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Matt Duss: Palestinian Right of Return treats Palestinians as “demographic threat”

Jerusalem24 – As the United States is still reeling from a gunman’s attack against people of color in Buffalo, New York, pro-Israeli organization the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been ardent in attacking the shooters’ ideology.

The Buffalo shooter was a follower of a white supremacist conspiracy theory called The Great Replacement Theory, according to which white people are purposely being replaced with immigrants, migrants, Muslims, and refugees from across the world.

Social media users meanwhile have however been drawing parallels between the Great Replacement Theory and the ADL’s own position on demographics.

The ADL has been vocal in attacking the Great Replacement Theory online, prompting some to accuse the organization of hypocrisy.

The ADL tweeted “We reiterate — amplifying theories about people of color “replacing” white people through immigrations, birth rate, and other economic, social, & political means serves to normalize the ideas that animate white supremacist extremists.”

Critics promptly pointed to statements made by the ADL in their literature. Ali Harb, a journalist for AJ+, quoted the ADL’s own publication, “Israel: A Guide for Activists”.

Current discussions surrounding the Great Replacement Theory have shone a spotlight on Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian Right of Return. US Senator Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser Matt Duss stated last Monday that the Israeli rejection of the Palestinian right of return is the same as the “Great Replacement Theory”.

“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 emphasized, however, that it should be understood “that treating a disfavored minority as a ‘demographic threat’ is an approach shared by ethno-nationalist movements.”

In February of this year, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said of Israel’s Citizenship Law in an interview with Yediot Ahranoth that it is meant to prevent a “creeping right of return.”

“We don’t need to mince words, the law also has demographic reasons,” Shaked told Yediot, adding that it “aims to reduce the motivation for immigration to Israel. Primarily for security reasons, and then also for demographic reasons.”


Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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