Friday, October 15, 2010

Daoud Kuttab Plays the Race Card

The HP blogger Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist living in Jerusalem who is one of the dedicated pro-Palestinian voices on the HP. He is by no means the worst of his kind, though, occasionally posting articles critical of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. In his recent article, Palestinians Reject Israel's Racist Demand, he plants his flag firmly on the side of the Palestinians. Let's dissect it, shall we?

Kuttab starts off with a diatribe against the proposed new citizenship oath, which has been taking fire from all sides recently. If he had limited himself to arguing against this one issue, he might have been golden. But he points out that, "The cartoon reflects the fact that 63 years after its creation, Israel still does not have a constitution guaranteeing the rights of its citizens, especially the minorities." There are three ways this fact doesn't apply to this issue. 1. Israel's citizens' rights are still guaranteed, it's only the prospective citizens who would have to take this oath 2. Numerous other democracies don't have a constitution, most notably Great Britain and 3. Israel's Declaration of Independence, among numerous other things, protect the rights of its citizens. So that point fails.

Next, Kuttab defends the recent rejection by the Palestinians of the most recent deal to keep the settlement freeze going:
"Palestinians have many reasons to reject the outrageous and totally illogical demand made by the Israeli prime minister that they recognise the Jewishness of Israel in return for the Israelis suspending their illegal settlement activities for a mere two months.
The conflict is national, focusing on the occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands, and the national right of Palestinians to establish their national (not ethnic) state. By accepting the ethno-religious nature of Israel, the entire reference point for solving the conflict is put in total disarray. No longer would international law or treaties be the legal basis for finding solutions."
Let's unpack this statement for a second. Kuttab talks about how the balance between the statement required from the Palestinians and the freeze by Israel is unbalanced and unfair. I agree, but in the other direction. The Palestinians seem to be the only people in the world who think they are entitled to get something for nothing. Israel froze settlement building for ten months and the Palestinians didn't do anything to deserve that. Why shouldn't Israel expect something in return for a continuation of the freeze? There's no such thing as a free lunch.

And what does Israel want in return? Words. Words that the anti-Zionists on the HP claim the Palestinians have already said, but for some reason refuse to say again. You're right, Mr. Kuttab. The deal isn't balanced. The Palestinians are once again getting the better deal, but they still rejected it.

As for Kuttab's point about national vs. ethnic states, the Palestinian demand for a state is for a Palestinian Arab state. Why else would they not want Jews in their future state? So all Israel wants from the Palestinians is the same thing the Palestinians want for themselves, a commitment that their state sovereignty is respected by the other party and will not be violated.

And then Kuttab contradicts himself in his next paragraph.
"Of course in immediate danger from the racist attempts regarding a direct introduction of Judaism in the governance of Israel is the country's Palestinian population. Palestinian citizens of Israel today amount to 20 percent of the population."
Wait...I thought the Palestinian cause was national, not ethnic. Then why are Arab citizens of Israel calling themselves Palestinians? By implying Israeli Arabs are Palestinians, Kuttab implies Palestinians are an ethnicity, not a nation, something that he criticized Israel for in his earlier paragraph. Sigh.
"Lieberman has made it clear that his party's goal is to transfer the majority of non-Jewish population out of the country. Palestinian Arabs who have lived on their land for centuries will be ethnically cleansed if he gets his way.
Lieberman's ideas are no longer on the fringe of Israeli policy. He made them public in Israel and from the UN rostrum, and by getting the current Israeli government to vote for the nationality pledge, he has shown that he can turn these racist laws into policy."
You can criticize Lieberman's plan without lying about what it entails, Mr. Kuttab. Lieberman wants to redraw the border so that Arab villages in Israel will be part of Palestine and Jewish villages in the territories will be part of Israel. No "ethnic cleansing" required, not a single Arab or Jew would have to move an inch. Seeing as how Mr. Kuttab considers Israeli Arabs to be Palestinians, I don't understand why he would have a problem with this plan. Doesn't Palestine belong to the Palestinians?

 So even though Mr. Kuttab doesn't explain why exactly Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state is "racist", he keeps bending the truth and outrightly lying to try to explain away why the Palestinians continue to refuse to seek peace. I guess making "the case for Palestine" is more difficult than ever these days, since we've exposed the heart of the conflict, Palestinian refusal to accept Israel's Jewish existence.


  1. An excellent argument in favor of the oath is here:

  2. What the Palestinians really want is a 1 1/2 state solution. They want a Judenrein Arab state for themselves and they want to force Israel to be a bi-national state with a hostile Arab minority. They are not really in favor of a two states for two peoples solution. What they are after is a phased two stage plan for Israel's destruction: take what they can get now and then attain the rest of their goal in the future.

    The only thing that keeps Israel from foolishly amputating its homeland is continued Arab intransigence. I hope that lasts forever.


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