Africans as “flood,” Palestinians as “demographic threat”: Ruth Marcus’ vulgar racism in Washington Post

Only when it comes to Israel do “mainstream” American commentators permit themselves to indulge in the kind of racism Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus treats us to when she writes:

Israel faces a demographic threat to the Jewish state from its fast-growing Arab population, even without a deluge of African refugees with no religious ties or political loyalties to the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that “60,000 infiltrators are liable to become 600,000 and lead to the eradication of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Not one mainstream commentator in the US has dared argue that white supremacy in the United States faces a “demographic threat” from Latinos because California and Texas have become “majority-minority” states, or had truck with the notion that the US faces “eradication as a white and democratic state” just because most babies now born in the US are non-white.

Marcus also has the chutzpah to write that Israel is a “country founded as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust.” Is she really unaware that 750,000 indigenous Palestinians were forcibly expelled and they and their descendants not allowed to return so that this “haven” could come into existence amid the ruins of Palestinian cities, villages and countryside?

True, Marcus declares the violence against and denigration of Africans now so common in Israel as “unacceptable” and “unsettling” but doesn’t object to the underlying premise of a “demographic threat.”

In her view and that of the Israelis she channels, Palestinians – and Africans – are inferior beings. The ongoing catastrophe caused to Palestinians due to violent Zionist colonization of their homeland is unworthy of mention and Palestinians and Africans are a “threat” merely because they live, breathe and – like all other humans – reproduce.

It is language directly reminiscent of the rulers of apartheid South Africa.

The question then is, what kind of “democracy” is “threatened” by the mere births of the ‘wrong’ kind of babies? And what would Ruth Marcus say if Jewish babies were deemed a “demographic threat” in any country?

The United States has no shortage of racism and nativism, and in large parts of the country anti-immigrant sentiment.

But we don’t talk about babies of the ‘wrong’ color or ethnicity or religious background “eradicating” the country or its democracy and we should not acquiesce when politicians use such language.

And those who do are rightly labeled as indulging in the type of vulgar racism that ought to have been banished along with Jim Crow.

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Great points Ali. But doesn't Zionism imply this kind of separation or ethnic/ religious segregation?

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This is the original language of Nazi-Germany. We all, particularily those of us living in Europe or even in Germany, thought this would be over. Obviously, for this Washington Post author, it isn't. Does she want to tell us that history might repeat? This time with Palestinians and non-Jews from Africa as victims?

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This article is just ignorant of American History and Culture. Americans don't say this because the facts don't warrant it. The average American of Mexican decent is more patriotic than the white folks and last time I checked they were not blowing themselves up at the local Walmart.

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Who exactly is blowing themselves up, and what does that have to do with calling them a demographic threat?

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Mexicans immigrate to the US voluntarily. Palestinians are occupied, the conditions of which they live under are FORCED. Mexicans receive rights, Palestinians are denied humanization itself.

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Zionist demand a Jewish state. On what grounds? Guilt? The Palestinians had no part in the Holocaust yet are the victims of Zionist policies. What if a state like Alabama declared itself an independent state granting citizenship only to white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants? And then found arcane laws giving them the right to "cleanse" all others? Although that would be an absurdity, it's happening right now in Israel.

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Honestly, we need to stay focused on our tasks - which is to please Allah. This means more azkhar, more sujuud, more tilawat, more dua, more dawah, more sadaqa, more of all the things that strengthen our connection with our Creator. There are always going to be ignorant people that speak for the sake of being heard and stirring up controversy. I think the article here on EI is very astute, but I do not think that it is something that we should allow to make us upset. Allahumma antas-salaam wa minkas-salaam wa tabarakta wa jalil-i-wal-ihkram. Ramadan kareem and may Allah reward all the people working for, and supporting, EI. AMIN!

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It's also worth noting how hypocritical the American Jewish community is on this issue. Numerous Jewish organizations lobby hard for the rights of undocumented migrants to US, like the DREAMers. Yet when it comes to Israel, they become far right, anti-immigrant ethnonationalists. See:
http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/r...

A liberal Jewish writer Daniel Sieradski wrote some good tweets and blogs on this hypocrisy (noted in the Haaretz article above), but later scrubbed them all from the web. The hypocrisy runs deep!

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Well put, Ali. Ruth Marcus doesn't complain about white Russian immigrants to Israel that are not practicing Jews. How many atheist "Jews" are there in Israel? Are they "ethnic Jews?" Members of the Jewish Race? Weren't the "Zionist" founders stealing land from Palestine long before the Holocaust? Weren't they also "secular Jews?" What dishonest pablum from these racist hypocrites.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.