save apartheid

Save Israeli apartheid, says NYT ad
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Sep 23 2016


Max Blumenthal tweeted this photo of what he calls an “explicitly racist and quintessentially liberal Zionist full-page ad” in Thursday’s NYT. It raises fears that within a few years, if it hasn’t occurred already, Palestinians will outnumber Jews in historic Palestine. The ad’s point is to argue for “separation” of Palestinians and Israelis into their own ethnically homogenous states to preserve a Jewish majority in Israel. Such separation should be quick, according to the ad because “in a few more years, it will be too late.” It may well be part of the ongoing campaign to persuade Obama to back a UNSCR endorsing the so-called two-state solution and abrogating basic Palestinian rights before he leaves office in January. The ad was placed by the Daniel Abraham Center, president Robert Wexler. a former Congress crittur who in the center’s own words is “a leading proponent of Israel’s right to self-defense.” A Hillary Clinton surrogate, Wexler testified before the Democrat Party’s platform drafting committee earlier this year, arguing against including the word “occupation” to describe the present relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. The same segregationist logic also appears this week in an article in Israeli media by the EU’s ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, who writes in Ynet:

All Israelis who treasure their country as a Jewish and democratic state should be advocating for a negotiated two-state solution. For without the prospect of an independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel, Israel itself, for demographic reasons, is unlikely to remain both Jewish and democratic.

This echoes long-standing claims that Palestinians constitute a “demographic threat” to Israel. What it boils down to is that the very existence of Palestinians, the very birth of their babies, violates Israel’s claimed “right” to have a specific ethno-religious composition. In any other context, a person calling themselves a liberal would starkly reject such odious racism, just as mainstream liberals reject Donald Trump’s blanket assertions about various populations perceived as being non-white. In substance, the ad’s argument is no different to claiming that the nominally independent Black bantustans created by the apartheid regime in the 1970s and 1980s were justified to preserve South Africa as a “white and democratic state.” But good liberals saw through the racist ruse of the bantustans. The ad also echoes the infamous “separate but equal” language that Pindosi white supremacists used to justify Jim Crow and segregation.

What does it mean to Palestinians for Israel to be and remain a Jewish majority state? The Jewish majority liberal Zionists seek to protect was engineered through systematic ethnic cleansing starting in 1947-48, followed by racist and discriminatory policies for the last seven decades. This is why Israel cannot exist as a “Jewish state” without violating the rights of all Palestinians to varying degrees. To maintain its Jewish majority and “Jewish democracy,” Israel curtails the rights of millions of Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinians besieged and ghettoized in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Palestinian refugees denied their right of return solely because they are not Jewish. Israel’s siege and repeated massacres in Gaza are at the extreme end of the spectrum of abuses necessary to maintain Jewish majority rule, but they are an essential part of the same continuum that requires employment and housing discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and outright land theft and ethnic cleansing in the Naqab (Negev). While stark in its racism, the NYT ad should nonetheless be welcomed as a clear admission that the so-called two-state solution has nothing to do with peace or justice. “Separation” is a perfectly good translation of the Afrikaans word “apartheid.”

In full page NYT ad, liberal Zionist group calls for ethnic segregation to retain Jewish majority within Israel
Wilson Dizard, MondoWeiss, Sep 23 2016

The Daniel Abraham Center for Peace, a prominent liberal Zionist Israel lobbying group, purchased a full-page newspaper advertisement in Friday’s edition of the NYT, calling for the immediate separation of Israelis and Palestinians into separate countries to keep Israel as a Jewish majority state. The public service announcement warned:

Separation between Israelis and Palestinians is Essential. No separation today means a Palestinian majority by 2020.

Israel’s population is about 20% Palestinian, so what the ad rejects is Israel having to be responsible for millions of more Palestinians who are now living in-not-their own state. At the same time, the head of the organization, Clinton ally former Florida Congressman Robert Wexler, denies that there is something called an occupation in the West Bank. There is the not-so-subtle Trumpian suggestions that the Palestinian citizens of Israel will be living elsewhere if the two-state solution happens. Maybe they’ll go willingly to live in a country now foreign to them. Maybe not. Remains to be seen. But this suggests large, (maybe coerced, who knows?) transfers of people are the only way to ensure peace and order between Jews and Arabs, as the ad refers to them. The advertisement explains:

It’s Time for Separation. Separation today means a Jewish majority, State of Israel now and for Generations ahead.

Or, as Alabama Gov George Wallace put it:

Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!

In 1968, Wallace ran for POTUS as a “Dixiecrat,” a dissident Southern Democrat outraged by their party leadership’s support for ending segregation in the South. Like the Confederates he idolized, he also lost, but carried five Deep South states. Democrats are coming to a similar impasse over the question of Palestinian rights, and how much they matter. Some Democrats are on the side of the segregationists, but this time they’re the leadership. And the NYT helped get the word out about Two State Segregation. The Daniel Abraham Center for Peace, run by a former Democrat Florida Congress crittur Robert Wexler, bought the advertisement to run during the UGA, where Netanyahu on Thursday renewed his own call for a two-state solution, and invited Aby Mazen to speak before the Knesset. The latter said settlements were destroying any chance of a two-state solution, and he would bring the matter up at the UN. This isn’t the first time the Center has bought advertising in the NYT. Around Hanukkah 2015, the group said the creation of a “demilitarized Palestinian state is not a gift to the Palestinians,” but in Israel’s best interest.

The only way Israel can remain a Jewish, democratic state is the Palestinians have a Palestinian state.

How the “demilitarizing of the Palestinians” was going to work, the advertisement didn’t explain.” The Abraham Center for Peace has all sorts of charts and helpful brochures about the numbers of “Core Jews,” “Arabs” and “Others” living there. The map and text in the NYT make clear the reason the group is so determined to implement a two-state solution is the fear of the dilution of the Jewishness of Israel. What’s confusing to me as a reader about the advertisement is what this means for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Are they supposed to retreat to the West Bank and Gaza Strip? Are the Palestinians in the occupied territories going to stop having kids? The paranoia about Israel losing its Jewish majority is unmistakable. The fear of a binational state is also spelled out in black and white. It reads:

According to a recent poll, 97% of Israeli Jews want to live in a Jewish state. Without a two-state solution, Israel will end up as a binational state, half-Jewish and half-Arab. In a few more years, it will be too late. The dream of a Jewish state will be lost.

And it specifically calls out addresses Netanyahu:

Mr Prime Minister, your people want to live in Jewish state, not half-Jewish, half-Arab,  you can make it happen.

Outcry over the segregationist advertisement grew online after Max Blumenthal tweeted out a photo of an early edition of the paper. Blumenthal wrote:

Explicitly racist and quintessentially liberal Zionist full page ad in NYT by @AbrahamCenter warns of Israel’s loss of ethnic purity.

Blumenthal also pointed out that the Wexler was one of the appointees to the Democrat party’s convention platform committee chosen by Hillary Clinton to vote down Cornel West’s contention that the word “occupation” was appropriate for the party’s plan to rule, “because it undermines our  common objective … of the Democrat party to achieve a negotiated two-state outcome that will result in an agreement on borders. And once you have borders the issue that propels your concern regarding what you refer to as occupation will be resolved.” Neither Palestinians nor Israelis deserve anything less, he says. Daniel Abraham, now 92, also has ties to the Clintons. He is a major Clinton Foundation donor, of the $5m to $10m dollar caste. During the drafting committee discussion with West, Wexler didn’t mention anything about maintaining the Jewishness of the Jewish state. The advertisement in the NYT provides an even more candid view of what Gideon Levy called in a Sep 13 Haaretz column on Israel’s “obsession” with maintaining a Jewish majority in Israel. Levy writes:

It’s all based on an obsession: Israel must be a Jewish state at any cost. Just or unjust, good or not good, flourishing or not flourishing, the main thing is that it be Jewish. And as with any obsession, few can explain why and no one is allowed to doubt it. On the day Israel shakes this obsession and becomes a country like any other, a democracy like any other, it will become a safer and more just place. For the time being, we have a major stumbling block.

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