Tag Archives: Jewish state

It is Israel, Not Jewish Israel!!

I am an American citizen, not a Christian or Jewish or Muslim American citizen. Jews represent about 2% of the American population, they represent less than 1% of the French population. Who doubts that the people of Israel would be screaming “anti-Semitism” if the US demanded that Jews take an oath of allegiance to a “Christian” America or that France insisted an oath of allegiance to a “Christian” France? The religious right in Israel seeks an amendment to the citizenship law which requires taking an oath of allegiance to a “Jewish Democratic State” Heck, I’m Jewish and I would consider such an oath to be unethical and in violation of my democratic rights. I also would object to the proposal that citizens must “respect laws of the state.” I do not respect many American laws passed under the Bush administration and work hard to end them. Under American law I have the right to violate a law that I consider unjust and take my case to the Supreme Court. Citizens of Israel should have similar rights.

Cabinet Minister Dan Meridor objects to the new proposal on citizenship. “Why do we need the word ‘jewish’ in it–to show the Arab citizens that i doesn’t belong to them?” Proponents of the new citizenship law argue it will make difficult recruiting new members of terrorist groups. There is not doubt in the mind of anyone with the slightest degree of intelligence that such a law stimulates recruitment of terrorists.

The mystery of my life is why Jews who suffered incredible persecution for over two thousand years now seek to impose similar persecution on those who are minorities in their land?

Abbas Rejects Concept Of A Jewish State

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas strongly rejected the notion there was anything such as an Israeli Jewish state. “A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly.” Abbas insisted the topic was extensively discussed at the Annapolis conference in 2007 and rejected by Palestinian representatives. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded Palestinians accept the concept as part of an eventual peace deal. The Israel Foreign Ministry reacted to comments by Abbas by saying, “recognition of Israel as the sovereign state of the Jewish people is an essential and necessary step in the historic process of reconciliation between Israel and Palestinians.”

There are two issues inherent in using the expression, “a Jewish state.” One, certainly pertains to Arabs who live in Israel and constitute at least fifteen percent of the population. Where does such a statement leave them as citizens and as humans? Second, there is need to resolve issues relating to Palestinian refugees. The Netanyahu demand is merely a cover to create problems in resolving conflicts with Palestinians. Israel can call itself what it desires but it can not force its own citizens, let alone others, to abide by that concept.

Jews in the United States of America represent less than 2% of the population. We are pleased that Americans do not refer to the USA as a Christian nation.

Is Israel A “Jewish State?”

The history of Zionism and the quest for a homeland for Jewish people contains an underlying concept that such a homeland would be home to people of various faiths besides Jews. Until President Bush made his recent controversial remark that Israel was a “Jewish state” there is little evidence of such a feeling among prior efforts to establish peace between Israel and Muslim nations. This claim was never brought up during negotiations with the PLO, with Arafat or the Palestinian Authority. It was never raised during discussions with Egypt and Jordan when peace treaties were being hammered out with those nations. No such claim was ever made during the famous Camp David discussions between Sadat and Begin. As always, George Bush displayed his propensity for ineptitude, by introducing a concept that was never on the table for negotiation regarding the future of Israel.

Arabs have good reason to reject this concept, particularly since 20% of Israel’s population is composed of Muslims and Christians. The remark is racist in nature and denies the rights and humanity of 20% of the population. American Jews are furious when Christian religious leaders make reference to the United States being a Christian nation. Jews are 2% if the population, not 20% but they react with anger and horror at such remarks. How can Jews use similar expressions to deny the humanity of Muslims and Christians residing in Israel? A modern state is not a theocracy, it is an area in which people of divergent– or no faith– live in harmony with one another and do not allow religious figures to make decisions regarding national goals and aspirations. During the past few thousand years Jews have fought against religious authorities making decisions about other groups in society. Certainly, the same should hold true in Israel.

Many analysts believe the ready acceptance of the Bush blunder is being used by Israeli leaders to ward off claims by Palestinian Arab refugees for the right to return. Reality is that Israel can not absorb such large numbers of refugees anymore than Arab nations which witnessed the departure of Jews from their lands in the 1950s will ever allow them to return. The issue can be resolved with compromise and common sense on both sides.

Another Bush Diplomatic Blunder!

A Syrian newspaper, Tishrin, pointed out another example of Bush’s lack of a sophisticated understanding of world affairs. Tishrin referred to the Bush quote in which he referred to Israel as a “Jewish State.” Perhaps, the president is unaware but there are hundreds of thousands of Arab Muslims and Christians who reside in Israel and are citizens of their nation. Most American Jews would feel insulted if the United States was described as a “Christian nation.” Tishrin, probably reflecting government attitudes, termed Annapolis a victory “only for Israel.” It described the conference as a “carnival that reminds us of similar celebrations since oslo until today and of agreements that with time have gone with the wind.”

Arab nations have every right to be disappointed with Annapolis, but so do Israelis. The people of Israel hunger for peace and stability as much as any Palestinian or Syrian. Many agreements have certainly “gone with the wind,” but the blame can equally be shared by Israel and the Palestinians for this situation. Neither side has a monopoly on righteousness nor of being blameless. On the hopeful sign, Canny Yalon, who is close to Defense Minister Barak, urged his nation to immediately engage in negotiations with Syria. “Between us,” he noted, “and Syria there’s only one issue of a border and we were very close in March, 2000.” Why not quickly resolve the issue in order to show all nations in the Middle East that a Muslim nation can resolve long standing issues of conflict with Israel?