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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish State’

Recognition First, Recognition Above All

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.
— Barack Obama, March 21, 2013

The ‘Jewish state.’ What is a ‘Jewish state?’ We call it, the ‘State of Israel.’ You can call yourselves whatever you want. But I will not accept it. And I say this on a live broadcast… It’s not my job to define it, to provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like. I don’t care.
— Mahmoud Abbas, 2009

When some 120 Israeli figures came here, they said, ‘What’s your opinion concerning the Jewish state?’, and I said that we wouldn’t agree to it. We know what they mean by it, and therefore we shall not agree to a Jewish state…
— Abbas, 2011

We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims — that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years BCE — we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: ‘Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.
— Abbas, 2011

Obama did not suggest that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state be a precondition for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for “negotiations without preconditions.” But there is no doubt that it must be a precondition — not just for talking to the P.A., but for diplomacy with anybody about anything. How can a nation have a give and take discussion with someone who thinks that it is fundamentally illegitimate?

The Arab League initiative, for example, which I discussed here, does not include any mention of recognition. This is not merely an oversight: the initiative was conceived and is understood as an admission by the “Zionist regime” that is fully responsible for the conflict. The initiative calls for a redress of their historic grievance in part by means of the ‘return’ of almost five million Arabs who claim hereditary refugee status — something unheard of in the annals of diplomacy — which is incompatible with a Jewish state of Israel.

This is not a symbolic issue. Like Turkey’s Erdoğan, the Arabs have a narrative that they are not willing to compromise, not even a little. It includes the propositions that

* The Zionists created the conflict by taking Arab land and expelling the residents
* Israel perpetuated it by starting wars
* All the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan is ‘occupied Palestinian land’
*Terrorism against Israelis is justified resistance to occupation

An agreement acceptable to the P.A. or the Arab nations must include an admission of guilt and an acceptance of the ‘ownership’ of the land by Arabs. Once this is done, then they may be more or less magnanimous to the Jewish residents — Hamas talks about killing them and the Arab league is willing to have ‘normal relations’ with them — but true Jewish sovereignty is out of the question.

So the Arabs insist on ‘right of return’ in order to reverse the nakba. They insist on withdrawal from 1967 territories to reverse the results of the several wars, and they insist on the release of all terrorist prisoners, even convicted murderers. All this sounds entirely fair and reasonable to them within the framework of their narrative.

This is why discussions about borders and security entirely miss the point, it is why the Camp David, Taba and Olmert proposals went nowhere, and why the negotiations that President Obama intends to restart will fail as well.

Unfortunately, many Israelis are blind to the importance of Arab ideology. They see the harsh statements of Arab leaders as ‘merely symbolic’, made for propaganda purposes or for home consumption. They believe that the Arabs are at bottom pragmatists like themselves, willing to set aside ideology for economic development or some degree of political autonomy.

This explains some really terrible ideas, such as the plan which surfaces periodically to grant the ‘refugees’ a ‘right of return’ in principle, but not in fact. Proponents say that it would satisfy the Arabs’ need for symbolism without destroying the Jewish state. But if such an abstract right were granted, then it would immediately be followed by demands to implement it in reality — just as the ‘apology’ to Erdoğan has been followed by demands to end restrictions on the flow of weapons and explosives to Hamas in Gaza.

They are not posturing. They mean what they say, and what they say is that they don’t accept a Jewish state.

As long as the Arabs cling to the idea that Jewish sovereignty is unacceptable, then no possible negotiations can end the conflict. But the process of negotiating under pressure from the U.S. — and the pressure is always almost all on Israel — is not only frustrating and pointless, it can be humiliating and even dangerous.

There is a simple solution. Israel must insist that there can be no negotiations until all parties agree that Israel is the Jewish state of the Jewish people.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Livni: I Will Fight to Block Bennett’s ‘Israel Is Jewish’ Law

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

MK Tzipi Livni, Israel’s newest Justice Minister, stressed on Saturday that she would not support the basic law bill “Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” whose promotion is part of the new coalition agreements with the Jewish Home party.

In the absence of a constitution, The Basic Laws of Israel (Chukei Hayesod) deal with the formation and role of the principal state’s institutions, and the relations between the state’s authorities.

Some of the basic laws also protect civil rights.

These laws were originally intended as draft chapters of a future Israeli constitution, but since over the past 65 years the Knesset has yet to come up with a final, all-encompassing constitution, these laws are being used by the courts as a de facto constitution.

As of today, the Basic Laws do not cover all constitutional issues, and there is no deadline set to the completion of the process of merging them into one comprehensive constitution. There is no clear rule determining the precedence of Basic Rules over regular legislation, and in many cases this issue is left to the interpretation of the judicial system.

The new bill, endorsed so far by at least 40 MKs, many of them Likud members, opens with a paraphrasing of the original Israeli Declaration of Independence:

The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish nation, where it fulfills its desire for self-determination according to its cultural and historical heritage.

The right for the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish nation.

The provisions of this Basic Law or any other legislation will hence be interpreted in light of what is prescribed in this section.

The rest of the proposal includes references to Israel’s democratic system of government, its official language (only one – Hebrew), the law of return, the national calendar, Jewish law as the final arbiter of judicial conflicts, and the preservation of the holy sites.

In short, there’s much in there to upset a lefty. Indeed, a think tank named The Israeli Institute for Democracy, has been warning against it for several years, saying it would disrupt the delicate balance between Israel’s being a Jewish state and a democracy.

Justice Minister Livni told interviewer Nadav Peri: “I’m against the law and will act to make sure it doesn’t pass.”

Livni added that she is also about to serve as chair of the ministerial legislative committee, which sends up government laws for Knesset approval, a new role she took up especially in order “to prevent legislation that would harm the Democrats values of the State of Israel.”

A Jewish State Can Be Democratic and Moral

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has published an essay in (where else?) the New York Times, in which he argues that the proposition ‘Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state’ is false.

There are many things in the article to complain about, but I am going to content myself with pointing out the single massive howler by which his argument collapses.

He makes the distinction between “a people in the ethnic sense” and in the “civic sense,” which means either residents of a geographical area or citizens of a state. He generously grants that there is a Jewish people in the ethnic sense who live in Israel, but only an ‘Israeli people,’ which includes Arabs, in the civic sense. Then he tells us,

…insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense…

But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall…

“Any state that ‘belongs’ to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group” [my emphasis].

His exposition is much more lengthy and you should read it. But I think I have extracted the gist of it.

Interestingly, while he explains what he means by ‘a people’ and draws a distinction between two senses of the expression, he does not even hint about his understanding of the concept of ‘democracy’ and especially “the core democratic principle of equality,” the violation of which he believes disqualifies Israel from continued existence as a Jewish state.

Levine explains how Israel violates these principles:

The distinctive position of [a favored ethnic people] would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc.

Actually, concerning the “more substantive” things, Arab citizens of Israel are doing quite well: they have the right to vote, to hold political office, and a large degree of control of their educational system; there are rules against discrimination in housing and employment (with exceptions related to national security), etc. In other words, they have full civil rights.

Naturally there are differences in the treatment of Jews and Arabs. Some are due to cultural differences — Arab towns are governed by Arabs and distribute resources differently — some are related to security, and some to anti-Arab prejudice. But the degree of prejudice in Israeli society is not particularly great compared to other advanced nations like the U.S., and nobody is suggesting that the U.S. does not have a “right to exist” unless all discrimination can be eliminated.

In any event, discrimination in what he calls “substantive” ways are not essential to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, and there is a general consensus that such discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated.

Israel’s immigration rules are certainly unequal. But immigration rules by definition do not apply to citizens; and few — if any — of the world’s nations permit free immigration.

Levine also does not consider security issues at all. If Israel ignored them it would cease to exist without philosophical arguments. This would be bad both for the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (just ask any of them if they would prefer to be citizens of Israel or the Palestinian Authority).

Why Some Israelis Welcome Rocket Attacks

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Here is a report posted today on an Israeli blog called The Muqata:

Due to the rising tensions in the countries neighboring Northern Israel, the IDF has recently positioned multiple “Iron Dome” anti-rocket systems around Israel’s north.

Some of the installations are nearby to Israeli Arab villages, and NRG/Maariv reports that today a group of Israeli Arabs cursed the IDF soldiers manning the installation, and pelted them with rocks till the police arrived. …

The question is, why would Israeli Arabs hurl curses, harass and stone IDF soldiers — when the anti-rocket system protects them as well. The answer depends on understanding the phrase “Israeli Arab” and other names for the same thing. An Israeli Arab is an Arab who lived (or his ancestors did) in the area that became Israel in 1948. He has the right to vote in Israeli elections, utilize Israeli health care, receive state funds for schools, etc. He is neither required to sing “Hatikva” nor to serve in the IDF, but is expected to be loyal to the state and not assist its enemies or engage in terrorism.

In recent years some former Israeli Arabs have come to prefer to be called “Palestinian citizens of Israel.” They reject the description “Israeli” because for them there is no legitimate country called ‘Israel.’ They define themselves as members of the ‘Palestinian people,’ which has created itself entirely in opposition to the idea of Israel. Palestinian Arabs (inside and outside of Israel) believe an invented version of history in which a flourishing ‘Palestinian’ society was usurped by Zionist colonialists, culminating in a mass expulsion (the nakba). Here is a more accurate historical account.

In any event, these ‘Palestinians’ long for the day that the usurpers will be eliminated, the ‘refugees’ will ‘return’ (a discussion of the ‘refugees’ is here) and the beautiful pre-Zionist ‘Palestine’, which never existed, will be re-established. Some, who have adopted the Islamist ideology of Hamas — there is an “Islamic movement in Israel” which represents this ideology among the Arab population of Israel — believe that the Jews should be entirely driven out of the land, even killed.

As citizens of Israel these ‘Palestinians’ enjoy the highest standard of living of any Arabs in the Middle East, as well as more personal and political freedom. But they will not feel fulfilled in a political/ideological sense until the Jewish regime is replaced by an Arab or even Islamic one.

So what’s a few rocket attacks if they will help end Zionism and bring the millennium?

Visit Fresno Zionism.

The Road to Serfdom

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

“I am Hashem your G-d Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).

Values always come on a ladder. They have no significance if they are not set out in the proper order of preference; what is more important, what comes first, is the foundation for all the rest.

The first commandment of the Ten Commandments is the starting point and the foundation for the entire structure of values that follows. There is a G-d who redeemed us from slavery. We serve Him and Him only. Throughout history, despots who desired to rule the entire world have found themselves in serious conflict with the Nation of Israel. From Pharaoh to Ahashverosh, from Hitler to Stalin – these despots concluded that they must destroy the Jews simply because the Jews cannot be enslaved: They already have a King, “I am Hashem, your G-d.”

Many values are held aloft in our world: Equality, liberty, liberalism and more. They are all fine and good. But usually, they are not founded on the first of the Ten Commandments. “My Nile River is mine and I created myself,” said Pharaoh according to the Midrash, just one example of a king who thought he was a god. The more that a leader puts himself at the focal point, the more he diminishes G-d and attempts to “replace” Him, the more that slavery takes root until the entire state becomes one large concentration camp: a “house of bondage.”

The danger of enslavement has greatly increased in modern times. The state’s ability to control and revoke its citizen’s liberty is very enticing to a regime that has no G-d. The excuse will always – always – be security. “We must revoke your liberty so that we can protect you.”

Do we really need to be biometrically marked like animals just to counter the plague of forged identity cards? Is there no technological solution better than a simple photograph that can easily be removed and replaced? Of course there is. Smart chips are already in place in all sorts of identity cards, and they are extremely difficult to forge. But the prime motivation for the Orwellian biometric law is the abrogation of liberty; to entice us all into a house of bondage – in the name of security, of course.

Wherever G-d has been completely removed from the picture – in atheist or communist regimes – human life and honor have no value at all. In China they raise people in locked farms so that they can sell their organs for transplants or horror shows, like the one that recently featured in Israel.

So when you hear someone talking about lofty values, be sure to check his entire message. Who is his G-d? Who works for whom? Does he work for G-d, or vice versa?

Death By a Thousand Snowballs

Monday, January 14th, 2013

This happened in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state, yesterday.

No big deal, right? Apparently nobody was hurt. Snowballs are harmless. Just a few badly-brought up teenagers misbehaving.

Wrong — it is a very big deal, because it negates the whole idea of a Jewish state, which is supposed to be a place where people are not humiliated for being Jews. And in fact, this particular incident was low on the scale of antisemitic violence compared to the attempted murders (sometimes not just attempted) that are carried out against Israelis every day in Jerusalem, in areas of Arab population in pre-1967 Israel, and of course in the territories.

Possibly this explains (but doesn’t excuse) the embarrassing fact that passers-by didn’t intervene. Who would leave the safety of his car to confront these hooligans alone, perhaps to face violence worse than snowballs?

It is also a big deal because it is not accidental. Arab Jew haters see every injury that they can inflict on Jews and Israel as “resistance to occupation.” That includes everything from snowballs to auto theft to arson to stonings to stabbings to bombings that kill tens of Israelis.

The Arabs think they are winning, finally reversing the temporary victories of the Jews in 1948 and 1967. They see that little by little we are giving up, that we don’t have the strength to hold on to what our soldiers were able to conquer. How much blood was shed for the Temple Mount, and who holds it today?

As a result, they push harder. This is as true on the streets of Jerusalem, in the E1 corridor of Area C,  and on the roads of Judea and Samaria, as it is at the UN.

Israel’s response to Arab pressure cannot be to appease it. The teenagers in the video are not tormenting Jews because they are frustrated that there is no “2-state solution” — they are expressing their desire that there be no Jews in ‘their’ land, just as the Palestinian media daily expresses the opinion of their leadership that ‘Palestine’ stretches from the river to the sea.

It should be clear by now to everyone that the more we feed Palestinian nationalism (which is no more than anti-Zionism), the greater its appetite — and the more frequent its violent manifestations.

Anyway, there is no more framework for appeasement, as Mahmoud Abbas has declared that there is no longer an Oslo-created “Palestinian National Authority,” only a “State of Palestine.”

One way for Israelis to become proactive, to stop the chipping away at Israel’s sovereignty and self-respect, will be to elect right-wing candidates in the upcoming election, who will make the official policy of the state match the reality that there is no ‘peace process,’ and begin to take the steps necessary to annex the parts of Judea and Samaria required for Israel’s security.

The Temple Mount is also of tremendous symbolic and practical importance. It cannot be that Jews can only go there under police protection, and are be arrested for praying, while Arabs can build models of Hamas missiles in Judaism’s holiest place! And it cannot be that Jews are chased through the streets of Jerusalem for being Jews.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Hamas Hates Fatah, Sunnis Hate Shiites, But They All hate Jews So Much More

Monday, December 24th, 2012

There are many points of disagreement between Fatah and Hamas; so many that they fought an ugly civil war in 2007, leaving Hamas in control of Gaza and Fatah in control of the West Bank. It is a mistake, however, to conclude from their often violent enmity, that Fatah, the so-called “moderate” faction, is or can be a partner to Israel in “peacemaking” or in finding the “two state solution” so beloved of Western politicians.

It is also a mistake for the U.S. and the West to push Israel toward concessions to Mahmoud Abbas in the hope of strengthening Fatah against Hamas.

The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. It is entirely possible for two parties to hate each other, but to agree they hate you more. And so it is in this case. Hamas and Fatah are not opposite ends of some mythical Palestinian political spectrum – they are merely different approaches to the same end.

Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, rooted in Sunni expansionism but aligned with Iran for purposes of money, training and weapons.

This is another instance in which two parties (Sunnis and Shiites) can be at war at one level, but agree to make war together on a third party (Israel). Fatah is open to a (very temporary) political settlement with Israel as long as it brings millions of Arabs into Israel over whom Israel would exercise no functional control.

For both Fatah and Hamas, the bottom line is that the establishment of Israel in 1948, with the blessing of the United Nations, was a mistake by the international community that needs to be corrected.

It was a Western delusion to believe that the parameters of the deal the U.S. and Israel were pursuing was also the goal the Palestinians were pursuing.

President Obama, in one of his first speeches on the subject (2009) as president, said:

Let me be clear: The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of goodwill around the world… That is a goal that I will actively pursue as President of the United States.

The President was asserting that the Palestinians agreed that their national aspirations could be satisfied with a split, rump state wedged between a hostile Israel and an even more hostile Jordan.

The Palestinians never agreed to original division of the British Mandate into Jordan under a Hashemite King (77%) and west-of-the-Jordan (23%) for the Jews. The Palestinians also never agreed that west-of-the-Jordan could be further subdivided to give the Jews a permanent, legitimate, sovereign piece of land . Obama was mistaken. Palestinian leadership has yet to be bribed or forced to agree that Israel is a legitimate, permanent player in the region.

Israel seeks recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and Mr. Obama appears to agree, having said only a few months ago, “The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish State of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine.”

Abbas demurs. “I do not accept it. [Israel as a "Jewish state"] It is not my job to give a description of the state. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic – it’s none of my business.” Later he said, “Israel can call itself…the Jewish-Zionist Empire.” Last year he said, “Let me make something clear about the story of the ‘Jewish state’… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’”

This is not a semantic problem. If the United States is wrong about the outline of a future deal, it also wrong about Palestinian internal politics. Hamas and Fatah are seeking “unity;” where they converge is in agreeing that political advances for the Palestinians put Israel at a disadvantage (the Fatah position), and that military advances for the Palestinians also put Israel at a disadvantage (the Hamas position).

So, in an uneasy alliance, Fatah pursues one and Hamas the other.

Unity, however, should not be confused with shared power. Only one faction will ultimately speak for the Palestinians, and Hamas is presently on course to swallow Fatah despite the loss of patronage from Syria.

Fatah’s political advances, including UN General Assembly recognition of “Palestine” as a “non-member state,” attracted little visible enthusiasm from the public, and Abbas’s PA is mired economic disarray compounded by corruption.

Hamas, on the other hand, is basking in local glory for its attacks on Israel and its breakout from diplomatic isolation.

Abbas and company understand that Hamas may ultimately succeed in taking control of the Palestinian Authority. For example, Hamas rallies were permitted on the West Bank for the first time since the civil war. Abbas is discussing a possible future confederation with Jordan. Fatah has been curtailing security cooperation with the IDF and there are those who believe a third “intifada” has already begun. [Leaving an odd problem for Israel – would the IDF try to save Abbas and his corrupt administration in the face of popular enthusiasm for Hamas?] Even partial success in allowing Hamas to accede to power with minimal internecine killing might allow Fatah officials to escape to a safe haven — their money having probably already escaped.

Abbas has flown in the face of each request by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton for movement toward an agreement with Israel. It was inevitable because they — and Israel — were asking for something he does not wish to deliver: not a “two state solution,” but a Fatah-Israel alliance against Hamas.

All the years, all the dollars, all the military training and assistance including stewardship by three American generals, all the political acceptance — including an “embassy” in Washington and diplomatic status — could not buy the United States one iota of political clout where it counted. It is an enormous American failure of understanding to think those things would trump the natural morphing of Palestinian leadership toward the convergence of politics, religion and “national origin” against the “foreign.” Rather than face their lack of insight and the concomitant failure of their vision, the default position of the Administration and its European allies is to blame Israel – for a lack of “empathy” and “generosity,” and for “provocation” of Palestinian irritation.

If the Palestinian leadership continues to unify under Hamas, the question will be whether the U.S. and Israel will finally be able to admit the inherent limitations of the “peace process,” or whether the West will continue to push for a “two state solution” at Israel’s expense.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/hamas-hates-fatah-sunnis-hate-shiites-but-they-all-hate-jews-so-much-more/2012/12/24/

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