Does Israel Have a Right to Exist as a Jewish State?: An excerpt from Ali Abunimah’s ‘The Battle for Justice in Palestine’

Israel/Palestine
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Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

The following is an adapted excerpt from The Battle For Justice In Palestine. Copyright © 2014 by Ali Abunimah. Reprinted with permission of Haymarket Books, Chicago, IL. You can buy the book here

Given the centrality of Israel’s claim, the question of whether Israel does indeed have a “right to exist as a Jewish state” deserves serious consideration. A useful lens through which to examine this proposition is the foundational legal maxim I cited at the beginning of this chapter. Put in simple terms, if a person bears a right, then there must be some venue—usually a court of law—where she can seek to have that right enforced, to have a penalty imposed on the violator, or to obtain some other form of legal relief. [1] In the formulation of the eighteenth-century jurist William Blackstone, “It is a settled and invariable principle in the laws of England, that every right when with-held must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress.” His insertion of the word proper reminds us that a remedy must be lawful and equitable. If my neighbor cuts down my tree, a proper remedy might include paying damages to me, replacing the tree, and perhaps some restraining order to prevent him from felling other trees. It would not be a proper remedy for me to vengefully cut down my neighbor’s trees, demolish his house, or kill his children.

Layout 1Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that Israel has a “right to exist as a Jewish state”—or to maintain its “Jewish character” or “Jewish and democratic character,” to use other common formulations—and that this means in practice that Israel has a right to maintain a Jewish demographic majority. Let us also leave aside for now the fact that the Jewish majority within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries was created when Zionist militias, and later Israel, expelled most of the indigenous Palestinian population in 1947 and 1948 and then prevented their return.

First, how can Israel’s right to maintain a Jewish majority be violated and by whom, and by what means can Israel enforce it? There are three groups of Palestinians, broadly speaking, who represent a threat to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state: Palestinian refugees in exile, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. (There are also citizens of Syria still living in the occupied Golan Heights.) Palestinian refugees could violate the right by returning home in sufficient numbers that the Jewish majority disappeared. The straightforward remedy Israel constantly demands is that the right of return be abrogated. But even if Palestinian refugees waived their rights and not a single one returned, this would be insufficient to protect Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state for very long against an even more imminent threat from Palestinians already living in territories controlled by Israel. Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in

the occupied territories together comprise half the population living under Israeli rule. Simply put, Palestinian parents are trampling all over Israel’s right to maintain a Jewish majority by having children, and their babies, by virtue of not being born to Jewish parents, are violating Israel’s right merely by living and breathing. Israelis themselves see the births of non-Jewish babies—whether to Palestinian citizens of the state or in the occupied territories –—as an assault on their rights and on the very existence of Israel. The routine use by politicians and media of the term “demographic threat” to describe these babies attests to this phenomenon. [2] “The most pungent expression of this fear,” David Hirst reminds us, came from Golda Meir, who was Israeli prime minister in the 1970s. “The Palestinians’ birth-rate was so much higher than the Jews’ that her sleep was often disturbed, she would say, at the thought of how many Arab babies had been born in the night.” [3] But the threat comes not only from Arab babies. Non-Jewish African refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants are also violating Israel’s right to be Jewish by living in the country and reproducing.

Now that we have identified the principal violators of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and the injury they are causing to Israel merely by procreating, we must ask what remedies Israel could seek and whether any of them is proper. As noted, the “threat” from Palestinian refugees is dealt with by abrogating their right of return. But what about Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who would remain uncontrolled violators? The remedies at Israel’s disposal would have to include physical and/or political measures to reverse and prevent further violations of its right to exist as a Jewish state. In theory, these could include the expulsion of Palestinians, a step that would serve the dual purpose of reducing their existing numbers and eliminating the risk of future violations by Palestinian babies who might be born to those expelled. Failing that, Israel could issue restraining orders against Palestinian parents to limit the number of children they are permitted to have or engage in other practices designed to deter the births of Palestinians and encourage those of Jews. Similar measures could be used against other non-Jewish violators as well. Among political or legal measures, Israel could punish and prevent violations by stripping Palestinian citizens of Israel of their right to vote or by maintaining a separate regime for Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories that allows Jews to get on with running the country without any challenge to their power and control of resources. These are measures that flow naturally from the assertion that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state, yet it is impossible to think of one that does not do outrageous violence to basic principles of human rights, equality, and antiracism. Yet many of these noxious ideas are already in place or being advocated in Israel.

In the last decade, Israel has stepped up measures to curtail non-Jews’ right to family life in order to keep their numbers down. In 2003, Israel introduced “temporary” emergency amendments to its Nationality and Entry into Israel Law—renewed every year since by the Knesset—that deny residency or citizenship to Palestinians from the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip who marry Israeli citizens. The law was broadened in 2007 to include citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, so-called enemy states. [4] Adalah, a legal advocacy group for the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, observed that the law was unlike any that existed “in any democratic state in the world, depriving citizens from maintaining a family life in Israel only on the basis of the ethnicity or national belonging of their spouse.” [5] Israel justified the law nominally on the grounds of “security,” an excuse dismissed by Human Rights Watch, which said the “sweeping ban” without “any individual assessments of whether the person in question could threaten security, is unjustified” and “imposes severely disproportionate harm on the right of Palestinians and Israeli citizens to live with their families.” The discrimination in the law could be measured “by its effects on Palestinian citizens of Israel as opposed to Jewish citizens,” it noted. [6] Then–prime minister Ariel Sharon admitted the true purpose of the law in 2005 when its renewal was under debate. “There is no need to hide behind security arguments,” Sharon said. “There is a need for the existence of a Jewish state.” [7]

The demographic purpose of the law was reaffirmed in 2012 when the Israeli Supreme Court threw out Adalah’s challenge. “Human rights are not a prescription for national suicide,” wrote Judge Asher Grunis for the 6–5 majority. Effectively endorsing demographic gerrymandering, the court’s ruling added that “the right to a family life does not necessarily have to be realized within the borders of Israel.” [8] I’m reminded of a young man I met in South Africa in 2010 who was born in Transkei— one of the now-defunct, nominally independent Black “homelands” set up by the former apartheid government—because his parents had to move there from Johannesburg for violating South Africa’s prohibition on mixed marriages. Those policies were justified by South African rulers in the same terms used by Israel’s highest court today, as when Prime Minister Daniel Malan said in 1953 that “equality . . . must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide.” [9]

With this and another ruling legitimizing the pillage of natural resources from the occupied West Bank by Israeli companies, “Israel’s highest court has veered seriously off course in serving as a final bastion for upholding human rights,” admonished Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of Human Rights Watch. [10] But Whitson was mistaken. The court was very much steering an intentional path. In lieu of a written constitution, Israel has fourteen “basic laws” that establish various state institutions, upholding the privileges of Jews and some rights of non-Jews while violating the rights of others. An important example is the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, which purports to annex eastern occupied Jerusalem in direct violation of international law and against the will of Jerusalem’s legitimate residents. [11] None of Israel’s basic laws is a bill of rights, but in 1992 the Knesset passed the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. [12] This law “appears on its surface to offer protection for all Israeli citizens, but in reality, the text is quite troubling for the Palestinian minority,” observes Ben White, author of Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy. [13] Section Eight of the Basic Law reads, “There shall be no violation of the rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than required.” These “values” can be found right at the beginning of the law, which begins: “The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” The inclusion of the words “Jewish and democratic” open the door to all the forms of legal discrimination that the Israeli government has long practiced, often with the court’s blessing. The Basic Law is rendered hollower by its final clause, which allows for the rights it protects to be denied or restricted “when a state of emergency exists.” A declared “state of emergency,” renewed annually by the Knesset, has existed since 1948. Under this pretext, Israeli authorities have systematically violated the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, including banning individuals from travel and seizing vast tracts of land, without compensation, for the exclusive use of Jews.

These policies must not be seen as aberrations—or “veering off”—but as part of the foundational logic that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state. Whereas in most countries—and certainly in any that claim to be democratic—rights accrue to citizens without discrimination, Israel makes a fundamental distinction between citizenship and nationality. Rights are allocated on the basis of latter, not the former, with “Jewish” nationality enjoying privileged status. Over the years, several Israeli citizens have petitioned the high court unsuccessfully to have the official registration of their nationalities changed from “Jewish” to “Israeli.” But the court ruled in the 1970s that “there is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish nation.” [14] In 2013, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the latest attempt by a group of Jewish citizens to have their nationality recorded in the population registry as “Israeli.” The court ruled that such a change would undermine Israel’s “Jewish character.” [15]

From its earliest years, Israel’s laws have disenfranchised Palestinians and privileged Jews in a variety of ways. The 1953 nationality law, for instance, deprived 750,000 Palestinian refugees of citizenship in the state that had been established on the ruins of their homeland and canceled their Palestinian citizenship, which had been recognized by the British mandatory authorities in 1925. [16] But even many of the Palestinians who remained behind in what became Israel had to seek “naturalization” actively and swear an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state. Many were denied citizenship and expelled. The Absentees’ Property Law was used to confiscate the land and real property not only of refugees but also of Palestinian citizens of Israel, who were given the Orwellian designation of “present absentees.” [17] Much of their land was handed over to the quasi-official Jewish National Fund, which administers and allocates it on an openly discriminatory basis not to Israeli citizens, but specifically to Jews. [18] Meanwhile, as Palestinians were being denationalized and dispossessed, Jews from anywhere could claim Israeli citizenship the moment they set foot in the country under the discriminatory Law of Return.

Even though the law is plainly designed to exclude indigenous Palestinians and prevent the return of refugees while attracting Jewish settlers, Zionists sometimes defend the Law of Return on the grounds that other countries, such as Ireland, grant citizenship through descent to persons born abroad. [19] Such arguments take for granted that a transhistorical entity called “the Jewish people” is the indisputable natural owner and claimant of the country, analogous to that of continuously present, stable populations in other countries (except of course for Palestinians, whose continuous presence is denied or dismissed as irrelevant). [20] But even if we accept that claim, for the sake of argument, there are fundamental differences. The Republic of Ireland grants citizenship to any person born abroad if that person has at least one grandparent who was born anywhere on the island of Ireland, whether in the Republic or in the British-ruled north. [21] This certainly means that many persons in the global diaspora who identify with an Irish Celtic or Irish Catholic cultural heritage are eligible to “return” to Ireland. But this is no analogy to Israel’s Law of Return. The Irish law, unlike Israel’s Law of Return, contains no conditions that beneficiaries must belong to a specific cultural, ethno-national, or religious group. The law applies the same way for persons of Irish Catholic descent as it does to those descended from Protestants whose ancestors arrived with English-Scottish colonialism, as well as to people whose ancestors might have immigrated to Ireland from anywhere else in the world. A better analogy for the Law of Return would be the White Australia policy that operated until the 1970s, favoring immigration from Europe while non-European immigrants and Aborigines faced appalling official racism and the continuing legacy of colonialism and land loss.

Some liberal Zionists have argued that the discrimination that pervades every aspect of the lives of Palestinian citizens of Israel consists of unfortunate and rectifiable abuses that are not inherently necessary to defend Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state.” As Tikva Honig-Parnass observes, “Most Zionist Left intellectuals share the conviction that Palestinians in Israel should be denied the rights that embody and sustain the national identity and existence of Jews. The intellectuals agree that Palestinians should instead be granted ‘civic equality’—namely, equal access to funds from local Palestinian municipalities or public institutions, and equal funding for religious, educational and welfare services.” [22] But in practice it has proven utterly futile to make a distinction between privileged “national” rights belonging to Jews collectively, on the one hand, and, on the other, “civic” rights to be enjoyed equally by every citizen, including Arabs. In reality, many individual rights in Israel are directly tied to ethno-religious identity. Israeli leaders have consequently always viewed restricting the basic rights and spatial existence of Palestinian citizens within the state as a fundamental necessity to extend and maintain Jewish political and territorial control.

Since Israel’s founding, no Arab party has ever been invited to join a government, a near-total exclusion from political decision-making that is still supported by two-thirds of Israeli Jews. [23] Israeli politicians frequently talk about various decisions, especially those related to the “peace process” or Israel’s “Jewish character,” as requiring a parliamentary majority among Zionist (read Jewish) parties if they are to have political and social legitimacy. There have, moreover, been repeated attempts to ban parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel from even being in the Knesset. In 2009, for instance, the Knesset Central Elections Committee voted to ban two Arab parties from running in that year’s elections, a decision later overturned by the high court. But the reason for the ban, according to its sponsors, was that the parties—and representatives such as Haneen Zoabi—had displayed “disloyalty” to the state. [24]

From 1948 until 1966 Palestinian citizens of Israel lived under military government, and in these years vast tracts of land were taken from them. Israeli leaders did not hide the fact that military rule was a mechanism for dispossessing Palestinian citizens of their land so that it could be given to Jews. Shimon Peres, deputy defense minister in 1962, explained that it was only thanks to the military government’s repressive powers that “we can directly continue the struggle for Jewish settlement and Jewish immigration.” [25] Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, stated that “the military government came into existence to protect the right of Jewish settlement in all parts of the state.” [26] The rights of non-Jews were simply not a factor. Even after military rule was formally ended, land expropriations without compensation from Palestinians did not stop. In 1976, major land confiscations in the Galilee sparked marches and a general strike that Israeli authorities met with lethal violence. Those protests, and the police killing of six Palestinian citizens of Israel, are commemorated annually on March 30 by Palestinians everywhere as Land Day. [27]

Little seems to have changed in the outlook of Israeli and Zionist officials charged with implementing policies designed to transfer land from Palestinians to Jews. “David Ben-Gurion once said that if we fail to settle the Negev, we will lose Tel Aviv,” Efi Stenzler, chair of the Jewish National Fund, which actively assists the government’s forced removal of Palestinian Bedouins, told donors at a 2012 fundraiser in Florida. “Today, we know how right he was.” [28] Similarly, in 2009, housing minister Ariel Atias declared that it was “a national duty to prevent the spread of a population that, to say the least, does not love the state of Israel.” He was speaking about Palestinian citizens of Israel. “If we go on like we have until now, we will lose the Galilee,” Atias warned, adding, “Populations that should not mix are spreading there. I don’t think that it is appropriate [for them] to live together.” [29] If we follow Atias’s logic, then legislation equivalent to the US Fair Housing Act (1968), part of the civil rights–era reforms ending racial segregation, would lead to the disintegration of Israel. This passionate commitment to Jewish domination of the land and ethnic segregation of the population was further entrenched in 2011 when the Knesset passed a law formalizing “admissions committees” in hundreds of Jewish towns with the right to exclude potential residents who do not meet vague suitability criteria. Human Rights Watch denounced the committees, with seats reserved for officials from the Jewish Agency or World Zionist Organization, as a form of “officially sanctioned discrimination” intended to keep Arabs out. [30]

Prominent local officials have argued that leaving Palestinians to live their lives could be a major threat to the territorial integrity of the Jewish state. Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, angrily rejected a request to open the first school for the 1,900 children of the city’s Arab population—one-fifth of its fifty-two thousand residents—as a “provocative nationalist statement.” Explaining his refusal, Gapso insisted, “Upper Nazareth was founded to make the Galilee Jewish and must preserve this role.” [31] Gapso could argue with some justification that he was only fulfilling the vision of Israel’s founders. His town was built on heights overlooking the Palestinian city of Nazareth on the orders of Ben-Gurion and Peres. Ben-Gurion was “outraged by the presence of so many ‘Arabs’ in the Galilee when he toured the region in 1953.” In 1948, he had already warned, “We have liberated the Galilee and the Negev. It is not enough to expel the foreign invader”—his description of the indigenous Palestinians—“we have to replace him with the Hebrew settlers.” [32] But over the decades, as the predominantly Palestinian town of Nazareth has been allocated little space to grow, Arab families have moved to Upper Nazareth. Gapso seized on protests by Palestinian citizens during Israel’s November 2012 air bombardment of Gaza to urge the government to declare neighboring Nazareth a “hostile” city. “If it was in my hands, I would evacuate from this city its residents, the haters of Israel whose rightful place is in Gaza and not here,” Gapso wrote in a letter to the interior minister. [33] As he ran for re-election in 2013, Gapso defended his policies in a Haaretz op-ed with the refreshingly honest headline “If You Think I’m Racist, Then Israel Is a Racist State.” Gapso made the case that in a country with “racially pure kibbutzim without a single Arab member and an army that protects a certain racial strain” as well as “political parties that proudly bear racist names” and “even our racist national anthem [that] ignores the existence of the Arab minority,” it was sheer “hypocrisy and bleeding-heart sanctimoniousness” for liberals in Tel Aviv to pick on his city as racist. The mayor cited the Bible, in which, he said, “the God of Israel told Moses how to act upon conquering the land: he must cleanse the land of its current inhabitants.” [34] Gapso was re-elected by a landslide.

Gapso was perhaps being unfair to Tel Aviv, however, where he has his fair share of emulators. Tel Aviv deputy mayor Arnon Giladi, for instance, led his Likud party’s 2013 municipal election campaign with a promise to “silence” the remaining mosques in Jaffa. Once the Palestinian cultural and commercial capital, the vast majority of Jaffa’s population was forced to flee by sea as Zionist militias invaded and occupied the city in April 1948. Alarmed by the fact that a few thousand Palestinians were hanging onto their way of life and their religious practices in the city—now annexed to the Tel Aviv municipality—Giladi warned, “It is not possible that only a few kilometers from the center of town there will be a Palestinian nationalist autonomy that alienates itself from the values of the State of Israel.” He promised that his party would “act to correct this situation and crystallize a national plan that will guarantee that Jaffa will remain a part of the State of Israel and also have a Jewish character.” [35] In recent years Jaffa’s remaining Palestinians have struggled against gentrification calculated to displace them for the benefit of wealthier Jewish newcomers. [36]

The close connection between the need to repress the political aspirations and rights of Palestinian citizens, on the one hand, and Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state,” on the other, was expressed by Haaretz columnist Israel Harel in 2008 when he warned Israeli leaders against recognizing Kosovo, the province of Serbia that seceded under NATO tutelage in 2008. Harel, a founder and influential leader of the council representing Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, was worried about the precedent. “Kosovo’s declaration of independence has sparked concern in certain circles in Israel,” he wrote. [37] “The day may not be far off when the Arabs of Galilee start clamoring for political independence too.” Comparing the two cases, Harel asserted that “the Muslims of Kosovo constitute an absolute majority of the population, and the same is true for the Galilee Arabs,” his term for Palestinian citizens of Israel. “Quite a few Jews have been leaving the Galilee . . . and not many are joining the sparse Jewish population there, despite an array of financial incentives.” The consequence of allowing Palestinian citizens to exercise rights or express their cultural and political identity freely would be to put the very existence of Israel at risk: “Unlike the Kosovars in the Balkans, who are satisfied with their separatist province and do not claim ownership over all Serbian territory, the Arabs of the Galilee, and certainly the northern wing of the Islamic Movement, claim ownership—political and territorial—over all of Israel.” Harel compared each additional right that might be granted to Palestinian citizens to allowing them to cut off another slice of salami. Soon, before Israel knew it, he warned, the Arabs would have swallowed the whole Zionist state.

Even the grossly inadequate budgets for education and public services allocated to Arab communities in Israel are closely tied to the effort to preserve the “Jewishness” of the state. Benjamin Netanyahu expressed the dilemma best when he observed in 2003, “If there is a demographic problem, and there is, it is with the Israeli Arabs who will remain Israeli citizens.” [38] If they were to “become well integrated and reach 35–40 percent of the population, there will no longer be a Jewish state but a bi-national one,” Netanyahu, who was then finance minister, explained, according to Haaretz. “But, if Arabs remain at 20 percent but relations are tense and violent, this will also harm the state’s democratic fabric.” Therefore, Netanyahu concluded, “a policy is needed that will balance the two.” He also praised the separation wall Israel built in the West Bank, saying it would prevent a “demographic spillover.” From the record of every Israeli government, including those headed by Netanyahu, it would appear that decent schools for Palestinian citizens, sufficient land for housing and development, a fair shot at employment, a role in government and national decision-making, and national symbols that foster inclusion could all cause too much integration and therefore present an existential threat to the Jewish character of Israel.

The cumulative impact of Israeli policies deemed necessary to protect Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state can be seen in the yawning gulf that exists between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Sikkuy, an Israeli organization that monitors inequality, found that in four of the five areas it surveys for its periodic Equality Index— health, housing, education, employment, and social welfare—there had been a “distressing increase” in inequality between Jewish and Arab citizens from 2006 to 2009. [39] The only exception was in education, where there was a slight decrease in inequality, although gaps remained large. [40] Jews live on average four years longer than Palestinian citizens of Israel; that gap had widened. Infant mortality among Palestinian citizens, at 7.7 per thousand live births, is two and half times the rate for Jewish babies. Among one- to four-year-olds, the mortality rate among Arab boys is three and a half times higher than for Jewish boys. [41]

 Notes

  1. Ted Sampsell-Jones, “The Myth of Ashby v. White,” University of St. Thomas Law Journal 8, no. 1 (2010), http://ir.stthomas.edu/ustlj/vol8/iss1/4. For a critical perspective on the relation- ship between rights and remedies see Daryl Levinson, “Rights Essentialism and Remedial Equilibration,” Columbia Law Review 99, no. 4 (1999), 857–940. Levinson writes, “Rights are dependent on remedies not just for their application to the real world, but for their scope, shape, and very existence.”
  2. For numerous examples of the use of this term or similar expressions, see Ben White, Palestinians in Israel (London: Pluto Press, 2012), 51–54; see also Dan Perry, “Analysis: Israel Left Wing Sees Jewish State’s End,” Associated Press, January 11, 2013.
  3. David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2003), 369.
  4. White, Palestinians in Israel, 13–14.
  5. Adalah, “Israeli Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Family Unification,” news release, January 12, 2012, http://www.adalah.org/eng/pressreleases/12_1_12.html.
  6. Human Rights Watch, “Israel: High Court Rulings Undermine Human Rights,” news release, January 20, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/01/30/israel-high-court-rulings-undermine-human-rights.
  7. Aluf Benn, “Legislation Seeks to Hinder Citizenship for Palestinians, Non-Jews,” Haaretz, April 5, 2005, http://www.haaretz.com/printedition/news/legislation-seeks-to-hinder-citizenship-for-palestinians-non-jews-1.155055.
  8. Harrier Sherwood, “Court Upholds Law Banning Palestinian Spouses from Living in Israel,” Guardian, January 12, 2012.
  9. United Press, “White Supremacy at Stake, South Africa Warned,” April 13, 1953, printed in Lodi News-Sentinel, April 14, 1953, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JYgzAAAAIBAJ &sjid=_e4HAAAAIBAJ&dq=must-inevitably-mean-to-white-south-africa-nothing-less-than -national-suicide&pg=4489%2C1382535.
  10. Human Rights Watch, “Israel: High Court Rulings Undermine Human Rights,” news release, January 20, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/01/30/israel-high-court-rulings-undermine -human-rights.
  11. This Basic Law was passed by the Knesset on July 30, 1980. On June 30, 1980, the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 476, which stated that the council was “gravely concerned over the legislative steps initiated in the Israeli Knesset with the aim of changing the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.” The resolution also “recon- firms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
  12. Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, 1992, http://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng /basic3_eng.htm.
  13. White, Palestinians in Israel, 15.
  14. White, Palestinians in Israel, 12–13.
  15. Associated Press, “Israeli Court Rejects Israeli Nationality, Saying It Could Undermine Jewish Character,” October 4, 2013.
  16. For the summary and definition of Palestinian citizenship, see United Nations Conciliation Commission For Palestine, “Definition of a ‘Refugee’ under Paragraph 11 of the General Assembly Resolution of 11 December 1948,” April 9, 1951,http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/418E7BC6931616B485256CAF00647CC7.
  17. Ilan Pappé, The Forgotten Palestinians; A History of the Palestinians in Israel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011), 35–47.
  18. See White, Palestinians in Israel, 22–50.
  19. See for example: Benett Ruda, “Israel’s Law of Return: One of Many Countries with Such a Law,” Daled Amos (blog), February 27, 2012, http://daledamos.blogspot.com/2012/02/israels-law-of-return-one-of-many.html.
  20. For the history of the idea of “the Jewish people” as a cohesive, transhistorical entity and its origins in the nineteenth century, see Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (London/New York: Verso, 2009).
  21. Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Department of Justice and Equality, “Citizenship through Descent,” website, http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/WP11000024.
  22. Tikva Honig-Parnass, False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine (Chicago: Haymarket, 2011), 54.
  23. Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann, “Peace Index: October 2012,” Israel Democracy Institute, October 2012, http://en.idi.org.il/media/1838538/Peace%20Index-October%202012.pdf.
  24. Nathan Jeffay, “Citing Disloyalty, Knesset Bans Main Arab Parties from Elections,” Jewish Daily Forward, January 23, 2009.
  25. Quoted in Sabri Jiryis, The Arabs in Israel (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1976), 53.
  26. Quoted in Jiryis, Arabs in Israel, 53.
  27. Pappé, Forgotten Palestinians, 126–34.
  28. Steve Linde, “Editor’s Notes: It’s Now or the Negev,” Jerusalem Post, October 25, 2012. Similarly, Yaron Ben Ezra, director-general of the Jewish Agency’s settlement division, explained that the goal of Israeli development plans in the Negev “is to grab the last remaining piece of land and thereby prevent further Bedouin incursion into any more state land and the development of an Arab belt from the south of Mount Hebron toward Arad and approaching Dimona and Yeruham, and the area extending toward Be’er Sheva.” See Ranit Nahum-Halevy, “Judaization of the Negev at Any Cost,” Haaretz, January 9, 2012.
  29. Guy Lieberman, “Housing Minister: Spread of Arab population Must Be Stopped,” Haaretz, July 2, 2009.
  30. Human Rights Watch, “Israel: New Laws Marginalize Palestinian Arab Citizens,” news release, March 20, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/03/30/israel-new-laws-marginalize-palestinian -arab-citizens; see also White, Palestinians in Israel, 48–50.
  31. Jack Khoury, “Upper Nazareth Mayor: No Arab School Here as Long as I Am in Charge,” Haaretz, January 17, 2013.
  32. Pappé, Forgotten Palestinians, 74.
  33. Eli Ashkenazi and Jackie Khoury, “Rosh Ha’ir Notzrat Illit Le Yishai: Lehakhriz ‘Al Notzrat Ke’ir ‘Oyenet,” Haaretz (Hebrew), November 20, 2012, http://www.haaretz.co.il/news /education/1.1869948. Gapso’s letter was published in Hebrew. For an English translation, see Ali Abunimah, “Israeli Mayor: Expel Palestinian Citizens of ‘Hostile’ Nazareth to Gaza for Opposing War,” Electronic Intifada, November 21, 2012 http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah /israeli-mayor-expel-palestinian-citizens-hostile-nazareth-gaza-opposing-war.
  34. Shimon Gapso, “If You Think I’m a Racist, then Israel Is a Racist State,” Haaretz, August 7, 2013.
  35. Ali Abunimah, “Israel’s Likud Hopes to Complete the Ethnic Cleansing of Jaffa,” Electronic Intifada, October 9, 2013, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israels-likud-hopes -complete-ethnic-cleansing-jaffa.
  36. Sami Abu Shehadeh and Fadi Shbaytah, “Jaffa: From Eminence to Ethnic Cleansing,” Electronic Intifada, February 26, 2009, http://electronicintifada.net/content/jaffa-eminence-ethnic-cleansing /8088.
  37. Israel Harel, “Kosovo Is Already Here,” Haaretz, February 21, 2008.
  38. Gideon Alon and Aluf Benn, “Netanyahu: Israel’s Arabs Are the Real Demographic Threat,” Haaretz, December 18, 2003.
  39. The majority of the Israeli Jewish population is made up of Jews from Arab lands or their descendants. However, when Israeli organizations like Sikkuy use the term “Arabs” or “Israeli Arabs,” they mean this to include only Palestinian citizens of Israel, not Arab Jews.
  40. Ali Haider, Alaa Hamdan, and Yaser Awad, The Equality Index of Jewish and Arab Citizens in Israel (Jerusalem: Sikkuy, 2010), 9, http://www.sikkuy.org.il/english/en2009/r_sikkuy09.pdf.
  41. Ibid., 26–27.

219 Responses

  1. weareone
    March 14, 2014, 11:09 am

    Another excellent article on this topic was written by Sharmine Narwani in 2012 ; “Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right To Exist” link to english.al-akhbar.com

  2. JeffB
    March 14, 2014, 11:20 am

    @Ali —

    Let me start by saying as a solid Zionist you are one of the few Palestinians with whom I think peace is possible. I’ve always found you to be rational and I do really believe you are humanitarian not motivated by animus.

    Obviously Israel can’t exist as a Jewish state and have a huge percentage of the population (20 or 40% IMHO is irrelevant, both are high enough) that is permanently non-Jewish. If they remain, either they have to be assimilated into Israel including its state religion over a few generations or Israel has to become genuinely bi-national. The occupied territories just up the percentages further. What you wrote mostly makes sense but I think the idea of successful assimilation should have been listed as an option. Most cultures have been able to incorporate minorities into themselves. My region of America had huge Dutch vs. Welsh vs. Scottish conflicts none of which exist anymore at all. The descendants of those people married one another and had lots of babies to the point that they don’t exist as separate populations at all. There is no reason that Israel can’t be successful in accomplishing that.

    Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state isn’t about race. There are no ethnic distinctions between Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians. It seems to mainly be about being a state that has a formal affinity for Judaism, little more than speaking Hebrew and having Judaism as a state church.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 14, 2014, 1:00 pm

      “My region of America had huge Dutch vs. Welsh vs. Scottish conflicts none of which exist anymore at all. The descendants of those people married one another and had lots of babies to the point that they don’t exist as separate populations at all. There is no reason that Israel can’t be successful in accomplishing that. ”

      LMAO. What a dumb statement. Yeah, because the Dutch and Welsh didn’t hold the Scots as oppressed, vote-less serfs in an ethnoreligious Apartheid regime. When the US was established, they all got the vote, all got equality, and all got a say in the government that controlled their lives. The reason why israeli can’t do the same, is because they refuse to give up their racist ideology of zionism.

      A better comparison is with the fact that racists in the US refused for most of its existence to give up the racism that fueled slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings and the continued discrimination agaisnt African Americans. Those racial conflicts will continue until the racists hold on to their racism. As a “solid zionist” you’re the equivalent (morally and otherwise) of a Klansman.

    • libra
      March 14, 2014, 1:33 pm

      JeffB: Most cultures have been able to incorporate minorities into themselves. My region of America had huge Dutch vs. Welsh vs. Scottish conflicts none of which exist anymore at all. The descendants of those people married one another and had lots of babies to the point that they don’t exist as separate populations at all.

      But did they all end up as Dutch Reformists, Jeff?

    • Ofer Neiman
      March 14, 2014, 3:17 pm

      “@Ali –
      Let me start by saying as a solid Zionist you are one of the few Palestinians with whom I think peace is possible.”
      >>> With how many Israelis is peace possible, if one is a Palestinian?
      Let me guess your answer would be “many of them”.

      “Most cultures have been able to incorporate minorities into themselves. My region of America had huge Dutch vs. Welsh vs. Scottish conflicts none of which exist anymore at all.”
      >>> A very faulty analogy. They are all American. So are immigrants from Korea. The latter haven’t been assimilated into a white or Christian nation (even if Ann Coulter begs to differ).
      Israel, by contrast, does not even recognize an Israeli nationality:
      Court denial of Israeli nationality reinforces discrimination, by Ben White link to middleeastmonitor.com

      • amigo
        March 14, 2014, 5:00 pm

        10. This [Israeli Supreme] Court rejected Tamarin’s appeal … It was ruled that it had not been proven that an Israeli nation has been formed in the State of Israel, separately from the Jewish nation … “From the link above

        So the IDF should be the JDF and Israel,s High Court should be The “Jewish High Court and the IFA should read the JFa (Jewish Football assoc.

        I think there should be a group known as !!! “TJMMG” The Jewish Ministry of Mental Gymnastics”.

        They then go on to say!!

        “In addition, [the court] ruled that the principle of self-determination should, in its view, apply to peoples and not to “shreds of peoples” … Recognition of such nationality may bring about the national and social disintegration of the entire nation … A separatist trend of splitting the Jewish nations ”

        Sounds like a clarion call to change the Status of all Jews in non Jewish nations.

        It,s the Jewish nations idea, not mine.

        Read the ruling at the link given by Ofer above.It is enough to put one off dinner.

    • Light
      March 14, 2014, 6:10 pm

      I think the idea of successful assimilation should have been listed as an option.

      Assimilation in the US roughly means becoming an American citizen and speaking English and not much more. If Israel were a normal country, assimilation could mean becoming an Israeli citizen and speaking a Hebrew. However, if assimilation means converting to Judaism than your idea of assimilation is more like an inquisition than anything that exists in the US. Likewise, you mention intermarriage between ethnic groups in the US as promoting assimilation. Unfortunately, interfaith marriage is not possible in Israel and the concept of civil marriage does not exist there.

    • Daniel Rich
      March 15, 2014, 3:05 am

      @ JeffB,

      Yes, JeffB, the Apartheid State’s ‘Kosher Keter Kaballah’ ‘integration’ express is right on schedule:

      The Israeli government succumbs to pressure by racist and anti-miscegenation organizations, banning Jewish women from volunteering in hospitals at night, when they might be more likely to encounter Arab workers and doctors.

      “Set your Princesses free…”

      • JeffB
        March 17, 2014, 11:44 am

        @Daniel —

        I’d like to see a somewhat more reliable and balanced source before believing the claim. But if the fact are true, that sounds rather morally repulsive and racist. But regardless of the specific, Israel does have a growing racism problem which hopefully will disappear in a generation or two. Certainly conduct like this doesn’t help their international case. While it is reasonable to demand that Israel only be held to the standards of other countries anti-miscegenation policies no longer exist in most countries and the last vestiges are being attacked all over the planet.

        But where this all falls apart is the MW suggested remedy, the liquidation of a state. Many countries have had these sorts of laws in the past and gotten past them through a peaceful process of reform. I don’t see any reason that Israeli-Arabs and Israeli-Jews can’t go through this sort of peaceful process of reform. And if some moderate proportionate external pressure would help I’d be in favor of that as well.

    • Sumud
      March 15, 2014, 2:23 pm

      If they remain, either they have to be assimilated into Israel including its state religion over a few generations or Israel has to become genuinely bi-national.

      Say JeffB are there any other articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights you’d like to trash? Maybe just …all of them? For gentiles only of course.

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 2:46 pm

        @Sumud —

        Unlike you all I like all laws to apply equally to all countries. So no, “not for gentiles only”.

    • pjdude
      March 15, 2014, 9:20 pm

      I don’t know about anyone else but to me your first paragraph comes across as condecending as all hell. Most palestinians are available for peace; just because most of them demand their basic human rights as enshrined in international law and the standard democracies are held to doesn’t mean they don’t want peace. The implication that their demands for those rights can’t result in peace isn’t indictment of them but of Israel.

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 11:46 pm

        @pjdude

        Most palestinians are available for peace; just because most of them demand their basic human rights as enshrined in international law

        I’m not sure those rights you speak of like RoR are enshrined in international law. But what I am sure of is that they are totally unacceptable to Israelis. Peace is fundamentally diplomatic. In any conflict there is a “I’d rather die proposal” something they will never ever accept. There is a “I’d rather take my chances with war proposal” something they won’t accept without a lot of violence. Those are not peace offerings. The fact that you don’t think the offer is too bad doesn’t mean much. You aren’t one of the protagonists.

      • pjdude
        March 17, 2014, 12:47 am

        Whether or not your sure ror is enshrined in international law doesn’t change the fact it is. That Israelis don’t like it or can’t accept it is irrelevant they are required to accept it under the law. You keep saying Palestinian demands for their rights aren’t peace offerings well guess what israel demands for more land after it illegally conquered 3 quarters if Palestine aren’t peace offerings. If you want peace maybe you should pressure your favorite state if thugs to actually make a concession for a change. That you and yours feel the Palestinians basic rights to be unacceptable show how war like and morally bankrupt you are. Minimum required for peace is ror for Palestinians who want to return and compensation for those that don’t the removal of all the illegal terrorist settlers. Renouncing any and all claim to the west bank and gaza. And full Palestinian control of their territory. No demilitarized state they control their own resources their borders their airspace. It’s also what international law requires of israel

      • JeffB
        March 18, 2014, 10:47 am

        @pjdude

        Well here is the status. The UN’s position hasn’t changed in decades. in your theory which ignores things like the quartet. So under your theory. There is an occupation. International law is unequivocal that you can’t build permanent infrastructure and move population onto occupied territory and thus permanently incorporate it. Israel has been doing precisely that for a long time semi-openly, and openly for more than a decade. They have formally annexed a chunk of this “occupied territory” so it isn’t defacto but dejure incorporated into their territory. At this point virtually all the state infrastructure of value in the West Bank (roads, power, water…) is designed in a way completely incompatible with the West Bank being an independent country.

        After how long does screaming “you have to do X” while obviously they have no intention of doing X cease being credible in your mind? You can say that the Israelis have to accept the UN’s position all you want. But obviously they aren’t going to. You can say “they have to”, but obviously they don’t have to as proven by the fact they haven’t for a fairly long period of time.

        The UN’s position has been offered and rejected. Let me repeat that, offered and rejected. Now your definition of peace negotiations is that an arbitrator declares something by fiat and everyone accepts it. I tend to go with the definition of a peace negotiation that the two sides negotiate and come to a understand and then agreement based on mutual self interest. That’s called “consent of the governed” an idea the UN is admittedly firmly opposed to.

        Ultimately Israel is going to do what is in Israeli people’s interest. The same way France serves the French people’s interests and China the Chinese people’s interests. You may wish all states lived in obedience to your unelected world government but the people’s of the world prefer having voice in who governs them and so mostly states just play lip service to the UN while serving the interests of their people.

        So where do you want to go from here. Further discussions about how the Israeli state on Narnia and the Palestinian state on Narnia make peace in Narnia or rather discussions about the real Israelis and the real Palestinians?

      • pjdude
        March 18, 2014, 4:19 pm

        @jeffb
        it isn’t a theory under international law it is an occupation. unilateral annexations have zero validity. you sit and laugh with Israeli thuggery but the US will wake up that Israel hurts and when that happens Israel is screwed and will reap what it has sown. just because thugs like yourself think they are above the law doesn’t mean they are. eventualy your prescious Israelis are going to cross a line and a military solution will be on the table. history shows thugs don’t do to well against real military’s so be happy continue to flaunt the law. the Israel version of the nuremburg trials will eventually happen.

    • eljay
      March 15, 2014, 10:48 pm

      >> I think the idea of successful assimilation should have been listed as an option. Most cultures have been able to incorporate minorities into themselves. … There is no reason that Israel can’t be successful in accomplishing that.

      A secular and democratic Israeli state – a state of and for all its citizens, equally – could successfully accomplish assimilation of its non-Jewish minorities.

      Supremacist “Jewish State” – a supremacist state of and for Jewish “Jewish Staters” and non-“Jewish State” Jews ; a supremacist construct which necessarily and permanently relegates “Jewish State” non-Jews to second-class status – cannot. And it wouldn’t want to, either.

      >> Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state isn’t about race.

      Israel has no right to exist as a supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • James Canning
        March 16, 2014, 3:11 pm

        The issue obviously is not “race”. Entrenched cultural bias, with elements of religion?

    • Sibiriak
      March 15, 2014, 11:44 pm

      JeffB:

      I think the idea of successful assimilation should have been listed as an option.

      Jeff’s ” assimilation option”–state-directed ideological conversion of Arab-Palestinians to Zionism– what would it actually entail?

      I pressed JeffB on this point previously. Read his response, and see if it makes sense to you:

      link to mondoweiss.net

      [JeffB:] There basically are two arguments.

      5a) How do regimes change the idealogical orientation of populations? How does North Korea, Stalin’s Russia, China, America’s conversion of the population away from Communism in Latin America… work? To a great extent I think what you are arguing is that concentrated state terror is not an effective way of changing mass public opinion away from a position that a powerful state finds threatening. And I can point to historical record and examples of its success.

      I guess we can go a couple places depending on exactly what the point of disagreement is. I’m still not clear.

      i) How individual humans form their opinions and how these can be changed i.e. how brainwashing, propaganda… work. In short why anybody believes in anything.

      ii) How powerful states can use these mechanisms to shape public opinion. How states can deliberately change the ideology of their population. How propaganda and brainwashing work.

      iii) How this can be applied on a large scale. How totalitarianism and other such systems of mass influence work.

      5b) Given that Israel can change the ideology of the Palestinian population what’s the optimal time frame? Does it make sense to do it fast or slow?

      If we consider a scale of Zionism from 0 to 100 with 0 being your typical Saudi Arabian and 100 being Netanyahu I’d say the West Bank Palestinians are about a 15.

      Lets’s say that 70k Israelis working as part of a colonial administration can use mass persuasion techniques raise the Zionism of Palestinians on the West Bank from a 15 to a 40 over 10 years. Doing it that fast is going to involve the entire population going through a process of reeducation center with heavy terror and a complete collapse of social institutions (church, extended family, social structures…) for 2-3 years. It is going to mean a total takeover of Palestinian society at the most intimate levels.

      It may mean huge chunks of the populations shuffling through “reeducation centers” where they are exposed to even more intense persuasion. And it might mean outright killing a few percent of the population.

      Conversely a more gradual process many of the same steps are done but there is much less resistance thus less need for terror and violence. It is much easier to make sure Islam isn’t passed successfully from generation to generation and then isn’t passed at all, then to erase knowledge of Islam and affection for it from an active practitioner. But such a system might move the Palestinian average by only 0.5 per year.

      Which is better? I’m going to go on the side of long but it is a choice.

      Recruiting 70k people who are drawn towards totalitarianism from the Israeli population, training them in totalitarian methods of population reorientation, giving them a decade experience with them might have some inadvertent effects on how Israel is internally governed. :) Israel already has some strongly non-democratic tendencies I’m not sure it is in the interests of Israelis to supercharge them. On the other hand Israel does seem to have tremendous patience and the ability to maintain government strategies across administrations.

      I’m going to lean towards the slow approach though if someone wanted to go fast I can see that as a reasonable position. So 3 generations till you have large numbers of converts and lots of intermarriage and 5 till essentially the West Bank is fully Zionized.

    • ziusudra
      March 17, 2014, 5:25 am

      Greetings JeffB,
      …there are no ethnic distinctions betw. Mizrahi Jews & Palestinians……

      The Mizrahi, Termanin, Karaim & other ME & No.African Jewish ethnic Groups
      have been miscegenizing with the Sephardi Euros from the 15thC, where the
      Sephardi Euros have been miscegenizing with the Khazarians from the 12th C.
      in Europe. 50% of Euro/Khazarians reside in Israel & 50% in the US.
      Semites reside in Palestina.
      Dr Eran Elhaik findings – no Semite DNA – in World Jewry.
      PS Consolation, Mankind has up to 4% of Neanderthal DNA.

      ….a Jewish state isn’t about race…..

      Jeff, I was born on Park Ave in Williamsburg, Bklyn in 41.
      The Euro. immigrants, including Jews, all lived side by side.
      Later, we, italo/ Greco immigrants moved to Flatbush in the late 40s.
      Jews were a majority. There wasn’t any anything- negative-.
      Existing in a self imposed ghetto will not bring you everlasting harmony
      & peace. The Ghetti of Europe are gone forever. World Jewry must get out
      of their mental Ghetti.
      ziusudra

      • JeffB
        March 17, 2014, 10:49 am

        @ziusudra

        The Ghetti of Europe are gone forever. World Jewry must get out of their mental Ghetti.

        In the 19th century they came up with a process to accomplish this. First they would form a homeland and move there in large numbers to end their geographic dispersion. Then that homeland became a state. Now world Jewry is making sure that state lives and thrives. That’s the plan. You and I will both be dead before we can see if it worked. But so far the signs are promising.

        More and more people hate Israel for normal reasons not twisted theological reasons.

      • pjdude
        March 18, 2014, 4:21 pm

        Do you what the word homeland means? you don’t form one you either have one cause your a nation or you don’t cause you don’t. so you admit their is no jewish nation and Israel was a fabrication of rights to fill a want?

  3. TC1995
    March 14, 2014, 11:40 am

    Great piece. Abunimah continues to articulate the inherent contradictions that come with “liberal” Zionism as well as anyone.

  4. American
    March 14, 2014, 11:44 am

    Does Israel have a right to exit as a Jewish state?
    What is the Jewish ‘right’ to a state based on?
    As far as I can see its…. 1) Victimhood & anti Semitism 2) The Bible return to a Jewish ruled Israel ‘yearning’. 3) Some kind of hodgepodge definition of Jews as a ‘nationality’ which seems to be based on a ancient religo/race ‘tribalism’.

    Victimhood, the bible and tribalism, same old, same old. Not a good ‘foundation for a state.
    But it exist so what are we going to do about it?
    I don’t think that in the end the Jewish claim to a right to a Jewish state is going to be the deciding factor on what is done about Israel anyway.
    Israel has made itself a ‘problem’ for too many people/countries so any ‘rights’ will be over ridden by other world ‘interest’ eventually.

    • JeffB
      March 14, 2014, 12:13 pm

      @American

      You have a group of people that speak the same language, share the same culture, share a set of historical myths, share a common recent history, inhabit a particular territory, and give allegiance to the same government. Israeli Jews are not under some hodgepodge definition a nationality they are a nationality under the strictest definitions. Their great grandparents may not have belonged to the same nation but so what? That’s true of many Americans, yet American is a nationality.

      • Ofer Neiman
        March 14, 2014, 4:01 pm

        If anything, they are a Jewish nationality, not an Israeli nationality. See comments above. #HasbaraFail.

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2014, 11:33 pm

        Ofer, with all respect…since when is Judaism a nationality? The Jewish religion and it’s many converts have been around a lot longer than nation states.

        But since Israel does not recognize the idea of nationality, the logical question is …is there such an entity as a “Jewish State?” Or even a real country, Israel?

        Just asking. I have no anti Israel sentiments nor desires to see the state go away. Just following the ideas of Israel put out there .

      • tree
        March 17, 2014, 12:50 am

        Ofer, with all respect…since when is Judaism a nationality?

        That question should be directed to the state of Israel and its High Court which have declared that there is no Israeli nationality, only a Jewish one. Makes no sense of course, but then its Israel, so what do you expect? I think that was Ofer’s point, and why he linked to this:

        link to middleeastmonitor.com

      • Sibiriak
        March 17, 2014, 2:29 am

        Ellen:

        Ofer, with all respect…since when is Judaism a nationality?

        Ofer referred to the notion of a Jewish nationality, not a Judaism -nationality. Thus, non-religious Jews would also be part of the “Jewish Nation” ( a “Jew” being variably defined by a combination of religious, genetic and cultural elements.)

        The Jewish religion and it’s many converts have been around a lot longer than nation states.

        “Nations” have been around for a lot longer than “nation-states”. Nation and state are two different notions.

        In fact, there are two fundamentally different concepts “nation”, leading to two different notions of “nation-state”– a civic nation-state=nation-state of citizens, and an “ethnic” nation-state=nation-state of a single “ethnic” group (“people”).

        Israeli Supreme Court judge Meltzer wrote in the “Israeli nationality” ruling:

        The proposition attests to a certain conceptual confusion among the appellants. Israel is defined, internationally (since the UN “partition” resolution) and internally (at least following the aforementioned basic laws) … as the Jewish people’s nation state. The fact that it is also the [civic] nation state of its Israeli citizens – whoever they may be – does not negate its identity as the Jewish people’s [ethnic] nation state.

        (From Ofer Neiman’s translation)

        Israeli law and Zionist ideology recognizes the idea of Jewish “ethnic” nation-state. (Judaism recognizes the idea of Jewish nation/ Jewish People.)

        The word “ethnic” itself does not have a precise meaning, and has served various ideological functions.

        Shlomo Sand, “The Invention of the Jewish People”:

        The murderous first half of the twentieth century having caused the concept of race to be categorically rejected, various historians and other scholars enlisted the more respectable concept of ethnos in order to preserve the intimate contact with the distant past. Ethnos, meaning “people” in ancient Greek, had served even before the Second World War as a useful alternative to, or a verbal intermediary between, “race” and “people.” But its common, “scientific” use began only in the 1950s, after which it spread widely. Its main attraction lies in its blending of cultural background and blood ties, of a linguistic past and a biological origin—in other words, its combining of a historical product with a fact that demands respect as a natural phenomenon.7

        […]The ethnic community is, after all, a human group with a shared cultural-linguistic background, not always well defined but capable of providing crucial materials for a national construction. Yet a good many other scholars cling to ethnos as though to bring in by the back door the essential primevalism, the racial concept that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries bolstered the promoters of the fragile national identity. Thus ethnos has become not merely a historical and cultural unit but an ambiguous entity of ancient origin, at whose heart lies a subjective sense of closeness that it inspires in those who believe in it, much as race did in the nineteenth century.

        […]For [Anthony D.] Smith, “an ethnic group, then, is distinguished by four features: the sense of unique group origins, the knowledge of a unique group history and belief in its destiny, one or more dimensions of collective cultural individuality, and finally a sense of unique collective solidarity.”8

        The diligent British scholar, it seems, considers that the ethnos is no longer a linguistic community with a common way of life; that the ethnos does not inhabit a particular territory but needs only to be associated with one; that the ethnos need not have an actual history, for ancient myths can continue to serve this function equally well. The shared memory is not a conscious process moving from the present to the past (since there is always someone around who can organize it) but rather a “natural” process, neither religious nor national, which flows by itself from past to present.

        Smith’s definition of ethnos, therefore, matches the way Zionists see the Jewish presence in history—it also matches the old concept of pan-Slav identity, or that of the Aryans or Indo-Europeans, or even of the Black Hebrews in the United States—but is quite unlike the accepted connotation among the traditional community of anthropologists.9

        Toward the end of the twentieth century and in the early twenty-first, “ethnicity”—which Étienne Balibar rightly described as entirely fictitious—has experienced a resurgence in popularity.

      • ziusudra
        March 17, 2014, 5:50 am

        Greetings Ellen,
        How you be , dear?
        Israel is a territory that is recognized as a Nation.
        Hence, all those within are its Citizens of said nation.
        What is then a Muslim Palestinian living within Israel called,
        if not even the Jews are called Israeli Citizens?
        ziusudra
        PS
        They identified by their tribal names before their Hebron Kingdom
        in 1029BC. to 1009BC.
        12 tribes formed the Kingdom of Israel in 1009BC / 722BC. Israelites.
        The remaining 2 tribes identified as subjects of the Kingdom of Judah
        933BC / 586BC, Judeans.
        After that, they remained Judeans in Palestina from 200BC to the islamic
        conquest of 661AD living in Europe, as Sephardi, later as Jews. Also in the ME & No. Africa from 536BC to the present as Mizrahi, Temarin, Karaim, etc.
        Thus, they have had many names. Ah yes, they took up the Greek Name, Hebrew in 323BC.
        PPS I’m Named, therefore, i exist.

      • RoHa
        March 14, 2014, 4:23 pm

        They are an Israeli nationality, not a Jewish nationality.

      • Citizen
        March 16, 2014, 5:21 am

        Didn’t Israel’s high court recently hold that there is no “Israeli” nationality? The plaintiffs were Jewish and wanted to change their official status from “Jewish” to “Israeli, if memory serves. The court said to hold otherwise would change “the Jewish character” of the state.

      • Sibiriak
        March 17, 2014, 1:29 am

        Within the article Ofer Neiman linked…

        link to middleeastmonitor.com

        …there is another link to Ofer’s translation (pdf file) of parts of the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling. If you are interested in this issue, I suggest reading it.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 5:23 pm

        Obviously Israel can’t exist as a Jewish state and have a huge percentage of the population (20 or 40% IMHO is irrelevant, both are high enough) that is permanently non-Jewish.

        The Jewish Agency supposedly accepted a UN plan for the future government of Palestine that established a Jewish state, with 49 percent non-Jewish population. It seized additional Arab inhabited territory that should have resulted in a significant non-Jewish majority.

        If they remain, either they have to be assimilated into Israel including its state religion over a few generations or Israel has to become genuinely bi-national.

        There’s no requirement to address either the Jewish or Arab ethnic groups in the State’s constitution at all. FYI, the text of “The Status Quo Agreement” with World Agudat Israel noted that the UN would not consent to the establishment of the State, unless the Jews provided such assurances and demonstrated that they weren’t going to establish a ethnic theocracy. Freedom of conscience is under UN guarantee. So the idea that others have to adopt Judaism is utter nonsense. link to books.google.com

        Israeli Jews are not under some hodgepodge definition a nationality they are a nationality under the strictest definitions. Their great grandparents may not have belonged to the same nation but so what? That’s true of many Americans, yet American is a nationality.

        One component of the existence of any state is territory. Experts on international law testified to the US Senate that Israel’s failure to fulfill its legal obligations to the Palestinians calls into question its right to the territory it was granted:

        The problem stems from the refusal of the state of Israel to comply with its obligations under the minority rights agreement to guarantee equal rights and protection under the law in the areas under its jurisdiction. Among these legal obligations, section 10(d) of part IB is particularly important and provides that each of the states to be set up in Palestine shall have a constitution which includes provisions:
        Guaranteeing to all persons equal and nondiscriminatory rights in civil, political, economic, and religious matters and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion, language, speech and publication, education, assembly, and association.

        In most civilized legal systems it is recognized that legal rights may only be exercised conditioned upon compliance with legal duties. The refusal of the State of Israel to comply with the nondiscriminatory requirements of the Palestine partition resolution – its main claim to title – puts in serious jeopardy its claim to legal title to the limited
        territory allocated to it by the resolution.

        — See Mallison’s testimony during the Senate hearings on “The Colonization Of The West Bank Territories By Israel”, page 50 link to loc.gov

        The Zionist Commission to the Paris Peace Conference opted for incorporation in the newly created state of Palestine. Everything you’ve said applies to French Canadians and the Swedish population of Finland. The 1920 Report Of the International Committee of Jurists entrusted by the Council of the League of Nations with the task of giving an advisory opinion upon the legal aspects of the Aaland Islands question said:

        Positive International Law does not recognise the right of national groups, as such, to separate themselves from the State of which they form part by the simple expression of a wish, any more than it recognises the right of other States to claim such a separation. Generally speaking, the grant or refusal of the right to a portion of its population of determining its own political fate by plebiscite or by some other method, is, exclusively, an attribute of the sovereignty of every State which is definitively constituted. A dispute
        between two States concerning such a question, under normal conditions therefore, bears upon a question which International Law leaves entirely to the domestic jurisdiction of one of the States concerned.

        link to ilsa.org

      • ziusudra
        March 17, 2014, 6:19 am

        Greetings Hostage,
        … Jewish or Arab Ethnic Groups……

        There is no such thing as a Jewish or Arab etnicity.
        Jewish Schoars continue confusing the confusion that their ancient Pharisees began.
        Jew is English for a subject of the defunct Kingdom of Judah in 586BC.
        Jew is historically not one who confesses to Judaism.
        Arab is Hebrew for Desert Dweller.
        Semite is recognized of one who speaks an Afroasian language such as
        Arabic, Canaanite, Hebrew or Aramaic.
        World Jewry is of Euro/Khazarian etnicity, collectively learned the Hebrew tongue in 1945, which was not in use since 200BC in Palestina. They did not relearn it because they ne’er used it. They Euro/Khazarians because they were ne’er in Palestina.
        Semites are of Semitic origin. ( The term Arab identifying those who speak a Semitic tongue remains in confusion).
        ziusudra

      • justicewillprevail
        March 14, 2014, 7:44 pm

        JB, you are confusing a common culture with nationality. Not the same thing. Like every zionist you try to square the circle, contorting normal definitions in order to accommodate privileging one cultural group over another in the same country, aka apartheid. Sharing a common culture does not automatically confer the right to help yourself to land and resources which have been the property of others for centuries, however much you believe in a mythical origin of your culture. American nationality is conferred automatically on everybody, with no regard to their cultural origins or background, you cannot say the same about Israeli nationality, which apparently doesn’t even exist according the High Court – because of course, like you, they need to murder logic and language in order to gerrymander the rights conferred on people, according to who their parents happen to be. The contortions you perform to justify the unjustifiable are typical, along with the routine denialism about the consequences of this rigged injustice – appalling violence, discrimination and deprivation.

      • Citizen
        March 16, 2014, 5:29 am

        JB seems to be recommending cultural assimilation, which in the US, some Jews describe as “the silent holocaust” even when no religious conversion is involved.

      • ziusudra
        March 17, 2014, 6:22 am

        Greetings J.w.p,
        Bravo.
        ziusudra

      • Sibiriak
        March 15, 2014, 5:58 am

        JeffB:

        You have a group of people that speak the same language, share the same culture, share a set of historical myths, share a common recent history, inhabit a particular territory, and give allegiance to the same government.ISRAELI JEWS are not under some hodgepodge definition a nationality the ARE A NATIONALITY under the strictest definitions.

        (emphasis added)

        Sophistry. As defined in Israeli law and mainstream Zionist ideology, there IS NO Israeli Jewish nationality, only a Jewish nationality.

        Israel is proclaimed to be the state of the Jewish nation (“the Jewish people’s nation state”)–not the state of the Israeli Jewish nation – and the Jewish nation comprises ALL Jews, not only those residing in Israel.

      • puppies
        March 17, 2014, 11:00 pm

        @Canning – “And consider the “Jews” in Spain and other countries, who said they were not Jews. In order to stay in place, continue successful businesses, etc etc etc.”
        Not the most frequent reason, as far as I can see. By far the most frequent, especially in those days when religion was as oppressive in those lands as it is today in the US or Saudi, seems to be that for people who had got rid of superstition the only escape was to officially get out of the fold. Sometimes (as in Spain late 16th C.) some formal rites were required –formal. In other times and places (say, in Flanders) one became just a citizen, or a Mensch in its common, non-Yiddish, meaning.

      • James Canning
        March 18, 2014, 12:42 pm

        Jewish financiers in Spain were able to remain in business if they kept their true religious beliefs secret, and outwardly conformed to RC programme.

      • American
        March 15, 2014, 9:17 am

        jeffb

        ‘Israeli Jews are not under some hodgepodge definition a nationality they are a nationality under the strictest definitions. ”>>>>

        I said “Jews’ are not a nationality. ..except in Zio Israel. Jews are not a race or an ethnic’, except in Zio Orwell speak.
        Race, ethnics and religious are not nationalities.
        There is no White nationality or black nationality or Asian nationality or Hispanic nationality or Catholic nationality or Christian nationality or Judaism nationality or Hindu nationality or Muslim nationality or Semite or Arab nationality.
        Nationality is derived from the nation one is a citizen of regardless of the race or ethnic or religion of the person.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 15, 2014, 3:14 pm

        american, while i agree with you wrt nationality, i do believe ‘jewish’ is an ethnic qualifier. ethnicity being defined as being part of a cultural w/attributes such as shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some.

      • puppies
        March 15, 2014, 3:41 pm

        @Annie – “ethnicity being defined as being part of a cultural w/attributes such as shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some.”
        OK, now name one, just one, that covers the people that call themselves “Jewish” without being religious themselves.
        What some can’t just stick it in their minds is that “Jewish” is no different than “Catholic” or “Moslem”; the only people who convinced the gullible that there is such a beast are the Zionists. Period.

        I’ll be waiting patiently for a single one of these elements to be documented. Outside religion and Zionism.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 15, 2014, 3:58 pm

        name one, just one, that covers the people that call themselves “Jewish” without being religious themselves.

        name one ethnicity? i am not sure if i understand your question. obviously there are lots of secular american jews who are not religious who consider themselves, ethnically, jewish americans ie ethnically jewish as well as american. people can self identify however they want. you’re not the judge of my ethnicity or anyone elses. if a jew doesn’t consider themselves jewish, then i don’t either.

        What some can’t just stick it in their minds is that “Jewish” is no different than “Catholic” or “Moslem”; the only people who convinced the gullible that there is such a beast are the Zionists. Period.

        i don’t agree, i think what you just can’t stick it in your mind is that there are a lot of secular people out there who were raised in homes (religious or otherwise) and as such share lots of traditions, which in turn, they do consider themselves part of an ethnic tribe. whether they were raised in a jewish home, a catholic home, a muslim home, it makes no difference. that can have nothing to do with zionism whatsoever, or everything to do with it.

      • puppies
        March 15, 2014, 4:45 pm

        @Annie – You can’t at the same time formulate a perfectly reasonable, objective condition for recognizing “ethnicity” and screw the whole thing up by some subjective “self-identification” idiocy.
        I am saying: you nicely identified a set of common factors (“attributes such as shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some”) for characterizing “ethnicity”.
        I called you up on that: please provide even a single of these attributes (even in the “etc.” category) that would apply for “Jewish”, all-sizes, that apply to anyone except the religious. And obviously not embracing the Zionist-created abomination.
        In your message you continue to assume that there is anything “general-Jewish” in the culture some were raised in. You were thinking Ashkenazi, I suppose. Surely not Ethiopian or Bukharan.
        The “self-identification” you propose is just bunk. Anyone can, and does, raise that flag on one’s own say-so to lay his dirty hands on hard real estate and hard cash by presenting nothing but thin air. All ethnicity claims have had to pass the exam on unity of culture, many times languages, almost always a territory.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 15, 2014, 5:14 pm

        puppies, calling my description “subjective “self-identification” idiocy.” is not an arugment. i already told you i didn’t understand your question to begin with.

        ethnicity means different things for different people. it doesn’t matter what i think of someone elses ethnicity, it matters what they think. people’s self identification matters. if you ask an asian american what their ethnicity means to them you’re going to get lots of different answers, including “my ethnicity is american, just like yours” which someone said to me once. in that case, i would not consider the person to be asian, because they do not define themselves like that. the mind matters, self identity matters.

        please provide even a single of these attributes (even in the “etc.” category) that would apply for “Jewish”, all-sizes, that apply to anyone except the religious.

        there is no need or requirement to even have a single attribute that applies to all people of an ethnicity to share in common, so what is the point?

        In your message you continue to assume that there is anything “general-Jewish” in the culture some were raised in.

        continue? i don’t think i ever claimed that once. read this again a cultural w/attributes such as shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some.

        it means for some american hotdogs, basball and 4th of july makes them american and for some it’s founding fathers, apple pie and freedom of religion, and for some it’s freedom of speech and the fact their grandparents were immigrants here who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.

        or for some it is hotdogs and the fact their grandparents were immigrants here who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and others it is 4th of july and apple pie, others it maybe religious freedom and hotdogs or other combinations, but there need not be one in particular everyone shares. this has nothing to do w/zionism. it’s the nature of how ethnicities are formed.

        here’s wiki:

        The larger ethnic groups will tend to form smaller sub-ethnic groups (historically also known as tribes), which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves through the process of ethnogenesis

        ethnogeneses is the process of formation or emergence of ethnic groups. iow, it’s mutable. it doesn’t mean the same thing for all people. but if someone considers themself jewsih, i do to. and it doesn’t have to mean they are religious or zionists.

        if you’re placing qualifiers on what that means, that says something about you, not them.

      • puppies
        March 15, 2014, 6:42 pm

        @Annie – Obviously you are either not reading what you are not-responding to, or you are mentally stuck somewhere. Re the exclusive contradiction between the definition that you first offered and the “self-identification” criterion, re the latter and its being universally rejected when used as tender for cash or land, re the “subdivisions which are not subdivisions (hence the absurdity of offering some lame Wikipedia self-appointed expert talking about “subdivisions” when the abundantly documented contention is that there is no “larger ethnic group” but totally independent groups that never had any contact but religious-liturgical.) At any rate, either you cancel your “not necessarily all of those things but some” statement in favor of self-definition or you provide a single one of those things that are common to what the Zionists generically call “Jewish”. Even hotdogs would be accepted but unfortunately they are sectional.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 15, 2014, 10:21 pm

        either you cancel your “not necessarily all of those things but some” statement in favor of self-definition or you provide a single one of those things that are common to what the Zionists generically call “Jewish”.

        ha ha ha! or whatcha gonna do? sue me? you crack me up.

        the abundantly documented contention is that there is no “larger ethnic group”

        who are you quoting? the wiki source contending “larger ethnic groups will tend to form smaller sub-ethnic groups”? i’m not arguing there is one over riding solidifying theme for all jewish people so i’m not scrambling to provide you with something i don’t believe exists. it doesn’t mean jewish is not an ethnic identifier tho. why don’t you ask someone who is jewish. but this thing you’ve got going, about “what the Zionists generically call “Jewish” ” is irrelevant to me and not a game i am playing with you. go ask michael oren or ethan bronner or some zionist if you want to know what zionists call jewish.

      • American
        March 15, 2014, 6:57 pm

        Annie Robbins says:

        March 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm

        american, while i agree with you wrt nationality, i do believe ‘jewish’ is an ethnic qualifier. ethnicity being defined as being part of a cultural w/attributes such as shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some>>>>>>

        Jewish cant logically be an “ethnic’ that applies to ‘All Jews”. An Asian Jew and African Jew don’t have a shared (national) language or social traditions or food or social culture….they have a shared religion, they may speak or know Hebrew , but that belongs in the religious sphere also, just like Latin use to be the language in Catholic sphere. Even Jews separate themselves into separate ethnics as we see so often in arguments over it here.
        In our new Orwell world of definitions people try to use language and or culture and or religion and or traditions to say they a ‘distinct’ ethnic group….if that’s what they’re going to do then they have to go further and break themselves down into ‘various Jewish ethnic groups. They cant say All Jews are one ethnic group.

        If you’re going to use the above qualifications for ethnic then you would also have to break down every group of people that exist into various ethnics …I would have to be an ‘ethnic southerner’ with the USA due to sharing common traditions, language and culture with my group that is different from NY or LA….keep on and make it even more complicated and absurd—I would have to be a ‘Lowlander’ southerner’ as distinct from the Highland southerners who I don’t have a common culture or tradition with.

        Ethnic claim has become something people claim in search of a identity upon which to make a claim. It the new me’ism–I’am ‘distinct”.
        People have a right to define themselves however they want but no authorities in the world have to accept a individual’s or group’s self definition if it doesn’t meet the definitions those authorities have established for official purposes.

      • James Canning
        March 16, 2014, 3:22 pm

        And consider the “Jews” in Spain and other countries, who said they were not Jews. In order to stay in place, continue successful businesses, etc etc etc.

      • puppies
        March 16, 2014, 12:16 am

        “ha ha ha! or whatcha gonna do? sue me? you crack me up.”

        “Either/or” originally indicates a logical choice (only much later did it become a tax collector’s or protection racketeer’s term.) Meaning that the logical conclusion of what you had written compels one of the conclusions but excludes the coexistence of both.

        “who are you quoting? the wiki source contending “larger ethnic groups will tend to form smaller sub-ethnic groups”? i’m not arguing there is one over riding solidifying theme for all jewish people”
        Fine, so that was not an appropriate quote then. So much the better, as the main accusation leveled at the defenders of a would-be “Jewish” ethnicity is the deadly sin of taking a part for the whole.

        “it doesn’t mean jewish is not an ethnic identifier tho. why don’t you ask someone who is jewish”

        No need, logic is enough (also, very many ‘somebodies who are Jewish’ by biologic origin do solidly subscribe to it, not to mention millions of other people, as judging it is not exclusively reserved to somebodies who are Jewish.

        “but this thing you’ve got going, about “what the Zionists generically call “Jewish” ” is irrelevant to me and not a game i am playing with you. go ask michael oren or ethan bronner or some zionist if you want to know what zionists call jewish.” It’s out for all to see; it’s not a game, as the consequences are way too serious; finally it is, in my modest interpretation, exactly the same concept of “ethny” that’s being supported by both Zionists and the folks who are out to defend a common “Jewish” ethnicity.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 17, 2014, 12:04 am

        “Either/or” originally indicates a logical choice

        i didn’t say “either/or”, you did.

        i said shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some.

        5 people share same ethnicity:

        a. food, religion, holidays, ancestry
        b. music food language ancestry, myths
        c. language, attire, traditional music, myths
        d. traditional attire, food, non religion but sometimes attends holiday family gatherings
        e. attire, religion food holidays, ancestry

        there is nothing all of them share, but all of them share at least some common cultural things, or enough of them that they identify with each other as the same ethnicity. ( and it really does not matter whether you agree with them if they self identify as being from the same ‘group’, and they do not even have to like each other either, or have the same political ideas)

        the main accusation leveled at the defenders of a would-be “Jewish” ethnicity is the deadly sin of taking a part for the whole.

        what is your problem with someone identifying as being jewish? and what deadly sin would that be?

      • SimoHurtta
        March 16, 2014, 7:10 pm

        Well do Scientology followers, Mormons, etc around the world have ethnic qualifiers? Surely they have common traditions, religion etc especially if the evaluating criteria are not very tight. What are the common ethnic qualifiers of for example for a secular Finnish Jew and religious Arab Jew from Yemen? Very little, close to nothing, to form a “nation”. Equally we could say that Christians from Tahiti and Lapland are a “nation” because they have same religion, Christmas traditions, Eastern foods etc forming their ethnic qualifiers.

        If Israel has the “right” to exist as a “Jewish State, doesn’t it mean that other countries could have the” right” to decide to be officially non-Jewish states? What can a Zionist Ukrainian Jew supporting Israel say to bunch of Ukrainian Nazis who want to have “their” version of a Christian non-Jewish state?

      • Annie Robbins
        March 17, 2014, 12:36 am

        do Scientology followers, Mormons, etc around the world have ethnic qualifiers?

        it depends in what your definition of ethnicity is. if a child was raised in the forest with chimpanzee, would he/she be ethnically ‘chimpanzee’, i believe so, at least in terms of culture/tradition/food/language/tribal etc. obviously they would not share ancestry.

        Equally we could say that Christians from Tahiti and Lapland are a “nation” because they have same religion, Christmas traditions, Eastern foods etc forming their ethnic qualifiers.

        the whole merging of ‘nationality’ with ethnicity (which is very fluid depending on how people identify themselves) is something i don’t agree with. here’s wiki:

        The term nationality depending on context may either be used synonymously with ethnicity, or synonymously with citizenship (in a sovereign state).

        i relate to ‘nation’ as citizenship, not ethnicity. here’s more: link to en.wikipedia.org

        According to Thomas Hylland Eriksen, the study of ethnicity was dominated by two distinct debates until recently.
        One is between “primordialism” and “instrumentalism”. In the primordialist view, the participant perceives ethnic ties collectively, as an externally given, even coercive, social bond.[17] The instrumentalist approach, on the other hand, treats ethnicity primarily as an ad-hoc element of a political strategy, used as a resource for interest groups for achieving secondary goals such as, for instance, an increase in wealth, power or status.[18][19] This debate is still an important point of reference in Political science, although most scholars’ approaches fall between the two poles.[20]
        The second debate is between “constructivism” and “essentialism”. Constructivists view national and ethnic identities as the product of historical forces, often recent, even when the identities are presented as old.[21][22] Essentialists view such identities as ontological categories defining social actors, and not the result of social action.[23][24]
        According to Eriksen, these debates have been superseded, especially in anthropology, by scholars’ attempts to respond to increasingly politicised forms of self-representation by members of different ethnic groups and nations. This is in the context of debates over multiculturalism in countries, such as the United States and Canada, which have large immigrant populations from many different cultures, and post-colonialism in the Caribbean and South Asia.[25]
        Weber maintained that ethnic groups were künstlich (artificial, i.e. a social construct) because they were based on a subjective belief in shared Gemeinschaft (community).

        If Israel has the “right” to exist as a “Jewish State, doesn’t it mean that other countries could have the” right” to decide to be officially non-Jewish states?

        probably, but then i don’t believe jews have a ‘right’ to a state. ‘ethnic rights’ is not my bag, although i think people have a right to self identify with eachother. if scientologists want to call themselves a nation, so be it, but i don’t have to go along with it, just like i don’t have to go along with the idea jews are a ‘nation’.

      • puppies
        March 17, 2014, 2:08 am

        “i didn’t say “either/or”, you did.”

        Yes, of course I did because I am trying to make you see the fault in logic that you started and this infuriating game that you, usually so fast on the uptake, have been playing, is plain stupid.

        “i said shared language, tradition, food, and religion etc, not necessarily all of those things but some.
        ….
        there is nothing all of them share, but all of them share at least some common cultural things, or enough of them that they identify with each other as …”

        And I am saying name just one that’s shared… except religion because they have strictly nothing, nada, zilch, of all that list of yours outside religion. And that only applies for the religious.

        ” they identify with each other as the same ethnicity” – So what? What obliges us to accept anyone’s subjective hallucinations as fact? Especially considering that this particular hallucination re ethnicity comes with a lot of demands on the rest of society.

        “what is your problem with someone identifying as being jewish?”
        If that person is not religious, it tells me this is fake nationalism. Which in its slightly modified form gives Zionism. Also suggests some racism, as in the absence of religion heshe is claiming a hereditary membership of a group defined by its religion only.

        “and what deadly sin would that be?” No, that was unrelated; about the deadly sin in logic of taking the part for the whole…

      • ziusudra
        March 17, 2014, 6:47 am

        Greetings Annie,
        How you be, dear?
        ….jewish is an ethnic qualifier……
        My dear, we are parcing the parcing.
        Israel’s Euro/Khazarian Jewry just learned the language ca. 60 yrs ago!
        The Russian still eat boscht. The polish Salami. The Germans Salmon.
        Euro Jewry spoke all Euro languages. Ate all Euro Cusine. Dressed in all
        Euro styles. What high %tage don’t even confess to Judaism?
        If a language is ethnicity then the US, England, Ireland, Canada, NZ, Australia & So. Africa are an ethnicity?
        Ah yes, most of us eat hamburgers & wear jeans!
        Take care, love.
        ziusudra
        PS If World Jewry can be deemed as a singular group then only because no other group of people lived in so many cultures, spoke so many languages nor enjoyed so many different cusines, but an etnicity, they are not.

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 6:17 pm

        @American

        I understand. I was saying that Israeli Jews are a nation even if Jews in general are not. Israeli Jews are a people with a state.

      • Sibiriak
        March 15, 2014, 10:46 pm

        JeffB:

        I was saying that Israeli Jews are a nation even if Jews in general are not.

        As I pointed out earlier, Israeli law explicitly rejects your notion of an Israeli-Jewish nation. Israeli law recognizes only a global Jewish nation.

        Your notion that there is “Israeli-Jewish nation”, but no “Jewish nation”; that there is an “Israeli-Jewish people”, but no “Jewish People”–that’s a radical negation of the dominant core of the Zionist worldview.

        Israeli Jews are a people with a state.

        Jewish citizens of Israel share a state with non-Jewish citizens. But (most) Israeli Jews and global Jewry proclaim Israel to be the nation state of a global Jewish People , not the state of all its citizen. This makes Israel a discriminatory ethnocratic state, not a liberal-democratic state.

      • Ofer Neiman
        March 15, 2014, 11:26 pm

        “Israeli Jews are a people with a state”.

        This state is not the proclaimed “state of Israeli Jews” and certainly not the proclaimed state of all its citizens.

        Israel regards itself as the state of ALL Jews, and non-Jewish citizens, not to mention those under its military occupation, are not equal partners in this state.

        Israel is NOT what you claim it is. And you seem to be happy with all this, in our little mad “safe haven”.

      • James Canning
        March 16, 2014, 3:07 pm

        Israelis have a state. Some of those Israelis are not Jews. but Israel is still their state.

      • puppies
        March 16, 2014, 12:58 am

        @Jeff – Thanks again for giving away the store.
        “I was saying that Israeli Jews are a nation even if Jews in general are not.”
        You are absolutely correct in both statements; I’m having fun imagining the faces pulled in private by Zionists who know you.
        The second statement, absolutely correct, tells you why Zionism is just simply absurd. Not worth a single thought.
        The first statement is to be acknowledged with great sorrow, as this nation born of a colonial propaganda operation now faces an indictment that forces it to civilize and stop being a master race nation, to be reduced to individuals with the choice of either equal rights over all Palestine or going back. Diehards have no choice but collective suicide.

      • American
        March 15, 2014, 9:30 pm

        @ annie
        btw you might be interested in this article..

        link to nytimes.com
        Israel Reaches Out to the Diaspora
        By ETHAN BRONNER MARCH 15, 2014

        ”With 20 percent of Israel’s population non-Jewish and hardly any agreement among the other 80 percent on the meaning of “Jewish” (Is it a religion, a culture, an ethnicity?), there are challenges in all directions. Democracy, after all, is about principles of neutrality and equality; Jewishness is about particularity and group affiliation. ”>>

        ”Jewishness is about particularity and group affiliation.”….as Bronner says…. is the best way to describe it.

      • puppies
        March 15, 2014, 3:51 pm

        Jeff – The language is invented to destroy the traditional mother tongues, the historical myths are just myth, the recent history is one of unspeakable crimes against humanity in which each and every supporter of Zionism in any garb is an accessory, the territory is entirely stolen illegally, even any agreements with colonial powers illegitimately granting any sovereign territory are null, violated by the Zionist party, and all its governments are a band of scaffold escapees. Under the circumstances, this must definitely be destroyed even though some call it a nation. Many nations went that way, let’s hope this one will go peaceably.

      • JeffB
        March 18, 2014, 2:05 pm

        @puppies

        Under the circumstances, this must definitely be destroyed even though some call it a nation. Many nations went that way, let’s hope this one will go peaceably. </blockquote?

        After securing their territory and restablishing armaments one of Ben Gurion's first objectives was to start a nuclear weapons program. Which for a poor country flooded by immigrants was amazing ambitious. This was successful by the early 1960s. By the early 1970s they were expanding this program. In 1973 when faced with possible tactical defeat on the battlefield by Syria they prepared to nuke an Israeli city rather to stop the invading Syrian forces (luckily they won the 2nd tank battle so this wasn't necessary). By the mid 1970s they had penetrated US intelligence to get information necessary to have a credible counter strike option against the Soviet Union, the 2nd most powerful country in the world at the time. By the late 1970s they had exploded a 3rd generation warhead in testing. In the 1990s they traded for an advanced guidance system which has now been tested against actual opponents. In the early 2000s they started a space program which is always a proxy for a missile program. They have openly declared doctrine of a massive nuclear strike to avoid a major military defeat.

        Does this sound in any way shape or form like a country that intends to die peacefully to you? There is no peaceful death of Israel. You may not like that but them's the facts. Jews remember what dying peacefully was like during the 1940s and they don't intend to ever repeat it.

      • Citizen
        March 18, 2014, 5:35 pm

        @ JeffB
        We here all know, and wish the American people knew, that Israel defied JFK and got its nuke bombs because JFK was conveniently murdered, and we all know that Israeli 5th Column in USA stole nuke trigger from America for their nukes. So what’s new in what you say? We also all know about Israel’s “Samson Option.” It’s not a question of Jews who won’t die peacefully like in the 1940s, but a question of how long will the non-jewish nations of the world allow powerful Jews in Israel and diaspora, especially in USA (2% Jewish) be allowed to continue to make the Palestinians people pay, and pay, and pay, for what Nazi Germany and its allies did to the Jew in Europe. You, like Bush Jr, said “Bring it on!” so to speak. No matter how many Israeli nukes there are, it’s just gonna be another day for the Roman legions, so to speak. Massadah? OK, you want it that way.

        BTW, have you ever served in the US military? How about the IDF? Or are you like Chaney? In fact, like nearly all the neocons in the US Government braying for war?
        Chicken hawks,

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 11:38 pm

        @Sibiriak

        <blockquote. As I pointed out earlier, Israeli law explicitly rejects your notion of an Israeli-Jewish nation. Israeli law recognizes only a global Jewish nation.

        First off I’m not sure about that. Certainly Israel doesn’t grant me the vote. I never served in the IDF. Those are big problems for your claim.

        Moreover, I don’t speak Hebrew. I have no particular opinions on which beaches in Israel are good. Artistically I don’t like all the Persian / Syrian influence in Israeli art, having the same kind of taste as a typical American. What makes me part of the Israeli nation?

        The idea is silly. I’m not sure why you are insisting that I’m obligated to defend a notion I explicitly reject. Israel built the Jewish nation. The fact that Israeli myth believes in continuity with the Jewish nation that existed in Judea, and I don’t doesn’t change the fact that I do believe the Israeli-Jewish nation exists today in Israel.

        Your notion that there is “Israeli-Jewish nation”, but no “Jewish nation”; that there is an “Israeli-Jewish people”, but no “Jewish People”–that’s a radical negation of the dominant core of the Zionist worldview.

        I do think there is a Jewish people, I don’t think there is a Jewish nation. People is a really weak criteria. There is a group of people that are soccer fans. There are a group of people who like Hello Kitty. People doesn’t mean much of anything. Nation OTOH is a very strong criteria.

        But if your point is that Zionists 100 years ago held to ideas about the Jewish nation I would have rejected, you are right. If it were 1914 I’d think that Zionism was ridiculous. But as I’ve said before a group of wackos attracted a group of fanatics attracted mainstream support. They created the reality they needed.

        Jewish citizens of Israel share a state with non-Jewish citizens.

        True. The question is whether those non-Jews wish to be part of the nation or not.

        But (most) Israeli Jews and global Jewry proclaim Israel to be the nation state of a global Jewish People , not the state of all its citizen. This makes Israel a discriminatory ethnocratic state, not a liberal-democratic state.

        Israel has given those other people citizenship, the vote and civil rights protection. If Israel were as you say, they would be dead. Clearly given the fact that they are still breathing, still living in comfort and in fact still voting and participating in the society there is a desire for their integration. Which means the Israeli people don’t to create a discriminatory ethnocratic state but rather have a more expansive view than you give them credit for.

      • talknic
        March 17, 2014, 8:01 am

        JeffB “You have a group of people that speak the same language, share the same culture, share a set of historical myths, share a common recent history, inhabit a particular territory, and give allegiance to the same government. Israeli Jews are not under some hodgepodge definition a nationality they are a nationality under the strictest definitions”

        Problem, at least 20% of Israel’s citizens are not Jewish. Do not speak the same language, share the same culture, share a set of historical myths…

        “Their great grandparents may not have belonged to the same nation but so what? That’s true of many Americans, yet American is a nationality”

        Are you trying to make a point? America is a nationality of ALL its citizens, atheists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists etc etc etc

      • JeffB
        March 17, 2014, 9:34 am

        @talknic

        America is a nationality of ALL its citizens, atheists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists etc etc etc

        I think you don’t know what the word “nation” means in this context. You are conflating nationality, citizenship and state. A nation has to do primarily with how the population identifies. A state has to do primarily with a military controlling a territory from which they draw their support and personnel. A state doesn’t require a nation to exist and a nation doesn’t require a state but in combination they strengthen each other. Citizenship is a status a state grants a person.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 17, 2014, 1:09 pm

        “A state has to do primarily with a military controlling a territory from which they draw their support and personnel. ”

        To a fascist, maybe.

      • puppies
        March 17, 2014, 11:03 pm

        March 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm
        Jeff – The language is invented to destroy the traditional mother tongues, the historical myths are just myth, the recent history is one of unspeakable crimes against humanity in which each and every supporter of Zionism in any garb is an accessory, the territory is entirely stolen illegally, even any agreements with colonial powers illegitimately granting any sovereign territory are null, violated by the Zionist party, and all its governments are a band of scaffold escapees. Under the circumstances, this must definitely be destroyed even though some call it a nation. Many nations went that way, let’s hope this one will go peaceably.

  5. pabelmont
    March 14, 2014, 11:59 am

    AA: “The cumulative impact of Israeli policies deemed necessary to protect Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state can be seen in the yawning gulf that exists between Jewish and Palestinian citizens”.

    Also: The cumulative impact of Israeli policies deemed necessary to protect Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state can be seen in the yawning gulf that exists between Israeli statutes and court decisions, on the one hand, and international law, conventions, agreements, and human rights norms, on the other.

    It is to BOTH of these “yawning gulfs” that SJP, BDS, and others protesting Israeli iniquities (and inequities) should refer, list, advertise, and denounce.

  6. amigo
    March 14, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Israel has no more right to exist as a Jewish State than Ireland does as a Catholic State or Northern Ireland had as a Protestant State.

    Israel has a right to exist as the State of “ALL” Israelis, not just Jews.
    Simple really, Separation of Church/Synagogue/Mosque et al and State.
    Ergo, in the absence of this separation, Israel cannot be both Democratic and Jewish.

    • ToivoS
      March 14, 2014, 8:22 pm

      Does Iran have the right to exist as the Islamic Republic of Iran? If a country recognizes Iran do they recognize the IRI? I am genuinely curious.

      • amigo
        March 14, 2014, 8:59 pm

        No is the answer.They can call themselves whatever they choose but no one has to recognise it.

      • Karl Dubhe
        March 14, 2014, 11:20 pm

        No, a nation just recognizes that another nation exists. I’m not sure of any nation that’s recognized on the basis of religion, except the Vatican and that ‘citystate’ ought not to have been recognized in the first place; even if it is the direct descendant of the Roman Empire. :)

      • Sumud
        March 15, 2014, 2:11 am

        Existence is not a right – you either exist or you don’t, and likewise with states and relations between states. One states can recognise the existence of another – but that is about where it ends.

        Wikipedia: Right to exist

        It’s a bogus concept cooked up by Israelis without any legal basis (or avenue for redress) to try and confer some legitimacy on their state and their actions – to stymie negotiation and if you ask me, to rub Palestinians nose in the shit. Why should they have to make any kind of agreement that the Nakba – Israel coming into existence – was Israel claiming it’s “right to exist”?

        The new formulation “right to exist as a jewish state” is raising the bar yet again as Arafat recognised Israel’s “right to exist” in the 80s anyway.

        For the sake of argument if Israel has a “right to exist”, does not Palestine also? And if that is the case what right does the UN have to violate Palestine’s “right to exist” by carving it up?

        Imagine if the UN GA voted to give 55% of US territory to the Kurds because Kurdistan has a “right to exist” and it isn’t convenient for their state to exist in the Middle East. It sounds utterly ridiculous but – remember most zionist before 1948 came from Europe. Surely the Ashkenazi jewish state had a more solid case for existence in Central and Eastern Europe than Palestine?

        Anyway back to your question, IMHO Iran exists, and how they identify – the formal title they give to their nation – is their business. AFAIK a country would recognise another with whatever name each of them choose. “Right to exist” just doesn’t have any legal basis and does not exist in diplomacy.

  7. Walid
    March 14, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Are Jews having problems living in the US, France, the UK, Russia and elsewhere because these countries are not Jewish?

    • JeffB
      March 14, 2014, 1:38 pm

      @Walid

      Russia — Yes. There is official anti-Semitism and lots of unofficial. That’s why most Jews left as soon as they got a chance.

      France — Jews have definitely felt threatened by anti-Israeli activity. They got “kicked out of the left” over Israel. There have been lots of petty incidents of vandalism: synagogues, grave yards… There have been a few anti-Jewish stabbings. The French government while until recently encouraging anti-Zionism has been consistently responsive to outright anti-Jewish violence. But no question over the last 15 years French Jews have been under some pressure.

      UK = No. Jewish community is fine.

      USA = Jewish community is thriving.

      OTOH if you want more examples of a clear yes:
      Venezuela = anti-Semitism of the Chavez regime wiped the Jewish community out. Something like like 2/3rds of the Jewish community was ethnically cleansed and Chavez made the center piece of his re-election campaign the fact that the Catholic candidate he was running against had Jewish grandparents and thus was not a real Venezuelan.

      Iran = Jewish population down over 90% since the revolution. About 60k left in the first few years after the creation of an Islamic Republic with several thousand more fleeing every year. All Jewish newspapers are shutdown. The Iranian government engages in collective punishment against the Jewish community whenever negative stories appear in the press about their conditions. Jewish schools are administrated by Muslims at the higher levels who can and frequently do override Jewish administrators.

      Jews mostly live in Israel and the United States. But even the modern record shows that if the Jews didn’t have their own state their status would return to the horrors of the past.

      • amigo
        March 14, 2014, 4:01 pm

        “But even the modern record shows that if the Jews didn’t have their own state their status would return to the horrors of the past.” jb

        Perhaps if they stuck to their own State no horrors would befall them.

        Geez, the poor Jews are such victims.Every one and their mother is out to get them.

        Yawn.

      • Walid
        March 14, 2014, 4:13 pm

        Jeff, I understood that the Jews that are in Israel are only 50% of all Jews in the world and those numbers are on the decrease. Doesn’t that mean that the other half living elsewhere (and mostly in the US) don’t really need a Jewish state to feel safe in? Without debating the situations in different countries that you stated, having most Jews outside living in the non-Jewish USA is enough to demonstrate what I’m saying about there is no need to have a Jewish state. Insisting on having a Jewish state in Israel is just another type of holocaust card being played. Israel pretends it’s a modern Western-styled advanced democracy, yet with this Jewish thing it keeps insisting on is proving that it’s as backwards as its neighbours.

      • Ofer Neiman
        March 14, 2014, 4:23 pm

        I’m an Israeli Jew. Israel is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews. Just look at the figures. Tens of thousands of dead Jews (having died in the context of the Zionist project).

        No, Russia is not officially anti-Semitic. No, Jews haven’t left Russia en masse because of anti-Semitrism lately. They just have better lives in the US and even in Israel (thanks to a very nationalist absorption policy).

        It’s much better to be Jewish in France than Muslim, and having said that, France for all the prevalent Islamophobia among parts of its ‘white’ public, police brutality and assaults by neo-Nazis, is not a dangerous place for Muslims as a whole.

      • Walid
        March 14, 2014, 4:36 pm

        “No, Russia is not officially anti-Semitic. ”

        I keep reading stories how Russia has been run by Jews all along the course of its modern history, so it can’t be that anti-Jewish. As to France, we’ve been discussing on another thread how the Jews of Israel are being favoured in their problems with the BDS people. There are and there has been Jewish ministers with Prime Ministers and Presidents that if not totally Jewish, they are at least part Jewish.

      • yonah fredman
        March 14, 2014, 7:19 pm

        Walid- “I keep reading stories how Russia has been run by Jews all along the course of its modern history.”

        Well, great. You’ve been reading such stories, so therefore they must be true. Except between the years of Stalin until the end of communism, maybe it’s true. But it certainly wasn’t true in the days of Stalin. Or maybe you didn’t read those stories. Or maybe the stories you read were full of it. Any number of possibilities.

      • tree
        March 14, 2014, 4:38 pm

        And if Israel is such a safe place for Jews, then why does Israel keep bemoaning “existential threats” to the state, and why does it rely so heavily on the US to provide protection, both diplomatic and military, for Israel? Why does it need foreign Jews to provide it with both monetary and moral support? Why do YOU (JeffB) feel that you need to defend Israel? Jews are safe there, right? Why do you feel the need to defend the secure and well protected? Think about it for a moment.

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 11:10 am

        @tree

        if Israel is such a safe place for Jews, then why does Israel keep bemoaning “existential threats”

        Because Jews are a bunch of hysterics.

        and why does it rely so heavily on the US to provide protection, both diplomatic and military, for Israel?

        It doesn’t. Its refusal to allow the USA to be its military protector is a major source of contention. In terms of diplomatic, the USA is mainly protecting its own interests and the UN.

        Why does it need foreign Jews to provide it with both monetary and moral support?

        It doesn’t get meaningfully monetary support from Jews anymore. In terms of moral, because it is the Jewish state. Without Jews American politics would have sided with their oil interests and assist the Arabs in genociding the Israeli population. Today Christian Zionism has developed and Israel is much much more powerful. Possibly powerful enough that it no longer needs that moral support but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

        Why do you feel the need to defend the secure and well protected? Think about it for a moment.

        I provide moral support. Because while Israel is physically secure and well protected a virulent form of anti-Semitism exists in Europe, new anti-Semitism: which instead of directly arguing that Jews aren’t really human and thus not entitled to the same human rights as other humans, argues that Israel isn’t really a state like any other and thus not entitled to the same sovereignty as other states. Which of course indirectly accomplishes the same goal.

        If new anti-Semitism were to become an acceptable theology in the west that is a threat to me and more likely my children and grandchildren directly.

      • tree
        March 15, 2014, 6:48 pm

        Jeff, your answers only support my points even further.

        Because Jews are a bunch of hysterics.

        Your comment, not mine, but if you believe so then clearly, since you are referring in this case to Israeli Jews, Israel has not provided a safe haven from Jewish hysteria. Jews clearly still feel threatened in Israel.

        Its(Israel’s) refusal to allow the USA to be its military protector is a major source of contention.

        Now you are just lying. Israel urged the US to declare war on Iraq for Israel’s own interest. It continues to urge the US to sanction and even to declare war on Iran for Israel’s interest. It demands that it be given a “qualitative military edge” in military weaponry from the US, and it has sought to block US military sales to other countries. In the 1973 war it demanded immediate weapon resupplies from the US. Yes, it doesn’t want the US providing manpower in the Occupied Territories, but only because such a force would conflict with Israel’s desires to ethnically cleanse the remaining Palestinians and confiscate more land for Israeli Jews. Otherwise Israel often begs for US military support in terms of either weapons or manpower. Israel would not exist as state that oppresses the Palestinians without the massive US military and diplomatic support.

        In terms of diplomatic, the USA is mainly protecting its own interests and the UN.

        followed by this several sentences later

        Without Jews American politics would have sided with their oil interests and assist the Arabs in genociding the Israeli population.

        Two totally contradictory statements by you within a matter of seconds. Since you admit that Jewish American support for Israel, such as it is, is a product of Jewish “moral support” for Israel, then you have just proven my point, not yours, that Israel depends on foreign Jews for its own safety, and can not even guarantee its own Jews safety without help from outsiders. And if the US would normally side with “the Arabs” in its own interest, if not for American Jews and their influence in American politics, then clearly Israel is not providing safety to Jews. American Jews are providing safety to Israel. And by your own admission, the US is not acting in its own national interest, despite your earlier insistence that it is. As to the US “protecting the UN” by shielding Israel from proper criticism and condemnation, such a comment is laughable in its absurdity. The US is protecting Israel at the UN, and by doing so is hurting its own reputation ( badly checkered as it is, of course) as a force for consistent application of human rights for all. Such actions do not “protect” the UN; they seek to render it useless.

        If new anti-Semitism were to become an acceptable theology in the west that is a threat to me and more likely my children and grandchildren directly.

        You interpret the “new anti-semitism” as the same as anti-Israel sentiment. And yet the creation of the state of Israel as a state built on ethnic cleansing, and built on the concept that those of Jewish faith and/or nationality have greater rights than those of other faiths or nationalities, is the direct cause of this “new anti-semitism’ as you call it. Again, Israel is not a safe haven but is instead a source of possible harm to Jews because of its actions taken in the name of all Jews.

        Two more points from your earlier posts. One, you mention Jews being “ethnically cleansed” from Venezuela. As Derfner pointed out this is a giant distortion, as many Venezuelans of all faiths left due to economic concerns and rising violence in Venezuela. No one was ethnically cleansed. But I’d like to make another important point. Most of the roughly ten thousand or so Venezuelan Jews who left DID NOT go to Israel. Even assuming for the moment that they all left because of religious persecution, the majority of those who left preferred to go to other Latin American countries or to the US, with South Florida being one preferred destination. Chavez was certainly anti-Israel, and thus some of the discomfort Venezuelan Jews may have felt could be attributable to Chavez’ opposition to the existence of Israel as a Jewish supremacist State, but the Venezuelan Jews who left DID NOT NEED Israel in order to find other places to live. Israel may have been a contributing factor to Venezuelan Jewish emigration, but it was not a significant factor in helping them to move elsewhere. In other words, its existence caused them more grief than help.

        Point two, you mentioned your Russian Jewish wife. She likewise came to the US, not to Israel. She found safe haven here.

        Also, Israel was forced to demand that both the US and Germany both curtail Soviet Jewish immigration because too many Jews were choosing to live in those two countries rather than in Israel. This was an Israeli action against the interest of those Jews who wished to move to those countries. Israeli representatives also engaged in falsifying records in order to qualify as “Jews” Soviet citizens of dubious Jewish heritage in order to flood Israel with suitable European immigrants in the 1990’s. Again, this does not support the idea that Israel is needed as a safe haven. There are plenty of safe havens around for Jews. Many ethnicities can not say the same.

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 11:02 am

        @Ofer

        I’m an Israeli Jew. Israel is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews. Just look at the figures.

        Its not about figures. Its about helplessness. During the 1990s crack wars the United States had sky high murder figures, comparable to what Israelis experience from Palestinians during the 2nd intifada. I never had a sense of despair because I was never helplessness. You hear all the time threats at Jew, if the Jews exercise their rights gentiles will get mad and they will get hunted down. Now that we have Israel, now that we have the IDF, I don’t care about those threats we are safe. Some ass blowing himself up in a pizza parlor doesn’t change that fundamental safety that comes from being free.

        As for the rest. The fact that 20k Venezuelans fled from nothing more than threats and some minor petty violence, many for Israel should give you pause about the way you evaluate Jewish life.

        No, Russia is not officially anti-Semitic.

        I’m married to a Russian who was refused admission to the college she earned her way into because of “jew” being on her passport. My 1st cousin got an extra dangerous army assignment because “jew” was on his passport. My family a few generations back lost everyone who didn’t come to America because they were Jews.

      • Ofer Neiman
        March 15, 2014, 1:37 pm

        If you feel safe living in a racist state without a future, something on your calculations is wrong. You’re very confused. The crimes committed by the ethnocracy you support are criticized by what you call “a new theology”, and you see that as an excuse to support this ethnocracy.

        Please don’t lecture me about anti-Semitism throughout history, in Russia and other places. It’s just spam, if you’re practically smearing my own views as anti-Semitism.

      • MRW
        March 15, 2014, 3:02 pm

        @JeffB,
        What passport was that?

      • The Hasbara Buster
        March 14, 2014, 6:27 pm

        @JeffB

        Jews mostly live in Israel and the United States. But even the modern record shows that if the Jews didn’t have their own state their status would return to the horrors of the past.

        Although this has been frequently stated, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the assertion. More to the point, it’s a ludicrous one.

        I can remember a time in the not too distant past when Jews were unofficially barred from serving in my country’s (Argentina) foreign service. You had Jewish academics, lawmakers, cops, but not ambassadors or consuls. This has radically changed in the last few years and now not only do we have Jewish diplomats, but the country’s Foreign Minister himself is Jewish.

        Are you seriously claiming this is somehow connected with the existence of Israel, and that if the Jewish state disappeared Jews would again be discriminated against in Argentina? The notion doesn’t pass the Occam razor test. It is much simpler to posit that the world has changed for the better, which is supported by the fact that other traditionally ostracized groups have also been vindicated (for instance, gays are now allowed to marry in many places, including my country).

        Regrettably, this positive change has not affected the whole world. For instance, I can’t fathom a Muslim being appointed as Israel’s foreign minister. Can you?

      • JeffB
        March 15, 2014, 6:27 pm

        @Hasbara Buster

        The notion doesn’t pass the Occam razor test. It is much simpler to posit that the world has changed for the better, which is supported by the fact that other traditionally ostracized groups have also been vindicated (for instance, gays are now allowed to marry in many places, including my country).

        Minority tolerance rises and falls most of the time both for Jews and for gays. There are times and places where gay culture was celebrated. There are times and places where gays were burned to death if discovered. There have been many times and places in the past when Jews have lived wonderfully. A century or two later, not so good.

        Plenty of traditionally ostracized groups are doing well in 2014. On the other hand we’ve seen a horrific rollback of women’s rights over a huge chunk of the planet under Islam. We’ve seen a cavalier indifference towards issues of race but attitudes towards class have hardened in the last few generations to a degree that we hadn’t seen since the 18th century. I’d say things are different and mostly the Jews are fine because they don’t exist. The Jewish population of Argentina is miniscule.

        While there is little (no) official anti-Semitism there is quite a bit of popular anti-Semitism. I don’t see any reason the Jews of Argentina should have to live with the hatred and fear of their neighbors forever. Let them leave and go to their own country since the Argentinian people clearly continue to reject them as fellow Argentinians.

      • Citizen
        March 17, 2014, 3:04 pm

        @ JeffB

        Where to start? First, the Israel view of Argentina historically differs from the US view: link to books.google.com

        Second, Argentina’s Jewish population is the largest in Latin America, and the third-largest in the Americas (after that of the United States and Canada). It is the seventh-largest in the world.[

        There was one physical attack on a jew in Argentina in 2012: link to jta.org
        How many people live in Argentina?

      • Giles
        March 15, 2014, 9:41 am

        Jeff. Thanks for the example of just how nuts Jewish culture is. The eternal victim. The richest, most privileged, most politically powerful group in the West and they deeply believe they are the eternal victim. Insanity

      • LarryDerfner
        March 15, 2014, 1:44 pm

        Your statement on Chavez and Venezuelan Jews is such a grotesque distortion. Chavez had no use for Israel, and there was a strain of anti-Semitism in the outer circles of his support, but Chavez and his government denounced anti-Semitism. To say that Maduro’s Jewish grandparents were the “centerpiece” of Chavez’s campaign – even the Simon Wiesenthal Center doesn’t go that far. And as for Chavez “ethnically cleansing” 2/3 of the Jews – you’re out of your mind. This is from a Jewish Telegraphic Agency story on Chavez after his death – a very critical article, but read what it says about why so many Jews left Venezuela (unless you think the JTA is anti-Semitic, too):

        “Jews were not the only ones to take flight from the Chavez regime. Hundreds of thousands of upper- and middle-class Venezuelans left during the Chavez years, seeking to escape Venezuela’s anti-business climate, the government’s nationalization of private companies, economic crises and a soaring crime rate. Jews left for many of the same reasons, with anti-Semitism by all accounts taking a back seat to concerns for economic and physical security.”

      • Donald
        March 15, 2014, 3:48 pm

        “Your statement on Chavez and Venezuelan Jews is such a grotesque distortion.”

        Thanks for stepping in. I wondered about JeffB’s claim–Chavez wasn’t exactly a popular figure with the mainstream press in the US and if he were as antisemitic as Jeff claimed, I would have guessed it would have been common knowledge.

      • Sibiriak
        March 16, 2014, 12:00 am

        JeffB:

        1)

        But even the modern record shows that if the Jews didn’t have their own state their status would return to the horrors of the past.

        2)

        I was saying that Israeli Jews are a nation even if Jews in general are not. Israeli Jews are a people with a state.

        In statement #1, you say the Jews have their own state. In statement #2, you say Israeli Jews have their own state.

        You contradict yourself fundamentally.

      • JeffB
        March 17, 2014, 5:08 am

        @Sibiriak

        There is no contradiction. Israeli Jews are a nation. Global Jews belong to the Jewish religion. The Jewish religion has a state in Israel. That state’s nation is the Israeli Jewish people not the Jewish people generally.

        Let’s take another example. Most Irish Catholics live in America as American citizens. Nationally they are American not Irish, they have affinities to Ireland, Irish culture and Irish politics. They get excited when Ireland wins medals at the olympics or wins important soccer games. Today (Saint Patrick’s day) they are likely going to celebrate a bit, drink some Irish alcohol and sing some Irish songs. A generation ago they used to donate to the IRA. But those are vague shadows that remain of the national affiliation they used to have.

        There is a state Republic of Ireland (South Ireland) which does have an Irish Catholic nation that inhabits it. Those people aren’t vaguely Irish Catholic they are really and truly Irish Catholic. The Republic of Ireland is the entity constitutionally willing to take collective action to advance the interests of the Irish Catholic people. Republic of Ireland is the Irish Catholics state even though America is where they people mostly live and is their state.

        There is no contradiction. Israeli Jews and American Jews are allies. They like one another. American Jews have an affinity for Israel and support Israel. They are excited by Israel’s accomplishment and worried at Israel’s failures. Of all the middle eastern countries by far the one that is traveled to the most is Israel. The Israeli state maintains an open door policy for American Jews, and many American Jews at least consider aliyah. American Jews don’t live there and they aren’t the people of the Israeli state. The political entity willing to take collective action to defend the interests of Judaism is Israel not America.American Jews understand that America is Christian, and are able to be part of a Christian country even while remaining Jewish.

        And similarly America has a large Chinese population. China is the state of the Chinese people. The political entities willing to act on the interests of the Chinese people are China and Taiwan not America. There is no contradiction.

        In 1900 there was a religion called Judaism. There were a bunch of peoples who believed in this religion. A group of people called Zionists first created an Israeli Jewish people (I’d rather just call them Israelis) then created an Israeli Jewish nation from this people. The Jewish people who are not part of the Israeli Jewish nation have had to react to this process and they have done so by incorporating Israel into their political and religious frame. That doesn’t mean they have joined the Israeli nation.

        The Jews became a people much larger than the Judean nation in the late 2nd century BCE when many of the fled the Hasmonean dynasty and others converted who had never been part of Judea. They had an affinity for Judea regardless and Judea was the colony of the Jewish people. When Judea died in the 1st and 2nd century CE, the Jewish people still had an affinity for it. They are happy to see a plausible recreation of the Judean nation. That doesn’t mean they live there.

        This really isn’t a hard concept. When people move some place and live there a while it becomes their home. If enough of them move some place, build a common culture they form a nation. If someone leaves that home in a generation or so they stop being part of that nation and become part of the new nation.

      • Sibiriak
        March 17, 2014, 11:00 am

        JeffB:

        Global Jews belong to the Jewish religion.

        You lost me right there. So if a Jew outside of Israel is not religious, that person ceases to be a Jew under your definition? How about inside Israel? Can a Jew be not religious and still be a Jew there?

        Of course, you are entitled to promulgate you own definitions but one thing for sure is that your definition of a “Jewish Israeli nation” and rejection of a global “Jewish nation” flatly contradicts Israeli law and dominant Zionist ideology.

      • Sibiriak
        March 17, 2014, 11:16 am

        JeffB:

        Israeli Jews are a nation.

        Using your terminology then:

        1)The state of Israel is a multinational state since it has citizens from various “nations”, not just the “Jewish-Israeli nation”.

        2) Israel privileges the “Jewish-Israeli nation” over the other Israeli nations. It is a discriminatory ethnocratic state, where the dominant ethnos is, in your terminology, “the Israeli-Jewish nation”.

        So, you’ve changed labels, but the reality is the same.

      • Citizen
        March 17, 2014, 12:01 pm

        ” Most Irish Catholics live in America as American citizens. Nationally they are American not Irish, they have affinities to Ireland, Irish culture and Irish politics. They get excited when Ireland wins medals at the olympics or wins important soccer games. Today (Saint Patrick’s day) they are likely going to celebrate a bit, drink some Irish alcohol and sing some Irish songs. A generation ago they used to donate to the IRA. ”

        Are you speaking as an Irish American? I’m an Irish American, and although I no longer subscribe to any religion, I don’t agree with how you characterize me or my ancestors who came from Ireland to America. I am also speaking for my parents, siblings and cousins. Our habits, affinities, politics, food likes, etc–none have anything much to do with our ancestry. Our likes and dislikes, pet peeves and obsessions come from our individual characters. We all identify as Americans, and all support equal rights for all under the law. We support justice, fairness, and an individual’s right to choose from the variety of cultures and people of the world. We all support separation of religion and state. Nobody I know supports Zionism as implemented by the state of Israel.

      • lysias
        March 17, 2014, 2:11 pm

        The Irish Free State and its successor the Republic of Ireland did strongly favor Roman Catholicism (although on paper it gave equal rights to religious minorities,) but, to all intents and purposes, those days are over. The Catholic Church so disgraced itself with the child abuse scandal in the eyes of the Irish that the favored position of the Catholic Church is virtually gone. To all intents and purposes, Ireland is now a secular state, and the land of all Irish, of whatever religion (or lack of it).

        And there have always been Irish Protestants living in independent Ireland, with theoretically equal rights, even if many Protestants left Ireland after independence, largely because it was psychologically difficult for them to accept the loss of political dominance (they retained much economic power). A Protestant has occupied as high a position as President of Ireland (and a Jew has been Lord Mayor of Dublin).

      • eljay
        March 17, 2014, 3:00 pm

        >> That state’s nation is the Israeli Jewish people not the Jewish people generally.

        That state’s nation is the Israeli people, of which Jewish Israelis and non-Jewish Israelis are sub-sets.

      • James Canning
        March 18, 2014, 2:29 pm

        Correct.

      • JeffB
        March 18, 2014, 1:51 pm

        @Citizen

        link to adl.org

        The situation is not that rosy there is pretty widespread anti-Semitism. As for the Jewish population it is down about 40% in a generation and a half. Argentina does not serve as an example of a peaceful tolerant friction free existence by any objective measure.

    • pabelmont
      March 14, 2014, 1:43 pm

      Walid, Maybe we should all be attending more to a different question, what Jewish religious law imposes on Jews as duties to strangers. I am no expert on this. Not at all. A quick Google search turns up:

      Mentioned no fewer than 36 times throughout Scripture, the Torah’s exhortations on the treatment of the stranger often appear with a companion explanation: Heed the stranger’s treatment because “you know the feelings of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).

      I find it hard to reconcile this statement to Israel’s behavior over the 66 years of its existence (and before!).

      • Walid
        March 14, 2014, 2:32 pm

        But the Palestinians were not strangers to the land, neither were the Jewish Palestinians that had also been there for centuries. The strangers were the Zionists that came and spoiled the neighbourhood,

      • piotr
        March 14, 2014, 5:47 pm

        Because they are not strangers, admonitions to be nice to strangers do not apply to Palestinians.

      • Walid
        March 14, 2014, 4:01 pm

        In spite of orders from up above as you described, many horror stories about how strangers were actually treated starting with Lot’s super handsome guests that the townsfolk wanted to party with but Lot refusing to let them and providing them with 2 alternative choices that they refused. Then there was the story of naughty Dinah and what her brothers did to the strangers in the land.

        BTW, Lot in the Quran is called Lut and that name eventually became the root for the common Arabic word Luti to mean homosexual although I never understood why since nobody ever mentioned that Lot was one.

        So nothing surprising in what Israel has been doing for 66 years.

      • piotr
        March 14, 2014, 5:55 pm

        Actually, what I find gruesomely fascinating is that a virtuous man offered his daughter to be raped to save a stranger or strangers. In Metropolitan Museum of Art you can see an Assyrian stella covered with laws, one of them being “If X kicks a wife of Y so hard that she miscarries, than Y should kick a wife of X so hard that she miscarries as well.” Apparently, ancient Hebrews had a similar attitude. Many aspects of moral and legal codes of the Iron Age should be forgotten or have status of mere curiosities.

      • yonah fredman
        March 14, 2014, 10:33 pm

        walid- BTW- using the bible as proof that Israel’s behavior makes sense given that the bible is such a piece of shit document commanding the Jews to act like shits. Guess what this is called- hatred of Judaism.

        much more politically correct to say that Judaism is the mother of all the monotheistic religions and that Zionism is an aberration. but thank you for your honesty. Another hater of Judaism hates Zionism. Or is that visa versa. Another hater of Zionism hates Judaism. You have brought the day of peace closer to hand. Not.

      • talknic
        March 14, 2014, 11:01 pm

        yonah ” using the bible as proof that Israel’s behavior makes sense given that the bible is such a piece of shit document commanding the Jews to act like shits. Guess what this is called- hatred of Judaism”

        The basic tenets of Judaism are common sense and common to many people’s beliefs, religious or not.

        “much more politically correct to say that Judaism is the mother of all the monotheistic religions..”

        Not Judaism. The scriptures are, Olde, New and Qur’an

        “that Zionism is an aberration”

        Indeed it is, neither religious nor following the common sense tenets of Judaism.

        “Another hater of Judaism hates Zionism. Or is that visa versa. Another hater of Zionism hates Judaism”

        Twaddle. Plenty of religious Jews hate Zionism and the plague it has brought upon us and the people of Palestine.

        The Zionist Federation’s demand for a separate Jewish state is responsible for Israeli Jews not having the right to settle anywhere in the Jewish people’s historic homeland. Go yell at them

      • puppies
        March 14, 2014, 11:35 pm

        Friedman – “Guess what this is called- hatred of Judaism.”
        So fluting what? Religion, the opium of the masses, must disappear. There is nothing to command respect for it. It’s not inborn. Attacking people for their irrational beliefs in imaginary friends is perfectly kosher. In fact, this also applies to selective enmity toward selected religions, too.

        “Another hater of Judaism hates Zionism.”
        Zionism is waaaaay worse, baby, no comparison.
        There are decent people harboring religious sentiments.
        There are even admirable, profoundly devout people, like those of Neturei Karta, who respect and love Palestine and remain totally committed to peace.

        There are no decent Zionists.

      • Cliff
        March 15, 2014, 1:04 am

        @Wondering Jew

        You have brought the day of peace closer to hand. Not.

        Not as close as the Zionist Jews of Hebron, the unending settlement expansion, the IDF murder of Palestinian civilians, the continued disenfranchisement of Israeli Arabs, etc. etc. etc.

        Thanks for the laugh though, Zionist.

      • RoHa
        March 15, 2014, 5:03 am

        “much more politically correct to say that Judaism is the mother of all the monotheistic religions”

        But not really accurate. Not all monotheisms are descendants of Judaism.

      • yonah fredman
        March 16, 2014, 4:44 pm

        RoHa- You’re right. I was referring to Islam and Christianity, not to any other monotheistic belief systems.

      • ziusudra
        March 17, 2014, 7:18 am

        Greetings jonah fredman,
        …correct to say that Juadism is the mother of all the Monotheist religions….

        Pssst, jonah. Judaism is not mono, but poly.
        They accepted EL, the father of 70 children deities, two of which were ba’al & Yahweh.
        The Scholar Rebbis in Babylonia, in 536BC, downgraded EL for Yahweh as the big honcho, but still carry his Name in IsraEL. Hence, you still recognize polytheism.
        ziusudra
        PS I could care less about all three of these beliefs. They are all fairy tales.
        PPS ponder the fact why a puny Group of People after slavery would adopt & judaize said Canaanite deities & bring in a foreign Sumerian Abraham, who had his own Deities, to be hailed as the Father of Judaism???
        Your Pharisees were ignorant & confused from the get go & modern scholars have not cleared up this cabal hasbara.

      • Mayhem
        March 16, 2014, 4:55 am

        In the Old Testament the concept of the stranger or Ger Tsedek refers only to a convert to Judaism, not to the generic concept of a stranger.

      • Citizen
        March 17, 2014, 3:35 pm

        @ lysias
        That’s also my understanding, and it makes common sense. What has not been so obvious is that many US jews are fed up with how many rabbis have been caught on the same charges rendered to Catholic predatory priests–there’s many, but the US main media does does not call public attention to them as they do with Catholic priests.

  8. seafoid
    March 14, 2014, 3:00 pm

    No, it doesn’t.
    Jews live as normal people all over the world. They don’t need to torture anyone. Except in one country without defined borders and a constitution.
    Israel is an anachronism.

    • Ecru
      March 14, 2014, 3:20 pm

      @ Seafoid

      “They don’t need to torture anyone.”

      Do they not? Thinking not of “Jews” but only of those who support Israel I have a sneaky suspicion that they do need to torture people, if not torture them themselves then by Jewish proxies in Israel. This makes them feel “macho” and “strong,” secure in an insecure world where they are the eternal victims of cosmic anti-semitism.

      By associating with a “strong” “thuggish” Jewish identity, rather than being the victim of some imaginary oppression by non-Jews they get to oppresses non-Jews in the real world. Albeit vicariously. Through this “macho” Jewish linkage they get to fight off their own feelings of insecurity and impotence. It’s a fantasy. A fantasy of “getting back” at the goyim who make them feel so vulnerable. A vulnerability that only truly exists within their own heads.

      They need it – they just can’t admit it.

      • seafoid
        March 14, 2014, 3:43 pm

        They only need it because it’s the only way to keep Israel going.

      • Ecru
        March 14, 2014, 4:24 pm

        I’m not sure that’s all. Yes it keeps Israel going but maybe part of the draw of Israel is that it allows these vicarious feelings of strength through crimes against humanity for so many in the diaspora.

      • yonah fredman
        March 14, 2014, 10:52 pm

        Ecru- bookmarked as Jew hatred.

        Note to self: Jews and their imaginary oppression feel the need to assert machismo and thus the torture that Israel commits is understandable as a manifestation of the Jewish imagined oppression’s supposed cure.

      • puppies
        March 14, 2014, 11:51 pm

        @Friedman – “bookmarked as Jew hatred.”
        in answer to:
        “Thinking not of “Jews” but only of those who support Israel…”

        wow.
        “blast the color blue”
        “hater! you hate yellow!”

        You’re past the stage where you needed a shrink. Now it has to be a straitjacket, stat.

      • Cliff
        March 15, 2014, 12:50 am

        Wondering Jew- bookmarked as Holocaust industry exploitation and typical Zionist narcissism.

        Note to self: Zionist Jews like Wondering Jew (who are Nakba deniers, characterizing the expulsion of Palestinians prior to the declaration of Israeli statehood as ‘for security under the context of an ongoing civil war’) feel the need to assert their machismo while simultaneously exercising their indignant, entitled, cosmic infatuation with antisemitism and imagined Jewish suffering in the present (1 broken fingernail in S’derot = 1400+ dead Palestinians in Gaza).

        Here’s a clip from ‘Defamation':

        I’m enjoying your progression Wondering Jew.

        You’re a liar, a troll, a Nakba denier, and a Richard Witty-lite.

      • Ecru
        March 15, 2014, 1:46 am

        @ Yonah

        Jew hatred? Oh YAWN! As if that charge has ANY weight left to it at all.

        But just to be clear re-read what I wrote and try not to twist it in your warped little mind this time.

        “Thinking not of “Jews” but ONLY of those who support Israel

        And don’t think the irony of a Zionist calling someone else out for bigotry is lost on me btw.

      • Mayhem
        March 16, 2014, 3:55 am

        @ecru, your dismissive attitude to Jew hatred reflects back on you.
        Sad how a couple of Jews have fostered an online forum in MW that provides fertile ground for people like ecru and cliff who think that pro-Zionist Jews are just cry-babies worrying about breaking their fingernails and are given free rein to strut this kind of judeophobia.

      • Ecru
        March 18, 2014, 3:00 am

        @ Mayhem

        Blame Yonah, Hoppy, yourself and various fellow travellers for my dismissive attitude to charges of “ANTISEMITISM!!!” You’re the people who’ve made it a joke by using to to describe everything from not liking chopped liver up and who lie about it all the sodding time (see anything Hoppy writes about Europe). And why? In a vain attempt to silence critics of Israel and people who believe in universal human rights, who stand against the ethno-supremacism you love.

        I mean look at you – “judeophobia” – what a laugh. If that was the case oh logically challenged one then I would make no distinction between Zionist and non-Zionists but alas for your pitiful whining I obviously do, so the correct term, considering I don’t actually fear them, would something along the lines of “misozionist.” Hatred of Zionists and Zionism.

        Just so you know. Oh and as a btw – I’m a “misonazist” too.

        And yes – you Zionists ARE cry babies. Probably the biggest and most pathetic in recorded history.

      • Citizen
        March 16, 2014, 6:13 pm

        @ yonah F
        Note to self: Pls look at those goys wh0 saved Jews during WW2 era, so how many Jews have saved Palestinians since those days when Jews have had the power?

      • seafoid
        March 18, 2014, 6:17 am

        There is a “path of the righteous gentiles” in Yad Vashem, the museum to the European holocaust situated where there was no holocaust, in Jerusalem.

        Where are the righteous Jews of the endless years of the occupation?

    • Citizen
      March 16, 2014, 6:22 am

      “Except in one country without defined borders and a constitution.”

      These are two reasons why Israel did not accept the American offer to make a mutual defense treaty. Israel didn’t want a constitution because that would mean equal rights before the law, and it wan’t prepared to define its borders because it wanted to keep grabbing more land. The third reason was, Israel did not want the usual reciprocity in such treaties which requires both parties to give the other advance notice that they were going to attack some country. Israel liked the freedom to attack any state without advance notice. Israel likes preemptive/preventative wars sans anybody asking pesky questions, such as, “What ‘immediate threat’? Show me the facts–show me, how do you figure that?”

  9. eljay
    March 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

    >> Does Israel Have a Right to Exist as a Jewish State?

    No. “Jewish State” is, fundamentally, a religion-supremacist construct. No state has a right to exist as a supremacist state. And no-one should be expected or required to recognize or accept any state as a supremacist state.

  10. Daniel Rich
    March 14, 2014, 4:18 pm

    “OK…, we’ve bombed Gaza, shelled Lebanon, seized an ‘Iranian’ ship, killed some Palestinians and it ain’t even sabbath Saturday… Time to unleash the ‘Kraken’ for some ‘wow’ factor weekend fun…” – anonymous Internet Dweller Fiend

  11. bilal a
    March 14, 2014, 5:29 pm

    Looks like the Ali A./ Soros One State solution is being adopted in the Israeli Amen corner, with the right to buy out at bargain prices the whole of Palestine, and of course, adoption of the one shekel, one vote paradigm:
    (Glick fawned over at frontpagmag)

    ———-
    Contingent on security concerns—applied on individual rather than on a communal basis—Palestinians will have the right to travel and live anywhere they wish within Israeli territory. Similarly, Israeli Jews will also be allowed to live anywhere they wish. All prohibitions on property and land sales to Jews will be abrogated.

    ..
    As permanent residents of Israel, with the option of applying for Israeli citizenship, the Palestinians would find themselves living in a liberal democracy where their individual rights are protected. [ by Israeli law and courts , lol ]

    link to frontpagemag.com

    ingenious.

    • piotr
      March 14, 2014, 8:40 pm

      about “one shekel one vote”

      The original democratic paradigm was “one battle axe, one vote” which was naturally evolving. All arm bearing adults of a tribe or nation could vote, and a minority had the right to acquiesce, or resist and get a whooping from the majority. Historians call it “armed people democracy”. Zionists, in their attempt to recreate the golden age of ancient Hebrews, connect “rights” with “military service”, and effectively, Israel is also “armed people democracy”. The current ruling majority tries to put the non-IDF serving folks in their proper place, and the sentiment is to cut their rights, benefits etc.

    • Ecru
      March 15, 2014, 1:50 am

      @ bilal a

      All prohibitions on property and land sales to Jews will be abrogated.

      Hmm. And what of the Palestinians? Will they be able to buy homes in settlements or will the informal ban on selling to them remain so that this becomes just another form of ethnic cleansing?

  12. Stephen Shenfield
    March 14, 2014, 6:35 pm

    Can states have rights? Surely not. Rights are for people (and arguably for members of at least some other animal species). Israel is a state. Therefore Israel cannot have rights.

    A more accurate statement of the Zionist view would be that “the Jewish nation has the right to national self-determination” and that this right has been realized in Israel and cannot be realized in any other form. That assumes many things: that nations exist, that the Jews are a nation, that nations have rights, that national self-determination can only be achieved in an ethnically exclusive nation-state, etc. etc.

    The idea that nations have collective rights can and often does conflict with the idea of individual human rights, because in order to give a nation its rights people of different ethnic origin have to be oppressed, expelled or killed. The idea of national rights is now in decline and the idea of individual rights is on the rise. Though not yet everywhere, alas! But the spirit of the times is now turning against Zionism and other ethno-nationalist movements. If only the process were a bit faster.

    • Daniel Rich
      March 14, 2014, 7:19 pm

      @ Stephen Shenfield,

      I would argue that states/nations only have obligations [towards their citizens and neighbors]. Unfortunately, some nations/states have convinced themselves of the fact that their ‘obligations’ are ‘universal’ and thus are rammed/shoved down the throats of the unwilling [and mostly hapless] bystanders [aka ‘the world community’]. Having said that, I can’t, for the world of me, find any good reason why the rest of the world watches, condemns and watches, objects and watches, churns through endless resolutions and watches, summons/expels ambassadors and watches, slaps sanctions left and right and watches, etc.

    • talknic
      March 14, 2014, 9:40 pm

      Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States link to cfr.org

      ARTICLE 1

      The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
      ARTICLE 2

      The federal state shall constitute a sole person in the eyes of international law.

      ETC

      • RoHa
        March 15, 2014, 4:38 am

        Talknic, I think Stephen is writing about moral rights, not legal rights.

        I think we can grant states some moral rights, since we claim that they have some moral duties. But those rights would, I think, be restricted to those which they require to carry out their moral duties.

        One such duty would be the protection of the citizens. This duty does not require either the existence of a particular state or the continuous existence of the state. When East Germany ceased to exist, the duty of protection was taken over by the new combined Germany, and when Czechoslovakia was dissolved, the duty passed over to the two new states.

      • talknic
        March 16, 2014, 8:15 am

        @ RoHa ” I think Stephen is writing about moral rights, not legal rights”

        Stephen Shenfield “Can states have rights? Surely not. Rights are for people (and arguably for members of at least some other animal species). Israel is a state. Therefore Israel cannot have rights”

        The state as a person does have rights and a moral duty uphold the law.

        ” This duty does not require either the existence of a particular state or the continuous existence of the state. When East Germany ceased to exist, the duty of protection was taken over by the new combined Germany, and when Czechoslovakia was dissolved, the duty passed over to the two new states” and;

        Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

        a) to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;

        etc etc link to pages.citebite.com

    • piotr
      March 14, 2014, 10:26 pm

      States surely have rights, something that Israel routinely violates. Like right to have air space not violated by air force of other countries that harass citizens with sonic booms or worse. Barring extremes, states also have the right to make internal arrangements as they see fit. But imagine Lebanon demanding to be recognized as a state with sectarian organization of politics and severe restrictions for non-residents, or Gulf states demanding the right to be states that enforce debt bondage. Or Rwanda demanding the recognition as a Hutu state.

  13. just
    March 14, 2014, 6:59 pm

    A great article, Ali. I also very much respect your title, ‘The Battle for Justice in Palestine”.

    Israel has never been a democracy. Yes, I know that many Americans think that “democratic” America is a Christian country, but that is not true. We have a long way to go, but separation of Church and State is still valued in this imperfect democracy. Israel has not even written a Constitution, much less defined its’ borders– I think that this is a deliberate inaction. Until and unless Israel ends the Occupation, it will not be a “Jewish state”. Whatever it is now, it is NOT a democracy, it’s an apartheid state. Simply put, it disenfranchises (and worse) many of the folks that are entitled to citizenship, full rights and freedom, and LIFE.

    • talknic
      March 14, 2014, 9:49 pm

      “Israel has never been a democracy.” Nothing about democracy in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

      Although it does say ..

      “The State of Israel … will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex ” link to pages.citebite.com

      It also says ..

      “The state of Israel ….will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” link to pages.citebite.com“>

      And it says ..

      ” until the establishment of the elected , regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948…etc etc link to pages.citebite.com

      Israel has never had a legally elected government, under the required constitution. Israel’s only legal Government was the Provisional Government, not elected by a majority of Israeli citizens

      • RoHa
        March 15, 2014, 4:56 am

        I’ve never studied the prophets in any detail (bunch of tedious old gits) but from what I recall they spent most of their time denouncing the Jews for falling short of what God demanded, and promising various forms of divinely administered torment on all and sundry. When did they do the freedom, justice, and peace bit?

  14. Bumblebye
    March 14, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Haven’t had a chance to watch yet, but this prog from AlJazeera’s head to head seems the perfect companion piece:
    link to aljazeera.com

    Is Zionism Compatible With Democracy?

    “In this episode, Mehdi Hasan challenges Shlomo Ben Ami , the former Israeli foreign minister and avowed liberal Zionist, on the challenges of Zionism and the failures of the Israeli peace camp.

    Also joining the discussion are: Avi Shlaim, a renowned new historian and emeritus professor of international relations at the University of Oxford; Paul Charney, the chairman of the Zionist Federation; and Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organisation.”

  15. Kathleen
    March 14, 2014, 11:45 pm

    Does an apartheid state have a right to exist?

  16. DICKERSON3870
    March 15, 2014, 4:32 am

    RE: “A better analogy for the Law of Return would be the White Australia policy that operated until the 1970s, favoring immigration from Europe while non-European immigrants and Aborigines faced appalling official racism and the continuing legacy of colonialism and land loss.” ~ Ali Abunimah

    MY COMMENT: Ah yes, the good old days of “White Australia”* (“Australia for the Australians”), a favourite cause of Australia’s New Guard fascist movement**!
    * White Australia policy – link to en.wikipedia.org
    ** New Guardlink to en.wikipedia.org

  17. just
    March 15, 2014, 8:30 am

    A bit of good news:

    “A newly painted version of a picture that for Palestinians has come to symbolize their struggle for statehood has been unveiled in Dubai, many years after the original was believed to have been destroyed in a U.S. airstrike on Libya.

    “Jamal al-Mahamel” (Camel of Burdens), a 1973 painting depicting an elderly porter struggling to balance Jerusalem on his back, is seen as a representation of the Palestinian aspiration to establish a state with East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war, as its capital.

    “I was not thinking of making an icon when I painted it,” artist Suleiman Mansour, who painted the original and the duplicate, said before the work was unveiled Wednesday. “But now, with so much Arab and Palestinian focus on this painting, of course it has become even more famous than me. I am identified by it.” ”

    Picture of the haunting and beautiful painting and artist at the link:

    link to haaretz.com

  18. yonah fredman
    March 15, 2014, 11:33 am

    I suppose it is not Abunimah’s place to interpret the partition plan, when it was never the real intention of Israel to honor its essence, as in Ben Gurion had in mind to chase many Arabs out of the nascent Jewish state. But, the partition plan included a plan for a Jewish state and an Arab state. If the respect for the rights of individual citizens would have been implemented, what would have been the meaning of a Jewish state or is this too distant from the reality of “demographic threat” mentality that it doesn’t merit thought. Abunimah opposes the 47 partition plan, which is all right. But some here are in favor of the 47 partition plan and what would the jewish state have meant under the partition plan?

  19. LeaNder
    March 15, 2014, 12:21 pm

    or is this too distant from the reality of “demographic threat” mentality

    Well, Ali Abunimah shows exactly what reality is at the center of “that demographic threat mentality”. Did I understand you correctly, yonah?

    ut some here are in favor of the 47 partition plan and what would the jewish state have meant under the partition plan?

    I may from the very start have meant different thing to the people that agreed on it and the Israelis, I guess.

    Jewish state and an Arab state

    A Palestinian and a Jewish state, if you don’t mind.

    • yonah fredman
      March 16, 2014, 4:39 pm

      LeaNder- I realize that in today’s parlance we are discussing a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, but the language of 1947 was a Jewish state and an Arab state and thus to be historically accurate leads to the usage of the language that people find objectionable. (And I was talking about 1947 and therefore the usage of the language of the document in question rather than politically correct language seems to me more appropriate.)

      • LeaNder
        March 16, 2014, 6:01 pm

        Concerning historical correctness. Not all “Arabs” were meant to get a state there. Since your condescension shows elsewhere, “mentality”, I will file this under: subterfuge, if you don’t mind.

      • yonah fredman
        March 16, 2014, 9:58 pm

        LeaNder- You can file it wherever you please. My condescension aside, the use of the term Arab rather than Palestinian is in Resolution 181 and thus there is no subterfuge involved, from an objective point of view. You told me what language to use: “Palestinian and not Arab”. Whereas resolution 181 speaks of an Arab state and a Jewish state. Thus no matter what your feelings about my condescension, historically I am correct and you are off base.

  20. Talkback
    March 15, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Something tells me that Ali Abunimah just hit the final nail in the coffin of the Jewish state.

    • Talkback
      March 15, 2014, 4:17 pm

      BTW. Link in footnote 40 has changed to
      link to sikkuy.org.il

    • Naftush
      March 16, 2014, 5:09 am

      No, he won the Let’s Play Bloodbath sweepstakes. It being Purim in Israel, one hears faint growls from the handful of atavistic Baruch Goldstein admirers, but it’s immensely ironic to read a Goldstein mirror-image manifesto from the Palestinian side on this of all days. Jabbing at national narratives is old stuff, but preaching the revocation of a state’s right to exist by such a tactic breaks new ground. It’s like compounding the Three Noes of Khartoum by the always-attractive invocation of the word “justice,” lavish use of logical fallacy, and cherry-picking of history. His recounting of Palestinian Arab history is debunkable without such trickery, but that is for another posting.

      • Talkback
        March 17, 2014, 9:45 am

        @ Naftush

        After this article I do not only see the trees but the whole forrest.
        Israel is the Balfour Declaration in its Zionist draft version: Without ANY safety guards for its nonjewish population and a Jewish national home not in Palestine, but AS Palestine. It’s the darkest version of the Balfour declaration which itself was a violation of the principle of self determination.

        Palestine means about a century of the denial to self determination either directly by Zionist or on their behalf. The goal has not change, only the methods. Under Jewish domination they include blatant racism and crimes against humanity.

        Sorry, but I can’t condem crimes against humanity only up to 1945.

        You may of course hide yourself behind a human shield of antisemitic accusation. But I know to well, what antisemitism is.

  21. joer
    March 15, 2014, 4:29 pm

    Reading this analysis, I can’t decide if the Palestinians’ is a civil rights struggle or a national liberation struggle…or in other words, whether the one who will solve the problem will be a Martin Luther King or a Ho Chi Minh. Having grown up in late 20th Century America, and being influenced by what was happening, I lean toward Martin. But the Palestinians, who have had a different perspective.

  22. James Canning
    March 15, 2014, 7:36 pm

    Is the demand that the Palestinians accept Israel as a “Jewish” state a matter of racial bigotry? Or, in fact, religious bigotry?

    • Talkback
      March 16, 2014, 3:22 am

      James, I would say religious bigotry. The so called “national character” of Israel is actually a “religious character”. Nationality (in the sense of “race”) or nationality (in the sense of citizenship) is irrelevant to Israel as long as you are Jew either by heritage or conversion.

      • puppies
        March 16, 2014, 4:00 am

        @Talkback – No religious observance or belief is needed. All that is needed is “being born to a Jewish woman” (while conversion is not accepted by all religious authorities.) Vaginally transmitted inborn identities are not religious but strictly racial; whoever accepts them and the system that defends them are racist, period.
        So let’s reformulate correctly: “The so called “national character” of Israel is actually a racial character”. The fact that there is no such race as Jewish is irrelevant.

      • James Canning
        March 18, 2014, 12:51 pm

        @Puppies – – A black “Jewish” woman, breeding with another black, can be expected to produce a black child. A white “Jewish” woman, breeding with another white, can be expected to produce a white child. You are arguing that the black child and the white child are the same “race”. Correct?

      • James Canning
        March 16, 2014, 3:05 pm

        Thanks, Talkback. Religious bigotry, but with elements of cultural bias too?

      • Talkback
        March 17, 2014, 9:51 am

        James, I don’t think that it matters. All that it matters is only, if someone fullfills the DEFINITION of being a Jew. The rest is irrelevant.

    • American
      March 17, 2014, 10:33 am

      @ James Canning

      Looks like both religious and racial to me…especially among the settlers…cultist.

      • James Canning
        March 18, 2014, 1:03 pm

        Yes, both (in certain categories of “Jews”). But “Jews” in former Soviet Union often were not “Jews” in a racial sense (where one grandparent was a “Jew”, for example).

  23. kma
    March 15, 2014, 8:54 pm

    “The mayor [of upper nazareth] cited the Bible, in which, he said, “the God of Israel told Moses how to act upon conquering the land: he must cleanse the land of its current inhabitants.” [34] Gapso was re-elected by a landslide.”

    I grew up Catholic, but as an adult joined a Silicon Valley Unitarian church to preserve what was left of my faith in a just “god”, and this is what they all believe! A bunch of us left.
    Most Silicon Valley churches believe in that ethnic cleansing “god” that said to “cleanse the land of its current inhabitants”. Some don’t, but most do. And in California, all our politicians that believe in the ethnic cleansing “god” are elected by a landslide.
    Sick.

    • thankgodimatheist
      March 16, 2014, 12:47 am

      “the God of Israel told Moses how to act upon conquering the land: he must cleanse the land of its current inhabitants.”
      If only they did go out and say what seems to be the case, that “we’re just executing god’s will”, but no! It’s a two-pronged claim; “it’s our historical home, a home that “god” gave us” which, in their pathological minds, absolves them of any wrong doing!

    • James Canning
      March 16, 2014, 3:17 pm

      Upper Nazareth seems to attract fanatics.

  24. PilgrimSoul
    March 15, 2014, 11:58 pm

    The political class of Israel will never allow a Palestinian state until they are threatened with the loss of their own state. Period. End of story. We all know it’s true, so let’s stop kidding each other.

  25. Talkback
    March 16, 2014, 4:30 am

    Last week at a meeting for “Anonymous Gentiles” in East-Jerusalem.

    Hello, my name is X and I’m a Gentile.

    [Audience says “Welcome X” and claps for the courage it takes to admit this]

    I have been a Gentile for all my life. I can’t recall one single day when I wasn’t. And I doubt that I will find the strength to change this situation and to abandon my inner most being and become Jewish.

    [Audience encourages X to continue]

    I’ve realized the damage I have allready done to Israel’s society by being Gentile and that I pose a threat to its existence as a Jewish state.

    [Audience claps for this self realization and encourages X to confess]

    As some of you, I have a weakness for deviants. Birds of a feather flock together, right? In my case I fell in love with a Gentile from Detention Zone A in Judea and Samaria.

    [Audience shows that it ‘knows the feeling’]

    And we allready commited terrible crimes. We married and tried to unify.

    [Audience is appalled. X is starting to cry]

    And … I don’t know how to say this … I’m not a terrible person … I try to be Jewish with all my heart … and it wasn’t even my intention … but this relationship is literally bringing the worse out of me … and now I’m the mother of his child …

    [Audiences is shocked and disgusted. X cries so much that she has a problem breathing and talking.]

    And I’m sooooo afraid, that my child is going to become Gentile, too, cause it seems to run in the family for generations. My Father was in Deir Yassin and resisted the arrest of him and other Gentiles. My mother was forced to leave, but never accepted Israel’s court decision to eternal expulsion, denationalization and dispossesion. She even tried to illegaly infiltrate Israel and return to the place she was born!

    [Audience is now convinced that there’s no hope to save X or her child and to prevent them from commiting crimes in the future. Someone reaches to his cell phone]

    I don’t know what to do! I know it is wrong to stay and continue being a Gentile. But I can neither leave nor is there any hope to change who I am. And I’m afraid that one day the State of Israel will trial me and makes me loose everything, if not my life and the life of my child.

    [Audience seems to be not longer interested in hearing more. Some allready stood up and went away]

    But I’m glad. I’m glad that I have found you and talk about my fears and …

    [Suddenly two man rush in and arrest X. Her child – while on the way back from school – is shot in the back while trying to escape the arrest and coming to close to the wall. Within matter of days X residency rights are revoked because she poses a security threat. Her husband was killed while protesting in Judea and Samaria. Israel’s prime minister is holding a speech that Israel is ready to defend its right to exist as a Jewish state and that even Gentiles have to accept this. A member of the Knesset anounces that there’s no future for Gentiles in the State of Israel]

    • just
      March 16, 2014, 8:35 am

      Chilling, Talkback.

      “Kerry pressuring the wrong side: Israel minister

      (AFP) – 7 minutes ago

      Jerusalem — An Israeli minister on Sunday said Washington’s top diplomat was “wrong” for pressuring Israel in peace talks, a day before Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas visits the White House.

      His remarks came two days after US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

      “John Kerry is wrong because he is putting pressure on the wrong side,” said Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, who is considered close to Netanyahu.

      “Kerry should be asking Abu Mazen (Abbas) why he is stubbornly refusing to recognise Israel as the Jewish state,” he told public radio.

      The demand, which was only placed on the table several months ago by Netanyahu, has been consistently rejected by the Palestinians and is now threatening to derail the peace talks ahead of an April 29 deadline.”

      link to google.com

      “Israel’s Yaalon says Abbas ‘no partner’ for peace deal

      (AFP) – 15 hours ago

      Jerusalem — Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Saturday Mahmud Abbas was “not a partner for a final peace deal” as the Palestinian leader prepared to meet US President Barack Obama.

      Abbas “is a partner for receiving, not giving,” Yaalon told Israel’s Channel 2 television in an interview.

      “He is not a partner for a final agreement that would include the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and that would end the conflict and all claims.””

      link to google.com

      These ministers are insane. Can the world finally acknowledge that Israel does not want peace, and place the blame squarely in nuclear armed- to- the- teeth Israel?!

      You know, until I saw the video by Max and David the other day, I thought most Jewish Israelis were sane, and had really bad leaders. Not so much anymore– they have a lot in common.

      • Talkback
        March 16, 2014, 1:02 pm

        @ Just

        I forgot to mention that a forensic examination revealed that she’s a rare type of Gentile called Christian and that her organs were intact and sold for a lot of money.

      • James Canning
        March 16, 2014, 2:57 pm

        John Kerry is quite right: Israel needs to stop pressuring the Palestinians to accept Israel as a “Jewish” state.

        Maybe Netanyahu will tell the world what a “Jew” is, for that matter. Religion? Culture? Both? Some of each?

  26. just
    March 16, 2014, 9:31 am

    Bronner dips his big toe into this very subject:

    “Israel Reaches Out to the Diaspora

    OVER the past two weeks, Jewish leaders outside Israel quietly gathered in seminar groups to grapple with a thorny question: how to ensure that Israel is both a Jewish and a democratic state.

    While the debate is not new, the discussions — 40 of them, including some in New York, London, Atlanta, Paris and Sydney, Australia — were significant and unprecedented. First, they come at a crucial time in Middle East peace talks with Israel demanding, quite unsuccessfully, Palestinian recognition of its Jewish identity. Second, they followed the introduction of a right-wing bill in the Israeli Parliament (set aside for now) aimed at making sure that in conflicts between Jewish and democratic identities, Jewish would win. And third, they were the result of a request for help from Israel, signaling a little-noticed shift in the relationship between the Jewish state and the Jewish world. In the past, signed checks were welcome, advice not so much.”

    link to nytimes.com

  27. just
    March 16, 2014, 10:02 am

    I don’t always agree with Hussein Ibish, but he nails it here:

    “Many commentators, including this author, have carefully picked apart the myriad problems involved with Israel’s new demand that the Palestinians formally recognize it as a “Jewish state.” But at least one of its most problematic aspects has been significantly under-examined and underappreciated. The new demand negates, both in effect and intention, the greatest of Palestinian concessions, their 1993 recognition of the State of Israel.

    There is an international consensus in favor of a two-state solution, and even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman now say they, too, support this goal after long careers opposing it. And in the quarter-century campaign to achieve a conflict-ending two-state agreement through direct talks, there remains a dangerous anomaly. One side, the Palestine Liberation Organization, recognized Israel up front. All other details aside, they have long since performed the sine qua non of a two-state agreement by recognizing Israel. The other side, Israel, has never recognized a Palestinian state or, in any formal, written, or legal sense, even the Palestinian right to a state.

    (and)

    What has yet to be fully recognized is that the single most significant impact of this “Jewish state” demand is that it effectively dismisses and reverses the 1993 Palestinian recognition of Israel. This concession made it ridiculous for anyone to argue that the core of the problem was Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel. But now, hey presto, it is once again possible to present Palestinian recognition of Israel as a major issue, because it wasn’t recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state.”

    It doesn’t matter that no one ever asked the Palestinians to do so until 2007, or that there are a great many complications, ambiguities, and grave difficulties associated with it. It has become a mantra of much of the pro-Israel constituency the world over that the 1993 recognition of Israel by the PLO is all but irrelevant, and that until Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” their intention to end the conflict and live in peace remains very much open to question.

    So, this new demand solves the problem that one side is lived up to its core commitment under a two-state solution – recognizing the statehood of the other party – while the other side has not. It pushes the diplomatic, psychological, and political clock back before 1993, to an era where Palestinians are once again being asked to demonstrate their willingness to live in peace with Israel by uttering some magic mantra.

    It elides the fact that, from a Palestinian and Arab point of view, the 1993 recognition of Israel was the mother of all concessions: a recognition that Palestinians were surrendering their political claim to around 78% of what had very recently been their country, in the sense that they were a large majority there until 1948. So now we are left negotiating over the territories conquered by Israel in 1967, without even touching the areas that became Israel in 1948. The enormity of this vast concession, this overwhelming – almost impossible – agreement by the Palestinians, was never fully recognized by Israel or the international community. And now, with the Jewish state demand, it’s dismissed altogether as almost totally irrelevant.”

    link to haaretz.com

  28. Boomer
    March 16, 2014, 10:10 am

    Over the years, I’ve heard the outraged question, “do you question the right of Israel to exist?” posed to silence any criticism of Israel’s actions and U.S. policy in support of Israel. Any response other than a simple “no” followed by silence was taken as proof that the person who expressed such criticism was a bigot–possibly even a Nazi sympathizer–whose opinion could and should be ignored. I always thought the question revealed the moral weakness of those who deployed it. What’s more, it seemed irrelevant. Israel exists, it has many atomic bombs and the means to deliver them, and it isn’t going away. But the question did end conversation. By adding the phrase “as a Jewish state,” an interesting new dynamic has been added. “Hoist on his own petard” comes to mind. Juan Cole has a good discussion of this at
    link to juancole.com

  29. Shuki
    March 16, 2014, 12:43 pm

    The notion that Israel or any Jew needs permission from the likes of ‘Ali Abunimah’ to do anything is laughable.

    • thankgodimatheist
      March 16, 2014, 10:50 pm

      “The notion that Israel or any Jew needs permission from the likes of ‘Ali Abunimah’ to do anything is laughable.
      To think that Abunimah is asking for your (or any other, Jew or not) permission to write whatever he wants is much more laughable. It’s hilarious.

  30. Mayhem
    March 16, 2014, 8:50 pm

    It seems Israel doesn’t have the right to be a Jewish state in the same way as I am not prevented from making pro-Jewish comments on Mondoweiss. All part of the same conspiracy.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 16, 2014, 10:11 pm

      Holy cow, you people are such cry babies. cut the victim mongering crap. Everyone gets comments eaten in moderation, not just you. The extent to which you whine and cry over nothing and pretend you’re being victimized is pathological and quite pathetic.

    • eljay
      March 17, 2014, 7:58 am

      >> It seems Israel doesn’t have the right to be a Jewish state …

      Of course it doesn’t. “Jewish State” is a supremacist construct. No state has a right to exist as a supremacist state, and no-one should be expected or required to recognize or accept any state as a supremacist state.

      Nor should anyone justify, advocate for or defend supremacism. And, yet, Zio-supremacists do so quite openly and proudly.

  31. thankgodimatheist
    March 16, 2014, 10:38 pm

    “pro-Jewish comments”
    We know very well that it’s out of nothing but mendacity and pettiness that you deliberately substitute “pro-Israel” with “pro-Jewish” in the hope of garnering some sympathy..Small mind, little man.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 16, 2014, 10:48 pm

      nothing but mendacity and pettiness that you deliberately substitute “pro-Israel” with “pro-Jewish” in the hope of garnering some sympathy

      i don’t think it’s sympathy he’s after, he like to stir up crap (that’s why he calls himself mayhem). he does this all the time yet it never seems to occur to him it might be the very reason his comments sometimes don’t get published. such a pity, yawn.

  32. Naftush
    March 17, 2014, 4:09 am

    The very idea of subjecting an existing state to a right-to-exist test is so preposterous that it can stampede for awhile without being challenged. There is no precedent in history for an up-and-running state having to pass such a test on pain of having to cease to exist, or of entitling a rival movement to assault it. As for the purported “right-to-exist-as” test, the very name Israel denotes the Jewish people; its use in that sense is as old as Genesis. The very expression Medinat Israel means “state of the Jewish people” or in shorthand “Jewish state.” Putting the *idea* of a group’s as-yet-unfulfilled statehood to such tests, however, may stand a better chance. Palestinian Arab statehood seems like a valid guinea pig.

  33. JeffB
    March 17, 2014, 4:32 am

    @puppies

    The first statement is to be acknowledged with great sorrow, as this nation born of a colonial propaganda operation now faces an indictment that forces it to civilize and stop being a master race nation, to be reduced to individuals with the choice of either equal rights over all Palestine or going back. Diehards have no choice but collective suicide.

    Going back is an Arab fantasy. Lets say in 1918 a family from England. They have an 11 year old girl. The 11 year old turns 18 and joins a workers kibbutz where she gets pregnant by a Lithuanian with a boy is associated with the kibbutz which is mostly eastern European. That boy fights in ’47-9 war and then settles down in ’52 with a recent immigrant from Iraq. They wait a few years and so she doesn’t pregnant until 1955 and has a girl. That girl marries a 1/2 Moroccan, 1/2 American Jew. Where do their children “go back” to?

    There is no back. There is no choice. Israeli is the home of the Israeli people. You can shake UN resolutions all you want at them. But at the end of the day, Israeli is now their home territory. They have shown many times they will fight for it and they will die for it, just like any other tribe defending their land and life against an invasion. There is no one who can plausibly apply enough pressure to Israel to evict the Israelis that has any desire to do so.

    The indictment is at worst nothing more than the European left deciding they don’t like Israel anymore and want to kick them permanently out of the western nations club.

    • pjdude
      March 17, 2014, 7:08 pm

      Theft doesn’t confer rights to it. Funny how jewish thieves can’t be removed from land that isn’t legally theirs. But it perfectly ok for Palestinians who do to be removed. Another Zionist defending thuggery. And Palestinians do have a valid claim to all of Palestine israel had no claim to what’s left

      • JeffB
        March 17, 2014, 9:15 pm

        @pjdude

        Theft doesn’t confer rights to it.

        Cool then I reject the 7th and 8th century theft of Palestine from the Roman empire remnants after the Muslim conquest and thus nullify their claim.

        Next.

      • pjdude
        March 18, 2014, 9:43 pm

        couple problems with that argument. I think we’ll just ignore the argument that at the time conquest was a legal and legitimate means of aquiring territory cause thats just leads to anchronistic moralizing. even when palestinhe was a byzantine territory it was inhabitied by arabs. the muslim conquest of palestine was arabs conqueroring arabs so the argument your using to deny an ethnic groupo its rights because of religion fails. also rome got it by conqueroring persian so their claim wouldn’t be valid anyway. palestine has always had an arab and proto-arab population. their the only people with any sort of real claim to the area. they were there at the begining so this foolish argument fails.

        secondly thanks to the mandate palestine was already recognized as an entity with territory meaning despite all of Israels conquesting the palestinians still have a valid claim to all of palestinie. whether or not they should press the claim is another issue entirely.

    • puppies
      March 18, 2014, 1:12 am

      @Jeff – Thanks for the opening. It looks like expecting you to read before responding is too much of a stress. I did include a clear passage –an optimistic one:
      “civilize and stop being a master race nation, to be reduced to individuals with the choice of either equal rights over all Palestine or going back. Diehards have no choice but collective suicide.”
      So there are other choices, including a civilized one. In the case of violent resistance to the request, it is predicated on the probable will of the Palestinians, possibly in the smoking ruins of your abomination, to offer individual locally born master-race citizens full citizenship (just like the “surely to be annexed” settlements, eh?) Of course, if violent resistance by the Zionist entity to justice goes too far, there is no predicting to be made. The Algerian model comes to mind.
      “they will fight for it and they will die for it”: their choice, we unfortunately know that there is probably a majority of suicidal crazies.
      Of course most of those master-race people have multiple passports and/or cushy welcome grants in several countries; most are racist enough not to want to stay. I have no idea what a finally representative Palestinian government will decide on the foreign-born illegal immigrants or the stupid that resist.

  34. JeffB
    March 17, 2014, 9:41 am

    @MRW

    @JeffB, What passport was that?

    Soviet

  35. MHughes976
    March 17, 2014, 11:11 am

    All persons have a right to exist, but for exceptional and temporary situations, as enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state. Would anyone question this?
    Consequently, invaders and marauders violate the rights of the people whose territory they invade. This point implies that all sovereign states have a right to exist in peace, which implies that a state currently existing under the name ‘X’ has a right to retain its name and to claim to be ‘for the Xians’. Thus Belgium for the Belgians and Israel for the Israelis.
    Propositions like ‘Belgium is and should be for the Anterwerpers’ are ambiguous. If I mean ‘Antwerpers are Belgians, therefore Belgium is for them’ that is one thing, and presumably true. If I mean ‘only or especially for them’ that is quite another thing and indeed false, implying as it does that the basic rights of individuals who live in Belgium but not in Antwerp may be treated as secondary or compromised.
    ‘Israel is a Jewish state’ is ambiguous in the same way. If it means that it is a state which is and should be for its Jewish citizens without discrimination that is one thing. If it means that Israel is and should be especially for its Jewish citizens, therefore that there is and should be something not so special, ie secondary, about the status of those who exist subject to its sovereign power but are not Jewish that is another thing, and false. Not a million agreements and documents can make it true.

    • James Canning
      March 17, 2014, 12:41 pm

      I assume you exclude illegal immigrants?

      • MHughes976
        March 18, 2014, 8:32 pm

        Yes, though I must say that I also think that the exclusion of certain immigrants is pretty unreasonable. I accept that there are exceptional situations where the normally universal right cannot be pressed. Postwar Europe with its mass of refugees comes to mind.
        Locke’s Second Treatise is the locus classicus, I’d say.

    • JeffB
      March 17, 2014, 1:43 pm

      @MHughes976

      All persons have a right to exist, but for exceptional and temporary situations, as enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state. Would anyone question this?
      Consequently, invaders and marauders violate the rights of the people whose territory they invade.

      You are trying to have your moral both ways there is a contradiction in your thinking.

      a — Christendom) States exist for some purpose. There are people who exist within that territory who satisfy that purpose and the others are excluded from enfranchisement.

      b — Westphalia) States exist for some territory. There are people who exist within that territory and regardless of other characteristic are entitled to enfranchisement.

      You are simultaneously arguing for both and they naturally conflict. If I remember correctly you are British so let’s take that example. So are the descendants of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes entitled to enfranchisement or they invaders violating the rights of the native Britains? You can’t have universal enfranchisement and at at the same time argue these people shouldn’t be enfranchised. Either states exist for the population regardless of how they arrived or they exist for some other entity which comprises only a part of the population. Anti-colonialism is a deeply anti-democractic doctrine that rejects the universality of universal enfranchisement.

      You then later use the word “subject to its sovereign power” which is a specific variant of definition:

      a1) A state is a social contract where a group of people bind together in common interest and agree to submit to common interests and law. Those people who are enfranchised are those who agree to this social contract.

      Which then of course answers what is meant by Israel is a Jewish state. Israel has a state church. Eventually those people who accept the sovereign accept the church of that sovereign. Now in your country’s history that didn’t entirely work out. But it did partially. When King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church the state needed to reorganize social services away from the monasteries and reallocate that wealth towards the mercantile economy. There were battles back and forth and by the late 18th century a compromise was struck that while English Catholicism continued to exist alongside the state church to this day, it exists subject to the crown.

      If Islam is going to exist long term in Israel most likely some sort of similar compromise will be struck. But probably not in our lifetimes.

      • MHughes976
        March 18, 2014, 8:25 pm

        You are saying that I both claimed and denied that the right to enfranchised existence depends on ‘serving the purposes of the state’. I don’t think that I did. I didn’t refer to ‘purposes’. I claimed a universal right with an exception clause referring to ‘exceptional and temporary situations’. I didn’t elaborate on this phrase – I was thinking of situations where there is a mass of refugees and suchlike – but I did not contradict it by saying either ‘not even temporary exceptions are possible’ or else ‘there are certain permanent exceptions’, which in logic are the only ways in which my claim about ‘a universal right subject only to temporary exceptions’ could be contradicted.
        From my claim it does follow that invaders and marauders, ie those whose activities take away the justified status of many (at least ‘many'; perhaps huge numbers) of people as enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state, are violating at least some important rights. If that happened in Britain it was a violation of rights and the slogan ‘Britain for the British!’ could legitimately have been used to denounce what was happening.
        Just how these violations should be negated or corrected is another matter. I’ve made some suggestions about that now and then in these discussions.
        Perhaps you think that the Palestine/Israel situation should be interpreted as a temporary and exceptional situation where the normal right to enfranchised existence does not apply. That claim could be discussed but it wasn’t the point at issue. The point at issue was the validity of the formula ‘Xia for the Xians!’
        I don’t particularly agree with your interpretation of ‘Westphalia’, which is part of the history of ‘Christendom’. Surely the key W principle ‘cuius regio eius religio’ is the opposite of what you say? Not that that is of major concern here.

  36. JeffB
    March 17, 2014, 3:24 pm

    @ Sibiriak

    (moving thread so I have reply)

    JeffB: Global Jews belong to the Jewish religion.
    Sibiriak You lost me right there. So if a Jew outside of Israel is not religious, that person ceases to be a Jew under your definition?

    Yes. If an American Jew converts to Christianity they cease to be a Jew.

    How about inside Israel? Can a Jew be not religious and still be a Jew there?

    Judaism is the state church. It is integrated into the state culture. To not be religious is to attempt to alienate oneself from the culture. Most likely as a dissident. For an Israeli of Jewish ethnicity (2nd generation+) it is probably impossible to not be Jewish. There dasein is Jewish regardless of their religious profession. The same way for example American mainstream atheism is fundamentally Baptist. It assumes Baptist theology about Christianity and the bible and then reacts to them. This is wholly different than say Buddhist or Jewish atheism, even in America. You can only escape the culture to a limited extent.

    Of course, you are entitled to promulgate you own definitions but one thing for sure is that your definition of a “Jewish Israeli nation” and rejection of a global “Jewish nation” flatly contradicts Israeli law and dominant Zionist ideology.

    If that were the case then why can’t I vote in Israeli election? If that were the case why aren’t Israelis shocked that I don’t care about who wins at soccer just like a typical American? I don’t speak the Israeli language because I’m Jewish. I don’t have typically Israeli taste in art because I’m Jewish. And no one expects me to. The Jewish Agency has a long long list of steps they recommend for Aliyah because they understand how difficult and complex it is.

    Israelis don’t really believe that I’m part of their nation. Netanyahu explicitly calls on us American Jews to stand with the people of Israel (meaning the Jews of Israel). He doesn’t consider me one of the people of Israel. So we don’t agree here.

    Using your terminology then:
    1)The state of Israel is a multinational state since it has citizens from various “nations”, not just the “Jewish-Israeli nation”.

    2) Israel privileges the “Jewish-Israeli nation” over the other Israeli nations. It is a discriminatory ethnocratic state, where the dominant ethnos is, in your terminology, “the Israeli-Jewish nation”.

    Not quite. Israel attempts to assimilate peoples from other nations who immigrate in. Their goal is not discrimination but to join peoples (at least intergenerationally) to the Israeli nation. The Palestinian nation has refused to assimilate. Israel is not attempt to create permanent discrimination. Moreover I mostly reject the “ethnocratic” notion since it is hard to see much ethnically that is common among the Jewish population. The idea of a common ethnicity is Jewish myth.

    I don’t see any problem with just saying that Israel has a state church and privileges the members of that state church. All the people on MW who think life was fine and dandy for Jews in Arab countries prior to Israel and that Jews are just a bunch of whiners shouldn’t have any problem with state churches and state discrimination.

    • Sibiriak
      March 18, 2014, 2:20 pm

      JeffB :

      JeffB: Global Jews belong to the Jewish religion.
      Sibiriak You lost me right there. So if a Jew outside of Israel is not religious, that person ceases to be a Jew under your definition?

      Yes. If an American Jew converts to Christianity they cease to be a Jew.

      I said “not religious”. So, again: what if a Jew outside Israel is *not religious*, i.e. rejects Judaism, but does not adopt another religion–that person ceases to be a Jew under you definition?

      I submit that “Global Jews belong to the Jewish religion” is an untenable definition of global Jewry.

      • JeffB
        March 18, 2014, 5:18 pm

        @Sibiriak

        I said “not religious”. So, again: what if a Jew outside Israel is *not religious*, i.e. rejects Judaism, but does not adopt another religion–that person ceases to be a Jew under you definition?

        I answered your question. I’ll give a longer answer. Having a Jewish mother and not apostatizing is the traditional definition. Having either parent be Jewish, being raised Jewish (in the case of a mixed household) and identifying as Jewish is all that is required for the modern definition. What is not required is either belief or most specific acts of practice. My atheist wife and atheist me had no problem getting an orthodox rabbi who was willing to marry us (didn’t end up being the way we went but..) because we had not engaged in an act of apostasy. Practicing Buddhism is not an act of apostasy. Converting to Islam or converting to Christianity are acts of apostasy. Converting to messianic Judaism is even though the apostate may not understand their actions that way.

        The Frankists were Jewish up until the point they became baptized as Catholics even though the Jewish leaders of Poland believed them to be following a heretical Christian / Muslim / Jewish hybrid religion. They had to baptize themselves and willful say they were no longer Jewish to no longer be Jewish.

        So basically the Jewish people are those people who identify as Jewish excluding the Messianics. Self identification is pretty much how most Americans think of religion so it works here just fine. A person raised Presbyterian can identify as Presbyterian even if they haven’t been inside a church in 5 years. If on the other hand they start going to a Methodist church then they likely will call themselves a Methodist. But there most certainly are people who identify as Presbyterian that attend Methodist churches and everyone respects their self identity. If they want to change religions they change quickly, simply, easily.

        There is nothing untenable about it. You just come from a society where religious identification is some huge deal subject to tremendous oversight by semi-governmental agencies.

        Israelis because they let their religion be run by fundamentalists are insane about the “who is a Jew” question, and marriage and were Gets filled out properly…. If you all listened to your American cousins and brought in Reform and Conservative Judaism you’d have a much easier time with this nonsense. Your establishment makes being Jewish more complex than getting a commercial pilot’s license. It is no wonder you think Judaism is an ethnicity because no one can get through all the stupid hoops the Israeli rabbinate create for conversions.

        But over here we don’t have chief Rabbis. Rabbis have to compete for members and so they want to have enough hoops to make sure converts will go to synagogue (or at least pay dues) after conversion but not so many that they pick the another synagogue to go to. So someone gets engaged to or decides to marry a gentile and 6 months later they are both Jewish, the kids are Jewish. Then one of the kids decides they wish dad hadn’t converted try out Mom’s old Eastern Orthodox church don’t like it and get baptized and call themselves Pentecostal for a few years. And maybe after that they quit and go back to being Jewish. Which doesn’t mean they believe it just means they identify.

        Global Judaism is just an identification. The whole war the Palestinians is their unwillingness to join Israel. All I’d ask of them for full enfranchisement is a willingness to say and mean, “For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more may the Lord do to me if anything but death parts me from you.”

      • Citizen
        March 18, 2014, 5:23 pm

        @ Sibiriak
        Yes. JeffB talks about conversion to another religion as his response to your question about the status of a Jew who rejects Judaism, but does not adopt another religion. He’s not logical, so why respond to him?

      • Keith
        March 18, 2014, 7:33 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “I submit that “Global Jews belong to the Jewish religion” is an untenable definition of global Jewry.”

        Perhaps not. Had the reference been to “the Judaic religion” you would undoubtedly be correct, however, if we apply a broad interpretation of “Jewish religion” to include a secular interpretation of religion as an ideology taken on faith which achieves in-group solidarity, then the concept of “Jewishness” as immutable destiny may qualify. In other words, there is a certain quasi-religious aspect to self-perceived “Jewishness” which transcends rationality.

    • Sibiriak
      March 18, 2014, 2:25 pm

      JeffB:

      Of course, you are entitled to promulgate you own definitions but one thing for sure is that your definition of a “Jewish Israeli nation” and rejection of a global “Jewish nation” flatly contradicts Israeli law and dominant Zionist ideology.

      If that were the case then why can’t I vote in Israeli election?

      Simple. Because you ARE NOT an Israeli citizen. But, according to Israeli law and dominant Zionist ideology (not my view) you ARE a member of the “Jewish nation”.

    • Citizen
      March 18, 2014, 4:59 pm

      @ JeffB
      Don’t you mean in Israel’s there’s no separation of Temple/Synagogue and State? Else, I didn’t know Jews worshiped their G-d at a church. If you think so, do Muslims also worship at a “church”?

      Also, re your “The same way for example American mainstream atheism is fundamentally Baptist.” Source? Please cure us of our ignorance here too! Further,
      American Baptists were in the forefront during the founding of the USA in support of the First Amendment separating church and state! link to mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com

      So they would not have supported Israel’s uniting of Jewish religion (“the ‘church'”) and state.

    • talknic
      March 18, 2014, 9:37 pm

      JeffB “If an American Jew converts to Christianity they cease to be a Jew”

      Try telling that to their mothers LOL

      • Sibiriak
        March 18, 2014, 9:54 pm

        talknic:

        JeffB “If an American Jew converts to Christianity they cease to be a Jew”

        Try telling that to their mothers LOL

        LOL!!

  37. Muchiboy
    November 1, 2014, 5:35 pm

    And maybe if they expended as much time,energy and resources on trying to find a one state solution…………………

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