Sorry for the consecutive Herzliya Conference posts. But it is fairly big news: Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated that, should there continue to be only one country on the land where Israel and the Palestinian territories currently are (and should most of the Palestinians remain disenfranchised), then a state of “apartheid” would exist. That is a very big word to use, of course (former President Jimmy Carter’s deployment of it, for example, has made him persona non grata in many circles), and Barak said it in a joint session with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (the “Ben-Gurionist”) in Herzliya. The full quote: “The simple truth is if there is one state, it will have to be either bi-national or undemocratic. … if this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
Barak’s larger remarks were not overly dovish. He called for an immediate resumption of peace negotiations, but explicitly rejected the Palestinian demand for a construction freeze throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before talks resume. (Fayyad, for his part, insisted on that precondition.) In other words, Barak was not exactly playing the lefty.
How soon until it is fully mainstream—until it is not news, requiring of, say, an immediate blogpost—for an important Israeli (or American) to use the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s potential future?
And, if Israel’s current situation is a country headed for “apartheid,” what needs to happen for it to be a country that actually practices “apartheid” already? What are some of those preconditions? Are any of them already satisfied?
And, again, don’t forget to check in on Judith Miller’s dispatches from Herzliya for Tablet Magazine.
Earlier: Peres Passes Peace Torch to Fayyad
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.