In 2007, Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid created a firestorm of controversy. Brandeis University initially said it would only allow Carter to speak on the book on campus if he would debate gadfly apologist Alan Dershowitz. Carter stood his ground and eventually did speak on campus, but many in this audience were distinctly cool to him.
A new poll of Israelis, however, finds that a majority of them believes that there is some or a lot of Apartheid in Israel.
Most of these Israeli respondents are comfortable with open discrimination against Israeli citizens of Arab heritage, and even more-so against those Palestinians being kept stateless on the West Bank.
These attitudes are all the more disturbing because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party has just concluded an accord with the even more far rightwing Yisrael Beitenu Party of Jewish supremacist Avigdor Lieberman. The two will contest parliamentary elections together, and have good chance of winning. There was a time when someone of Lieberman’s views would be ostracized in Israel and people would have declined to make a coalition with him, given that his policies have been stigmatized by the Israeli center-left and the Palestinians as a kind of racism.
Netanyahu’s sudden air campaigns against Gaza may be part of the same strategy, intended to stir up Israeli nationalist feeling ahead of January polls.
About a third of Jewish Israelis want to denaturalize Israeli Arabs, depriving them of the right to vote. Nearly half (47%) want some of these Israeli citizens to be ethnically cleansed from Israel and ‘transferred’ to the West Bank, though, confusingly, 38% want to annex the West Bank to Israel altogether. If that happened, though, 69% say that they would oppose giving citizenship to the 2.5 million Palestinians who live there.
Residential segregation is a big part of Apartheid. Some 42 percent of Jewish Israelis would not want to live in the same building with Israelis of Arab heritage. The same percentage doesn’t want to see their children in the same class with Israeli children who are ethnically Arab.
About half want the Israeli state to treat Jewish citizens better than it does Arabs, and 59% want majority-affirmative-action, i.e. preferences for Jews over Arabs in hiring.
74 percent of Jewish Israelis want separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.
With the end of the plausibility of a two-state solution, there clearly will only be one way for Palestinians to escape statelessness, which is in a single state. that state in turn can be a normal democracy or an Apartheid one dedicated to institutionalizing difference. It is the latter that the Israelis are likely to end up with.