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.