Into the Fray: Islamizing Israel – When the radical Left & hard Right concur

Jerusalem’s Old City, November 14, 2014.Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST

None so deaf as those that will not hear. None so blind as those that will not see.

– Matthew Henry (1662–1714)

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

– An aphorism of uncertain origins, sometimes attributed to Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

One might expect that any support for a single state among Israeli Jews would come from the far Left… Recently, proposals to grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinians in the West Bank, including the right to vote for the Knesset, have emerged from a surprising direction: right-wing stalwarts… We should watch how this debate develops and engage and encourage it carefully.

– Ali Abunimah, “Israeli Right embracing one-state?” Al Jazeera, August 29, 2010

One of the most astonishing and alarming developments that has emerged from the tumultuous events that have taken place in the Israeli political system in recent years is the dramatic convergence of its two allegedly antipodal extremes.

It is astonishing because the radical Left on the one hand, and the hard Right on the other, which are motivated by totally different – indeed mutually exclusive – ideological points of departure, have embraced the self-same policy paradigm. Both have, in principle, adopted, with varying differences in nuance and emphasis, the idea of a single sovereign state, composed of all the territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and all the residents, both Jewish and non-Jewish, as enfranchised, or potentially enfranchised, citizens.

It is alarming, because very little contemplative analysis is required to show that not only would this ill-considered prescription not achieve the lofty – albeit divergent – goals the sides aspire to, but it would precipitate outcomes the diametric opposite of those desired.

For the almost inexorable culmination of such a policy would be neither the liberal multi-ethnic democracy envisaged by the anti-Zionist Left, nor the Greater Israel Jewish nation-state,” aspired to by the ultra-Zionist Right.

The almost unavoidable result of Israel annexing the territories across the pre-1967 lines and conferring permanent resident status and potential citizenship on the Arab population in them would be to create – within a short period in historical terms – a Muslim-majority tyranny. As such it would be neither democratic as hoped by the Left; nor Jewish as wished by the Right.

Dynamics of demography

It is important to realize that this would be virtually inevitable even if the optimistic demographic statistics are correct and prevailing trends are shifting more in favor of the Jewish population.

The right-wing advocates of annexation of land across the pre-1967 lines and enfranchisement of its Arab residents seem totally unmindful of demographic trends within these lines – and of the socio-political effects that will inevitably accompany them.

Thus, for example, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, while in 1949, there were more than nine Jews to every Muslim within the Green Line, by 2013, this ratio had dropped dramatically to just under 4.3 Jews for each Muslim. In other words in the six-and-a-half decades since independence, the Muslim population has more than doubled in comparison to the Jewish population – despite massive waves of immigration from around the world.

Moreover, the post-2000 statistics provide cold comfort for anyone pinning his/her hopes on decelerating Muslim momentum. For as recently as 2000, the CBS figures showed there were more than five Jews to every Muslim, compared to under 4.3 in 2013 – reflecting roughly a 16 percent decrease in the ratio of Jews to Muslims within pre-1967 Israel in less than a decade and a half.

Accordingly, the Muslim minority – without the addition of any co-religionists in Judea-Samaria – is fast approaching 20% of the total population, which also includes Christians, Druse and other smaller ethnic groups). This, together with growing political awareness and sophistication, poses an increasingly difficult challenge to preserving Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, a challenge which doubling the relative size of the enfranchised Muslim population, via annexation, is likely to render impossible.

More than a random amalgam

But beyond the maintenance of a Jewish nation-state, the increasing proportion of Muslim Arabs in the overall population is likely to make the preservation of consensual democratic governance ever-more problematic.

Lest this last sentence elicit howls of protest that it somehow reflects racist prejudice on my part, let me hasten to invoke – once again – some of the pillars of the philosophy of liberal democracy, who realized that stable, sustainable nations are more than a random amalgam of individuals, bound by nothing more than the accident of their common geographic location.

Thus, citing John Stuart Mill’s seminal treatise Considerations On Representative Government (1861), Yoram Hazony points out in an essay published earlier this week:

“… multi-ethnic states would necessarily be tyrannies, he [Mill] wrote, because only oppression can keep the radically conflicting interests of the different peoples of the state at bay.”

The pervasive carnage across much of the Middle East, in the wake of the failed Arab Spring endeavor at democracy, bears eloquent testimony to the accuracy of that diagnosis and of the Hobbesian horror that awaits fractured societies when the Leviathan cork of dictatorship is removed – even when the societal schisms are far less pronounced than those between Jews and Arab Muslims.

Mill warns that

“Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of… a people without fellow-feeling [where] the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.”

Mill also specified what might constitute the sense of such “fellow-feeling,” stipulating that “the strongest [element] of all is identity of political antecedents; the possession of a national history, and consequent community of recollections; collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret, connected with the same incidents in the past.”

‘Anthem does not represent me…’

But of course when it comes to Jews and Arabs, no such “identity of political antecedents” exists.

Take a given “incident in the past” – say the 1948 war for Israel’s independence. This is a source of “collective pride” for the Jews and “collective humiliation” for the Arabs. While the former celebrate it with joy, as marking a great Jewish victory and the attainment of national political sovereignty, the latter commemorate it with deep sorrow, as marking a humiliating Arab defeat and national catastrophe (Nakba).

The results of the March 17 election should have driven home the futility of trying to forge a cohesive society out of sizable components with such incompatible collective narratives, governable in consensual representative institutions.

The anti-Zionist Joint List composed almost exclusively of Israeli Arabs emerged as the third largest party in the Knesset. During the inaugural session in which the newly elected MKs were sworn in, nearly all the Joint List members walked out rather than sing the national anthem, “Hativka,” because it includes Judeo-centric words such as “the yearning of a Jewish soul” and references to the return to Zion. The head of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, remained, but refused to sing, later saying

“I chose to… stand in silence. That was my protest against an anthem which does not represent me, which for me is the symbol of exclusion.”

Act of inconceivable folly

To gage the significance of this, consider the anomalous perversity of the situation liable to arise were Benjamin Netanyahu eventually to form a national unity government with Isaac Herzog. Then, Odeh, as head of the largest party not included in the coalition, would become the official head of the opposition. As such the prime minister would be obliged by law to brief him regularly (at least monthly) and update him on sensitive matters of state – about a state whose most fundamental symbols do not represent him, and for which most members of his party harbor undisguised hostility.

Accordingly, for anyone dedicated to the preservation of Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jews, it would be an act of inconceivable folly to advocate doubling the potential parliamentary constituency of those who openly strive to annul its status as such.

But this is precisely what right-wing proponents of annexation of Judea-Samaria and enfranchisement of its Arab residents are proposing to do.

With forlorn desperation they cling to “alternative” demographic data that show that even if such annexation-cum-enfranchisement were to be implemented, a 60-65% Jewish majority would be maintained, and with Jewish fertility allegedly overtaking Arab fertility, this majority could be maintained and even widened.

Disrupting demographic projections

For the record, I have had long conversations with the alternative demographers and am convinced they make a plausible case – probably more plausible than the mainstream “prophets of demographic doom.” However, even if they are correct, a permanent enfranchised Muslim population of up to 40%, who vehemently reject Israel as the Jewish nation-state, its symbols, its essence and the raison d’etre for its founding, will make the preservation of its current status untenable.

Indeed, such annexation/enfranchisement is liable to initiate processes that disrupt much of its advocates’ demographic projections, which will inexorably erode the Jewish population and elevate the Arab one – until any initial majority is denuded and the Jews once again become a minority in their ancient homeland.

One of the most prominent promoters of annexation-cum-enfranchisement is The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline B. Glick, who in her widely read column last week wrote:

“Israel must base its policy of sovereignty on two principles. First, this is a liberal policy that will ensure the civil rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike, and improve the Palestinians’ standard of living.”

Consequently, we must conclude that Palestinians will be accorded rights equal to other Israeli citizens – whether immediately or in stages – and that Israel must invest in enhancing the socioeconomic welfare of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria in an endeavor to bring it to levels approaching those in Israel.

Unwanted unintended consequences

This might sound reasonable, until some thought is invested in the likely consequences.

By adopting “a liberal policy that will ensure the civil rights of Palestinians,” Israel is liable to elevate the electoral potential of the Arab sector from its current 13-15 seats in parliament to 25-30, making it virtually impossible to form a governing coalition without their endorsement. Various ad hoc parliamentary collaboration with other left-wing Jewish post-Zionist factions are likely to lead to numerous legislative enterprises that ultra-Zionist proponents of annexation-cum-enfranchisement would strongly oppose – in an ironic manifestation of unintended consequences.

Moreover, embarking on an endeavor to “improve the Palestinians’ standard of living” is precisely the opposite of what is called for (for example, see my “Israel’s only option,” December 25, 2014).

As I pointed out in “Sovereignty? Yes, but look before you leap,” January 9, 2014, it will siphon off massive resources to address yawning gaps between the societies on either side of the pre-1967 Green Line in virtually every walk of life – in the status of women, law enforcement, welfare services, road safety, education and school curricula.

Merging the two populations in common citizenship would catapult Israel backwards from the status of a developed nation to a developing one, not only jeopardizing its membership in the OECD, but relegating it from a post-modern society to a pre-modern one, in which many Jewish Israelis would rather not reside.

When anti-Zionists & ultra-Zionists converge

Not only would improving Palestinian living standards perpetuate a large, inimical population within Israel, but it would enlarge it, by making Israel an increasingly attractive destination for relatives in the Arab world, whose immigration would be difficult to prevent, given the equal civil rights granted the newly enfranchised Arab residents.

Worse, the socioeconomic realities created by the merging of the two populations would make Israel a less inviting abode for Jews in the Diaspora, and a less suitable one for Jews already in the country. With plummeting budgets available for the Jewish sector, increasing problems of personal security and deteriorating life style, Israel would find it more difficult to attract Jews from abroad, and more difficult to maintain the existing Jewish population.

The culmination of this process is not difficult to foresee – a population that has its Jewish character diluted and diminished until it all but disappears.

As the composition of population approaches that of others countries in the region, so would the political culture and customs, and a once vibrant Jewish democracy would, stage by stage, descend into a Muslim tyranny.

Thus, when the anti-Zionists and the ultra-Zionists rally around the same policy paradigm, you can be sure that disaster is afoot.

For the result would be neither a multi-ethnic democracy, nor a secure river-to-the sea Jewish nation-state. It would be the Islamization of Israel.

No wonder Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah is pleased as punch.

Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.net) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. (www.strategic-israel.org)

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26 comments

  1. Well Mr. Sherman…..
    What’s your idea on how to bring the conflict to an end?

    • Sherman provided his solution (26/12) in an article headlined “Israel’s only option” calling for 3.8 million people to be denied “water, electricity, fuel” . Presumably, food would also be denied.

      Sherman went on to say that ” individual nonbelligerent Palestinians should be offered grants” to relocate elsewhere. Who would take 3.8 million refugees was not explained, nor how to identify the non-belligerent, nor why people starved and dying from thirst would remain non-belligerent.

      • You need to learn to read and not to take things out of context.
        Try again.

        • It is quite clear, and unambiguous…unilaterally cut off water, heat and communications and pay “non-belligerent” people to go “elsewhere”.

          Here is an extract, and below the hyperlink.

          “The operational implications of this are manifestly apparent. Israel must respond to Palestinian unilateralism with unilateralism of its own.

          The most pressing measure is to make it clear to the Palestinians – and to their supporters – that if it is independence they demand, then independent they will have to be.

          Thus, Israel must convey unequivocally that it will cease, forthwith, to provide every service and all merchandise that it provides them today. In other words, no water, electricity, fuel, postal services, communications, port facilities, tax collection or remittances will be supplied by Israel.

          This will vividly expose the futility of the Palestinians’ endeavor for statehood, which almost two decades after the Oslo accords and massive investment has not produced anything but an untenable, divided entity crippled by corruption and cronyism, with a dysfunctional polity, an illegitimate president, an unelected prime minister, and a feeble economy that, with its minuscule private sector and bloated public one, is unsustainable without the largesse of its alleged “oppressor.”

          Humanitarian response to ‘humanitarian crisis’

          There is little doubt that such a unilateral initiative by Israel would inflict considerable hardship on large sectors of the Palestinian population – engendering inevitable accusations that it is precipitating a “humanitarian crisis.”

          To counter these charges Israel must provide a “humanitarian response” and offer individual nonbelligerent Palestinian breadwinners generous relocation grants to help them build a better life for themselves and their families elsewhere, free of the incompetence and corruption of the cruel cliques that have led them astray for decades.”

          The full article can be read here:
          http://jewsdownunder.com/2014/12/26/fray-israels-option/

          • It’s because all the Arabs, both in Gaza and in Judaea and Samaria, are happy to be living off the charity of Israel with no responsibilities. They are happy to say they will never recognize the State of Israel but are happy that they aren’t forced to pay their utility bills and to receive free medical help.

            Abu Mazan says he wants a Jew free state but he wants Arabs to live in Israel.

            Biggest hypocrites going. Last year Mashaal took his sick grandchild into Israel for medical treatment and whilst Hamas busy firing rockets into Israel, whilst killing his own with them, was bringing his pregnant daughter into Israel with complications in labour.

          • Shirlee, your last post did not deny the accuracy of what Sherman puts as a solution – deny people water to force them out. Cruel, ugly words, the kind gleefully picked up by Israel’s enemies as evidence of genocidal intent.

          • That’s not what he said. Read it properly

          • JayinPhiladelphia

            Israel’s enemies pick up hummisiyas, pop songs and Jewish sneezes as ‘evidence of genocidal intent.’ Pay them no mind.

            I can’t speak for Mr. Sherman, and I don’t get to read or comment here as much as I should, but perhaps it’s time to turn the tables and ask why the Palestinian-Arabs are still in such dire straits regarding water? How many international billions have been invested in water and wastewater projects in the territories over the past couple of decades? Why is there still hardly anything to show for it? Why are they not able or willing to collect on / pay their utility bills?

            I don’t know how it works everywhere, but I know for sure that if you don’t pay your bills here in the US, things eventually get shut off, too.

            I take Mr. Sherman’s point as a suggestion that at some point, it’s going to be necessary to force something to be done about the perpetual state of corruption and culture of international welfare addiction by the crooked terror gangs in Ramallah and Gaza who play at wanting a state, but in reality are clearly incapable of running one, and are in fact only interested in claiming such a desire as simply another tactic to attack and demonize Israel on the world stage.

            Israel is not obligated to meekly play along with the charade forever, and it certainly shouldn’t have to be the perpetual provider of free utilities to millions of non-Israelis so the ‘leaders’ of those same people can continue to use all their resources to pay terrorists, fatten their own pockets, incite genocide, and wage an endless international delegitimization campaign against it.

  2. JayinPhiladelphia

    Well said. Very good argument against a very bad idea.

  3. Unfortunately, the Arab Muslim population in Israel mostly wants to enjoy the fruits of a liberal democracy while at the same time supporting those who wish to destroy Israel. If there was a greater Israel, Muslims would quickly become a majority (given that they can have 4 wives and produce a lot more children), so the free and democratic nature of Israel would be undermined and we would rapidly see yet another Islamic hellhole with barbaric sharia law imposed.

    As for Israel providing free utilities, why should the ‘Palestinians’ ( who are mostly from Egypt, Jordan and other Arab countries) be given it free, when others have to pay for it. In Australia, we have to pay for our gas, electricity etc and accept that with belonging to a country there comes responsbility. Let’s stop infantilising people and treating them as helpless. The Arabs could have had their own country many times over, including in 1947, but they never wanted it, preferring to continue their aim of driving all Jews into the sea.

  4. If you don’t accept that once Muslims became a majority they would clamour for sharia law, just look at all the surrounding countries, all of which are misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic places, imposing barbaric punishments like stoning to death and crucifixion.

    Does the left truly support this?

  5. Martin is trying to get the point across that if you don’t pay for utilities, sooner or the later the money tree will dry up.

    The PA and PLO officials live in the lap of luxury, with Mashaal living in Qatar and owning a great deal of the best real estate in Gaza and elsewhere in the region. Abbas and sons are multi-millionaires. His sons Yasser Abbas, Mazen Abbas, Tareq Abbas are also millionaires and no Judaea and Samaria for them, they live in the USA. So much for their hate of America and the West.

    • Shirlee, I didn’t realise Abbas’ sons live in the US. What hypocrisy, as bad as the founder of the BDS movement studying at Tel Aviv university. These people seem oblivious of their hypocrisy and still claim the moral high ground, with lots of gullible Westerners being taken in.

      • Multimillionaires all of them.
        I have a heap of information about the ganzer mishpocher to write an article sometime.

  6. Shirlee….
    I’m about as hawkishly pro Israel as one can be. But in all the discussion above and in Martin’s article, I’m just hearing what the Republicans in the USA seem to be all about….”The Party of NO”?
    How do YOU and Martin see a solution to the problem?

    Caroline Glick makes a strong case on one hand and Martin makes (not quite as strong a case – on the other). I say that, because I see no “solutions” in his article, only worries. I’m not opposed to listening to Martin’s concerns in the least (and I’m a big fan), but I do not see a proposed solution on his part? Am I missing something? If so, please direct me to his writings (or yours – I’ve enjoyed your blogs too!) on a solution. (Mr. Adam’s post above seems to have an agenda).

    I’m new to this blog and came here from the “Jewsdownunder” link.

    Thanks in advance and keep up the great work!

    • I googled Martin’s ideas and this is the one I found. The problem is – “It’s a UN style approach”.
      No one in the hurtful European or Obamian world would allow this to be implemented in the way that Martin suggests. Hence, it seems too Utopian with the left fighting his idea tooth and nail all along the way. See Link:

      http://www.think-israel.org/sherman.newparadigm.html

      Only a bold and dramatic action will be able to break the impasse and take charge of situation on the ground. Unfortunately, I don’t think this thoughtful step by step approach has any practical way in which it could be implemented in the current world. In 1968? Maybe….but not now.

  7. Leon Poddebsky

    Matthew Adam, don’t you think that a sovereign political entity like Hamas Gaza should provide for its populace?
    Matthew Adam, do you approve of the Hamas government’s prioritising the manufacture of rockets and terror tunnels over the provision of the needs of its population?
    Just as nazi Germany led its people to disaster, so Hamas has led its people from disaster to disaster.
    Matthew Adam, do you think that Hamas and the autonomous “Palestinian” ‘Authority have any responsibility for the welfare of their people, or do you think that’s someone else’s problem?
    If you think the latter, you are being condescending at best, and, at worst, manifesting a belief in social determinism.
    Matthew Adam, have you read the Hamas Charter and The ‘Palestinian’ National Covenant?
    Both deny that the Jewish People have any national rights in The Land of Israel, and the former enunciates the imperative of genocide against the Jews.
    Matthew Adam, do you believe that it’s a moral imperative for Israel to commit suicide?

    • Leon, Sherman was not talking about unpaid bills, but spelling out a “solution”, actively turning off water and electricity as a means of forcing 4 million people out. He recognises this would provoke a humanitarian crisis and further suggests “non-belligerent” breadwinners (?) be paid to go…elsewhere.

      There is a moral imperative here – to speak out against this horrific notion. Certainly Israel appears not to share this savagery, having doubled water supply to Gaza.

      • I doubt that is what he means. He has an unusual way with words.
        I am trying to find a report I have somewhere of the mis-use of water by the Arabs.
        One way is that they will not use drip irrigation which is the best way to conserve water and was invented in Israel. They insist in flooding fields and crops and most of the water is wasted.

      • Leon Poddebsky

        Matthew Adam, what, no moral imperative to speak out against the “Palestinians'” explicit, continuous denial of Jewish national rights?
        No moral imperative to speak out against many “Palestinians'” explicit lust for genocide?
        Where have all the moralists disappeared to?
        Maybe the crux of the conflict is too difficult for them, namely the racist, exclusivist Arab refusal to recognise Jewish rights, the root cause of the entire conflict.
        So they demonstrate their superior morality by turning their well-oiled tongues against the party that does not have oil, does not have the U.N. in its pocket, does not have the NGO’s in its pocket, does not have corrupt international court “judges” by the throat, does not have Qatari money manure with which to fertilise the soils of racist antisemitism world wide.
        These moralists are perpetrating an outrage not only against semantics but also against justice and genuine morality.
        So, anti-Zionist moralists, dismount from your lofty steeds, and come to grips with the real world.

  8. Leon Poddebsky

    Matthew Adam, you have not addressed my questions about the really critical issues; instead, you have focused on the red herring of an opinion piece by a non-decision maker.
    If Israel’s mortal enemies wanted co-existence, the entire issue would be a non-issue.

    • Leon, I agree if Israel’s enemies wanted co-existence, there would be peace – that does not change my horror about Sherman’s proposed solution.

      • Leon Poddebsky

        Does your horror at the supposed “proposal” of a newspaper columnist (I have not studied his piece yet) match my horror at the outpourings of hatred, fanaticism, slander, invective, racism, genocidal intent, etc that are hourly hurled against Israel, the Jewish People, the West, not only by columnists on the other side, but by the controllers of all the levers of power in all the myriad states and non-state armed entities that have chosen to wage war against us; and let us not forget the similar conduct of all their Western collaborators in the universities, the media, politics.

        • Map of Palestine
          The day after PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas delivered his request for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, official PA TV showed this map depicting Israel under Palestinian rule. The map was part of a public service clip promoting Palestinian statehood. It shows both Israel and the PA areas wrapped in the Palestinian flag, symbolizing sole Palestinian sovereignty, and a key representing Palestinian claims of ownership of the land and “right of return.”

          Arabic texts on map:
          Right: “Expelled”
          Left: “Resolve”
          Bottom: “Right of return”

          Abbas delivered the PA statehood bid at the UN in New York on Sept. 23, 2011. The map was shown on PA TV on Sept. 24, 2011.
          Official Palestinian Authority TV
          Sept. 24, 2011

          Matthew, in the side bar of this website, there is a list of recommended web sites. Can I please suggest that you subscribe to Palestinian Media Watch and the Middle East Media Research Institute to receive emails DAILY advocating the destruction of Israel from the ME media.

          • I’m well aware of the murderous intent of Israel’s enemies – but that cannot make a murderous response acceptable. It is a testament to Israel’s integrity that it can recognise and denounce evil in its own midst, outlawing the odious Kahane/Kach.