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Netanyahu's xenophobia: Bad in America, bad in Israel

We know what he thinks of Arabs. Read what he thinks of Mexican-Americans.

Sign warning of immigrants near the U.S.-Mexican Border. (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

Sign warning of migrants near the U.S.-Mexican Border. (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

Of all the reasons Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu puts forth for why Israel needs a “Jewish nation-state” law, the most bizarre one is this: “There are those – including those who deny our national rights – who would like to establish autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev.”

Yeah, and there are those who would like to colonize Mars, and they will probably get there long before anybody establishes Arab autonomy in the Galilee and Negev.

This is another of Netanyahu’s endless supply of Arab scarecrows: we have to pass this cockamamie nation-state law or the Arabs are going to take over the Galilee and Negev.

Read also: Is the ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill good for anyone at all?

No surprises here; he’s built his career on scaring Jews about Arabs. But Netanyahu has a well-known parallel career as a pitchman to Americans, Christians as well as Jews, for the cause of Israeli Jewish chauvinism – and to get them on his side, he has been known to wave around a different ethnic scarecrow: a Mexican one.

In his 1993 magnum opus, “A Place Among the Nations – Israel and the World,” which was first published in English, he writes about what he calls the “Palestinian Principle.” He describes it as the idea that any ethnic minority has a right to carve out its own state on the land where it resides, regardless of the effect on the established surrounding state, and even if another state already exists where that ethnic minority is the majority. (At the time, Netanyahu was fighting against the Palestinian statehood campaign with the argument that “Jordan is Palestine.”)

After depicting the chaos that would ensue if the “Palestinian Principle” were applied in Europe, Africa and Asia, he writes on page 150:

The United States is not exempt from this potential nightmare. In a decade or two the southwestern region of America is likely to be predominantly Hispanic, mainly as a result of continuous emigration from Mexico. It is not inconceivable that in this community champions of the Palestinian Principle could emerge. These would demand not merely equality before the law, or naturalization, or even Spanish as a first language. Instead, they would say that since they form a local majority in the territory (which was forcibly taken from Mexico in the war of 1848), they deserve a state of their own. …

[This scenario] may sound farfetched today. But it will not necessarily appear that way tomorrow, especially if the Palestinian Principle is allowed to continue to spread, which it surely will if a second Palestinian state comes into being.

And that was only the mild, written version of Netanyahu evoking the Mexican peril for Americans to win their solidarity against the Arab peril in Israel. In person, he gets much uglier.

In April 2002 he spoke to a Dallas audience at an event sponsored by the National Center for Policy Analysis. Washington Post columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. wrote, “The idea was to get Americans to feel Israel’s pain. But, as a Mexican American in the audience, all I felt was nauseated.” Navarrette continued (h/t to Doug Chandler):

When asked for a historical overview of Middle East turmoil, Netanyahu mentioned how Jews migrated back to the Holy Land in the early years of the 20th century, set up farms and businesses and turned a desert into a desirable destination. So desirable that soon there were hordes of Palestinians trying to get in and enjoy the fruits of Israel labor. Then, Netanyahu turned to the crowd and offered this bit of sarcasm: “Now, you here in Texas wouldn’t know anything about this phenomenon.” …

Asked about why Israel is reluctant to allow Palestinians living in refugee camps to enter into Israeli society, Netanyahu mentioned security concerns but also said that a mass migration would “flood” Israel. “You know about this,” he said. “This is the reason you have an INS.”

However, this Dallas audience must have been a liberal Democratic one, not exactly Bibi’s crowd. Navarrette:

The good news is that, judging from the audience’s reaction, Bibi made a boo-boo. The ethnic pitch got no applause, only uncomfortable looks and nervous laughter.

My dear God, Mexicans in Texas, Arabs in the Galilee, the brown people are taking over: this is Bibi Netanyahu’s message to Americans and Israelis, his saviors of the free world.

He’s not only an Israeli Jewish xenophobe, he’s a wannabe American xenophobe, too. An old-fashioned white man, holding off the dark-skinned hordes.

Nightmare, he says? Given his attitude toward ethnic minorities, the nightmare is his vision of a “Jewish nation-state.”

Is the ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill good for anyone at all?
Bill aims to strip citizenship, curb speech — a bellwether of Israel’s Right
Israel’s UN ambassador puts another nail in the two-state coffin

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    1. Pedro X

      Just more Netanyahu bashing. However, when Netanyahu is gone, and Danon, Liberman and Bennett are leading the Israeli government Derfner will be waxing poetic about the leftist Netanyahu.

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        The Right Wing Fascists that spew this garbage are the true anti-Semites because they are turning even Moderate Jews like myself into BDS supporters and critics of a failed Iron Fist Policy designed to perpetuate Jewish Supremacy and Sado-Masochistic Dominance over the Palestinians.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sluggo

          Weis, you are not doing your side any favors

          Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Times a wastin’ Pedro. We’re impatient to see the mask drop altogether. Right now the fangs peek through but you won’t truly scare the global villagers until Bennet’s ugly visage is staring at them. You know that famous photo of Naftali Bennet at the Knesset podium ranting, like none other than Unser Adolf, against Germans and their language? The global village needs to see Unser Naftali in full frontal day after day. Rather than Mr. Republican smoothie, the Madison Avenue ad man, Bibi. Times a wastin’ Pedro X.

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        • Pedro X

          It is the Arab Palestinians who should be quaking in the boots if Naftali Bennett becomes Prime Minister. He is a secular and highly charismatic leader who does not have the compassion for Arabs which Ariel Sharon had. Bennett will not exercise the extreme caution of Netanyahu and will stop treating the Palestinians with kid gloves.

          Bennett will annex the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and area “C” to Israel and the world will look on and do nothing as they did when Israel annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem.

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          • Brian

            Gotta love that one: “the compassion for Arabs” of the perpetrator of the Qibya massacre and the abettor of Shabra and Shatilla. Gotta love it. And now I know what are your standards for compassion and civilization, Pedro, and as you admit, Bennet is even LESS “compassionate.” That puts Bennet in something like Einsatzgruppen territory. Now we know the standards of Pedro, Tomer and Trespasser, Inc. Now we know from what fringe extremist fascistic right wing position on the map these folks and the masses they represent chart what they call “fringe leftists.” Bookmark this page folks.

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    2. Pedro X

      The fringe leftists might want to look at this poll by Channel 1 on November 15, 2014 if elections were held:

      Likud 25 seats, Bayit Yehudi 15 seats, Yisrael Beitenu 15 seats = 55 seats among them. With the religious party the right would have 75 out of the 120 seat Knesset.


      The Poll asked “who is most fit to be Israel’s Prime Minister?” Netanyahu was the leading answer at 29% followed by Liberman at 11%. All the rest of the leaders polled below 10%.

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      • Weiss


        Goebels would be very PROUD!

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      • Yeah, right


        Likud + Bayit Yehudi + Yisrael Beitenu = 55 out of 120 = 45%

        Man, that would be uncannily similar to the results from another election.

        You know, the one from 6 March 1933. In Germany.

        History does repeat, though I can’t tell if this is the one labelled “tragedy” or “farce”.

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    3. Danny

      This is nothing new. Netanyahu is a known Republican hardliner and tea-party sympathizer. If he were a representative in Congress, he’d probably be to the right of Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. He and Ted Cruz would probably be bosom buddies.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Melissa

      I believe there is a complete gulf of understanding here by Bibi and the author in terms of both history and culture. i am from one of the regions in question, from which the newly appointed American governor was expelled by New Mexican and Indian forces in 1846.

      There is no movement in these regions by Native populations (Hispanic or Indian) to rejoin Mexico. Why? Because we feel little to no affinity to Mexico. These populations serve in the US military at extremely high rates, usually only speak English despite treaty guarantees to protect Spanish as an official language, and feel little connection to Mexico. Most do not identify as Mexican-American, preferring the terms “Hispano” or “Spanish” to anything which references Mexico or Mexican nationals, with whom they do not identify. The politics here are more aligned with the Druze than Palestinians. Many are on the far right when it comes to immigration policy.

      So if a movement akin to the “Palestinian Principle” would occur where people of Mexican descent demanded some sort of self determination or return to Mexico it would be wholly unrelated to the historical events Bibi references.

      While Bibi’s statements are irrelevant, I find the author’s assertion that it’s a xenophobic statement wholly off-base, since Hispanics in the Southwest are not in fact foreign and aren’t considered as such by themselves or their neighbors in the way that Israelis may view Palestinians.

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      • Sluggo

        You really did not get the point of the speech. It is starting how misaligned your treatise is. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you merely skimmed it and filled in the pieces that your biases thought should he there.

        Let me give you a rejoinder. Do you think that the US needs the INS at r boarder?

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    5. Netanyahu is so popular with the extreme right in america that he was given full membership in the white knights of the ku klux klan (AKA congress).

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    6. Brian

      How crazy are Baruch Gottesman’s incessant rants against the Heinrich Böll Foundation? See for yourself:



      Of all the people in the world to rant against if one wants to be against anti-Semitism–Heinrich Böll? HEINRICH BÖLL??? Huh?? How deranged is that?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Mikesailor

      Xenophobia is not a new phenomenon within the US. You can always find those who are truly frightened of change and attempt to only approve of the like-minded. They live in their own communities of the mind where the myths they tell their fellow travelers about the dreaded “Other” only reinforce their mental and physical segregation. They are afraid to think for themselves, for if they do they will recognize that the “Other” is only a reflection of themselves: subject to the same prejudicces and blind spots as they are.
      Yet, what happens when an entire nation such as Israel is founded upon xenophobia? Bibi is only an example of the pervasive hatred and suspicion of the “Other” that is part and parcel, not only of Zionism, but, I would submit, Judaism as well. The constant harping of “Is it good for the Jews?” as if Jews are separate from humanity as a whole. The obsession with the wrongs perpetrated against Jews with no consideration of the wrongs perpetrated by Jews. An example would be the constant use of the Holocaust, not as an ezample of man’s inhumanity to other men, but as the sole perogative of Jews used as a shield to keep non-Jews from examining Jewish behavior as they would any other group’s behavior. Could this attitude, most recently exemplified by the “Jewish Nation” bill winding its way through the Knesset, along with the demolition and destruction of homes and now deportation of the innocent family members of supposed “terrorists” (Never mind that those subject to such edicts are non-Jews, never Jews) without any even pretense of a trial nor any recompense for damage inflicted. Is this the real reason for “antisemitism”? What Jews, or at least a large number of Jews, do, rather than any accident of birth?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Victor Arajs

      I find the comparison by BB useful. The zionist entity was built on the theft of Palestine, and AmeriKKKa was built on the theft of Mexico. AmeriKKKa could exist if stolen Mexican territories were returned, but the zionist entity would disappear. That is what we all should be working for. If zionists are concerned about Palestinian firecrackers, they can move to Belarus or Brooklyn, well out of range of these firecrackers

      Reply to Comment
    9. “The Poll asked “who is most fit to be Israel’s Prime Minister?” Netanyahu was the leading answer at 29% followed by Liberman at 11%. All the rest of the leaders polled below 10%.”

      Whoo-hoo. The lunatic fringe is mainstream. The israelis have been drinking the koolaid for years. What could possibly go wrong?

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        The Israeli economy goes from strength to strength to strength guided by Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Israel armed forces are the best trained, equipped and motivated armed forces in the region. Israel is at the forefront of technology and innovation, medical and scientific advancement and water technology. In addition Israel has natural gas and oil resources to kick up its economy another notch.

        Israel also has a highly educated electorate acutely aware of its surroundings among hostile Arab and fanatical Muslim forces in the area. Its citizens serve in the armed forces and have an up close appreciation of the dangers and challenges facing the Israeli state.

        The Israeli electorate fully informed has chosen Netanyahu three times as the Prime Minister of Israel and will choose him for a fourth term if elections were held today.

        Meanwhile the Palestinians wallow in their own excrement and the have no choice but to endure a standard of living vastly lower than the Israeli public including Arabs living in Israel. The Palestinian leadership has taken the Palestinian public from naqba to naqba to naqba and the Palestinian leadership continues in the quest for the next naqba. Cecil Hourani in the 1960s got it right when he said the Arabs are always trying to recover from their last mistake instead of looking forward to what they can realistically obtain.

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        • Nathanael

          Sounds like what the National Party of South Africa was saying under Prime Minister P W Botha. Listen to yourself — you sound exactly like an apartheid-supporting racist.

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    10. “He’s not only an Israeli Jewish xenophobe, he’s a wannabe American xenophobe, too. An old-fashioned white man, holding off the dark-skinned hordes.”

      He’s a white man’s white man, which is, damn, really fucking white, man. Yuck.

      It’s amazing that in Texas of all places, he didn’t get a standard ovation but “judging from the audience’s reaction, Bibi made a boo-boo. The ethnic pitch got no applause, only uncomfortable looks and nervous laughter.” Kinda like his last little jaunt to the United Nations (where he should have been arrested), playing to way less than full house with a prerecorded applause track.

      Reply to Comment
      • Sluggo

        Marnie is the pseudo name of Annie Robbins from Mondoweiss. She uses it to post on other boards, but she slipped up. Explains a few things.

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        • Thanks so much “moderators” for giving this slug a pass.

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    11. Brian

      MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) expressed deep concern that representatives of what she termed “post-Zionist groups” had been invited to addresses students at Hillel functions held on campuses around the United States, where they were influencing student opinion.

      “You have organizations like J Street and the NIF [New Israel Fund] that bring representatives of groups that badmouth the Israel Defense Forces and the state of Israel to speak at Hillel-sponsored functions,” the Israeli-born filmmaker, Natan Nestel, told the committee. In particular, he noted that B’tselem and Breaking the Silence, two Israeli groups active in documenting and exposing human rights violations in the occupied territories, were often invited to present at Hillel events, where they had a “destructive influence” on Jewish students.

      “Many kids who grow up in pro-Israel homes end up joining anti-Israel movements as a result of their influence,” he charged.

      Well my oh my, the kids go away to college and get an education, start to think for themselves, and decide something’s wrong in Israel-Palestine. And Ayelet Shaked can’t stand it. Can’t stand the–the horror!–exercise of free speech and free thinking (by Israelis! And IDF soldiers!) on an American University campus, and young Jewish kids making up their own minds. She couldn’t care less about the truth claims made or not made. It’s all about brainwashing them. Note this is an Israeli MK arguing for interfering with the right of free speech on American soil. She’s trying to maintain a cult and free speech is breaking through to the indoctrinates–American citizens–and she can’t stand it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Yes, another israeli politician who needs to go to the states and teach americans about democracy. You can’t say what you want, you can’t criticize the state of Israel! It would be so simple to see just how much a friend Israel is to the United States, if the US cut them off. No more money, no more military weapons, nothing, zip, nyet and nada. Set them bubbles free america and cut any and all aid to the state of Israel. And while you’re at it, if Ms. Shaked goes to the US, give her the same welcome at JFK as Palestinians receive at Ben Gurion. Then stamp her passport ‘DENIED’ and ship her back as return to sender. Or arrest her. The US is unclean enough as it is without her.

        Reply to Comment
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