaming the religion already? A large portion of the people driving apartheid (outside of the Settlers) are non-religious. Blaming them has nothing to do with religion except when they hypocritically exploit it for ethnic cleansing. And blaming the fanatics in the settlements has nothing to do with “blaming the whole religion!”

      • Mooser on March 15, 2015, 1:22 pm

        “Far too many people see Israel as an apartheid state and blame the people of an entire religion for what, in truth, are internal national-policy decisions.”

        Is that writer saying that for all the money, time, words and effort expended in the support of Zionism, the Jews (and others) involved all over the world have absolutely no ownership, no relevant voice in the Zionist enterprise?

      • irishmoses on March 15, 2015, 1:55 pm


        The great actor doesn’t seem to know what he’s saying. He says some antisemitism stems from irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel without going any evidence of why criticism (not hatred) of Israel is either irrational or misplaced.

        He then admits that a lot of people see Israel as an apartheid state which, even if true, shouldn’t be used to tar all Jews. OK, but who’s blaming all Jews?

        Finally, he says, decisions on important internal matters (like apartheid) should really be left to the discretion of local (national) officials who apparently are in a better position to make those decisions. Would the good actor have applied the same logic to the internal national policy decisions of Nazi officials during the apartheid period of Nazi Germany (1930s)?

        The man should keep his day job and stick to acting, or maybe he just has too much time on his hands.

      • eljay on March 15, 2015, 2:21 pm

        || “A second root cause of anti-Semitism derives from an irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel. Far too many people see Israel as an apartheid state and blame the people of an entire religion for what, in truth, are internal national-policy decisions.” ||

        Included in those “far too many people” are Zio-supremacists like Jeff B, who think it’s acceptable – and not at all anti-Semitic – to hold all Jews responsible for the actions of some Jews:

        JeffB: There is nothing anti-Semitic with blaming Jews for stuff that Jews institutionally support. … Not holding the Jews responsible for Jewish policy on the excuse that “well some Jews didn’t agree” is denying them agency.”

        Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly?), only one Zionist here at MW – y.f. – has disagreed with JeffB’s assertion.

  5. just on March 14, 2015, 6:52 pm

    I almost fell off the chair when I read this interview on NPR today:

    “Palestinians Ask: The Two-State Solution Or The Two-State Illusion?

    Palestinians in the West Bank don’t get to vote in Israel’s election on Tuesday, but they do have opinions.
    Aweidah has his own hopes for Tuesday’s election: he wants victory for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and others he considers hostile to Palestinians.

    “The Palestinian dream team for the Israeli leadership would be [Netanyahu] as prime minister and [Naftali] Bennett as defense minister. That would be the best thing to happen to the Palestinians,” he said, naming the two conservative politicians whose parties are expected to perform best in Tuesday’s vote.

    “It would be very good for the Palestinians to have them in power,” he added. “Because Israel [would be] isolated, because of such a government, because of their actions and their craziness.”

    more @

    He’s for 1 state. Fayyad speaks later, and still thinks 2 states is possible… (uh- huh)

  6. johneill on March 15, 2015, 2:03 am

    I like the analogy of us occupation in japan/Germany/Italy – despite that war being completely opposite the ’67 conflict (ie us defending against aggression and aiding allies, where Israel preemptively struck Egyptian forces, prompting aggression by their other neighbors). If our most vicious enemies could be trusted after less than a decade – and go on to be our closest political and trade partners – there’s no reason, other than a passive-aggressive fulfillment of ‘eretz yisrael’, that Israel should be occupying sovereign land for generations.

  7. seafoid on March 15, 2015, 5:12 am

    “The current population of the Greater Israel is about 12.9 million” –

    Would be interesting to analyse apartheid by what the various groups can afford to eat – eg 1948 Jews, 1948 Palestinians, EJ Palestinians, settlers, WB Palestinians and Gazans

    Eretz Israel hashlemah will be an ecological catastrophe when climate change starts to impact global food production. The Torah does not predict any of this because Bronze age worries were different and population was nowhere near 13 m.

  8. Boomer on March 15, 2015, 8:46 am

    “[Israel] has illegally seized more and more Palestinian land and property, while transferring greater and greater numbers of its Jewish citizens into Palestine to solidify its seizure of Greater Israel.” And it has been able to do so because of the support provided by the U.S., including numerous vetoes at the UN Security Council.

    How strange it is that liberal Zionists continue to warn that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state, as if it had not become that long ago.

    A recent discussion on “On Being” touched on the evolution or development of morality. One person noted that an essential requirement for such evolution is the foundation of rule of law, personal security, and property rights. Another observed how growing knowledge of science had made it possible to understand the essential similarity of all humans, which he thought implied moral treatment. Palestinians, however, evidently are not at all like Jews, and are therefore not entitled to personal security, rule of law, and property rights.

  9. just on March 15, 2015, 9:09 am

    IOF Terrorism. The linked video is damning/awful/the stuff nightmares are made of:

    “TEL AVIV, Israel — Masked and armed Israeli soldiers have been recorded forcefully entering Palestinian homes and waking up, photographing and questioning children as young as nine.

    The videos highlight Israeli efforts to track down young Palestinian rock throwers in the occupied West Bank, according to an Israeli rights group.

    “We are getting reports of nightly searches by soldiers demanding that Palestinian kids be woken up,” Sarit Michaeli, an activist working for B’Tselem human rights group, told NBC News. “The Palestinians in the West Bank live under Israeli military law so currently the army doesn’t need a warrant or permit to enter Palestinian homes.”

    The Israeli military acknowledged the videos were authentic when NBC News requested comment.

    “The soldiers questioned him in Hebrew and the boy doesn’t even understand Hebrew. They questioned him about throwing stones,” he added.

    His child wet himself in fear when the soldiers burst into the home, and still hasn’t fully recovered from the experience, Daana said.

    He added: “He has been living in a state of terror since then and he refuses to sleep alone but in his sister’s room.””

    This report is from NBC, so I hope millions will see it…better late than never. I don’t think it will shock many here, but it may jar some somnambulists among us.

    • Kris on March 15, 2015, 12:22 pm

      Many thanks, just. I really appreciate your sharing links like this, because I then can share them with my facebook “friends.” I’ve been doing this for years, and can actually see now that many “friends” are waking up to the horrible reality!

      It is my drip, drip, drip strategy–eventually, water will wear away stone.

  10. Citizen on March 16, 2015, 2:17 pm

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