Weiner said Egypt will be an Islamic state, and Israel will be a Jewish one

Israel/Palestine
on 25 Comments

More reaction to last Thursday night’s debate between Brooklyn congressman Anthony Weiner and former Washington State congressman Brian Baird at the New School, moderated by Roger Cohen.

I just transcribed this piece of one of Weiner’s responses. It’s begging to be unpacked, a very interesting train of thought from Weiner about the first amendment and the Jewish State, after Baird expressed concern about the intolerant discourse in Israel.

Weiner: I do see discussions and debate and votes in the Knesset, in the democratically elected legislature of Israel. I do see good ideas and I see crazy ideas. But when my friend Brian Baird describes the first amendment; it’s a Jewish state. It’s a Jewish state. That’s what it was created to be, and it has a right to be a Jewish state, just like in Egypt it’s going to be an Islamic State. That is — [jeers]

Oh no? Oh, it’s not going to be? In Egypt? Really? Okay. how about this. I apolo– Lemme stipulate. Lemme stipulate that it probably will be. The idea of a first amendment, it shows a little bit of a blind spot. It’s not going to be–

Cohen: What do you mean by an Islamic state?

Weiner: I imagine that it’s going to have many of the precepts of Islam, and that’s going to be the prevailing religion. It’s not? I mean, you were there. I’d be certainly surprised if the Coptic Christians emerged as a Coptic Christian state. But the idea, somehow, that Israel is not a Jewish state is part of the problem here. Some people believe that it shouldn’t be. They have their right, but it is. And it’s going to be.

Imagine a Likudnik making a statement like this about the Islamic Republic of Iran: But the idea, somehow, that Iran is not an Islamic state is part of the problem here. Some people believe that it shouldn’t be. They have their right, but it is. And it’s going to be.

Also, per the published comment on this site that the debate should have been an occasion for someone to step in and supply details of international law, note that Weiner said, “The UN exists to beat the bejeezus out of Israel.” I’m sure he means in its current incarnation, but it’s nonetheless a funny statement to make, implying that from its inception, this is what the UN does. In actuality, from its inception, what the UN does is allow the inception of countries like Israel.

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25 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    March 7, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I couldn’t follow Weiner. Indeed, I walked out at about this point. What he said seemed like incoherent lies (his own or AIPAC’s repeated).

    However here is an important point: the labels “Jewish” and “Islamist” as applied to states.

    Is Israel “Jewish” and might Egypt be “Islamist”: [1] as a religious proposition (no, a state does not itself have a religion); [2] because of a legally-enacted state-religion (as England may be said to be Anglican, independent of any other laws, and independent of the religions of the people); [3] as a comment on the (current) religious labels of the population; [4] or otherwise?

    Israel is “Jewish” because state-enacted “Jewish” laws of family (marriage, divorce at least). It is, in another sense, “Jewish” because 80% or so of its citizens call themselves “Jews” (whatever their religion or lack of it). I don’t believe that the entirety of its enacted laws consists of Halacha.

    Perhaps Weiner meant one of these things. I don’t know which, or how many, or perhaps something else (perhaps something mystical).

    As to Egypt, the people are largely Muslim, and that would make Egypt a “Muslim State” by population. By law, I have no idea. I bet that Shari’a is not law in Egypt today, but I do not know. Not like Saudi Arabia and Iran, I’d surmise.

    And after the revolution? We’ll have to see. The co-operation between Copts and Muslims was wonderful to watch and reminded me of the wonderful co-operation between Christians and Muslims in Palestine (where a large number of the Executive Committee of the PLO were always Christians, where my favorite Palestinian politician, Hanan Ashrawi, is a Christian. I hope that there will not be any religious laws in post-revolutionary Egypt, but it is not for me to choose. (Weiner, listen up!)

    But as to what Weiner meant, my guess is that he meant to express fear and loathing at a concept not well understood. Perhaps he was imagining that Egypt would become an enemy of Israel, or a “terrorist state”, which could usefully — for him — be labelled “Islamist”.

    Beware of labels. Don’t trust people who call themselves or others “liberals” or “Islamists” or “terrorists” or “conservatives” or “neocons” because words are slippery and don’t carry meaning (other than emotional-meaning) well. To say what you mean takes longer than using bumper-sticker phrases and labels, but it is time well spent. (Weiner, are you still listening?)

  2. Arnon Shwantzinger Too
    March 7, 2011, 12:27 pm

    I wrote this in the other Weiner thread – but I’m fast coming to believe the only reason Weiner was sent to this debate was to “test the waters” for future Zionist talking points. I actually think this one (Egypt being Islamic) was a failed talking point which we won’t be seeing anywhere other than on the Fox side of the debate.

    Weiner seemed obviously surprised at the unanimous and immediate negative reaction from the crowd. He lost his game face for a second there. He backtracked really fast once he’d realized how far he’d stepped out of his progressive persona. Almost to the point of saying he’s sorry.

    He does, however, raise an important point – will we see a first amendment in the Egyptian constitution?
    Egypt is obviously going to be setting the tone for the region’s changes, reforms and revolutions. In all probability Egypt will emerge as the most liberal in the region, and with more inalienable rights and freedoms than its neighbours. Sort of like America was to the democracies of the world post WWII, but on a local level. All other regimes trying to emulate the Egyptian model but getting away with less secure constitutions – Israel/Palastine included.

    So the question of Egypt’s First Amendment is paramount. If Egypt fails to secure a viable, strong and inalienable freedom of speech clause – Libya, Israel and Jordan will surely have no incentives to do better.

    So maybe Weiner’s “Oh really? We’ll see…” reaction when he lost his progressive mask is something to take seriously after all. He probably knows what strings the American Zionists are pulling from the White House better than we do.

    • Potsherd2
      March 7, 2011, 4:00 pm

      The revolution manifested a strong solidarity between the Muslim and Christian communities.

      • Arnon Shwantzinger Too
        March 8, 2011, 4:43 am

        Yeah, I remember. That doesn’t in any way guarantee that the Egyptians will emerge with a strong constitution and a first amendment clause.

        The army and its power structure have remained unscathed. They’re basically at the mercy of the American MIP. I’m not sure American Zionists will be happy to see a true constitutional democracy arise in Egypt.

    • Pixel
      March 8, 2011, 10:12 am

      … I’m fast coming to believe the only reason Weiner was sent to this debate was to “test the waters” for future Zionist talking points. I actually think this one (Egypt being Islamic) was a failed talking point which we won’t be seeing anywhere other than on the Fox side of the debate.

      I agree, that Egypt being an Islamic state was a talking point that failed but I don’t think Weiner was sent in there with the intention of testing anything. He was 100% caught off guard by the reaction he got.

      He was flying right along, with the TPs he keeps in his mental pocket, like there was no tomorrow – just like always. It’s worked successfully, forever. Why not now? And, hey, they’re prepared. If you ever do get backed into a corner, just pull out the old standard: hijacking the conversation.

      Immediately, dominate. Speak loud and fast. Use strong body language. Speak with conviction and indignation. Forget about facts and sounding coherent. Confusion and obscuration are your friends. Say as much as you can, as fast as you can. Don’t breathe or pause. Don’t let anyone get a word in edgewise.

      These tricks are so ridiculous, so juvenile, and so transparent, that it’s shocking they ever worked. But they have worked. Key word: “have.” The Golden Age for these stars of B-movie political theatre are over. Did someone say, “Norma Desmond”?

      Please pass the popcorn. I can’t wait to see the ending.

  3. seafoid
    March 7, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Weiner went off piste there without his skis and he knew it straight away.
    He didn’t push the point once the realisation sank in

  4. Kathleen
    March 7, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Wiener “But the idea, somehow, that Israel is not a Jewish state is part of the problem here. Some people believe that it shouldn’t be. They have their right, but it is. And it’s going to be.”

    thanks for going over this

    • Citizen
      March 7, 2011, 1:35 pm

      Wouln’t it be nice if everytime Wiener said or directly implied that the US & Israel share the same values or interests, a sign would pop up over his head saying, “No, Anthony, Israel is, as you’ve said, a Jewish state–like Iran is an Islamic state, or Egypt will be.”

  5. Kathleen
    March 7, 2011, 12:58 pm

    Under pressure the UN created Israel

    • Avi
      March 7, 2011, 1:17 pm

      John B. Quigley, an international law professor wrote the following in his book, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice

      Page 37: link to farm6.static.flickr.com

      • MHughes976
        March 7, 2011, 2:38 pm

        Quigley was telling the truth about the ME when few others would. I think I read and was moved by one of his books near 20 years ago, but then fell under the influence of the soporific poison brewed in Oslo.

      • Citizen
        March 7, 2011, 2:47 pm

        There was a lot of pressure put on a S American country (Argentina?) The last three votes needed were Liberia, Haiti, and Phillipines–all three were heavily financially dependent on the US and threatened accordingly by the US. Apparently a Protestant minister, sent by the Zionists, named Sheldon convinced Haiti to cast the last vote needed. link to wn.com

        Pressure from Zionists, US officials and former officials was brought to bear on countries that were intending to vote against partition. Greece was threatened with loss of foreign aid.  Apparently on the prompting of former Secretary of State Stettinus, tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone threatened Liberia with a rubber embargo. Paraguay, the Philippines, Haiti  and  other countries reversed their positions and voted for partition. Though newspapers accused State Department officials of acting against partition, at least some State department officials were directly involved in lobbying for it. Dean Rusk, head of the State Department’s UN desk in Washington, later wrote, “when President Truman decided to support partition, I worked hard to implement it….The pressure and arm-twisting applied by American and Jewish representatives in capital after capital to get that affirmative vote  are hard to describe.”  The vote was again postponed to Saturday November 29, one more day, at the request of the Arabs. Greece voted against partition anyway, but other countries changed their vote. link to mideastweb.org

  6. Miura
    March 7, 2011, 1:26 pm

    This is a 21st century update of Herzl’s 19th century notion of “Anti-Semites will become our surest friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies.” After all, isn’t an Egypt ruled by the fanatical ‘ Muslim Brothers–whose former General Guide, Mahdi Akef, recently declared that he would prefer a Malaysian Muslim as president to a Christian Egyptian’ preferable to an Egypt whose articulate and self-confident Christian citizens express solidarity with articulate and confident Palestinians, Christian or not?

    • Avi
      March 7, 2011, 2:26 pm

      After all, isn’t an Egypt ruled by the fanatical ‘ Muslim Brothers–whose former General Guide, Mahdi Akef, recently declared [...]

      The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are not fanatics by any stretch of the imagination. That meme has been refuted several times on this website. So, take your tired garbage and go home.

      “whose former General Guide”

      This goes to show that you’re both dense and dumb.

      ======================

      Phil, the website is teeming with trolls. At the very least, try to keep a 50/50 balance.

      • Miura
        March 7, 2011, 5:22 pm

        No doubt you’ll defend a Tea Party rally where the speakers express their desire to be ruled by a white leader from, say, Austria rather than an African-American with the same degree of righteous anger with which you defend the narrow-minded bigots of Muslim Brotherhood.

      • Chaos4700
        March 8, 2011, 11:52 am

        To summarize: FEAR! FEAR MUSLIMS! THEY’RE LIKE NAZIS!

  7. eljay
    March 7, 2011, 1:41 pm

    >> But the idea, somehow, that Israel is not a Jewish state is part of the problem here. Some people believe that it shouldn’t be. They have their right, but it is. And it’s going to be.

    The man wears his Zio-supremacism proudly. I wonder if he would have rolled up his sleeves and done the dirty work of ethnic cleansing or whether – like RW – he would simply have “held his nose” and approved of the “required” evil being committed by his co-collectivists.

  8. Potsherd2
    March 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

    As I keep asking Zionists, I’d like to ask Weiner: Define “Jewish state.”

    • RoHa
      March 7, 2011, 7:25 pm

      Important point.

      Depending on how “Jewish State” is defined, Wiener’s claim “it has a right to be a Jewish State” may fail. If “Jewish State” means “gives preferential treatment to Jews” then it is immoral, and thus cannot have a right to be a “Jewish State” in that sense.

      (Who is this Wiener, anyway? Is he someone of importance, or just another time server/place holder?)

  9. hophmi
    March 7, 2011, 4:05 pm

    Oh, really? Is it that hard to understand what Weiner was saying? Egypt will have an Islamic majority, one of several dozens states in the world with such a majority. Israel is the single state in the world with a Jewish majority.

    That’s all Weiner was saying. But predictably, you people don’t get that point.

    • Potsherd2
      March 8, 2011, 9:49 am

      No, hophmi, that’s not what Weiner was saying. He was supporting the notion of officially declaring Israel a “Jewish state” and making non-Jews officially 2nd class citizens.

      • hophmi
        March 8, 2011, 11:23 am

        “No, hophmi, that’s not what Weiner was saying. He was supporting the notion of officially declaring Israel a “Jewish state” and making non-Jews officially 2nd class citizens.”

        No, that’s the opinion you’re reading into it. There is only one reason why Israel calls itself a Jewish state. That is because it is the only state in the world with a Jewish majority. There’s no reason for Egypt to call itself an Islamic state because there are several dozen states with Muslim majorities. But that’s essentially what it is.

      • Chaos4700
        March 8, 2011, 11:51 am

        Context matters! You have to understand context! Like the context when Weiner led the charge to strip Turkey of its ally status vis-a-vis its close partnership in NATO.

        And here Anthony Weiner is, defending his country’s right to execute American citizens on the high seas! Oh, wait. What? Weiner’s not in the Knesset? He’s in the US Congress?!

        Oh.

      • hophmi
        March 8, 2011, 12:03 pm

        “Context matters! You have to understand context! Like the context when Weiner led the charge to strip Turkey of its ally status vis-a-vis its close partnership in NATO.”

        Change the subject, much?

  10. Pixel
    March 8, 2011, 9:15 am

    …it has a right to be a Jewish state, just like in Egypt it’s going to be an Islamic State.

    “Dad, I get to stay out after curfew because Buffy’s dad is going to let her stay out after curfew.”

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