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In Abbas meeting, Obama dropped formula about recognizing Israel as Jewish state

on 30 Comments

All the Obama administration’s talk about the Palestinians needing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Well, last week John Kerry tacked sharply, saying that the demand was a “mistake” and seemed to blame Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for putting his spoke in the wheels.

And three days ago, Barack Obama had a White House press appearance with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and there was none of that hokum. Obama spoke first, addressing the issue, “how do we achieve a comprehensive peace.” But his concern re Israel was secure borders:

I have to commend President Abbas.  He has been somebody who has consistently renounced violence, has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side, in peace and security; a state that allows for the dignity and sovereignty of the Palestinian people and a state that allows for Israelis to feel secure and at peace with their neighbors.

No mention of a Jewish state.

The Israel lobby isn’t getting the message, though. When Obama’s Jewish liaison officer, Matt Nosanchuk, spoke at a J Street event last week in New York, video below, (at 33:00) he goes all in for the Jewish state recognition nostrum. Nosanchuk quotes John Kerry speaking to the rightwing Israel lobby group AIPAC the week before:

[W]hat the end-game should look like is straightforward: security arrangements that leave Israelis more secure, not less; mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Jewish people and the nation-state of the Palestinian people; an end to the conflict and to all claims; a just and agreed solution for Palestinian refugees, one that does not diminish the Jewish character of the state of Israel; and a resolution that finally allows Jerusalem to live up to its name as the City of Peace

Of course, after that AIPAC speech, Kerry backtracked.

At the J Street appearance, Nosanchuk wasn’t the only one. Congressman Jerrold Nadler at 1:01 or so says, he’d prefer the Palestinians to make “de jure” recognition of a Jewish state, but de facto is good enough for him; Israel doesn’t need that recognition if it has a Jewish majority and limited right of return. (Note the air of grave concern throughout Nadler’s remarks about how important it is for Jews to have a safe state of our own in the Middle East; very retro-Zionist.)

And former Israeli admiral and security official Ami Ayalon (at 59 or so) says, “I’m not sure I can give you a good reason why it [the demand for recognition as a Jewish state] is important, but it is important. Because this is my identity.” Though then Ayalon says that some of Israel’s problems are internal: “We shall have to live with more than 20 percent of non-Jews.” Imagine a liberal organization hosting a white American talking about what we do with our non-white minority…

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30 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    March 20, 2014, 11:48 am

    What always burns by britches when reading these grand pronouncements (besides the blatent bs wiggle language of stuff such as “end… of all claims”) is that the only state for which “security” is pronounced as a concern is israel. Frankly, the Palestine has always had more to fear from israel and has a bigger secuirity issue from them, than israel does from Palestine. It’s disgusting.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      March 20, 2014, 5:10 pm

      the only state for which “security” is pronounced as a concern is israel.

      Right! How can the USA – the country with the most powerful military in the world – demand from Palestinians to content themselves with a demilitarised state? If US politicians don’t even want to live in such a state themselves, then how can they expect this from Palestinians? Only if the USA gives up its own military first, the USA can ask the Palestinians to live in a state without a military, too.

    • Krauss
      March 20, 2014, 6:27 pm

      Good catch. You get so used to fact that the Palestinian narrative has been pushed aside that you don’t react when it is happening. But then and now, it’s good to be reminded that this is indeed the case and that the ones who should about security are the Palestinians.

      If you look at the number of civilians killed by the IDF or the settlers as opposed to the other way around, it’s an enormous gap. Yet, you never read about this in the NYT(of course).

    • talknic
      March 20, 2014, 8:41 pm

      Woody Tanaka “Frankly, the Palestine has always had more to fear from israel and has a bigger secuirity issue from them, than israel does from Palestine”

      Don’t do it

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 10:03 am

        “Don’t do it”

        It’s stupid and juvenile, I’ll admit it. It started out as a typo and some one, maybe eee, freaked out, so I do it out of id, spite and petulance as much as anything else. And it’s just become habit. But when people actually get stuff like “PalArab” posted, it’s small potatoes.

    • pabelmont
      March 21, 2014, 9:27 am

      Yes, the goals should be precisely equivalent. State EACH requirement without reference to the country for which it is a goal.

      A state for the citizens (and prospective citizens) of each country. Security (defined as you like) for each country. Fair and equitable sharing of those natural resources which demand or admit of sharing (water, petroleum — briefly, as the world grapples with climate change). Fair sharing of LAND. fair sharing of access to Mediterranean. etc.

      To the extent fairness means :”per capita”, a reasonable guess about the populations of the two states 10 years after re-partition. (This might, who knows, allow Palestine to claim a lot of the exiles from 1948 (those now living in Gaza for instance)).

  2. MHughes976
    March 20, 2014, 1:07 pm

    I took Kerry to say that there have acknowledgements of the Jewish character of Israel and that it was fine that these should have been demanded and given without any reciprocity, but that he objects to, and considers excessive, Israeli demand for endless repetition or endless refinements of terminology. This amounts to a crumb of rhetorical comfort for Abbas. But all these rhetorical ploys on all sides are only part of the game of managing expectations, not really substantial things.

    • seafoid
      March 20, 2014, 1:21 pm

      The Jewish character of Israel is despicable.

      St John Eye hospital in East Jerusalem report in their latest newsletter.

      “in the West Bank in 2012 one in five patients, companions and visitors who applied through the PA for Israeli permits to enter (Palestinian East) Jerusalem
      to access hospitals were denied”

      And they whine about people hating them.

  3. Les
    March 20, 2014, 1:29 pm

    On yesterday’s Dennis Bernstein’s KPFA Flaspoints program Ilan Pappe reminded listeners of Bishop Desmond Tutu’s observation that South Africa’s apartheid was designed by whites to exploit blacks whereas Israel’s apartheid was designed to eliminate Palestinians.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    March 20, 2014, 1:40 pm

    RE: And former Israeli admiral and security official Ami Ayalon (at 59 or so) says, ‘I’m not sure I can give you a good reason why it [the demand for recognition as a Jewish state] is important, but it is important. Because this is my identity’. ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Ira Chernus to the rescue!* [sound of trumpet fanfare]

    SEE: Is Israel a “Jewish Nation”? Is the US an “American Nation”?, by Ira Chernus,, 1/31/14

    [EXCERPT] . . . All countries define themselves, Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister and ambassador, told Rudoren. “Why doesn’t Israel call itself at the U.N. whatever they want to call it — the Jewish whatever, Maccabean, whatever they want. Then the whole world will recognize it.” But, Khoury added, “We will never recognize Israel the way they want, I mean genuinely, from our hearts. … Why for them to feel secure do we have to deny our most recent history?”
    “For them to feel secure” — There’s the heart of the matter, as Americans should easily understand. Israeli Jews, like white Americans, have always known that their claim to the land they call their own is dubious.
    Ever since the first Europeans arrived in what would become the United States, they have paraded an endless array of papers, all claiming to be treaties signed by native peoples ceding their lands to the conquerors. “You see, we have a right to this land,” the whites proudly proclaimed. Never mind that most of the treaties were either coerced, signed by native peoples who did not understand them, or outright fraudulent. They gave at least the appearance of legal right.
    Israel has a somewhat stronger case with UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947, providing for “independent Arab and Jewish States” in Palestine. But the right of the Jews to have their own state in Palestine has still remained a matter of contention (pardon the understatement) ever since.
    Why did so many white Americans find it so important to be able to waive those pieces of paper “proving” their “legal right” to the land? Why do a sizeable majority of Israeli Jews favor the demand that Palestinians acknowledge Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”? Obviously, both peoples are insecure about their right to their land. If they can get the former inhabitants to relinquish their rights, it gives the appearance, at least, that the vanquished concede to the victors a moral right to the land they have taken. . .


    • bilal a
      bilal a
      March 20, 2014, 7:07 pm

      Under the Glick -Electr intif. One State Solution, Israelis will have the right to live anywhere in the West bank, and devour the real estate from the dispossessed
      The right doesnt go the other way, its subject to security permissions naturally.

      Preparations are being made to give the dispossessed new passports to Gaza or Jordan.

      But integration and peace will most likely assimilate Israelis faster than it does Arabs.

  5. eljay
    March 20, 2014, 2:29 pm

    >> … Ami Ayalon … says, “I’m not sure I can give you a good reason why it [the demand for recognition as a Jewish state] is important, but it is important.”

    Shame on the Palestinians for having plenty of good – and valid – reasons for why their pursuit of justice, accountability and equality is important.

    >> “Because this is my identity.”

    He’s not defined by a belief in justice, morality and equality, but by a desire for Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”. Pathetic.

  6. James Canning
    James Canning
    March 20, 2014, 2:51 pm

    One supposes the Israel lobby forces some waffling on this issue by the O administration.

  7. HarryLaw
    March 20, 2014, 3:35 pm

    If Netanyahu was serious about wanting others to recognize Israel as “The Jewish state” he should go to the UN and officially change the name of ‘Israel’ to the ‘Jewish state of Israel’, like the Islamic Republic of Iran for instance. of course he is not serious.

    • Bumblebye
      March 20, 2014, 5:24 pm

      Mmmm. Small problem with that Harry. Won’t he be asked what the borders of this “Jewish State of Israel” are? I rather doubt he’ll want to declare the same ones as of May 15 1948! Yet would his declaration of any different borders be deemed legally acceptable?!

  8. Justpassingby
    March 20, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Not so fast. US government often refer Israel as the jewish state.

  9. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    March 20, 2014, 4:54 pm

    I just tried to listen to the J Street town hall. However, I had to stop after 11 minutes. I couldn’t stand it any longer. “If we don’t have a two-state solution, we don’t have a Jewish state.” – Such statements are so nauseating. This gang of criminals doesn’t care about justice.

  10. Mike_Konrad
    March 20, 2014, 6:26 pm

    I was opposed to this peace deal from the beginning.

    Neither side will make enough fundamental concessions for the other side to agree.

    Obama will not get another Nobel Prize to share with Kerry.

    • Talkback
      March 20, 2014, 7:37 pm

      Me, too. I think the international community should intervene and throw Israel out of occupied Palestine. You can’t make peace with someone who implements his draft of the Balfour Declaration.

    • talknic
      March 20, 2014, 8:10 pm

      Mike_Konrad Neither side will make enough fundamental concessions for the other side to agree”

      How strange… The Palestinians have already conceded more that half “ of what remained of Palestine after Israel was proclaimed and recognized

      The Palestinians are under no legal obligation to have ceded any territory to Israel and are under no legal obligation to forgo any of their legal rights what so ever, even in negotiations

      They have already recognized the State of Israel

      Israel has offered, recognized and given precisely ……. nothing! Not one single thing! Nor has it adhered to its legal obligation to implement the legal rights of the Palestinians under International Law, relevant conventions and/or the UN Charter.

    • Sumud
      March 21, 2014, 1:27 am

      Neither side will make enough fundamental concessions for the other side to agree.

      Sorry, neither side…?

      Please name any concession Israel has made ever in any negotiation since Oslo.

      I’ve been asking zionists this question for years now and they can’t seem to name any.

      Are you are THE ONE Mike???

      • Sibiriak
        March 21, 2014, 4:18 am


        Please name any concession Israel has made ever in any negotiation since Oslo.

        Well, start from the premise that sharing (let alone giving sovereignty over) any inch of Eretz Israel with a non-Jew is a concession.

      • puppies
        March 21, 2014, 8:09 am

        @Sibiriak – When did the Zionist entity *share, as you say –or *give “sovereignty over any inch” of Palestine at any time? Oslo just established additional aboriginal police paid by EU-US taxpayers. Now they can cleanse out the population without fearing getting bitten.
        Is this the concession?

      • Sumud
        March 22, 2014, 10:40 pm


        I guess Mike_Konrad isn’t THE ONE and my quest will continue.

        Sibiriak ~ of course that’s the Israeli perspective but it is not based in reality or law. That’s the concession I’m looking for from Israel – and there has never been one that I can find or that any zionist will even claim.

        It totally destroys the “no partner for peace” and “generous offer” hasbara.

  11. Shingo
    March 20, 2014, 7:13 pm

    I was opposed to this peace deal from the beginning.

    Because you are opposed to peace.

  12. HarryLaw
    March 21, 2014, 7:11 am

    Meanwhile the settlements continue “Though the decisions hadn’t been officially announced to the public yet, Israel’s defense ministry has confirmed major steps toward two new rounds of settlement expansions adding up to 2,269 new homes in the occupied territories”. They must be waiting for Abbas to agree to extend the talks, for most humiliation purposes, better still if they can time the announcement to when Kerry visits and Abbas concedes [a twofer] the second they do so, the announcement will be made

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