The Israeli international TV channel i24 News last week aired a call for the total ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
“There will never, ever be a two-state solution,” British far-right demagogue Katie Hopkins stated. “Israel will become the super force here. You will have to have a one-state solution.”
But she wasn’t talking about a single state with equal rights for all.
“There will not be peace in Israel until you remove the people who don’t belong there,” Hopkins asserted.
Another guest, former Israeli diplomat Daniel Shek, objected that they – the Palestinians – “are indigenous people, not migrants.” But Hopkins added that “it will be a one-state solution, and in so far as you will have to remove certain individuals, you would just take more land.”
Shek asked: “You mean 50 percent of the population will have to go?”
“Yes, they will have to go,” Hopkins affirmed. “If some of their population still stab you with knives, then I would say yes, the rest have to go.”
Palestinians constitute half – and likely a slight majority – of the approximately 13 million people who live in what is today Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Hopkins’ call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians may even meet the international legal definition of genocide.
The Genocide Convention defines numerous acts as genocide if they are committed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”
Indeed, prominent scholars of genocide argue that Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian people over decades constitute a form of genocide.
Hopkins is a notorious far-right racist who has caught the favorable attention of US President Donald Trump for her Islamophobic vitriol.
She has a well-documented record of using her high-profile media appearances to spread conspiracy theories and incite racial, ethnic and religious hatred.
Hopkins also used her i24 News appearance to claim that Muslims are “forcing the Jews out of western Europe,” as well as her “own population.”
And in perhaps one of her only credible statements – politically speaking at least – she called Israel her “natural home.”
She has previously referred to migrants in Europe as “cockroaches.”
Hopkins was perhaps channeling Rafael Eitan, the army chief who commanded Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and once notoriously called Palestinians “drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”
That Shek challenged Hopkins’ call for the ethnic cleansing of millions of people in no way mitigates i24 News’ responsibility for airing dangerous racist incitement.
Would any channel defend as legitimate debate, say, a discussion on whether Jews should be expelled from Europe, or whether slavery should be reinstated in the United States? Even if free speech entitles people to hold such repugnant and abhorrent views, no media platform is obligated to give them space.
Some matters are beyond debate, and to provide their adherents with a platform in any format serves only to legitimize extremist viewpoints.
Yet i24 News is attempting to whitewash and downplay Hopkins’ comments as merely “controversial” – that is to say within the scope of acceptable debate.
EU embraces racist municipalities
The intense and arguably genocidal racism Hopkins expresses is all too common and normalized in Israel, an ethno-state where Palestinians are conceived first and foremost as a “demographic threat” to the violently gerrymandered Jewish majority.
Council member Itai Cohen told media the municipality would continue to “ensure that Afula preserves its Jewish character.”
“Anyone looking for a mixed city – Afula is not the address,” Cohen told Israeli army radio on Sunday. “We are a right-wing place with Jewish characteristics.”
The demonstration was joined by members of Lehava, a Jewish extremist group that agitates against mixed marriages and whose members habitually participate in violent rampages calling for Palestinians to be “wiped out.”
This systematic racism has done nothing to deter the self-declared human rights champions at the European Union from embracing Israeli municipalities.
There is no indication that the EU is requiring Israeli municipalities to end their racism against Palestinians and people from African states as a condition for such cooperation.