In America, the Jewish community’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL) promotes racial integration, equality and multiculturalism within American society. The ADL and other Jewish organisations work closely at local levels with school administrators across the US to educate young children about the virtues of tolerance and multiculturalism. As a promoter of racial equality, the ADL wouldn’t shy away from denouncing as racist anyone, including political leaders and presidential candidates, if they were perceived to be insensitive to the concerns of the Jewish community or other minorities in the US and Europe.
Jewish organisations and mainstream political groups would have no qualms about accusing white politicians of racism if they would dare to describe the birth-rate, for example, of Hispanics or African-Americans as a “demographic problem”.
In Europe, French Jewish leaders (and, indeed, the ADL) condemned Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the right-wing National Front (FN), as a racist and anti-Semite for calling for the protection of French Christian culture from non-whites and non-Christian influences. Similar statements were attributed in the 1990s to Ron Paul, a Republican US presidential candidate. ADL national director Abraham Foxman called Paul a “racist” even after he disavowed any editorial responsibility for the referenced publications in which his statement appeared.
Despite this admirable condemnation of racism and racists, there are elected politicians elsewhere who have used, with impunity, more stridently racist language without fear of being attacked by the ADL. Why? Quite simply because they are politicians who can do no wrong in the eyes of the ADL; they are Israelis.
In a speech to the Knesset (parliament) in 2007, the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the birth-rate of non-Jewish citizens a “demographic battle, drowned in blood and tears”. Not to be outdone, the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Herzliya Conference on security in 2003, “If there is a demographic problem, and there is, it is with the Israeli Arabs who will remain Israeli citizens… if the percentage of Arab citizens rises above its current level of about 20 per cent, Israel will not be able to maintain a Jewish demographic majority.”
At the same annual gathering of senior Israeli and international Jewish policy-makers, Israel’s current Foreign Minister, the Moldavian ex-nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman, proposed exchanging native Palestinians with illegal Jewish residents in the occupied West Bank if Israel is to remain a viable “Jewish state”.
In a shocking echo of Nazi Germany’s population control policies, an Israeli official in the 1990s, Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, suggested that the government could tackle the Palestinian’s birth-rate “terrorism” by implementing “a stringent policy of family planning in relation to its Muslim population”.
By definition, an imposed ethnocentric “demographic majority” is a racist dictatorship preserved only by direct collective repression of minorities. Hence, Israel’s fixation with maintaining an exclusionist ethnic majority is the impetus for its eternal xenophobic insecurity. The consequences of this Israeli obsession with security are manifested by separation walls, a brutal military occupation and other discriminatory policies which have derailed the peace process.
Fortunately for the world, racial exclusionist projects in Germany and apartheid South Africa were eventually unsuccessful, but before failing, the German version resulted in the Holocaust. It is surely no coincidence that the current Israeli demographic project has resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland from 1948 to the present day. Racism is racism, regardless of the ethnic and religious background of the racists. It is time for the ADL and other supposedly anti-racist organisations to speak out against Israeli racism. There is no room for double standards and hypocrisy in such important matters.
*Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and is the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America”, Garnet Publishing, UK. Jamal’s articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com, his email address is [email protected]
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.