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 US President Barack Obama to back a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the so-called two-state solution and abrogating basic Palestinian rights before he leaves office in January.
The ad was placed by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. The think tank’s president Robert Wexler is a former congressman 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 Democratic 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.
“All Israelis who treasure their country as a Jewish and democratic state should be advocating for a negotiated two-state solution,” Faaborg-Andersen writes in Ynet. “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 Republican presidential nominee 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 “homelands” – 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.
Ethnic cleansing and apartheid
What does it mean to Palestinians for Israel to be and remain a Jewish majority state?
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 New York Times 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.”