Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

One apartheid state, for Jews only


Vast clouds of propaganda obscure reality on the ground in Palestine-Israel.  But now and then, through accident or arrogance (as in the New York Times op-ed described below), the clouds part and, for a moment, stark reality can be seen.

Here is such a moment, a revelation vividly caught by Ilene Cohen, and published on the excellent Mondoweiss website:

Heartfelt thanks (truly) to the New York Times for doing a public service by publishing this op-ed by Dani Dayan, the essential manifesto of the current state of Israeli colonialism, stripped of any pretense: one state in all of Palestine, run by the Jews in perpetuity, with a basket of limited rights for the lucky subject people – if they behave themselves.

And forget about the “right of return of Palestinians to Palestine,” the sine qua non of the so-called homeland of the Palestinian people.  NB: I’m not speaking of Israel.  Dayan makes clear: Greater Israel (i.e., what others call the occupied territories) will not allow itself to be overrun by returning Palestinians).  That’s out of the question.  The bizarre Israeli concept of democracy rests on controlling the demographic threat such that there must never be a Palestinian majority in the one state.  So long as Jews are the majority, the thinking goes, they may in good conscience oppress the minority.  That is the meaning of majoritarian democracy (also known as ethnocracy) as understood by Israeli Jews; a bill of rights protecting all does not figure in to this system.

Author Dani Dayan is not a crank in the sense of being a wild-eyed outlier.  Rather, he is the chairman of the settler council [MR: he lives in Maale Shomron, an Israeli colony in the occupied West Bank] in the “Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria” — to the rest of us aka the occupied Palestinian territories.  He speaks truth to (1) the leadership of the Western world, too cowardly ever to challenge the voracious Israeli appetite for Lebensraum [MR: German for “living space,” the term was a central component of Nazi ideology, and served as justification  for Nazi Germany to remove other peoples, making way for a Greater Germany]; Dayan speaks truth to (2) all those Jewish organizations that supported Israeli aggression and colonialism through thick and thin in the name of a “two-state solution” that was being obviated by the very acts they supported; and he speaks truth to (3) all those individual Jews who have mouthed the two-state lies themselves while also denying the aggression and colonialism to critics.  I know plenty of the number 3’s myself, and I know that many of you do, too.

There are many in the Jewish world—the Adelson types, the Malcolm Hoenlein types, the Mort Klein (ZOA – Zionists of America) types, the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] types, most of the Orthodox Jewish world – who were already on board with the apartheid program.  But for the faux liberals—the JStreet types—this will be uncomfortable indeed, as playing pretend has been their stock in trade.

But the mask has been removed, revealing the ugly face of Israeli colonialism for all to see. The time for denial has ended, because this, then, is the dystopian vision of the single state of Greater Israel, in which the Palestinian population will live in its bantustans under the oppressive thumb of the Jewish overlords as Israeli Jewish colonists expand their illegal reach to every corner of Palestine, what the rest of the world considers the OPT (occupied Palestinian territories).  The solution (Lebensraum) to the Israeli housing crisis lies on stolen land.

This is the apartheid one-state solution of which Jimmy Carter warned in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006).  No doubt all recall that he was excoriated as an anti-Semite for daring to utter the words. Now we should welcome this bald, if grotesque, presentation by Dani Dayan because it is indeed the reality on the ground and it is time that everyone knew it.

Let the foolish Europeans sort this one out, for they know well that Dayan expresses the reality that comes out of Netanyahu’s government and yet, as we read not two days ago in the Guardian, the EU is piling up the presents it intends to heap on Israel—for bad behavior, apparently. Presumably President Obama, if re-elected, will not embarrass himself with any more talk of two states.  And presumably the Israelis advocating Israeli unilateralism to get toward a two-state solution (that is, of course, totally unfair to the Palestinians), e.g., Blue White Future, or Shaul Mofaz’s absurd 60 percent plan, will realize that they have been exposed as frauds by the settler movement and the government that backs it.

The question now is how the “world” – states, organizations, individuals – will choose to go forward.  Will they continue to support the one apartheid state?

One thing is for sure: the growing grass roots movement to end the occupation, including BDS, will continue to expand its push for justice and equality for all (in this case for Palestinians, who are the ones lacking justice and equality).  And that effort is looking more and more as if it must be in the context of the one-state reality created by the Jewish colonial project – only without the apartheid.

Dani Dayan pulls no punches: it’s there in blue and white for all to see.

Author: Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.

2 thoughts on “One apartheid state, for Jews only

  1. If Dani Dayan “speaks truth,” then which truth are we to believe? This 2011 article
    (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/haaretz-wikileaks-exclusive-settler-leader-some-settlers-would-evacuate-for-the-right-price-1.354510) shows a generally more conciliatory face of this Yesha Council president. But let’s not forget, also, that the Yesha Council is the voice of the more ideological settlers (whose hard core is estimated as 15 – 20%) and not the many economic settlers who populate thriving settlement cities such as Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim, which are essentially bedroom suburbs for nearby Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas of Israel proper. Imho, it would be more constructive to concentrate on campaigning for compensation for the 80 – 85% of West Bank and Golan Heights settlers willing to leave for Israel proper if compensated*, rather than say “I told you so” when a representative of the die-hard 15 – 20% of settlers sounds off with the views of his extremist minority. (Ma’ale Shomron is made up of members of Herut and its youth group, Beitar, according to Wikipedia. Herut members revere founder Ze’ev Jabotinsky – proponent of a greater Israel extending from the Nile in Egypt to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of Iraq – and make up the right-wing of the Likud)

    *one possible source – redirection of the billions in “defense” aid given by the US to Israel.


    • Thanks for your comment. The way I read Ilene Cohen’s piece, she doesn’t say ‘I told you so,’ and neither would I — the relentless erasure of Palestine is far too horrific for that. I believe Cohen is arguing that Dayan’s position isn’t marginal but an unusually candid statement of the Israeli government’s Greater Israel policies and actions, which is fully supported by the ruling elites in the US and Europe for their own geo-political motives. Under the circumstances, I think it would be dangerously naive to imagine they would ever allow such a rational approach as a buyout to get settlers to abandon the colonization project — far too much is at stake for that.

      I agree whole-heartedly with Cohen’s conclusion: “One thing is for sure: the growing grass roots movement to end the occupation, including BDS, will continue to expand its push for justice and equality for all (in this case for Palestinians, who are the ones lacking justice and equality). And that effort is looking more and more as if it must be in the context of the one-state reality created by the Jewish colonial project – only without the apartheid.”


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