For the second time in as many months, the Guardian has published an op-ed calling for an end to the Jewish state. The latest piece, (“The Israeli and Palestinian elections offend democracy – each in their own way”, March 18) by Salem Barahmeh, director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, parrots the narrative of B’tselem in claiming that Israel isn’t truly democratic.
In January, Btselem’s director Hagai El-Ad penned a Guardian op-ed (based on his group’s report) which included the lie that Israel is a non-democratic “Jewish supremacist” state which “rules everyone and everything between the river and the sea” – propaganda we refuted at the time.
Similarly, Barahmeh’s op-ed includes the following:
Israel’s famed “democracy”, like its expansionist policies, doesn’t stop at or recognise the green line – if anything it has bulldozed them into oblivion. In practice, Israel effectively exercises total control over the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
He’s arguing, much like El-Ad before him, that Israel has “total control” not only over Palestinians in PA-controlled Area A of the West Bank, but, even more absurdly, that Jerusalem has “total control” over the two million Gazans who live under Hamas’s authoritarian rule.
Barahmeh then peddles more untruths:
5 million Palestinians vote for the PA, an administrative body that today has only partial control over 40% of the West Bank and is dependent on Israel for its survival. The PA was supposed to exist for five years while Palestinians transitioned to statehood, but that state never came. Successive Israeli governments made sure of that, using settlements and annexation to turn the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem into an archipelago of disconnected Palestinian population centres.
In fact, the PA has both military and administrative control of Area A, where the overwhelming majority of West Bank Palestinians live. Further, contrary to Barahmeh’s claim, there was no such promise that, five years into Oslo, a Palestinian state would be born – a myth about the Accords that we’ve gotten corrected at other publications.
Finally, his suggestion that “Israeli settlements and annexation” have turned the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem into “an archipelago of disconnected population centres” is ahistorical. Since as far back as 1949, when Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt controlled Gaza, the two Palestinian population centres were “disconnected”. Contrary to myths spread by pro-Palestinian activists, there never was, at any time in history, a sovereign, unified, uniquely Palestinian polity between the river and the sea.
Then, after two paragraphs criticising the PA for policies limiting Palestinians’ right to participate in fair elections, Barahemeh then argues that Jerusalem also interferes with their democratic rights inside ‘Palestine’, by claiming that “Jerusalem and has arrested elected members of parliament”. This is supremely dishonest, as he’s likely alluding to the arrest and conviction of Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, who pled guilty to holding office in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – the terror group responsible for the 2019 murder of Rina Shnerb, a 17-year-old Israeli girl.
PFLP, which committed suicide bombings against civilians during the Second Intifada, is recognised by both the US and EU as a terrorist group.
But, it’s in the op-ed’s penultimate paragraph where the Guardian op-ed introduces the desired ‘solution’ to the Jewish problem:
The tale of these two elections is not of democracy but of giving the veneer of legitimacy to a system that maintains the supremacy and domination of one people over another. In this reality, Palestinians are stripped of sovereignty and the agency to shape their lives, their futures and the ability to challenge this oppression. This system cannot offer true democracy and as such it must be dismantled. A new social contract must be built where every person can practise true self-determination and is free and equal.
In case there’s any question that the “system” Barahemeh wants to dismantle refers to Zionism, he used similar rhetoric at the site +972 last June, where, in a similar call to “dismantle the system”, and institute “equal rights”, he linked to this article explicitly calling for a one-state, non-Zionist future.
Don’t be fooled by the faux-progressive rhetoric. When anti-Zionists use words such as “equal rights” and “democratic”, they’re agitating for a future where Jews would forfeit self-rule, and assume the status of minorities ruled by a hostile, antisemitic (likely Hamas-led) Palestinian majority – a delusional idea that could only be embraced by fools, racists and those appallingly indifferent to the fate of half the world’s Jews.