Kerry (and NYT) carry water for Netanyahu on ‘Jewish state’ demand

Israel/Palestine
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We’re late on this, but it’s very important: the rising chorus calling on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order for two-state talks to go forward.

An old rightwing Israeli obstacle to any genuine talks, this demand was passed along as gospel by The New York Times last week. Jodi Rudoren rubber-stamped it:

As Middle East peace talks churn on, Israel has catapulted to the fore an issue that may be even more intractable than old ones like security and settlements: a demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state…

Without acceptance by the Palestinians that their neighbor is and will be, in Israel’s favored formulation, “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” Israelis argue that they can never be convinced that an agreement truly spells the end of the conflict.

“The core of this conflict has never been borders and settlements — it’s about one thing: the persistent refusal to accept the Jewish state in any border,” Mr. Netanyahu said last month in a video statement to the Saban Forum in Washington.

In fairness to Rudoren, she got the news: John Kerry is said to have swallowed Netanyahu’s “essential” condition whole.

At the State Department briefing yesterday (above) AP’s Matt Lee chased State’s Jen Psaki round and round the podium on the matter and couldn’t get an answer:

Lee: There are multiple reports this morning and this afternoon that the Secretary has asked the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia to amend or alter the Arab peace proposal to include a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in the hopes that that will give President Abbas some flexibility, some political room to do the same thing… would the United States like or not like to see the Arab world recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

Psaki: I’m not going to – you know what our position is – the United States. Obviously, this is a discussion that’s a part of the negotiations. I’m not going to parse it further.

Yousef Munayyer has also pointed out that Israel is wagging the dog on this demand:

Jewish state demand relatively new, 67 lines older central part of process. Fact that US connecting the two shows Israel setting framework

— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) December 30, 2013

Bernard Avishai, the liberal Zionist, is nettled by the demand, as an obstacle to talks. Last week he  followed up Rudoren’s piece in The New Yorker, saying how obnoxious Netanyahu’s demand is on several layers, including the insult to democracy.

this Jewish state allocates public land (over ninety per cent of it) almost exclusively to certified Jews, creates immigration laws to bestow citizenship on certified Jews, empowers the Jewish Agency to advance the well-being of certified Jews, lacks civil marriage and appoints rabbis to marry certified Jews only to one another, founded an Orthodox educational system to produce certified Jews (more than half of Jewish first-graders in Jerusalem attend these), assumes custodianship of a sacred capital for the world’s certified Jews—indeed, this Jewish state presumes to certify Jews in the first place…. In Israel, having J-positive blood is a serious material advantage.

Such a state must be anathema to Palestinian leaders, who cannot but notice that a fifth (soon, a quarter) of Israeli citizens are Palestinian in origin, and thus are materially, legally disadvantaged by birth: they can recognize Israel but cannot possibly accept this state. But then, it is anathema also to Israeli Jews with ordinary democratic instincts, irrespective of how Palestinians feel about it.

In Haaretz today, Chemi Shalev has an excellent piece showing that “Jewishness” as a definition of the Israeli state is a right wing claim that has slowly eclipsed “Israelness” as a definition.

Shalev says that religious nationalists like Netanyahu staked out the position partly so as to compel American Jewish support for Israel. And that the demand justifiably gives Palestinians fear.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” or, in a different formulation, as the “nation state of the Jewish people.” …

[I]f Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people as a whole, then the prime minister, ipso facto, is the prime minister of Jews wherever they may be. That’s why Netanyahu can tell the U.S. Congress “I speak on behalf of the Jewish people.” That’s how he can openly call on U.S. Jews to “stand up and be counted” in his campaign against U.S. policies on Iran. That’s why he made no effort to correct David Gregory who anointed him “Leader of the Jewish people” on Meet the Press last year.

The right wing, in fact, would like to adopt the Jewish people wholesale, wherever they are, and to thus prop up the Jewish majority in the “Greater Land of Israel” by remote control or even, potentially, by giving Diaspora Jews the vote. And by demanding that hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs be “transferred” to another sovereignty and another citizenship, Netanyahu’s deputy and Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is only confirming the claims of many Palestinians: that by recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas would be giving his blessing to those, like Lieberman, who view the citizenship of Israeli Arabs as second rate and expendable.

Shalev also wonders who came up with the formulation “nation state of the Jewish people.”

Love it or loathe it, one cannot understate the public relations genius behind this stipulation. It has captured the imaginations of Israelis, Jews and many other Israel-supporting people around the world. Secretary of State John Kerry is said to be pressing Arab states to accept it.

Annie Robbins points me to this interview with former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who got “sage advice” from American Jewish leaders on this very issue:

[When I returned to the U.S. as ambassador in 2009,] I had not lived in the United States for a quarter of a century. I had this Rip Van Winkle experience of this guy who wakes up after a long… I consulted with a lot of guides in the American Jewish community about what had happened in those 25 years. I had some wonderful people helping me. I got very sage advice. There was a big question about this notion of “the nation state of the Jewish people.” At the time, I think the prime minister was referring to Israel as the Jewish state. They came back to me and said the locution, the formula, that would be most acceptable to a majority of American Jews would be Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. And I conveyed this to the Prime Minister’s Office, and we adopted it. We got this from these American Jewish leaders.

I take it very seriously: the nation state of the Jewish people. But we’ve got to stand behind it. Now we’ve accepted the formula, let’s live up to it.

I go back to the peace talks and the New York Times reports. In her story the other day, Jodi Rudoren devoted 25 paragraphs to Netanyahu’s demand, taking very seriously “Israel’s founding principle as a Jewish state for the Jewish people.” Only three or four of those paragraphs dealt with the “poison pill” theory– the demand is something the Israelis came up with to block the latest round of talks.

Back in 2010, Times correspondent Ethan Bronner was more forthright about Netanyahu’s gamesmanship on the issue: 

An offer on Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to freeze West Bank Jewish settlements in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — instantly rejected by the Palestinians — was the latest complex maneuver engendering debate about his intentions.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered the Palestinians a new freeze on building in settlements if they recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The offer, made in a speech at the opening of the fall session of Parliament, was aimed either at keeping talks with the Palestinians alive and his right-wing coalition partners in check, or at seeking to shift the burden of failure to the Palestinians and escape blame should the talks wither and die.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman and aide close to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, said the Palestinians had long ago recognized Israel and would not engage in defining its character or ethnicity.

Back then, our publisher Scott Roth wrote to the Times to say the demand was a tactic Netanyahu was deploying to avoid a just resolution of the conflict. His letter is as fresh and concise today as it was then:

To the Editor:

The Palestinians are averse to recognizing Israel as the “Jewish state” for many reasons. First, to do so would essentially concede that what happened in 1948 was a justified historical fact, that the establishment of Israel and the coinciding dispossession of the Palestinians was somehow “right.”

What group of people would ever stipulate that their greatest tragedy was justified on historical grounds?

Also, to recognize Israel as the Jewish state would imply Palestinian acceptance of the privileged status of Jews as opposed to non-Jews under Israeli law. Would blacks in apartheid South Africa have agreed to anything that would have implied a justification for their status under the law?

The fact is that Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel’s right to exist long ago; this is sufficient for a peace agreement, and Michael B. Oren understands this. The further recognition sought by the Netanyahu government only insults the Palestinians and makes a peace agreement less likely.

Scott H. Roth
New York, Oct. 14, 2010

Thanks to James North for thinking behind this piece.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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  1. Annie Robbins
    January 9, 2014, 2:02 pm

    according to oren this happened in 2009:

    I got very sage advice. There was a big question about this notion of “the nation state of the Jewish people.” At the time, I think the prime minister was referring to Israel as the Jewish state. They came back to me and said the locution, the formula, that would be most acceptable to a majority of American Jews would be Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. And I conveyed this to the Prime Minister’s Office, and we adopted it. We got this from these American Jewish leaders.

    iow, a campaign that was adopted in 2009. completely unnecessary. shalev called it “public relations genius “.

    and interestingly, directly preceding this part of the interview, which culminated in this disclosure, check out what they were talking about link to timesofisrael.com

    What have the US Orthodox rabbis got against the Israeli Chief Rabbinate?

    They don’t recognize most of their conversions today.

    The Israeli Chief Rabbinate…?

    … does not recognize a large number of the [US] Orthodox rabbis’ conversions. You can’t make this stuff up.

    And if Israel does not work to make itself the nation state of all the Jewish people, and be truly pluralistic and open about this, then we risk losing these people.

    What do we need to do?

    We need to recognize all forms of Judaism. We have to recognize the roles of those movements in Judaism within different life-cycle events in Israeli life. We risk alienating them. The amazing thing about the Reform movement is that, after so many years of not being recognized by the state of Israel, they remain so pro-Israeli. That to me is extraordinary.

    And it won’t last forever?

    I don’t know how long it’s going to last. I would not be fully confident about it.

    I’ll sit with American Jewish Reform and Conservative leaders who care passionately about Israel. But they’ll say to you: I can’t tell you how hurtful it is that the state of Israel doesn’t recognize my form of Judaism. It is the worst pain when you say something like that. It’s something we have to address as a society if we are to remain the nation state of the Jewish people.

    [When I returned as ambassador in 2009,] I had not lived in the United States for a quarter of a century. I had this Rip Van Winkle experience of this guy who wakes up after a long… I consulted with a lot of guides in the American Jewish community about what had happened in those 25 years. I had some wonderful people helping me. I got very sage advice. There was a big question about this notion of “the nation state of the Jewish people.”
    ……..

    “if Israel does not work to make itself the nation state of all the Jewish people….. then we risk losing these people.”

    sheesh. and of course they use it to demand compliance from abbas.

    • ritzl
      January 9, 2014, 2:58 pm

      Brilliant Annie. Israel-via-Hillel-and-AIPAC-etc. are intentionally trying to define all aspects of what it means to be Jewish.

      “if Israel does not work to make itself the nation state of all the Jewish people….. then we risk losing these people.”

      Someone (sorry) posted here that there are the same number of Jews in the world now as there was sixty years ago. Isn’t this strategic coercion self-evidently the/a principle reason for that loss? Yet they persist, if not become more adamant, in their alienation/ing strategy as if simply talking louder makes their fundamentally flawed verbal professions about inclusivity (Israel=The Jews) somehow more enticing.

      “If only people would listen…” (Sneer quotes on a hypothetical, Annie. :) I know how much you hate that.)

      Well they are listening, Mr. Oren. Viscerally. Change something if you’re sincere.

    • seafoid
      January 9, 2014, 3:28 pm

      The nation state of the jewish people, a majority of whom will not countenance living there.
      What a crock. The fact that religion is woven so tightly into the system of oppression is very tragic for the religion.

      • John Douglas
        January 9, 2014, 5:38 pm

        A crock it is, Seafoid. Think of this. Israel has declared itself the Nation State of, for example, every American Jew (Aside: I would think American Jews would rather decide this for themselves.) But if the U.S., formally or otherwise, countenances the idea that Israel is the Nation of all every Jew then then when the U.S. President addresses Americans he will not be addressing Jews. Their leader will be the leader of their Nation State, Israel’s PM.
        Looked at it another way, a U.S. recognition of this idea, would institutionalize that Jewish Americans are not dually loyal, they are officially mono-loyal (to Israel) whether they like it or not. Every American Jew becomes officially an ex-pat. Yes, a crock it is.

      • RoHa
        January 9, 2014, 9:38 pm

        As I have pointed out before, if Israel is the Nation State of every Jew, then no Jew will be legally entitled to become a member of the Australian Federal Parliament. By Federal Law, MPs must be of Australian nationality, and have no other nationality.

    • Rusty Pipes
      January 9, 2014, 4:13 pm

      Of course, Oren warped what American Jewish leaders were telling him about how they felt excluded by Israel into a formula that Israel can use for PR against Palestinians without addressing the causes of diaspora exclusion. Israel tells diaspora Jews, especially Reform Jews, that they are not Jewish enough. Perhaps Abbas should respond to every question about Israel’s self-definition as the Nationstate of the Jewish People, by talking about how the Israeli rabbinate infringes the rights of Israeli citizens who are not Orthodox Jews, including Reform Jews.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 9, 2014, 4:39 pm

        Oren warped what American Jewish leaders were telling him

        hmm, that would depend on which jewish leaders they were and who the ‘guides’ he spoke of were. it could be he conversed with American Jewish Reform and Conservative leaders and related what they said to the ‘guides’, who could have been more political in nature (like the emergency committee for israel cohorts or adelson or zoa or whomever) and then designed a plan to keep as many in the fold, thereby warping what the Reform and Conservative leaders told him. but lots of money is funneled into israel via the synagogues. so that money train has to keep flowing too. the hasbara plans, the think tanks, they are as much in the US as israel. but it doesn’t surprise me this is used to squeeze palestinians. the whole ‘incitement’ campaign too, all that was scrutinized by think tanks as the best course of hasbara to take.

    • LeaNder
      January 10, 2014, 10:28 am

      what I am wondering about. I guess this could be a question for Hostage, could the phasing apart from it’s P.R brilliance, reminding the diaspora of its right to return, and its corresponding duties, and somewhat obliquely referring to the Arab threat, could it also aim at some type of legal closure?

    • Hostage
      January 10, 2014, 10:55 am

      according to oren this happened in 2009

      No, AIPAC had already gotten the Congress to incorporate that in our laws. For example, the requirement for any Hamas faction of the PA to “publicly acknowledge the right of the Jewish state of Israel to exist” was incorporated in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act Of 2006 (Public Law 109-446) and codified in 22 USC § 2378b – Limitation on assistance to the Palestinian authority.

      You can’t expect Oren to get his facts straight after all, he’s a trained historian propagandist.

      FYI, the law actually contains a declaration of policy that obligates the US government to oppose individuals and groups that reject the two state solution. It’s one of many such laws or UN resolutions that Palestinian activists should be lobbying to get repealed or amended to allow for 1p1s1v.

      • Hostage
        January 10, 2014, 11:20 am

        P.S. As usual our own Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3, protects our elected or appointed officials from being subjected to any religious test. So naturally our Congress turns around and adopts one to impose on Palestinian officials.

        The 1st and 14th Amendments to our own Constitution prohibit the government here from promoting the establishment of either an ethnic or theocratic Jewish state in any territory subject to US jurisdiction. So naturally our Congress, which is a creature of the Constitution, adopts laws requiring the Palestinians to publicly acknowledge that they don’t enjoy the same fundamental human rights or freedom to follow our own example. How does the world contain this much irony?

  2. amigo
    January 9, 2014, 2:05 pm

    The Protestants in Northern Ireland tried this racist diatribe.

    “A Protestant nation for a Protestant People”.

    And the others can go to hell , meaning of course Catholics who made up circa 35 to 40 percent of the population in Northern Ireland.

    That pig never got off the ground and those bigots are now just citizens of Northern Ireland with no special privileges.

    Get used to it zios.

    • seafoid
      January 9, 2014, 3:19 pm

      The unionists are floundering around for an identity now that Queen and God look a bit oldfashioned. It is not easy being a planter.

      • HarryLaw
        January 9, 2014, 3:55 pm

        It’s also not easy being an Irish Nationalist in Northern Ireland, because Nationalists drew their support from the Catholic community which according to this poll, wants to remain part of the United Kingdom link to belfasttelegraph.co.uk This was always the case, but because of the sectarian, tribal nature of NI politics it was easy for politicians to appeal to their religious base, and very hard for non sectarian candidates to prevail.

      • Tobias
        January 9, 2014, 7:34 pm

        Actually Harry it most certainly wasn’t the case that the catholic community in Northern Ireland always wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Far from it.

      • HarryLaw
        January 10, 2014, 4:32 am

        Tobias, I did not say all the Catholic community wanted to remain part of the UK, But it was always the case that a significant proportion did, as this poll indicates, let’s quote another poll, one in 1973, the border poll, now it’s true that Nationalist politicians boycotted that poll, for the very good reason that they knew what a disaster that would be for them. The result on a turnout of approx 60%, 98.9% voted to remain part of UK, 1.1% wanted a United Ireland, then when a plebiscite was held in the Republic of Ireland to remove articles 2 and 3 from the constitution, which claimed the whole Island of Ireland and its territorial seas as part of the historic Irish nation [you know, like the Israeli government claim "the Land of Israel" as being rightfully theirs for 3000 years] the result 94.39% to drop the claim, 5.6 to keep it. These facts can’t be wished away, the people of both parts of Ireland have decided there can be no constitutional changes without the people of Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant voting for it.

      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 6:05 am

        Harry
        The status quo is fine as long as London pays for it. NI is going to be ‘difficult’ for the foreseeable and it’s all ahead of Israel. I visited East Belfast recently and it’s very clear from the loyalist murals that the adjustment following the collapse of the” protestant state for a protestant people” has been very difficult in terms of identity. Most UK wallahs couldn’t care less about Ulster’s Somme sacrifice. There is very high emigration of educated Protestants. The memes didn’t put food on the table.

      • Tobias
        January 10, 2014, 9:03 am

        My read when you wrote the following

        …. because Nationalists drew their support from the Catholic community which according to this poll, wants to remain part of the United Kingdom link to belfasttelegraph.co.uk This was always the case, ….

        is that you absolutely implied the Catholic community always wanted to be part of the UK. Forgive me if I am wrong.

        But that as it may you are now mixing apples and oranges (no pun) in your latest post. The nationalist parties boycotted the 1973 border poll because it was a stunt with a pre ordained outcome by virtue of the questions asked in the referendum not to mind the breakdown of the electorate. The 1998 referendum in the Irish Republic was an overwhelming display of support from that electorate for the Good Friday agreement and a clear signal to their somewhat paranoid Unionist brethren that the irredentist dreams of the 1937 Irish constitution were no more.

        And incidentally articles 2 & 3 were not removed but rather reworded. For the record.

        1937

        Article 2

        ‘The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.’

        Article 3

        ‘Pending the re-integration of the national territory, and without prejudice to the right of the parliament and government established by this constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole territory, the laws enacted by the parliament shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws of Saorstat Éireann and the like extra-territorial effect.’

        1937 Amended 1998

        Article 2

        ‘It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.’

        Article 3

        1. It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island. Until then, the laws enacted by the Parliament established by this Constitution shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws enacted by the Parliament that existed immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.

        2. Institutions with executive powers and functions that are shared between those jurisdictions may be established by their respective responsible authorities for stated purposes and may exercise powers and functions in respect of all or any part of the island.

        The idea of a grand reshaping of the island of Ireland through forced political unification has been a dead letter for a long time. In fact to all intents and purposes there already is unity under the European Union. The hard men are in office now and what is left is the haggling over the smaller more emotional symbols such as who gets to fly their flag and sing their songs, when and where.

        This isn’t really the forum to educate you Harry, but please, your comparison between Ireland and Israel, has the parties badly mixed up. The Unionists in Northern Ireland are much more settler (planter) in their history and orientation rather than the indigenous Nationalist natives who have a certain Palestinian aura about them

      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 12:15 am

        That doesn’t mean it’s hard. If they prefer being part of the UK, that’s their right. But at least they know who they are. The memes are more solid.

      • Giles
        January 10, 2014, 6:45 am

        “the Catholic community which according to this poll, wants to remain part of the United Kingdom”.

        WTF? If the Protestants and the RCs both want to stay in the UK, then what’s all the hubbub about?

      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 1:43 pm

        “WTF? If the Protestants and the RCs both want to stay in the UK, then what’s all the hubbub about?”

        Who is going to pay for it.

      • amigo
        January 10, 2014, 7:50 am

        “This was always the case, but because of the sectarian, tribal nature of NI politics it was easy for politicians to appeal to their religious base, and very hard for non sectarian candidates to prevail.”Harry Law.

        That,s what you get when colonialist powers, England in this case plant 50,000 illegal squatters in amongst indigenous people and allows them to oppress those natives by giving them all the military support they need.

        Israel has not learned much from Britain,s mistakes.

      • Ellen
        January 10, 2014, 1:58 pm

        Who is going to pay for it.

        Ha! That is why GB wishes Northern Ireland would sort of go away already! Join the rest of the Island. It is an embarrassment. But looks like it is not ever going to happen. The kingdom got what it thought it wanted….and who is ‘gonna pay for it all?

        Yup, Israel learned nothing from the mistakes of former colonial enterprises, running over the natives for the coveted land. It could have turned out so differently for Israel.

        And who is ‘gonna pay for it all? The coming reparations, the ongoing cash needed to keep the Zio dream going?

  3. Woody Tanaka
    January 9, 2014, 2:18 pm

    So the rapist not only wants to get away with the crime, but he wants the rape victim’s husband to profess that the victim belongs to the rapist and that he rapes her by right. How nice.

  4. American
    January 9, 2014, 2:47 pm

    The latest from planet Zio.

    Israeli Lawmaker Pushes for Recognition of Christian Nationality
    January 9, 2014 11:40 am

    JNS.org – An Israeli legislator is pushing for the Israeli government to recognize Christians as a new nationality

    link to algemeiner.com

  5. Jeff Klein
    January 9, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Do Jews get to vote on whether their nation-state is the one where they actually live and hold citizenship, rather than Israel, with which they may have no connection whatsoever? Who gave Netanyahu — or Kerry — that right to decide for them?

    This was why the majority of Jews opposed Zionism during its formative years. It undermined their belonging and potentially their rights in their own countries.

  6. Kathleen
    January 9, 2014, 3:14 pm

    “Jewish state demand relatively new, 67 lines older central part of process. Fact that US connecting the two shows Israel setting framework

    — Yousef Munayyer ”

    So Israel’s terrorist leaders have gone from Palestinians and Arab States must state that “Israel has the right to exist” (Israel demanding that Palestinians approve the slow extermination of the Palestinians from their rightful land) to “Israel is a Jewish state and only a Jewish state” (Israel basically demanding approval for apartheid)…what will they come up with next? This Kerry “framework” was filled with termites destroying any real possibilities for a solid agreement. This falderal will end in April and Abbas and team will head to the ICC.

    • puppies
      January 10, 2014, 3:23 am

      “in April and Abbas and team will head to the ICC.”
      He’ll find yet another excuse. His sponsors will write one for him.

  7. HarryLaw
    January 9, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I think Netanyahu should head to the United Nations and apply to get the state of Israel renamed the “Jewish state of Israel”, rather like the Islamic Republics of Iran or Pakistan, he won’t do it of course, but if he did it might prove he was at least serious about it.

    • Bumblebye
      January 9, 2014, 7:44 pm

      Ooh, Harry!
      Would that he did – someone might raise the tiny matter of, ahem, the borders of the “Jewish state of Israel”!

  8. eljay
    January 9, 2014, 3:39 pm

    >> So Israel’s terrorist leaders have gone from Palestinians and Arab States must state that “Israel has the right to exist” … to “Israel is a Jewish state and only a Jewish state” … what will they come up with next?

    “The Palestinians must apologize for existing and for occupying Jewish land, and they must agree to remove themselves from it or die.”

    Something like that, I’m sure.

  9. Citizen
    January 9, 2014, 3:49 pm

    Do American Jews agree that Israel is their state, not the USA? Has any poll ever directly asked this question? LOL

  10. Talkback
    January 9, 2014, 4:01 pm

    Let Israel first recognize all other countries in the world as Gentile and that they have the right to do to Jews what Israel does to Gentiles.

  11. ritzl
    January 9, 2014, 4:21 pm

    Shalev seems to be augering, however slowly, toward Israel as a state of all its citizens.

    Is that a tentative broach (not that broaches are tentative, in sailing terms anyway) to “one state of all its people?”

    Are some Israelis trying to find a realistic way forward? Hope so.

    Good article by Shalev. Real.

  12. pabelmont
    January 9, 2014, 5:09 pm

    QUOTE: “The core of this conflict has never been borders and settlements — it’s about one thing: the persistent refusal to accept the Jewish state in any border,” Mr. Netanyahu said last month,

    Well, the clear answer to that is to say, for PA to say,

    We will — as an incident of a peace treaty, and not before — recognize Israel as a Jewish State in some boundaries, but not in other boundaries. For beginners, not in the boundaries of May 1967, because we are afraid that Israel would take that as a signal to refuse repatriation of the exiles of 1948. Smaller boundaries might work. But if Israel is trying to get Palestinians to agree to a nearly Palestinian-free 78% of Mandatory Palestine, its a non-starter.

  13. Daniel Rich
    January 9, 2014, 8:33 pm

    Will Another Media Platform for the World’s Rich and Powerful? have an adverse influence on the IP reporting or merely be an outlet for the 1%’s worldly ‘problems?’

  14. Keith
    January 9, 2014, 9:38 pm

    There was an interview up at the Norman Finkelstein website which I was going to refer to in which he gave a very pessimistic outlook for what was going on. In it he mentioned the specific phrase which would likely be agreed upon. As nearly as I can recall it was “The nation state of the Jewish people and other citizens.” Perhaps the slightly altered phraseology could be presented as some sort of victory versus the original phrase. In any event, he sees an interim understanding relatively soon based upon US/Israel desires which the Palestinians will be forced to accept. Apparently, Kerry has brokered agreement from the EU and Gulf States to pressure the Palestinians. When I went back to Norman’s site, the interview was gone. When I entered the interview URL which I had previously copied, the interview had been deleted. Pity. I thought his logic was compelling. At this point in time, the Palestinians are in a very weak position and may be forced to capitulate. I thought it worth mentioning.

    • Keith
      January 11, 2014, 4:57 pm

      UPDATE: Norman Finkelstein’s interview with Jamie Stern-Weiner has been re-posted. I think it is an interesting and worthwhile read.

      From the interview: “Israel as the state of the Jewish people and its citizens, Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people and its citizens.”
      link to newleftproject.org

      • Citizen
        January 12, 2014, 3:20 pm

        @ Keith
        Thanks for the link. Finkelstein thinks it’s already a forgone conclusion that Israel will get what it wants the most: The illegal wall will become legal and there will be no Palestinian right of return. As for the Palestinians, nothing can save them unless those in the OT rise up as one in protest, and appeal to the sympathetic world over the heads of their own inept, obtuse, selfish leaders. He says while Clinton thought he could do a deal all by himself with a handful of his countrymen, Kerry has methodically lined up all the big ducks world-wide to impose the Kerry-Israeli deal on the hapless Palestinians who are a spent people with none of the PTB on their side.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    January 9, 2014, 10:11 pm

    RE: “Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered the Palestinians a new freeze on building in settlements if they recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The offer . . . was aimed either at keeping talks with the Palestinians alive and his right-wing coalition partners in check, or at seeking to shift the burden of failure to the Palestinians and escape blame should the talks wither and die.” ~ Ethan Bronner back in 2010

    SEE: “Kerry and Chutzpah”, by Uri Avnery, CounterPunch, 6/28/13

    [EXCERPTS] We have watched this procedure for many years. Successive American presidents have undertaken to bring the two sides together. It is an American belief, rooted in Anglo-Saxon tradition, that if two reasonable, decent people get together to thrash out their differences, everything will fall into place. It’s almost automatic: meet – talk – agree.
    Unfortunately, it does not quite work this way with conflicts between nations, conflicts that may have deep historical roots. In meetings between leaders of such nations, they often just want to hurl old accusations at each other, with the aim of convincing the world that the other side is utterly depraved and despicable.
    Either side, or both, may be interested in prolonging the meetings forever. The world sees the leaders meeting, the mediator and the photographers working hard, everybody talking endlessly of peace, peace, peace. . .
    . . . Netanyahu declares, with his usual sincerity, that he wants to meet. Nay, that he is eager to meet. With the polished charm of a seasoned TV presenter familiar with the power of visual images, he even offered to put up a tent halfway between Jerusalem and Ramallah (at the infamous Qalandia checkpoint?) and sit down with Abbas and Kerry until a full agreement on all aspects of the conflict is achieved.
    Who could resist such a generous offer? Why the hell does Abbas not jump at it and grasp it with with both hands?
    For a very simple reason.
    The very start of new negotiations would be a political triumph for Netanyahu. Actually, it’s all he really wants – the ceremony, the bombast, the leaders shaking hands, the smiles, the speeches full of goodwill and talk of peace.
    And then? Then nothing. Negotiations that go on endlessly, months, years, decades.
    We have seen it all before. Yitzhak Shamir, one of Netanyahu’s predecessors, famously boasted that he would have dragged out the negotiations forever.
    The profit for Netanyahu would be clear and immediate. He would be seen as the Man of Peace. The present government, the most rightist and nationalist Israel has ever known, would be rehabilitated. The people around the world who preach a boycott of Israel in all spheres would be shamed and disarmed. The growing alarm in Jerusalem about the “de-legitimization” and “isolation” of Israel would be relieved. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  16. Citizen
    January 9, 2014, 11:51 pm

    “That is the way it is with Israel. Nobody wants to discuss the new conditions Prime Minister Netanyahu keeps adding in his effort to defeat not the Palestinians but Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to achieve peace. First the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state.” Then allowing the fanatic settlers in Hebron to remain along with the satellite outposts populated by the violent “settler youth.” Then there is keeping troops in the Jordan Valley, along the border with Jordan, thereby ensuring that any Palestinian state in the West Bank would be as sovereign and viable as the ghetto Israel created in Gaza. The latest: Netanyahu is hard at work trying to prove that President Mahmoud Abbas, who Netanyahu himself credits with preventing terrorist attacks against Israel, is, you guessed it, an anti-semite. “–MJ Rosenberg, via email on 1-2014

    His theme is American Jews, especially the younger generation, have given up on Israel, the Dream. They just don’t give a crap anymore. He knows this, he says, because all his friends are long-time pro-Israel types. He thinks that Israel, the Reality, nevertheless, will live on due to its military force. He also says that most Jews suspect that the Christian Zionists are basically anti-semites.

  17. NormanF
    January 10, 2014, 12:42 am

    The demand has nothing to do with who is a Jew, with Arab minority rights or even with fears Jews living abroad might be suspected of “dual loyalty.” Its slander aimed at Israel to distract attention from the real issue. And it was not dreamed up de novo by Netanyahu; it was first brought up by none other than the then Israeli liberal dream team of Olmert and Livni!

    What’s the real issue? Its that the Jews constitute a nation in their own right, are not merely individual members of a religion and so are entitled to national self-determination. This is the crux of the issue, that the Jewish nation is asking to be recognized by the Palestinian Arabs as a nation.

    This of course gets in the way of the so-called “right of return” and other one state shibboleths advanced by the Arabs to deny the fact of Jewish nationhood. Its seems reasonable that if the Palestinian Arabs want their right to be a nation acknowledged by the Jews, then they will have to reciprocate and accept the Jews have a similiar right to be a nation as well.

    The formula “two states for two peoples” captures this perfectly! Which is why the Palestinian Arabs have repeatedly rejected it. Until they make their peace with Zionism – no final end to the conflict is possible. Only they can decide when they are ready to finally cross the Rubicon.

    • amigo
      January 10, 2014, 7:56 am

      It is not “The Jewish State” or the State of the Jewish People.

      “It is the State of The Israeli People” of which Jews are in a majority.

      For the moment but stay tuned zio freak.

    • Sumud
      January 10, 2014, 9:14 am

      Its seems reasonable that if the Palestinian Arabs want their right to be a nation acknowledged by the Jews, then they will have to reciprocate and accept the Jews have a similiar right to be a nation as well.

      Complete rubbish.

      Israel can choose to recognise Palestine the country, or not. Palestine exists and 100+ other nations have recognised it to date. Palestinians are not asking for any sort of special qualifier like Israel is.

      “Right to be a nation” is a bogus concept that has no meaning in international diplomacy, likewise the manufactured “right to exist”. You poor brainwashed ziobots.

      • pjdude
        January 10, 2014, 12:04 pm

        exacty a group either is a nation or isn’t. a group can just decide to become one after the etter part of 2000 years of not being one.

    • Woody Tanaka
      January 10, 2014, 10:51 am

      “The demand has nothing to do with… Arab minority rights”

      Baloney. It has everything to do with the squatter Jews using this as a basis for denying the Palestinians the rights concerning their land in all parts of Palestine.

      “This is the crux of the issue, that the Jewish nation is asking to be recognized by the Palestinian Arabs as a nation.”

      Then why aren’t they asking for that? Why are they, instead, asking for a label to be attached to a state? Because the “as a nation” crap you’re peddling are just more filthy zio lies.

      “This of course gets in the way of the so-called ‘right of return’ and other one state shibboleths advanced by the Arabs to deny the fact of Jewish nationhood.”

      Here, you admit the crux of it. It has everything to do with stripping the Palestinians of their rights in favor of the non-rights of the squatter zionist Jews.

      ” Its seems reasonable that if the Palestinian Arabs want their right to be a nation acknowledged by the Jews, then they will have to reciprocate and accept the Jews have a similiar right to be a nation as well.”

      False statement. The Palestinians are not asking for that; the existence or non existence of the Palestinians as a people is a fact regardless of anyone’s recognition. They are asking for the State of israel to recognize the State of Palestine. It is typical zionist lunacy to ask for more than that.

      “The formula “two states for two peoples” captures this perfectly!”

      LMAO. No, that’s merely a lie by you zios to cover your crimes and your cynical intent to commit more crimes.

      “Which is why the Palestinian Arabs have repeatedly rejected it. ”

      Again, can you do anything except lie??? It is the Jews who’ve ignored the Arab Peace Deal. It is they who can’t accept peace without themselves being the Nazi-like master race oppressing innocent Palestinians.

    • pjdude
      January 10, 2014, 12:03 pm

      even if jews consituted a nation, something which I am most defintely not going to concede even for the sake of argument, it still wouldn’t entitle them to a national right to self determination. that right has been linked to territories. or people like the palestinians who were violently expelled from their territories. their is nothing in the jewish make up that gives a national right to self determination. and even if they did Israel creation would still not be such a right because an act of conquest by its very nature cannot be an expression of self determination.

      Israel and the diea of jewish national self determination is essentially the anthesis of what real self determination actually constitutes.

    • eljay
      January 10, 2014, 3:21 pm

      >> Its that the Jews constitute a nation in their own right, are not merely individual members of a religion and so are entitled to national self-determination.

      I look forward to the official announcement declaring Jewish to be the bureaucratic nationality of Israel – a nationality granted to all citizens of Israel, to people born in but not living in Israel, and to all immigrants to Israel.

      Nice and equal. And it would permit all Palestinian refugees from what is currently Israel to avail themselves of the Jewish “Law of Return” to their homeland (which, for Palestinian refugees, is their real homeland, and not an imaginary, religion-based “homeland”).

  18. Citizen
    January 10, 2014, 7:29 am

    If the Zionists can claim a right of return based on the notion they are the heirs of Jews living in the area thousands of years ago, why isn’t it even much more reasonable for the Palestinians to claim a right of return to the land they were terrorized out of so much more recently? Many still have the keys to their former homes.

    As to dual loyalty. When a Jewish American becomes a congress person, he or she must take an oath to uphold the US Constitution. There’s nothing about Israel or its laws or values or principles of governance in that document.

  19. HarryLaw
    January 10, 2014, 10:58 am

    Amigo sorry you had no reply provision after your comment @ “And incidentally articles 2 & 3 were not removed but rather reworded. For the record”. Article 2
    ‘The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.’
    The constitution was changed from the above, which is a claim, to the “reworded” aspiration, a crucial difference.
    “The idea of a grand reshaping of the island of Ireland through forced political unification has been a dead letter for a long time”. Yes and thank goodness for that, nevertheless the Provisional IRA could always point to that constitutional claim to justify their violence, the most important thing today is that there can be no constitutional changes without the consent of the people most affected.

  20. HarryLaw
    January 10, 2014, 11:20 am

    Amigo @ “The Unionists in Northern Ireland are much more settler (planter) in their history and orientation” That may well be the case, but so what, they have been there for over 400 years, how old is the US? Everyone is agreed, no change without consent, that being the case, maybe Catholics and Protestants can come together and vote for parties based on their class instincts rather than their sectarian makeup.

  21. MHughes976
    January 10, 2014, 11:35 am

    The Palestinians are asked to accept that Israel is the Jewish State. What of the parallel request that Israel accept Palestine as a State for Muslims, Christians and Secularists? I think that any such request would be denounced as anti-Semitic. If this became ‘for Ms, Cs and Ss and for them only’ there would be apoplexy.

  22. Hostage
    January 10, 2014, 11:58 am

    I think the Palestinians should promise to revisit the question once they are given a map of the borders of the Jewish state they are being asked to acknowledge, and only after the Israelis define the meaning of the term “Jewish state” in a constitution that guarantees non-Jews full equality. You can’t expect them to endorse the right of an undefined entity to exist.

  23. SQ Debris
    January 10, 2014, 2:27 pm

    The position that the nation state of Israel is Jewish ignores a long standing Orthodox elephant in the room: fervently observant “Torah Jews” completely reject Israel’s characterization of itself as Jewish. It’s heresy. See link to nkusa.org
    The current fantasy obstacle to “peace” is based on blackmailing Palestinian “negotiators” into accepting a proposition that is utterly rejected by many religiously observant Jews. Monty Python anyone?

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