Mike Huckabee's Middle East Peace Is Ethnic Cleansing

February 01, 2011 5:34 pm ET — MJ Rosenberg


Former Arkansas governor and likely presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is pulling out all the stops during his current tour of Israel.

He is telling Israelis (right-wing Israelis, in particular) everything they want to hear, with the belief that donors back home will send boatloads of cash his way.

But today Huckabee crossed a line and demonstrated that it is possible to elevate pandering on this issue to a new ugly high.

He endorsed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank.

According to the Associated Press, Huckabee said that the idea of Israel giving land to Palestinians in exchange for peace is an "unrealistic, unworkable, and unreachable goal."

And then he offered his recommendation of what should become of the millions of Palestinians who live in the territories Israel occupied in 1967 — land which every Israeli prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin has said must be traded, at least in part, for peace:

There are vast amounts of territory that are in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs. Maybe the international community can come together and accommodate.

In other words, the Palestinians can move to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Albania or some other spot controlled by Arabs or Muslims.

In Israel, this proposal is known as "transfer" and is most closely identified with the late rabbi Meir Kahane, who was banned from serving in the Knesset (despite being elected) because he was a rabid racist. This is from the website maintained by Kahane's followers.

Kahane believed that the Palestinians sought the genocide of Israeli Jews, and therefore he proposed the population transfer and even forcible deportation of all Arabs from Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In his view this was the only acceptable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Even forcible deportation of all Arabs...."

This is, of course, "ethnic cleansing," a concept Jews know about from their own historical experience.

Is this what Huckabee means?  It may be. His trip to Israel is being sponsored by the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, which is an organization dedicated to the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.

Huckabee, no doubt, expects his prospects for the presidential nomination to be enhanced by supporting transfer, which has barely any support in Israel (except among the settlers). That isn't likely. Sarah Palin was widely, and rightly, ridiculed for her ignorance of foreign policy, but she never went this far. But this isn't mere ignorance. It's also the politics of hate.