The Real Problem With Kerry's 'Apartheid' Myth

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The demography apocalypse isn't happening in Israel, and even if it were, it would have absolutely nothing to do with today's peace negotiations.

May 2, 2014


The Daily Beast released excerpts of his warning world leaders that Israel would devolve into an "apartheid" state if it failed to agree to a peace deal, Secretary of State John Kerry walked back his comments. "If I could rewind the tape," he explained, "I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution."



This shouldn't make anyone feel better. It's not just the incendiary use of "apartheid" that's the problem but the well-worn canard about Israel that Kerry rests his position on. And his position shouldn't really surprise anyone who's been paying attention. President Barack Obama offered basically the same argument only a couple of months ago when he warned that time was running out for "Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy."

Kerry has essentially taken the Jimmy Carter position. The theory goes like this: Arab birthrates in Israel and the Palestinian territories will continue to be higher than those of the Jews. At some point, Arabs will become the majority in all the areas that Israel governs and occupies, and then Jews will be impelled to act like a bunch of Afrikaner brownshirts to survive.

There are two key problems with this theory: 1) The demography apocalypse isn't happening in Israel, and 2) even if it were, it would have absolutely nothing to do with today's peace negotiations or the status of the territories administered by Israel.

Last year, Uri Sadot did a great job debunking the idea that demographics will one day make Jews a minority in Israel. The central point:

"The numbers just don't add up. Demography relies on more than just birth rates, and similar predictions have a long history of falling flat. Israeli Jews have a healthy and largely stable demographic majority in Israel and the West Bank, and developments in the coming years may even enhance this trend. The demographic time bomb, in other words, is a dud."

Israel's population stands at about 8 million people, with 6 million Jews and nearly 400,000 non-Jews related to Jewish immigrants. There are about 1.7 million Israeli Arabs, which includes Christians and Druses. For decades, Jews have been hearing how they will be outnumbered, yet the trends don't change much.

This is why Kerry is forced to create the fictional "unitary" state. There is no unitary state. No Israeli government— not right, left, or center—has ever seriously considered annexing the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Israel can offer limited autonomy to Palestinians—as it does in the Gaza Strip—and the "unitary" demographics change nothing. The Hamas voting bloc has no impact on Israel's domestic policy today, so why would it matter tomorrow or a decade from now? This situation is hardly ideal, and it would be in the best interest of all to have a workable and lasting peace in place, but no agreement will be palatable to Israelis if it includes Fatah non-starters such as "right to return" or a Hamas-run government eager to make deals with belligerent nations. Israel is prosperous and free enough to carry the cost of judiciousness.

Israel isn't a perfect nation, of course. It's just more perfect than many. The Israeli Arab minority not only fully participates in the nation's democratic process but also is protected by the same laws that govern Jews. As Kerry knows, only one side openly demands ethnic dissection. Saying the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be completely free of Jews is, in fact, the ugly precondition to any peace agreement.

But Kerry suggests that a change of Israeli or Palestinian leadership might offer better conditions for an agreement on the future Palestinian state. This is an interesting assertion, considering Fatah has been the only entity to negotiate for Palestinians while Israel has engaged in peace talks with the left-of-center Labor Party and right-of-center Likud Party and the center Kadima Party—though it has made absolutely no difference in the outcome.

What did Fatah do this time? Put it this way: Kerry's tireless work in the Middle East hasn't been a complete waste. While he's been pressuring Israel, the erstwhile terrorist group Palestine Liberation Organization and contemporary terrorist group Hamas have set aside their long-standing differences and will form a government in the next few weeks so that a corrupt, radicalized, poverty-ridden society can unite to blame their misfortunes on the Jews. So there's always that.

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  • John Kerry. The vinegar and water that keeps on douching.

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  • John Kerry is moronic and boring. Has this been posted here?

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  • John Kerry has a giant head and beady little eyes. His huge hair doesn't really disguise the massiveness of his head, either.

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  • Plàya Manhattan.

    That's a dog whistle. You're basically calling him French.

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  • calling him French.

    Married the Katsup Queen...


    I think not.

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  • Are big heads a French stereotype? I thought it was just cheese and surrendering?

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  • Palestine is occupied and yet they have no political power within the state that occupies their lands.

    Not apartheid by a strict definition...but not a good thing either.

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  • I would correct this by saying that there was a time when this was distinctly the case.

    It no longer is.

    So it's entirely proper to say that Israel once was an apartheid state. I don't think it's correct to say that it is now.

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  • So Palestinians have reps in Israel's parliament?

    They can vote for Israel's prime minister?

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  • Personally I say this is BS, but if you really believe this argument, you have to make the exact same argument with regard to Native Americans and the United States.

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  • Israel/Palestine: the retarded pointless conflict that will never be resolved until the ginger cow is found, yet it is like the Riemann hypothesis for politicians; they all want to be the one that "solves" it so that they go down in the history books. Fucking egomaniacal scum.

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  • Shouldn't we have Secretaries of State who actually have some experience and expertise in foreign policy? I mean, I get how everything is about politics these days, but it's not an unimportant position.

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  • But he pronounced Genghis Khan like a Brit! He was in Vietnam! Were I the Obama administration, I would have scoured my Ambassadoral ranks for the dog that didn't bark and found one who had been competently going about the business of being an Ambassador. And interviewed any that I found.

    What I don't understand is how someone competitive enough to be President just allows these ongoing fuckeries. He should be going through Cabinet members like Linocln went through generals. Of course, the real problem with this is that only a Senator could have gotten through the advise and consent proceedings without major concessions.

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  • Brett L|5.2.14 @ 1:59PM|#

    To clarify pronouns: "He" in paragraph 1 = John Kerry. "He" in paragraph 2 = President Obama

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  • The Last American Hero|5.2.14 @ 1:59PM|#

    It's about having the right people from the right families that went to the right schools. Like our ambassador to Japan.

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  • WTF|5.2.14 @ 2:00PM|#

    What difference at this point does it make?

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