Israel rejecting Palestinian ‘right of return’ is great replacement theory - Sanders adviser

“In the Israeli-Palestinian context, ‘Great Replacement Theory’ is expressed as opposition to the Palestinian right of return,” said Bernie Sanders' foreign policy adviser Matt Duss.

 A man is detained following a mass shooting in the parking lot of TOPS supermarket, in a still image from a social media video in Buffalo. (photo credit: Courtesy of BigDawg/ via REUTERS)
A man is detained following a mass shooting in the parking lot of TOPS supermarket, in a still image from a social media video in Buffalo.
(photo credit: Courtesy of BigDawg/ via REUTERS)

Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian “right of return” is the same as the “great replacement theory,” US Senator Bernie Sanders’s foreign policy adviser, Matt Duss, and several American commentators claimed on Monday. The racist conspiracy theory helped motivate Payton Gendron to murder 10 black residents of Buffalo, New York, at a grocery store on Saturday night.

“In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the great replacement theory is expressed as opposition to the Palestinian right of return, which treats Palestinians as a ‘demographic threat,’” said Duss. “US leaders condemn the former while constantly declaring support for the latter. It’s fine and appropriate to discuss the historical context for Israel’s restrictive immigration policies, which is different from the US.”

Duss added that proponents of Israel’s position “should understand, though, that treating a disfavored minority as a ‘demographic threat’ is an approach shared by ethno-nationalist movements.”

Jewish Currents editor-at-large Peter Beinart and Al Jazeera journalist Ali Harb also claimed that Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian right of return was comparable to the narrative expressed by Gendron.

In response to an ADL statement criticizing American politicians whom it felt espoused the great replacement theory, Harb noted that the ADL had previously warned of the impact that an “influx of Palestinian refugees and their descendants” would have on Israel.

PETER BEINART is the sort of progressive who hopes to be ahead of his time. (credit: JOE MABEL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)PETER BEINART is the sort of progressive who hopes to be ahead of his time. (credit: JOE MABEL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

“The ADL denounces in America the principles it advocates in Israel,” said Beinart.

The ADL and the Jewish political parties in Israel have said that the Palestinian right of return – the idea that Palestinian refugees of the 1948 and 1967 wars and their descendants should be allowed to become citizens of Israel – would result in Jews being the minority and end of Israel as a Jewish state.

“Matt Duss is exploiting a racist attack by an avowed antisemite to argue... [that] Jews should be gerrymandered out of their one, tiny state,” said Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

Ini also pointed out that terrorist organizations and some Arab leaders have acknowledged that the policy is intended to dissolve Israel. He noted that Duss had previously described “Jews moving into east Jerusalem as ‘Judaizing,’ which makes him the same as the white-supremacist Buffalo shooter.”

“Replacement” is the conspiracy theory that a cabal of political elites – often Jews – are trying to destroy white culture or race through mass migration of non-white peoples. It is often part of a narrative about “white genocide,” and manifested in the slogan, “You will not replace us,” or “Jews will nor replace us.” Another connected refrain is “Open borders for Israel,” which imagines Jews as the malicious force behind the supposed replacement.

“It’s been fun recently watching ‘progressives’ completely absorb white nationalist propaganda in claiming Jews want open borders in the US and closed borders in Israel,” wrote Jewish Journal new media director Blake Flayton.

Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism.org, said, “Exploiting the tragic massacre in Buffalo to push the Palestinian agenda is distasteful and disrespectful to the many families who were victimized by a white supremacist whose manifesto included hatred of both blacks and Jews.”