The word „Judenrein“ was invented by the Nazis. Its most fervent users, however, are the Zionists. Their logic goes as follows: if a Jew takes over Arab property, and the Arab owners want him to get the hell out of there, then the Arabs are Nazis because they want to make the property Judenrein. Quod erat demonstrandum!

A recent example was provided by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, he made the following remarkable statements:

If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews? Why do those areas have to be Judenrein? Don’t Arabs live here, in the Negev and the Galilee? Why isn’t that part of our public discussion? Why doesn’t that scream to the heavens?

There’s no equivalence, and Ya’alon knows it well, between the Arabs who were already living in the Negev in the Galilee when Ya’alon’s ancestors roamed the Pale of Settlement and the Jews who have illegally moved into the West Bank, in many cases stealing private Palestinian land, be it to erect the homes, as „security zones“ or to build the roads to the settlements. The idea that the Arab citizens of Israel have a legitimacy issue that somehow cancels out with the very concrete illegality of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank is both immoral and absurd.

That aside, no Palestinian negotiator has ever asked to receive a territory ethnically cleansed of Jews. Unfortunately some people are living where they’re not authorized to and they’ll have to leave the place to comply with international law, not to satisfy the antisemitic designs of anyone. No ethnic cleansing there: thieves are thieves, not an ethnic group. What is being demanded is not a Judenrein territory; it’s an intruder-rein one.

But not only that; the Palestinians are even prepared to allow the settlers to remain in the West Bank, provided that they accept Palestinian sovereignty. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has declared: “Jews to the extent they choose to stay and live in the state of Palestine will enjoy those [democratic] rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the state of Israel.”

This is not precisely Ya’alon’s idea. As the JPost goes on to report:

Ya’alon said that if Israel and the Palestinians were truly headed down the path of peace and coexistence, “Jews living in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty and citizenship” should be possible.

Under Israeli sovereignty? What is to be negotiated, then? The two-state solution means a state for the Jews and a state for the Palestinians, not a state for the Jews and another state also for the Jews. If the settlers want to remain in the West Bank, it is the Palestinians who will dictate the terms, not the State of Israel.

It is not through the free use of Nazi analogies to demonize the Palestinians that peace will be achieved. The „Judenrein“ canard must be dropped immediately, and the fact that Ya’alon is not called out over his using it speaks volumes about the Israeli government’s true commitment to peace.