In “Kerry’s Israel speech dishonored Martin Luther King Jr.” (Jan. 12), Stephen Flatow wrote that Kerry got it wrong when he equated the Palestinian rights as part of a “separate but unequal” system for Israelis and Palestinians. The term “separate but unequal” came not from Martin Luther King, Jr., but from Chief Justice Warren in his 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
For nearly 50 years Israeli settlers have acted, and have been treated by Israel, as a super-class. They are afforded not only the rights of Israeli citizens, but granted the special privileges of a favored minority to which Israeli politicians pander.
The Palestinians, in contrast, have lived for nearly 50 years under Israeli military rule — a separate and unequal legal system in which they enjoy few rights and virtually every aspect of their lives is controlled by Israeli authorities who are in no way accountable to them, but to the settlers. For 50 years Israel has systematically abused its power to take land, monopolize resources, and displace Palestinians in the service of a strategy — often expressed unambiguously and without apology — to make the occupation permanent.
The Palestinians have no vote while the settlers have their own political party and a large voice in Israel’s elections. Separate but unequal.