Inventing Palestinian Bigotry for Political Gain

Last week, Jamie Weinstein of the conservative Daily Caller, who I tangoed with over the motivations behind 9/11, wrote a scandalous piece entitled, “Palestinian ambassador reiterates call for a Jew-free Palestinian state.” The ambassador in question was Maen Rashid Areikat. At a press conference he responded to Weinstein who asked whether he imagined that Jews could have a political role in a future Palestinian state. In the context of the upcoming bid for statehood based on the 1967 borders, Areikat said the following:

“Well, I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated, and we can contemplate these issues in the future,” he said when asked by The Daily Caller if he could imagine a Jew being elected mayor of the Palestinian city of Ramallah in a future independent Palestinian state. “But after the experience of 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it will be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated first.”

Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy followed up in an important post in which Areikat is quoted as saying the headline was a”total fabrication”:

The Daily Caller headlined the story, “Palestinian ambassador reiterates call for a Jew-free Palestinian state,” and a similar story in USA Today was entitled, “PLO ambassador says Palestinian state should be free of Jews.” The comments also evoked condemnations from top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who accused the Palestinian Authority of adopting a Judenrein policy, referring to the Nazi drive to cleanse Germany of any Jews.

“It’s not a misquotation or out of context, it’s a total fabrication,” Areikat said in an interview today. “I never mentioned the word ‘Jews,’ I never said that Palestine has to be free of Jews.”

Areikat said that he stands by his call for “separation,” but that he intended to refer to the separation of the Israel and Palestinian peoples, not the members of the two religions. Areikat also said that the idea of “separation” is an Israeli idea and that Israeli officials including Defense Minister Ehud Barak have endorsed it.

“Israeli people includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Druze… When I say the Israeli people, I mean everybody. This is not a religious conflict, this is not against Jews. We want to be a secular state,” Areikat said.

A fair explanation. And in fact, Palestinian officials have come out publicly to address this, confirming that a Palestinian state would be secular and welcome to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Palestinian officials are rolling out the welcome mat for Jews to come to a new Palestinian state.

…“The future Palestinian state will be open to all its citizens, regardless of their religion,” Habbash said, according to USA Today. “We want a civil state, which in it live all the faiths, Muslim, Christian and Jews also if they agree, (and) accept to be Palestinian citizens.”

“It was a set-up to try to say something on my behalf I didn’t even say I did not mention the word Jews in my answer. I did not allude to that at all,” Areikat said. “We have never said this is a religious conflict.”

And no, this is not a media maneuver to counter the nasty headline claiming Palestinians won’t accept Jews in Palestine. This is an old position, as a 2009 Haaretz interview with “key Fatah figure Ahmed Qureia” who headed the Palestinian negotiating team with Israel, headlined “PA: Settlers can become Palestinian citizens” reveals. Palestinian officials would welcome Jews in Palestine.

Do you believe Israel would agree to evacuate Ma’aleh Adumim’s 35,000 residents?

Qureia: “[Former U.S. secretary of state] Condoleezza Rice told me she understood our position about Ariel but that Ma’aleh Adumim was a different matter. I told her, and Livni, that those residents of Ma’aleh Adumim or Ariel who would rather stay in their homes could live under Palestinian rule and law, just like the Israeli Arabs who live among you. They could hold Palestinian and Israeli nationalities. If they want it – welcome.

It’s clear if you read the entire interview, that Palestinian negotiators might accept Jewish settlements, although illegal under international law, along the border with Israel into a Palestinian state (although illegal settlements deep within the West Bank, like Ariel, could pose problems). Contiguity – along the internationally recognized border – is what’s important for them in terms of territory.

Either way, it seems fair to say that the initial Daily Caller piece was irresponsible at best. It has long been one of the primary rhetorical slights against a Palestinian state that they would insist upon 100% Arab Muslims as citizens and would somehow discriminate against Jews. Weinstein’s piece added to that myth. It is clearly not the case. And surely not the last falsity we’ll hear from those who wish to deny Palestinians a state of their own.

Contrast this with the incessant demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” with the latest of these demands as recent as this past weekend. Yes, Arabs live in Israel, in some cases quite comfortably. In other cases, not so. Recently, moves have been made that put treatment of Israeli Arabs in serious question. The intent of the Israeli state for these Israeli Arabs can be quibbled about. The position of the Palestinian leadership regarding ethnic and religious diversity, apparently, cannot.

14 thoughts on “Inventing Palestinian Bigotry for Political Gain”

  1. If Isreal steals something it immediately claims that in reality it was stolen from Isreal, the true victim. It always worked in the past, so why not now- since Isreal controls the press???

  2. The settlements would not be an issue if the Palestinian state was founded on equal rights regardless of ethnicity. Instead, it is an obstacle to a deal because the state is to be founded on ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

  3. Interestingly, enough Ram Allah has a Christian. In fact it has never had a Muslim mayor. Christians founded the town over 500 years ago. As a result the town must have a Christian mayor.

    I know this because my family is one of the original Ram Allah families.

  4. What is wrong with a Palestina free of squatters? However, if the Palestinians wanted to be completely evil about it (just like the Zionists have been), they would 'do unto others as others have done unto them' that ought to even out the score a little.

  5. As a matter of fact, dissenter, in 1948, if one compares the territory controlled by Arabs vs. Jews in the Palestine Mandate, a much higher percentage of Jews were massacred by Arabs than the other way around, and a much higher percentage of Jews were expelled by Arabs–100%–in fact. What prevented the Arabs from being "completely evil" was simply their dismal military performance. Whatever territory they did capture (namely, East Jerusalem and the Etzion Bloc) were in fact rendered Judenrein, and in Etzion, Jewish prisoners were massacred.

    As for the topic of this blog post, here's what Areikat said last year, much more explicitly:

    “I’m not saying to transfer every Jew, I’m saying transfer Jews who, after an agreement with Israel, fall under the jurisdiction of a Palestinian state,” he said then. “I think this is a very necessary step, before we can allow the two states to somehow develop their separate national identities, and then maybe open up the doors for all kinds of cultural, social, political, economic exchanges, that freedom of movement of both citizens of Israelis and Palestinians from one area to another. You know you have to think of the day after.”

    Asked after the Tuesday breakfast to clarify if he was truly calling for a Jew-free state, Areikat said that perhaps one day in the future things will be different.

    “Listen, again, we have nothing against Jews. This is a political conflict,” he explained. “Once the political issues our resolved, every Palestinian should be welcomed in Israel. Every Israeli should be welcomed in Palestine. But under the current circumstances — an occupation power occupying a people against their will — this is something we are trying to end.”


    So not every Jew, just every Jew living under Palestinian Authority. That sounds pretty Judenrein to me.

    Incidentally, I support the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza and most of the West Bank, but just as my support for Israel doesn't leave me blind to its flaws, I'm not going to be as naive as some to imagine that such a state would be some sort Benetton ad.

  6. Majority of Israeli politicians with the support of American politicians demand that Israel be should accepeted as purely Jewish state.

    1. But what exactly does 'purely Jewish State" mean in reality? does it meant that state law is to be based solely on Jewish religious law? If not , it's not a 'purely Jewish State". Are non-Jews to be permitted to live there as Israeli citizens? If not, it's not a 'purely Jewish State".

      Or…. are we to believe that because a state identifies itself a a 'Jewish State' it is free to do as it pleases, because, after all, who can dispute the will of God, right? And since every one of its citizens will be devout observant Jews they wouldn't do anything that went against Jewish religious law, right?

      I detest states who use the cloak of religion as a tool to advance their political agendas – and that goes for ANY state and ANY religion.

  7. The Is-lie-ilies are the biggest racists on the face of this planet. The only reason they allow some Palestinians to live in Is-lie-iel is to give some validation to their pretended democracy. Otherwise they would have ethically cleansed them long ago. They also need the Palestinians as cheap labour to exploit and to harvest their organs. @ Pro Zionist, it’s good that you can spell Islam correctly, least you forget, Islam will stop you Zio Turds soon.

  8. no wonder there is a problem….
    seems to me that under the christians Palestine and Jerusalem was a safer place.
    Jerusalem is truely the center of all religion..a place to be shared not to be conquered or
    The wierdest thing being that these deadliest of enemies share a greater portion of DNA
    than any of their western supporters….My thought being stop hating your family and start
    embracing your neighbors for they are surely your own brothers and sisters………

    1. when Christians conquered Jerusalem during the Crusades they killed or expelled all the Muslims and Jews. When Muslims got it back they invited the Jews back and let the Christians stay. It was the most peaceful place before the British got in the game with the help of Lawrence of Arabia and the useful idiots. Since then the Balfour and other games started, and the influx of Jewish terrorists like Irgun gang in the guise of refugees converted the whole place into a one-sided battlefield. The Arabs of those days did not have sophisticated weapons and, living in such a peaceful place for centuries, did not know how to fight.

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