web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘jewish statehood’

Obama to Palestinians: Accept the Jewish State

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

One key shift in U.S. policy was overlooked in the barrage of news about Barack Obama’s eventful fifty-hour visit to Israel last week. That would be the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, called by Hamas leader Salah Bardawil ”the most dangerous statement by an American president regarding the Palestinian issue.”

First, some background: Israel’s founding documents aimed to make the country a Jewish state. Modern Zionism effectively began with the publication in 1896 of Theodor Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat (“The Jewish State”). The Balfour Declaration of 1917 favors “a national home for the Jewish people.” U.N. General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947, partitioning Palestine into two, mentions the termJewish state 30 times. Israel’s Declaration of Establishment of 1948 mentions Jewish state 5 times, as in “we … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

Because of this tight connection, when Arab-Israeli diplomacy began in earnest in the 1970s, the Jewish state formulation largely disappeared from view; everyone simply assumed that diplomatic recognition of Israel meant accepting it as the Jewish state. Only in recent years did Israelis realize otherwise, as Israeli Arabs came to accept Israel but reject its Jewish nature. For example, an important 2006 publication from the Mossawa Center in Haifa, The Future Vision of Palestinian Arabs in Israel, proposes that the country become a religiously neutral state and joint homeland. In brief, Israeli Arabs have come to see Israel as a variant of Palestine.

Awakened to this linguistic shift, winning Arab acceptance of Israel no longer sufficed; Israelis and their friends realized that they had to insist on explicit Arab acceptance of Israel as the Jewish state. In 2007, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert announced that unless Palestinians did so, diplomacy would be aborted: “I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state,” he emphasized. The Palestinian Authority immediately and unanimously rejected this demand. Its head, Mahmoud Abbas, responded: “In Israel, there are Jews and others living there. This we are willing to recognize, nothing else.”

Only six weeks ago, Abbas again blasted the Jewish state concept. The Palestinian rejection of Jewish statehood could not be more emphatic. (For a compilation of their assertions, see “Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State: Statements” at DanielPipes.org).

When Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded Olmert as prime minister in 2009, he reiterated this demand as a precondition to serious negotiations: “Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples.” The Palestinians not only refused to budge but ridiculed the very idea. Again, Abbas: “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. … It’s not my job 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.”

American politicians, including both George W. Bush and Obama, have since 2008 occasionally referred to Israel as the Jewish state, even as they studiously avoided demanding Palestinians to do likewise. In a typical declaration, Obama in 2011 sketched the ultimate diplomatic goal as “two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.”

That sentence breaks important new ground and cannot readily be undone. It also makes for excellent policy, for without such recognition, Palestinian acceptance of Israel is hollow, indicating only a willingness to call the future state they dominate “Israel” rather than “Palestine.” Then, in his Jerusalem speech last week, Obama suddenly and unexpectedly adopted in full the Israeli demand: “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.”

While not the only shift in policy announced during Obama’s trip (another: telling the Palestinians not to set preconditions for negotiations), this one looms largest because it starkly contravenes the Palestinian consensus. Bardawil may hyperbolically assert that it “shows that Obama has turned his back to all Arabs” but those ten words in fact establish a readiness to deal with the conflict’s central issue. They likely will be his most important, most lasting, and most constructive contribution to Arab-Israeli diplomacy.

Originally published at the Washington Times and Danielpipes.org, MArch 26, 2013.

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.

Build Israel, not Palestine

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

If someone tells you that all of your property belongs to him and he will get it and dispossess you no matter how long it takes, then would you suggest that he take half of it now in the name of peace?

I am always confused when what the US and European media constantly refer to as Israel’s “hardline, right-wing” government says that it is committed to a “two-state solution” with the PLO as partner — the PLO that has murdered more Jews than any organization since the Nazi party. What is so “hardline” about this?

The government is called “hardline” because it has announced that it will permit construction of apartments for Jews in places like E1 that are under complete Israeli control, according to the Oslo Agreements (even though the PLO showed its contempt for those agreements by unilaterally turning to the UN for recognition as a “state”), and in its capital.

But since the PLO wants all of those places to be part of its Jew-free state (the media, normally hypersensitive to the slightest breath of racism, never seem to notice this), then these announcements are considered “obstacles to peace.”

The biggest obstacle to peace, of course, is the Palestinian intention to establish an Arab state from the river to the sea.

In 1993 the Israeli Left managed to con the government into letting the PLO return, and since then, the rapidly diminishing Left (now pretty much confined to some academics and members of the Ha’aretz editorial board) has been joined by the Europeans and the US in an effort to force Israel to implement the first stage of the PLO conquest by giving up Judea and Samaria and half of its capital.

The US and Europeans are affected by economic pressure from Arab oil producers, the political muscle of Europe’s growing Muslim population, the entrenched Saudi influence in the US, and plain old Jew hatred. The Israeli Left, such as it is, is either paid off — leftist NGOs are financed by the Europeans and the US-based NIF — or suffer from terminal cases of the Oslo Syndrome.

I’ve explained over and over again that the “two-state” solution is not a solution to anything — rather it would be a security disaster — and that there is no reason to make any concessions to the Palestinians as long as their oft-stated goal remains ending the Jewish state.

Everyone who understands the situation knows this. Certainly the Netanyahu government knows it better than most. So why does it continue to pay lip service to the destructive idea that peace could be had through concessions to the PLO?

In a piece about Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party — who is considered more “hardline right-wing” than Netanyahu –  David Horovitz notes,

[Bennett] charged that the policy of Netanyahu’s government on settlements and the Palestinians is “schizophrenic” — by which he apparently meant that the prime minister talks a lot about major expansion of building beyond the Green Line, while also insisting he wants to move forward with the Palestinians, positions that manage to annoy the international community, the Palestinians, the settlers and just about everybody else in between.

Is it right-wing extremism to expect consistency? I don’t think so.

It’s time to dump the obligatory genuflection to the need for a Palestinian state and get on with building the Jewish one.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/build-israel-not-palestine/2012/12/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: