Matt Steinglass discusses Ehud Barak breaking the "apartheid" rhetorical barrier:

If American Jews want a pointer as to how to approach this problem, here is a rule of thumb: think of the most impossible concession you can imagine, the bitter point of contention you absolutely refuse to give way on. In 1970, it was the existence of a Palestinian (not Arab) people; in 1980, it was accepting that Israeli forces had expelled the Palestinian refugees in 1948 and thus bore responsibility for their plight;

in 1990, it was accepting Yasser Arafat and the PLO as the representatives of the Palestinian people; in 2000, it was the idea that Israel might legitimately be compared to an apartheid state. Then understand that within ten years, you will have given way on that point.

What on earth is the point of this resistance? Do you want, once again, to give way on the point when it is too late, and the deal is no longer available? Mr Nusseibeh says his next move will be to demand that Israel annex the West Bank and grant Palestinians at least "third-class citizenship": economic and residential rights, without political ones. On what grounds will you defend Israel's inevitable refusal of such a demand? How long before Mr Barak's words are not taken as dire prophecy, but simple description?

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