Spencer Ackerman yesterday espoused a widely-stated left-leaning pro-Israel view that I've always found really, seriously bizarre:
If Israel doesn’t get out of the West Bank soon, demographic realities will force Israel to make the most painful existential choice of its life: whether to abandon Jewish democracy or whether to abandon Jewish statehood in favor of a binational homeland. Both of these options, in fundamental ways, represent the end of Israel. Not from an Iranian nuclear weapon. Not from a super-empowered Palestinian intifada. But from political failure and international diplomatic failure, the end of Israel can, actually, be achieved.The idea behind this viewpoint is that Israel currently occupies the West Bank. The population of Israeli Arabs + Palestinian Arabs is currently a minority, but only just barely. Perhaps as soon as a decade, this will change. Israel can't import enough Jews to keep up with Palestinian birth rate. When that demographic crossover happens, Israel will then cease being a Jewish Democracy. It will either stop having to be Jewish, or become an apartheid state and anti-democratic.
This is not a hypothetical fear. Unless a settlement is reached before there are more Arabs between the Jordan and the Mediterranean — which is, I don’t know, ten years away? — it will be the case. Even before then, the Palestinian national movement would have very good incentives to stop pursuing the cause of an independent state, because they’d feel themselves to be the majority in a binational state. If they can force Israel to choose between its Jewishness and its democracy — a choice that risks overwhelming and perhaps untenable diplomatic isolation. (emph. mine)
Here's why this viewpoint doesn't make sense to me... from a Palestinian rights standpoint, Israel already isn't a democracy. Why does the population switch over suddenly make the Israeli treatment of people in the occupied territories worse when substantively that treatment won't change at all. While a minority, Palestinians already don't have rights. They'll have the same amount of rights as a majority. But all of a sudden this is bad?
To me, this all seems about creating a legal framework in one's head that allows one to resolve cognitive dissonance. What I'm surprised by is how commonly expressed and easily accepted this viewpoint is, given that it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is wrong. It's not going to be more or less wrong when Jews are outnumbered by Arabs. Israel has already sacrificed its democratic ideals to serve the purposes of Ethnic Nationalism (i.e. setting up a state for the express benefit of one ethnic group), an ideology that Ackerman and other left-leaning Zionists argue against so long as the Ethnic Nationalists aren't Jews.