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Why Do Arabs Oppose Recognizing a Jewish State?

Representatives of the Arab League visit Arafat's grave when visiting the Palestinian Authority.

Representatives of the Arab League visit Arafat's grave when visiting the Palestinian Authority.
Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/FLASH90

Prime Minister Netanyahu suggested to US secretary of state John Kerry that the framework he was drawing up for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority include Palestinian Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Kerry intended to include this Israeli proposal, but since has backed away from it in view of Arab opposition, first of all from Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah and Palestinian Authority. Just last week, the Arab League voted its support for Abbas’ position.

One of the justifications for this opposition that apologists for the PA/PLO present is that by Israel being a Jewish state, the civil rights of Arab citizens of Israel would be adversely affected.

However, all states belonging to the Arab League define themselves as Arab states. All Arab League member states but Lebanon define themselves constitutionally as Islamic states in one way or another. This does not stop them from opposing Israel being defined as a Jewish national state.

The arguments against Israel as a Jewish state could logically be applied to Arab and Islamic states, and with more justification, since we have the benefit of hindsight to know just how non-Arabs and non-Muslims have been treated in Arab states.

The explanation for the Arab position lies, I believe, in the traditional Arab-Muslim view of Jews as an inferior dhimmi people, a millet [see below] devoid of national rights, and only entitled to live if they pay a yearly head tax on dhimmis called the jizya. The dhimma system applied to all non-Muslims who were subjects of the Islamic state, with individual exceptions. Within this system, the Jews were at the bottom of the barrel, at least in the Fertile Crescent countries, including the Levant, where the Jews’ status was inferior to that of their fellow dhimmis, the Christians.

Whereas the Quran and medieval Arab historiography, such as the the writings of Ibn Khaldun, recognize the Jews as a nation or people, the entrenched Islamic view of Jews as an evil, inferior contemptible millet is now dominant. Moreover, in fact, in practice, that was the actual status of Jews in the Arab-Muslim countries for centuries. Even today in the 21st century Muslims believe that Jews do not deserve the dignity of having a national state of their own, the Quran and the old Arab historians notwithstanding.

This contemptuous view of Jews is clearly stated by the PLO in its charter. Article 20, already denies that the Jews are a people, claiming that they are merely a “religious” group. Jewish tradition holds that the Jews are both a people and a religious group. Here is the relevant text of Art. 20:

“The claim of historical or religious ties between Jews and Palestine does not tally with historical realities nor with the constituents of statehood in their true sense. Judaism in its character as a religion is not a nationality with an independent existence. Likewise the Jews are not one people with an independent identity. They are rather citizens of the states to which they belong.”

Note the contempt for Jews which oozes from this text. The history of Israelite/Jewish kingdoms in the country, as well as of the Roman province of Judea, is denied. The setting of much of the Hebrew Bible lies in the Land Of Israel which the PLO denies in a way reminiscent of Holocaust denial. Further, Jews do not have “the constituents of statehood in their true sense.” Just by the way, the Nazis and other German Judeophobes claimed that the Jews were not capable of being a “state-forming nation.” [see Francis R Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press 1985)].

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24 Responses to “Why Do Arabs Oppose Recognizing a Jewish State?”

  1. Judy Pimlott says:

    Cause they would have to acknowledge the covenant God has with the jewish people and Israel their nation.

  2. funny enough kerry has a jewish first name. john.. perhaps he should be remineded

  3. Because they are jealous.

  4. JoAnn Morris says:


  5. I’m not an expert but Muslims do recognize the covenant between Israel and Hashem—an inferior covenant to that with Islam like Christianity sees our covenant as inferior to theirs.

  6. Tarek Saba says:

    It’s undemocratic that’s why. How much stupidity can you have?

  7. we are known as the people israel. just more anti jewish rant.

  8. with American Family values out the door and attitudes toward Israel changing too and they wanting you to divide your Nation and reduce your existence and you’re out numbered as It Is, well,only God will preserve you!! You already know that outcome, He raised you Up and nobody taking you down!!

  9. They even fight among themselves

  10. Um….because they (Arabs) are ignorant like American politicians

  11. I believe the Arabs don't want to recognize Israel as a Jewish Democratic State because then they will be forced to democratize themselves and they will have to stop being terrorists and 2nd if they recognize us as a Jewish State they have to deal with us as indigenous people who have had a presence in Palestine for thousands of years

  12. We have to make our stuff, not there stuff,,,

  13. There was never a Palestinian governing body in what is and was Israel! The term “PALESTINE” was invented by the romans in 70 AD. after the fall of Jerusalem .

  14. I love the muslims they say Jesus was just a phrophet and not the son of God. But in the bible it says Jesus would enter the Eastern Gate when he returns so what does the muslims do they concrete closed the Eastern Gate and thought if they built there Dome of the Rock thinking that would one keep Jesus out they especially put a grave yard in front of the Eastern Gate because Jesus is also a High Priest and not supposed to be able to pass through there to go to the temple. They also on the Dome of the Rock thought if they built it there it would keep Israel from building theirs. Thats wrong as well the temple mount covers 10 archers more than enough room to build their temple. The world ad we know it is being set up for a third world war not Armageddon thats not until 7 years after Israel signs a peace agreement with its neighbors. All the Arab nations except about four have stated they will never recognize Israel’s statehood as a jewish state nor will recognize Israel’s people the right to exist. For a true peace agreement all surrounding countries need to be in on it as well. This will be accomplished but wont last. Then they will attack Israel to end them. Then God will step in and the whole world will know who God truly is.

  15. Gerald King says:

    because arabs are greedy

  16. now religious texts will be used a real estate guides . it is jewish by default already…

  17. so what…the term britannia was made up by the romans too..the PEOPLE still remained there even though their name changed… yugoslavia went through a name change.. what is your POINT..the people are still there since antiquity..what are you implying.. because personally i respect both sides riht to live freely..

  18. There name changed true ! However they had there own self governing system in place . After the romans left Britton was in 4 to 5 small kingdoms which united in 750 ad. to become the united kingdom if England !This can not be said about Jerusalem, and the lands she once ruled! There was a kingdom set up by the Crusaders in 1035 which lasted until Paladin defeated the crusaders and sent them back to where they came .that aria then became part if the Persian empire., but never kingdom of Palestine The closest to that was Jorden.!

  19. Ora Cooper says:

    Arabs are Conservatives! conservatives stick to everything they " know" and think they can control! Openess requires trust and some faith ,adapting to changes. Conservatives are scared and not exactly trust changes. A Jewish state? =a breath of fresh air! men can "lose" their superiority,and what if women want rights? sitting in front of the bus? heaven help us! what a shanda!

  20. Read the Bible and know what God told Abraham. It will help them solve this problem and probably recognize Jewish State – Israel State.

  21. George Harsanyi says:

    Conservative does not mean that you afraid of anything new. It means that you progress but keep the respectable and useful of the old. In America it means that you respect the Constitution and if needed than amend it. In nutshell. The arabs not conservatives, they are fanatical mohammedans. it is nothing to do with democracy. In democracy in the arab world everywhere the most fundamental mohammedans would get in power.

  22. Peter Wolf says:

    A question: Does Israel, or the U.S., recognize any nations as Islamic states? I have been unable to find the answer. I do not mean recognizing the name, as in The Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, etc., but recognition of that country AS an Islamic state. And I do not mean what those countries call themselves. This is relevant to the question of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

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