Israel’s much-decorated defense minister Ehud Barak yesterday told a high-level audience in Israel that unless Israel can reach a peace deal with the Palestinians it will indeed be running an apartheid system:
The simple truth is, if there is one state [including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza] it will have to be either binational or undemocratic. … if this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.
Shouldn’t Barak start running scared of the kind of massive backlash that Jimmy Carter met when he first, timidly, suggested that what was happening in the occupied territories– though not, in his view, in Israel itself– could be headed toward some kind of apartheid?
Nah, I guess it’s only people in the United States who need to worry about that. The general public discourse on matters Palestinians is still far more free and open inside Israel than it is here in America. (As MJ Rosenberg and Matt Yglesias have already pointed out.)
Another case in point. Barak’s use of the A-word was pretty big news in Israel. But here in the capital of the free world, if you wanted to learn about his characterization of the situation from the venerable Washington Post you’d have to read right down to the bottom of this article— which headlined Salam Fayyad’s appearance at the Herzliya conference, not Barak’s.
(Talking of Barak, this pointed little commentary arguing that he prefers hanging onto his cabinet seat rather than averting Israel’s next war with Syria is also worth reading.)