NY Times publishes call for Palestinian “national suicide”

Man holds microphone in front of Israeli flag

Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon yearns for Palestinian “national suicide.” (Jens Schott Knudsen)

The anti-Palestinian bias of the The New York Times has long been a subject of complaint and derision among supporters of human rights and competent journalism.

But the “newspaper of record” outdid itself this week by publishing and promoting an op-ed by Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon claiming that “a national suicide of the Palestinians’ current political and cultural ethos is precisely what is needed for peace.”

Danon argues that a Palestinian “surrender” to Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid “will create the opportunity to transform Palestinian society.”

Danon’s grotesque racism drew much sharp outrage from commentators.

One of them, UCLA professor Saree Makdisi, tweeted, “Imagine The New York Times publishing a piece asking what’s wrong with Blacks, Latinx, Native American or any other community abjectly surrendering to racism, inequality and oppression.”

“This special treatment is reserved for Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular,” Makdisi added.

Though the Times’ anti-Palestinian record predates their hiring by decades, it is no surprise to see such an execrable piece published in 2019 when the newspaper’s op-ed staff and columnists include Bari Weiss, who as a student mounted campaigns to ruin the careers of Arab and Muslim professors for daring to criticize Israel, and Bret Stephens, who has his own lengthy Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian record.

As for Danon’s demand that Palestinians surrender, it could well have come from one of the leaders of apartheid South Africa in the 1980s and have been directed at Nelson Mandela.

After all, the racist regime in Pretoria, just like its racist counterpart occupying Jerusalem today, held overwhelming, seemingly insurmountable power over its subject population.

Yet just as Black South Africans proved a generation ago, and Palestinians are showing again, oppressed peoples have their own insurmountable power: the power to say “no” to the oppressor, the power to refuse to become partners and collaborators in their own eradication.

Israel’s demand that Palestinians recognize its supposed “right to exist as a Jewish state” is a demand that Palestinians bless and approve their own oppression and dispossession – it’s precisely the surrender that Danny Danon yearns for.

But as I’ve noted previously, this demand is an admission of weakness on Israel’s part: It’s an acknowledgment that the Zionist project and the racist, apartheid state it produced, can never be legitimized or achieve stability without the consent of its victims: the Palestinians.

In that context, the Trump administration’s Bahrain conference going on this week, as well as its supposedly forthcoming Deal of the Century, are yet more efforts to bribe, bully and blackmail Palestinians into surrendering their basic human and political rights.

But Palestinians have not surrendered despite all the atrocities Israel has committed and commits against them.

And op-eds using genocidal terminology in The New York Times will not bring them to their knees either.




I feel that this has further exposed Israel as totally uninterested in genuine peace talks but wants to diktate terms


The NYT, the voice of U.S. capitalism and imperialism, is trying to batter down Palestinian resistance. The general strike in Gaza against the Bahrain conference is only part of the answer. Here is another answer to arrogant dictators from Shelley:


by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


I know the poem well. I certainly agree with it. But climate change may overcome life on Earth before we see such justice.


FWIW I'm pretty sure* that Dannon's article (& Erekat's one that Dannon was responding to) only called for a Palestinian surrender NOT for their suicide. Is this a key distinction?

Dannon was specifically arguing by analogy using Japan & Germany post WWII and how their surrender enabled a massive change of culture followed by economic rebuilding that made them the nations they are today. I think its drawing a very long bow (really stretching the point) and perhaps, maybe, even disingenuous to say the same applies here but I don't think its quite the same as calling for the suicide of Palestinians which would be outright genocidal, racist and completely and utterly wrong.

If, for example, Hamas and Fatah surrendered to Israel or the UN and disarmed would it end the Palestinian people and culture? I don't think it would - although I don't think either are likely to do so anytime soon.** If the Palestinians all committed suicide OTOH - also NOT going to happen - it would be an unthinkable genocide which, obviously, would be totally unreasonable to ask of them. A government or armed force ending a conflict and giving up is very different from demanding a group of people literally kill themselves.

Maybe this is just semantics but I do think its important to be accurate, be fair and get things right please. Otherwise good article.

* I may be mistaken here and if so then my apologies.

** Palestinians all stating that terrorism & firing rockets are worse than useless; rejecting those tactics & disarming to adopt a strictly non-violent Gandhi / Martin Luther King type approach - even Hamas etc .. leaders turning themselves in and confessing to the killings they've done would be a remarkable and admirable idea which, I think, would gain Palestinians a huge amount of global respect and really help their cause.


Danon’s article literally uses the words “national suicide.” Would the NY Times print an article calling for Israeli “national suicide”? What do you think?


I think if the IDF and settlers turned themselves in and confessed to all the murders they’ve done it would be a remarkable and admirable gesture.


No, I don't think the NYT would ever do that - call for Israel to committ national suicide.

Danon's article literally used those words - "national suicide" and called for that? Okay, I stand corrected & must have missed that. My apologies.

I guess you could also ask whether Palestinian surrender especially to Israel would effectively be & mean national suicide for its people? I hope not but don't know.

I don't think there 's any military solution here by either side. I don't know what the answer is & as someone who is neither Palestinian nor Israeli (Australian person typing here) I admit I cannot do any more than make suggestions and hope. I would note that the tactics that have been tried - repeatedly - so far don't seem to be taking either party anywhere good. Peace on just terms and with recognition of shared Humanity and shared legitimacy and cultural and religious ties to the land seem to be what's needed but how do we get there and overcome all the hate and demonisation and mutual swapping of atrocities in a seemingly never ending frustrating cycle I don't know.


It is a sin and shame against the entire world that the Zionist state of Israel has been allowed to brutally oppress the indigenous Palestinian Arab population for these many decades. Israel must be held to account for its land theft, its repression, oppression of the Palestinian people. The world stopped Nazism, the world stopped apartheid in South Africa and it is the duty and responsibility of the entire world to stop Zionist Israel! The highest favor that the world could do for Israel is to end the occupation of Palestine and to bring those responsible in Israel to justice for their crimes.


It is sad the most western countries and lately some Arab countries do not understand the Palestinian Personality. Palestinians lost their land and are ready to give their lives to get it back. Even Palestinian children are young men, they know how much their parents suffer during this conflict. So do not ask the Palestinians to surrender this will never happen. Even if they find few greasy Palestinians to agree the rest will destroy any agreement. Palestinians as a population are stronger now than ever, not having a good leadership does not make them weak they just look weak to others they are like a hungry animal waiting for the right moment to attack.
All who assume they are very week at this stage do not know the inner personality of most Palestinians.
Only a fair solution to the Israeli occupation may reduce the Middle East conflict. And only if the Palestinian majority approve with there be any settlement. Convincing some Palestinians or their leaders is useless and time have shown this many times in the past fifty years of occupation.


To be honest, you know all Israelis are settlers, you know all of Israel is occupied Palestine and every single Israeli city is a settlement.Israel looks like a strangely disconnected, self-serving echo-chamber. While the illegal government perceives its hasbara efforts to be helping the nation ride high on a wave of righteousness, the sad reality is that the country is increasingly isolated and adrift, cast away on a wave of its own delusion.


Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History

The Israeli narrative of a nation/state returning to its homeland after a fifteen hundred year exile requires ongoing deft work by the David Ben-Gurion initiated Governmental Names Committee (Va’adat Hashemot Hamimshaltit, 1949). The Hebraization of Palestine is described in Nur Masalha’s “Palestine – A Four Thousand Year History” a strong scholarly academic addition to the subject of delegitimization of an indigenous people.