The Israeli Right going one-state? My Haaretz piece

Posted: July 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Right, The Settlements, this is personal | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments »

Haaretz published my report on the growing support for what seems like a one-state solution in the Israeli Right.

“The prospects of the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas do not look promising. President Obama undoubtedly thinks otherwise, but if Abbas speaks for anyone, it’s barely half the Palestinians. The chances of anything good coming of this are not great. Another possibility is Jordan. If Jordan were ready to absorb both more territories and more people, things would be much easier and more natural. But Jordan does not agree to this. Therefore, I say that we can look at another option: for Israel to apply its law to Judea and Samaria and grant citizenship to 1.5 million Palestinians.”

These remarks, which to many sound subversive, were not voiced by a left-wing advocate of a binational state. The speaker is from the Betar movement, a former top leader in Likud and political patron of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a former defense and foreign affairs minister – Moshe Arens. On June 2, Arens published an op-ed in Haaretz (“Is there another option?” ) in which he urged consideration of a political alternative to the existing situation and the political negotiations. He wants to break the great taboo of Israeli policy making by granting Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians in the West Bank. Arens is not put off by those who accuse him of promoting the idea of a binational Jewish-Palestinian state. “We are already a binational state,” he says, “and also a multicultural and multi-sector state. The minorities [meaning Arabs] here make up 20 percent of the population – that’s a fact and you can’t argue with facts.”

As Washington, Ramallah and Jerusalem slouch toward what seems like a well-known, self-evident solution – two states for two nations, on the basis of the 1967 borders and a small-scale territorial swap – a conceptual breakthrough is taking place in the right wing. Its ideologues are no longer content with rejecting withdrawal and evacuation of settlements, citing security arguments calculated to strike fear into the hearts of the Israeli mainstream. Their new idea addresses the shortcomings of the status quo, takes account of the isolation in which Israel finds itself and acknowledges the need to break the political deadlock.

Once the sole preserve of the political margins, the approach is now being advocated by leading figures in Likud and among the settlers – people who are not necessarily considered extremists or oddballs. About a month before Arens published his article, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud ) said, “It’s preferable for the Palestinians to become citizens of the state than for us to divide the country.” In an interview this week (see box ), Rivlin reiterates and elaborates this viewpoint. In May 2009, Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely organized a conference in the Knesset titled “Alternatives to Two States.” Since then, on a couple of occasions, she has called publicly for citizenship to be granted to the Palestinians “in gradual fashion.” Now she is planning to publish a position paper on the subject. Uri Elitzur, former chairman of the Yesha Council of Settlements and Netanyahu’s bureau chief in his first term as prime minister, last year published an article in the settlers’ journal Nekuda calling for the onset of a process, at the conclusion of which the Palestinians will have “a blue ID card [like Israelis], yellow license plates [like Israelis], National Insurance and the right to vote for the Knesset.” Emily Amrousi, a former spokesperson for the Yesha Council, takes part in meetings between settlers and Palestinians and speaks explicitly of “one land in which the children of settlers and the children of Palestinians will be bused to school together.”

It’s still not a full-fledged political camp and there are still holes in the theory. But although its advocates do not seem to be working together, the plans they put forward are remarkably similar. They all reject totally the various ideas of ethnic separation and recognize that political rights accrue to the Palestinians. They talk about a process that will take between a decade and a generation to complete, at the end of which the Palestinians will enjoy full personal rights, but in a country whose symbols and spirit will remain Jewish. It is at this point that the one-state right wing diverges from the binational left. The right is not talking about a neutral “state of all its citizens” with no identity, nor about “Israstine” with a flag showing a crescent and a Shield of David. As envisaged by the right wing, one state still means a sovereign Jewish state, but in a more complex reality, and inspired by the vision of a democratic Jewish state without an occupation and without apartheid, without fences and separations. In such a state, Jews will be able to live in Hebron and pray at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and a Palestinian from Ramallah will be able to serve as an ambassador and live in Tel Aviv or simply enjoy ice cream on the city’s seashore. Sounds off the wall? “If every path seems to reach an impasse,’ Elitzur wrote in Nekuda, “usually the right path is one that was never even considered, the one that is universally acknowledged to be unacceptable, taboo.”

Read the rest here. There are also comments I got on the issue from Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Yossi Beilin and two Palestinians officials.

If you have any questions or comments, post them here and I’ll do the best to answer.


26 Comments on “The Israeli Right going one-state? My Haaretz piece”

  1. 1 jason said at 2:27 pm on July 16th, 2010:

    You imply that Israel is apartheid, which is absurd propaganda.

  2. 2 John said at 7:08 pm on July 16th, 2010:

    Jason implies that he doesn’t know much about old South Africa, or the Jim Crow south, or that he hasn’t taken a look at the occupied territories. Which is possible.

    Given that Israeli settlements have been put all across the occupied territories, it seems that Israel has left itself no way to give back the land. Aarafat did, of course, say he would welcome the “settlers” as citizens of Palestine, but he was probably joking, and the “settlers” didn’t laugh.

    Certainly Israel will have to face the meaning of being a “democratic Jewish state”, an incoherent concept. A country can be democratic, or it can be Jewish, but it can’t be both when that means squashing a full quarter of the population. As a 12th generation Virginian (yes, FFV, 1635, all that), I promise that you will face that “1960 moment”: do I support (my) racial superiority or equality?

    I hope Israelis have the courage to pick equality.

  3. 3 Michael LeFavour said at 5:04 am on July 17th, 2010:

    John implies that he doesn’t know much about old South Africa, or the Jim Crow south, or that he hasn’t taken a look at the way every Arab government in the Middle East operates or the irony of his one sided condemnation of the only nation rated “free” by Freedom House in the region. Which is possible.

    Given that Arab aspirations started only when Jews ascended to political power and is confined to only the portions of the land Jews exercise control over, it seems that the Arabs and their supporters are left with an empty bag full of nonsensical rhetoric and cheap shots. Terrorfat did, of course, say he would wage jihad against the Jews, but racist dupes probably thought he was joking, the “terror victims” didn’t laugh.

    Certainly Israel will have to face the meaning of being a “democratic Jewish state”, an incoherent concept to those blinded by political correctness despite the fact that Israel’s Jews live under constant threat of genocide that is only defended against by maintaining force of arms that can be counted on to defend the Jewish community against organized efforts to disempower the Jews by any means. A country can be democratic, and it can be Jewish, but only if a full quarter of the population is not trying to destroy all Jewish institutions and side with Israel’s enemies at every opportunity. As someone who is not a 12th generation anything (yes, I am part Kiowa), I promise that you will face that “Banu Qurayza moment”: do I support (Jewish) legitimate rights to life and security or Arab racism and Muslim bigotry masquerading as a human rights issue?

    I hope Israelis have the courage to pick life and security.

  4. 4 Michael LeFavour said at 5:21 am on July 17th, 2010:

    John,

    If the need for a Jewish state dissipated my support for one would too. Until then I will support live exclusive Jews over dead democratic Jews. If you continue to ignore the flaw (Muslim bigotry) in the Utopia you want, you will continue to look foolish in your double standard demands on how a Jewish state should be run. The Arabs have the lion’s share of Palestine it is called Jordan and they have over twenty Arab Muslim countries where they can seek refuge if they are ever threatened with extinction. The Jews only have Israel. Stop trying to take it away from them or weaken it, at least until AFTER the need for a refuge has ended.

  5. 5 RK said at 8:46 pm on July 17th, 2010:

    I’ve been interested in the phenomenon of right-wing support for the binational solution for some time, so I found this piece really fascinating. I’m also glad it led me to your blog, so I can thank you for writing it.

    It’s true that Jabotinsky combined pie-in-the-sky nationalism (שתי גדות לירדן: זו שלנו, זו גם כן) with a kind of liberalism, which you see today not only among Betarnik fossils like Benny Begin, but also among many older settlers who fondly remember freely mixing with Palestinians in each others’ villages before the first Intifada. On the other hand, it’s clear that the new one-state supporters on the Right haven’t really thought through the implications of annexing Judea and Samaria. Even under the best-case outcome, doing so wouldn’t solve most of the really contentious issues: Ofra will still be built on private Palestinian land, there will still be no right of return for the Palestinian diaspora. They’ll simply be transformed from international issues to inter-communal domestic issues, where the Arabs will be outvoted each time. That’s what Ahmed Tibi meant when he said that Israel is a democracy for the Jews and a Jewish state for the Arabs. Hotovely even admits that such a move won’t improve Israel’s international legitimacy. And to top it off, unlike (most of) the settlements, annexation actually would be irreversible. At least the Left has long since purged itself of its more impractical ideas (e.g. Hashomer Hatzair-style socialism).

    And it really says something that Michael’s attempt to satirize John’s comment (which in many ways I don’t agree with) ended up totally incoherent. This sentence doesn’t even make any sense: “Certainly Israel will have to face the meaning of being a ‘democratic Jewish state’, an incoherent concept to those blinded by political correctness despite the fact that Israel’s Jews live under constant threat of genocide that is only defended against by maintaining force of arms that can be counted on to defend the Jewish community against organized efforts to disempower the Jews by any means.” It’s an almost parodic stringing together of right-wing buzzwords: Terrorfat! Political correctness! Israeli Arabs are a fifth column!

    Unsurprisingly, he only supports Israel to the extent there’s a “need for a Jewish state”; as is the case for many foreign hawks, Israel is only valuable to the extent it can be pressed into service in his Great War Against Muslims. Sorry, Michael, but you’ll understand that those of us who have a somewhat deeper attachment to Israel want to see solutions to the trends that threaten to destabilize it, not bluster.

  6. 6 Michael LeFavour said at 12:49 pm on July 18th, 2010:

    RK,

    A couple of statements from those ready to surrender along with the likes of Lieberman on the right do not make a movement. To me it is frustration more than anything driving them to give in.

    Ironic you portray Jabotinsky’s efforts to save the Jewish people as “pie-in-the-sky nationalism” considering what happened over the five years following his death to those Jews that he tried to warn. Especially poignant in light of the unassailable truth that the entire legitimacy of the so called “Palestinian” cause is nothing more than a slice of wafting cloud itself.

    Who are these old “settlers” that you think look back with fondness on the times before the check points, the security barrier, and the restrictions were keeping Jews alive? Were they the ones watching the Munich games in horror? Were they the ones traveling to Uganda on a hijacked plane? Were they on a bus the Arab super heroine, Dalal Mughrabi, hijacked and destroyed? Or are you talking about really old “settlers” that were being gunned down and sliced to pieces by the Fedayeen in the 50s? I am confused at when this period of nostalgic Jew and Arab brotherly love took place.

    I do agree that annexing Judea and Samaria will not solve the most contentious issues, I just disagree with what those issues are. For starters, Israel does not need to annex. Israel is not in possession of any sovereign’s land. Israel just needs to extend civilian control to the areas it legitimately has control over now. The main issue is that the conflict has nothing to do with land. It is a conflict about Islamic bigotry and Arab racism, and little else, giving away land will not solve the root problems of the conflict.

    1) Can you prove the Ofra is built on “private” land? I know nothing about Ofra. What I do know is that there is a difference in living on a plot of land even for generations and actually holding free and clear title to it. Only around 6% of the entire Palestine Mandate area was private property and the majority of that was owned by non-Muslims living in cities. You do know what the difference between mulk and miri land is? Actual private property only follows under one.

    2) There is no such thing as a right of return that Israel is bound by. The basis of this myth was created AFTER the refugees were formed and is not binding on the state of Israel anyway. It is more accurately called the “demand of return”.

    3) Israel’s legitimacy should not be in question, but nothing short of political suicide will make the world happy. The better question is who are these countries anyway? They are 53 Islamic theocracies in control of most of the world’s oil, they are totalitarian regimes like China, Burma, and Cuba, tin pot dictators, the morally perverse with a finger held to the breeze to see which direction to best prostrate themselves, and those that depend on oil and value economics over principles. Why should Israel care about their opinions on legitimacy?

    4) No Israeli community has been irreversible, what will become irreversible though is the creation of a terrorist supporting haven where mass murderers are icons that all should aspire to and who’s names grace the streets and public places from top to bottom of that society.

    5) The left is the most blindly perverse facet of the equation in the whole mess. The left is bloated with impractical ideas that ignore the unassailable fact that the cause of the conflict is not that Jews have any land, but that Jews have political power over Muslims at all. To Islam this is an abomination that reverses fourteen centuries of conquest, and while jihad is not compulsory when there is too great of a difference in power, it will become obligatory if Israel were to allow the so called refugees to enter Israel and claim the rights of citizenship.

    Yes I did satire John’s comment. I do not deny one of my (many) faults is not being a good writer, so allow me to try and explain what I meant.

    “This sentence doesn’t even make any sense: “Certainly Israel will have to face the meaning of being a ‘democratic Jewish state’, an incoherent concept to those blinded by political correctness despite the fact that Israel’s Jews live under constant threat of genocide that is only defended against by maintaining force of arms that can be counted on to defend the Jewish community against organized efforts to disempower the Jews by any means.””

    John meant that Israel can not exist as a democracy and Jewish and that there would be a day of reckoning. First, this is not true, but in order for the left to accept the conditions for Israel to exist as a Jewish democracy many, many more innocent Jews must be placed on the sacrificial alter of political correctness. With enough Jewish blood, maybe the obstruction in the eyes of the leftist Jews will be washed away……maybe. So what I meant to challenge is the idea that Jews must surrender the right to be exclusive. An armed force and the willingness of that force to defend the people is all that stands between the Arabs and another massacre of Jews (my only concern), inclusiveness does not trump survival. Let me repeat that so you ponder it, inclusiveness does not trump survival.

    John invoking Apartheid and Jim Crow and being confused over how a Jewish democracy can work doesn’t warrant parody? It does to me, because the premise is so absurd there is little room for anything but ridicule.

    “Unsurprisingly, he only supports Israel to the extent there’s a “need for a Jewish state”; as is the case for many foreign hawks, Israel is only valuable to the extent it can be pressed into service in his Great War Against Muslims.”

    You are way off the mark in what you suppose. Why should I support a Jewish state when I am not a Jew and care only in passing about Jewish issues? Until a few years ago I did not even know any Jews personally. I became involved only when Tali Hatuel and her five children were murdered in cold blood by Arabs that honor and glorify mass murder. They call themselves Palestinians and nobody has ever shown me a sliver of legitimacy for supporting them. This has nothing to do with my opposition to Islamic bigotry. Everything I know about Islam has been a byproduct in my six year odyssey to understand how one group of people could hate another group of people so deeply that members of the group can walk up to a child, slit its throat and sit down to a meal afterwards with a sense of well being. I don’t need a religious framework to understand what true, horrific evil is, or that I must do something to oppose it, and that I am disturbed at how easily Noams and Johns can ignore it while frantically placing the blame on everyone and everything, but the Arabs that should be made to take responsibility for their actions and made to pay accordingly for them by the rest of us.

    Sorry to you too RK if you take my deep concern for the Jewish people and my opposition to genocide as mere bluster. If you are a Jew I will fight for your right to live too even as you spit on me for helping. If you are a Jew under assault, with my own body I will shield even you as I have vowed to do for my new Jewish friends here where I live in proximity to the largest potential pool of antagonists in America. I do care and I will care for the rest of my days until Islam has obliterated you or the left wakes up and embraces survival as a national policy that is not up for deliberation.

  7. 7 John said at 1:14 pm on July 18th, 2010:

    1. Incoherence of the concept “the Jewish democratic state of Israel”:

    - “Incoherence” means that the terms of the argument do not support each other. Let’s take analyze this one. A “Jewish state” means Jews as a race or an ethnic group, or Judaism as a religion. OK, one at a time.

    Athens was an ethnic democracy, and it crumbled about 2500 years ago. In classical Athens, only citizens could be members of the “polis”, and citizenship was inherited. Maybe ten percent of Athenians were citizens. The rest were foreigners allowed to live there, or “metics” who did the work. I’m skipping a disccusion of farmers in Attica, because this is not about ancient social history.

    If Israel is a religious state, then it cannot be democratic. Massachusetts outgrew that notion, with some pushes from London; Iran has not. In 17th century Massachusetts, non-orthodox “puritans” were expelledc, and executed if they came back. The “Standing Order” of clergy determined who was and was not orthodox. Thus, John Cotton and Richard Mather had as much standing as Governor John Winthrop.

    None of them, remember, believed they were building a democratic community. They were — see Perry Miller — assuming a role as God’s chosen people, building a “city upon a hill” as an example to the heretics and schismatics left in England.

    Ultimately, someone, like a Grand Ayatollah or an Archbishop, determines who is orthodox enough. Religious? Yes. Democratic? No. And unstable. If there is an orthodoxy, a “right-thinking”, then somehow the orthodox always manage to find some issue to disagree over.

    If Israel is an ethnic Jewish state, then how is it determined who is “Jewish enough” to be full-fledged citizens?

    2. Jim Crow and South Africa:

    While Israel is in all ways a better place than surrounding countries, non-Jews (whoever defines them) clearly have less rights. There is a Law of Return for Jews, but not for the Arabs who were driven out in 1948. Haaretz reports, perhaps sarcastically, that “Arabs” in East Jerusalem are living there illegally and are to be thrown out of their homes.

    Thus, my comment about growing up Virginian when the Civil Rights Movement gathered strength. (“FFV” means “First Families of Virginia”, and I joke about it). Rosa Parks illegally sat at the front of that bus. White supremacy was enforced by law, and civil rights organizers were all beaten, and jailed in accordance with some law.

    Last I looked, the Israeli government and, perhaps, the quasi-governmental Jewish Nationl Fund, took land in 1948 and will sell it, as “waste land” only to Jews. Not to Arabs, even those who were the riginal owners.

    Over the last fifteen years, Israel has built “settlements” — substantial communities — on Arab land through the Occupied Territory. I can see that the settlements more or less follow the old “Allon Plan”, which I was told, 35 years ago, was a Palestinian Arab fabrication. “There are no plans to build across the territories and expel the inhabitants”, I was told by a press officer for the Israeli consulate in NY. (It happened that I was a copy-editor fact-checking an interview our magazine had gotten with Arafat in which it almost seemed that Arafat promised to recognize Israel.).

    The placement of the settlements, however, slices Palestinian areas into something very much like bantustans.

    3. A choice:

    (a) Given the hardened settlements, I can’t see a way for Israel to withdraw and for an independent Palestine to be created.

    (b) Extending citizenship to the occupied territories avoids offers a possibility of integrating them into Israel proper. A real connection, rather the the “virtual” connection that exists now by wall/barbed-wire/highway/army.

    (c) This forces Israel to become an ordinary country, with ordinary laws about immigration and no special status for any group. That will be delicate, since it upsets some Jewish Israeli illusions of omnipotence. On those illusions, go back to 5th century Athens and consider the meaning of “hubris”.

    (d) The US and Canada have both been strengthened — not weakened — by immigrants of all sorts. This has gotten too long, but please read Josiah Royce (essay in “Race Problems” etc) and Randolph Bourne (“Trans-national America”). The US wrestled with the meaning of America — “it is a complex fate” (Henry James) — and hardly ever got it right the first time, and wrestles today. Still, we are far ahead of the various European countries that went berserk when they met a few thousand Pakistanis (UK) or even their Muslim neighbors (Serbia / Bosnia).

  8. 8 John said at 1:34 pm on July 18th, 2010:

    PS:

    Forgot to mention that I have summarized the position that Martin Buber and Judah Magnes argued. (Probably a poor summary!).

    Buber’s articles, essays, and letters on the subject have been reprinted as “A Land of Two Peoples”, Univeristy of Chicago Press, edited by Mendes-Flohr.

    When I was in school, and checked a good academic library, Magnes was almost unavailable. Don’t know if that has changed.

    Buber was called “utopian” in 1946, but he predicted that there would be perpetual war unless “the yeshuv” could find a way to share the land with Palestinians.

    I think the “utopian” Buber was exactly right, and that the “realists” had led Israel to a place they would never have expected.

    PPS:

    If I were building a country at the eastern corner of the Mediterranean, I would want it to start from the foundations of Israeli law, customs, and culture…and improve. I would not want to imitate Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or any neighboring dictatorship. Therefore, Israel would be the best foundation for a country that included Palestinian citizens.

  9. 9 john said at 3:06 am on July 19th, 2010:

    section 3B: delete “avoids”. Writing without on the fly, without a good editing program…changed the organization of the sentence.

  10. 10 noam said at 4:03 am on July 19th, 2010:

    Jason: I do believe that the West bank is Apartheid land, even though it’s not the South Africa-style Apartheid, but a different version. what was surprising for me was finding out that there are right wing people who read situation as I do.

  11. 11 noam said at 4:06 am on July 19th, 2010:

    John- you touch many interesting points. what do you make of the settlers hope to both integrate the Palestinians in the WB and keep Israel as a Jewish state? most Israelis think it’s impossible.

  12. 12 noam said at 4:14 am on July 19th, 2010:

    RK – I think the interesting question is not what the Rightwing people interviewed to this article hope will happen if we annex the WB, but what we estimate will actually happen. these are two different things.

    as for Ofra and other settlements, the right has a point in saying that you can claim Ofra to be les moral than Sheikh Munis, were Tel Aviv University is. one might be more accepted politically, but not morally.

    consider also this: it’s true that by accepting Israeli citizenship, the Palestinians will also accept the settlements, but they will regain access to the rest of the land, and they will enjoy the services of modern Israel, which is not a small thing. so they might actually gain more from a one-state solution.

  13. 13 noam said at 4:19 am on July 19th, 2010:

    Michael: what my article was supposed to point out was that even rightwing people begin to understand that one has to come up with a morally acceptable solution to the Palestinian problem (or any other name you want to give them) – something you refuse to come up with.

  14. 14 Menachem Mendel said at 6:29 am on July 19th, 2010:

    Noam,

    Nice article.

    Also see this blog post by an American Orthodox rabbi who is organizing a group to move to Israel next year.

  15. 15 RK said at 8:14 am on July 19th, 2010:

    Thanks for the response, Noam. As an aside, I noticed that the brief final section of the original article, “How many Palestinians are there?”, doesn’t seem to be included in the English translations you linked to. I’m sure a lot of English speakers would be interested in reading it; it’s one of the million-dollar questions, after all.

    With respect to Ofra, I think the more useful question to discuss is how politically inflammatory it is, not how morally objectionable it may be. It’s a truism that in politics, perceptions are what matter. (People rarely change their mind on moral questions, but they can sometimes come to a reasoned agreement on security and diplomatic strategy.) If Ofra is a live, unsolved political issue even after a one-state deal, then that’s a strike against the one-state deal. If Sheikh Munis is also a live issue after a one-state deal, that’s another strike against it.

    I agree that the Palestinians would benefit in many ways from a one-state arrangement. They would have arguably benefitted if a workable two-state solution had come into being as well. (As would we.) But if nothing else, surely we’ve learned that many people on both sides, for perfectly justifiable reasons, are willing to forego material benefits for what they see as more important goals.

    As Hotovely says, the question deserves further study.

  16. 16 RK said at 8:42 am on July 19th, 2010:

    Michael, a few points:

    1. By Jabotinsky’s “pie-in-the-sky nationalism,” I meant his demand for a Jewish state that included Transjordan. Hence my reference to a line from a well-known song of his: “The Jordan has two banks: this one is ours, and that one is too.” I’m not sure how you got the idea I was referring to his warnings to European Jewry.

    2. It’s not a coincidence that all the attacks you mentioned happened outside the territories, because the truth is that there wasn’t much violence within them during the first twenty years of the occupation. If you’re surprised by the fact that many settlers empathize with Palestinians, it might be because you share the view of many on the Left that the settlers are, to a man, woman, and child, ideological and virulent racists. Well, it’s not true.

    3. I’m glad you’re bravely defending us with your keyboard in America, though I have to say I rather prefer our chayalim with their M16s. Sorry.

  17. 17 Michael LeFavour said at 2:19 am on July 20th, 2010:

    John and RK,

    Please check back later. I am off to work, but will return to address the things you said. I am starving for someone that will actually defend what they think is true.

    Michael

  18. 18 rick said at 9:30 am on July 20th, 2010:

    noam, aj quotes you:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/07/201071913463759520.html

  19. 19 Michael LeFavour said at 4:22 pm on July 20th, 2010:

    John,

    Jewish and democratic

    1. The terms of the argument do not support each other only if the population demography stands. If there is social cohesion amongst a clearly dominant group, entity, religion, ethnicity, or political construct then the dominant group can extend full voting rights to the minority without fear of cultural destruction. After two thousand years of maintaining everything that defines a people, while scattered, under duress to assimilate, and without land, I think the Jewish people are not going anywhere without external force. But who cares anyway? Democracy and personal liberty are separate issues. It is democratic for three castaways to vote to cannibalize a fourth castaway, but that is hardly a legitimate use of democracy. Sadly, the reality is that the Arabs and their supporters are using the democracy issue as a weapon, because the Western audience has been conditioned to respond well to certain terms like resistance, democracy, and equality. It is only for propaganda purposes that the Arabs and the gullible dupes that support them throw the term “democracy” around like so much glitter at a celebration. The irony is that the Arabs do not care about democracy. Nowhere in the Arab world is there genuine democracy, nor have the Arabs produced a liberal society with protections for individuals as a core tenet. Only in Israel is democracy a rallying cry that sets self righteous throngs of leftists into tantrums of indignation. Who cares? By any ethical standard that matters, given the clearly genocidal intent of the Arabs, the Jewish people are justified in taking whatever measures to preserve their lives that the Arabs make necessary. If that means some level of exclusion, then I am comfortable with it.

    Your Athens example was interesting but irrelevant. A new “Tyrant” class of elitists is not being formed in Israel to sell out to “Sparta” (unless you want to compare the left/Tyrants demanding political control to sell out to the Arabs/Spartans for the destruction of Israel/Athens). Unlike in ancient Athens, all Israeli citizens are free to speak and vote, the non-citizens under Israeli control are not there for Israeli usury, they are there because of external pressure and short sighted Jewish leadership, a unique situation to Israel. I wouldn’t challenge someone claiming to be a descendant of pilgrims on Puritan history (whatever you define what an actual Puritan is), but I am pretty sure that you are also exaggerating the extent of the executions of the non-orthodox in New England or Massachusetts to insinuate something about Israeli society that is not there. Can you link me to anything that can even verify your assertion? I would like to look over the statistics myself to see why you felt it relevant to bring that up.

    “If Israel is an ethnic Jewish state, then how is it determined who is “Jewish enough” to be full-fledged citizens?” I am not a Jew and know very little about what it means to be Jewish, so I do not know the answer to that. Do you think the current Israeli citizenship requirements are a failure? No doubt there are loop holes. I wonder why the Muslims do not pretend to be Jews long enough to immigrate then suddenly reconvert. I hope there is a safe guard in place.

    2. Bad analogies:

    You claim “Israel is in all ways a better place than surrounding countries”, but I wonder if you believe that? To hear it on this blog and others Israel is the Evil Empire. So I am curious what evidence do you have that supports saying non-Jews have less rights? Can you point to an ordinance that discriminates? Before you push on with the ludicrous claim that the Law of Return is discriminatory, I suggest you consider that all nations discriminate, and they should, on who gets in. Doesn’t it make sense that a Jewish sanctuary should allow Jews to immigrate? And how does that infringe on the personal liberty and rights of non-Jews? Because it is a right to determine how many, or of what color, or what religion your neighbors are? Allowing Jews to immigrate is not an example of discrimination and you will need to do much better.

    Further, why should Arabs that were “driven out” as you claim be allowed to return? Return to what? They rejected the Jews with a genocidal war. Where would we be now if the Arabs had accepted Jewish neighbors instead of murdering them? Is there any evidence that a single refugee would have been formed? Do you agree that there should be some penalty at starting a war?

    The nascent state of Israel offered to absorb all Gaza Arabs at the same time it asked for the world to recognize the territory its armed forces controlled after the cease as being part of the sovereign state of Israel. Israel also offered to repatriate a hundred thousand of the Arabs, and offered to compensate many more for loss of property. The Arab side rejected every offer with the three famous “no”s at Khartoum. After losing repeatedly in battle to the Jews, there is no coming back now and asking for the Arabs to be returned. Let alone their descendants.

    Haaretz reports? Haaretz is little more reliable at reporting than the National Enquirer is. The Arabs living in Silwan are squatters. Just because my ancestors roamed from Montana to Mexico doesn’t mean I can build a house (funded by the Saudis) in a national park in Oklahoma and whine for sympathy and sarcastic remarks that I am there illegally.

    Your comment about growing up Virginian when the Civil Rights Movement gathered strength makes no sense. The Jews accepted a large Arab minority. It is the Arabs that have completely rejected the Jews. When the East Bank Palestinians (Jordan) took over parts of what remained of the promised Jewish homeland all Jews were ethnically cleansed from the region. Even the millenia old place names of Judea and Samaria (west bank) were ethnically cleansed in a Roman style attempt to erase any traces of Jewish character to the land (the Romans renamed the place Syria Palestina…hence the ethnic cleansing term of “Palestine”). When will the Arabs have a Rosa Parks moment? Or will they ever have one if guilty white FFVs give them a pass because brown people must all be victims? Read the foundational document of the so called Palestinian people, the PLO Charter written in 1964 mentions the Arab race over thirty times, then talk to me racism.

    As to your claims of ownership. I would like to draw on your experience as a fact checker. Do you know what the difference between mulk and miri land is? Very little of so called Palestine was owned by Arabs. What little (6% or so) was owned by non-Muslims and it was held in the cities, not farm lands. The Ottoman Sultan owned the farmlands. The Arabs were there at his convenience only. The majority that walked away from the land they had lived on did not own anything. That is an unassailable fact that I challenge you to look up.

    “Over the last fifteen years, Israel has built “settlements” — substantial communities — on Arab land through the Occupied Territory.”

    Arab land? See my above challenge for you to find for yourself how much of “Arab land” was actually owned free and clear by the Arabs. It matters because the British did everything they could to block the Jews from gaining access to the land they were due under Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine. A good starting point for your fact checking might be, The Land Question In Palestine, 1917-1939 by Kenneth W. Stein, University of North Carolina Press, 1984.

    The Jewish communities do not follow a plan. I also challenge you to show what led you to claim that they “more or less” follow one. The Jewish built communities in Judea and Samaria have mostly been placed so as to not inconvenience Arabs regardless of what a press officer for the Israeli consulate supposedly told you. I can’t wait to see what sort of competence you have in checking facts since you were paid to do it at one point in your life. You can square article 70(1)(b) of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that basically says once a right has been granted in a treaty…like the right of Jews to settle anywhere in “Palestine” on state owned land granted to them by the Mandate of Palestine, that right does not end with the expiration of the treaty, with your ill thought out (propaganda/demonization) analogy to Bantustans. Jews have a legal right to be there, the Supreme Court of Israel did its best to approve communities that were as unobtrusive to ethnically pure Arabs as possible, yet dupes who have swallowed the shameless rhetoric of racist bigots now call Israel Apartheid. Great.

    3. Choices

    (a) The same thing was said when Jews were drug from the Sinai after creating flourishing communities there and building a 2 billion dollar a year oil industry for their arch enemies the Egyptians to take over as jizya payment from the infidel Jews.

    (b) Giving citizenship and a vote to your enemy is flirting with disempowerment of the only thing holding genocide at bay. It would be better to build a higher wall between the weakest members of Jewish society and their cowardly soldiers that operate under a belief system that do not recognize the kufar as being innocent at any age.

    (c) Overwhelming Israel with Arabs will not satisfy Muslim blood lust. Hebron was attacked and the people hiding in the basement of the rabbi’s house were a distinct minority, they were pulled out of their hiding places and hacked to pieces just the same. Shamelessly utilizing the rhetoric of liars while claiming to be a fact checker is a better operating example of hubris.

    (d) “The US and Canada have both been strengthened — not weakened — by immigrants of all sorts.” Is that so? We have a small Muslim population that refuses to offer anything of value culturally to us and mostly refuses to assimilate, but Scandinavia has a much greater problem…errr, immigration issue… can you show exactly how Scandinavians have benefited? Because the “facts” I have looked up show that violent crime is up since Muslims arrived in numbers, rape is up, with Muslims making up the majority of rapists, and more. I thought it was well known that the quality of life is decreasing in Sweden and that it is directly related to free loading immigrants and disproportionately Muslim immigrants that are behind the degrade. If you disagree maybe you could show me what quality has been enriched since Muslims have arrived in large enough numbers to affect Swedish society?

    As to Serbia, what an irony you mention that in the same breath you claim multiculturalism is a strength. would you agree or disagree with me when I say that tension and violence has decreased since the communities separated into something closer to ethnic democracies?

    I appreciate you trying to defend what you said, but it was sorely lacking in substance and heavy on sloganeering. I hope you attend to the sentences that I ended with question marks. I do not ask rhetorical questions.

  20. 20 Michael LeFavour said at 4:31 pm on July 20th, 2010:

    John,

    As to your PS, if this is true of Buber, “he predicted that there would be perpetual war unless “the yeshuv” could find a way to share the land with Palestinians.” this tells me that he is a typical leftist idiot. Why is it that the Jews must find a way? Muhammad set an example for the world to follow. This is not speculation. It is a truth if you are a Muslim. How did he treat the Jews of his time? He banished, slaughtered, or enslaved all of them he encountered if they did not accept him as a prophet.

    As to you PPS, your logic is sound, but the flaw is that the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians do not deserve to be Israelis and nothing you can say will change that.

  21. 21 Michael LeFavour said at 5:44 pm on July 20th, 2010:

    Noam,

    “what my article was supposed to point out was that even rightwing people begin to understand that one has to come up with a morally acceptable solution to the Palestinian problem (or any other name you want to give them) – something you refuse to come up with.”

    You are a wonderful writer, which is a pity since you are using your talent for malevolent purposes…do you see that? It is clear to me and it disturbs me deeply that someone intelligent can draw all the wrong conclusions that you have. I have criticized you many times for your one sided condemnation of Israel and when you have asked me for my “opinion” on what solution I think will end the conflict I have given it and I have stood my ground and fought with a coherent and morally sound argument to defend what I feel is the only solution. You choose to reject it, but in your rejection you have never explained why with sound logic. Many more Jews must die, I am afraid, before you see clearly, hopefully you will not be one of the dead. If Jerusalem is targeted with a nuclear device maybe you will see it my way, because that is exactly where I feel this is heading.

    I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why separating an antagonist (the Arabs) from a victim (the Jews) is immoral. Jews didn’t invade with tanks and armored cars, they came as immigrants and as refugees from mass murder, proving the need for a sanctuary like Israel btw. What sort of welcome did they receive for improving the quality of life of the Arabs and giving freedoms to the Arabs they never had under their own rulers and never gave their own people accept by the prompting of a Westerner’s bayonet? More hatred and bigotry. The racist Arabs rejected the Jewish community growing any larger, not because of land or losing a homeland, the Arab homeland is in Arabia. Israel is a Jewish land and they know that, but don’t care. And the Arabs were silent when a bandit named Abdulah arrived with an army and stayed on as a dictatorial monarch on the east bank, so long as he was a Muslim and an Arab…but the Jews, oh no, they were attacked and murdered and have been in perpetual war since. Stop accepting that and do something about it.

    Call it ethnic cleansing if you want, I am not advocating murder nor is violence even necessary, but the Arabs should be transferred to the east bank, which is 75% of Palestine and a large portion of historical Eretz Israel that was promised to the Jews as a homeland by the War Powers and Emir Faisel. Nobody raises an eyebrow when it is Jews being torn from their homes, but when every other peaceful idea has been tried there gets to a point where it is criminal not to defend yourself by all means. After all the free loading hand outs they have received every Arab on Jewish land could have had built a new home somewhere else paid for by the West. It is not immoral to remove an antagonist from a victim. It is immoral not to defend the innocent.

    Gaza Arabs democratically put Hamas into power and overwhelmingly approve of Hamas’s terror tactics. The Arabs you champion idolize the mass murdering testosterone poisoned young men that blow themselves up to get to the big orgy in the sky, yet John blames the Jews for not finding a way to share the land and all you can do is hop around screaming at Jewish faults as if you are ashamed of being a Jew yourself. As I explained to John ethnic cleansing can have a positive outcome. There aren’t any Serb or Muslim terrorists planting bombs in Zagreb now, because the tension has been reduced by separating into cohesive communities, painful as it was at the time.

    To stifle the argument before it arises, Stalin was not a champion of human rights yet he was able to orchestrate the expulsion of about ten million Germans from Danzig, East Prussia, etc. they were seldom intentionally killed, and few of them died. In addition the ethnic Germans expelled from the Sudetenland after the war by the non-Stalinist Benes government were killed even less frequently, intentionally or otherwise. I am talking something along the lines of the Elon Plan where the Arabs would be offered monetary incentive to leave first then a steady increase of pressure applied until they did. Violent resistance to the effort would be their choice just as it has been their choice to demand that it come to this in the first place. Were I Prime Minister I would spend all my effort explaining to the public why it must come to this and use the next war as the opportunity to carry it out after making it clear to all Arab leaders that if Israel is attacked again this will be the consequence. After that I would wage conventional war against any nation allowing its soil to be used as a safe haven for terror like Lebanon does, for example.

    As an alternative, I have also mentioned the US Puerto Rico model, which you reject. Puerto Ricans are US citizens but not allowed to vote for the President. They have representation, but not a voice in the Executive. If Israel were to embed its Jewish character into its constitution and grant citizenship to the Arabs they would not be able to destroy the state, the culture yes, but not the state. I am not sure why you reject this idea. As long as I have personal liberty I could care less if it was a President for life that was guaranteeing my freedom or the collective community. Since the Arabs are incapable of producing a liberal and free society, with 50+ current examples to chose from they should be happy they are going to enjoy what Jews provide them. I doubt they could drop the bigotry though, so I prefer option one.

    I can say much more about this, but if you are unwilling to use logic to criticize my “opinion” on what to do, then I will just save it.

  22. 22 Michael LeFavour said at 6:32 pm on July 20th, 2010:

    RK,

    1. “By Jabotinsky’s “pie-in-the-sky nationalism,” I meant his demand for a Jewish state that included Transjordan.”

    Jabotinsky had nothing to do with the drafting of the Mandate for Palestine, but when it was drafted there was no such thing as a Transjordan and there never had been, nor had there ever even been a culturally unique peoples defined by that boundary…hence for no historical legitimate reason it was just called “the other side of the Jordan”, while in every bit of legal wrangling it was referred to as a province of Palestine….where Jews were allowed to settle according to the terms of the treaty. Jabotinsky fought for what was rightfully part of the Jewish homeland, with long standing Jewish communities scrapping out a meager existence there as well. Hardly Pie in the Sky nationalism, since it was supposed to be part of Israel until the British discovered the value of oil and how much the Arabs had.

    2. “It’s not a coincidence that all the attacks you mentioned happened outside the territories, because the truth is that there wasn’t much violence within them during the first twenty years of the occupation.”

    The Coastal Road attack I mentioned was inside Israel, (so much for your accuracy). So was the Savoy Hotel attack and the Avivim school bus massacre where the Arabs you champion slaughtered a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds. Or the Ma’alot massacre where those heroic Arabs you believe deserve a state tossed grenades at a group of teen aged girls huddled together in fear.

    “If you’re surprised by the fact that many settlers empathize with Palestinians, it might be because you share the view of many on the Left that the settlers are, to a man, woman, and child, ideological and virulent racists. Well, it’s not true.”

    You are projecting. I support the so called “settlers” from the insults of the likes of you. When I speak with Yishai Fleisher tomorrow night I will be sure to ask him if he thinks the so called “settlers” you slander are racists.

    3. “I’m glad you’re bravely defending us with your keyboard in America, though I have to say I rather prefer our chayalim with their M16s. Sorry.”

    I was pretty handy with one of those too in my day, but as I explained, I can no longer return to uniform, but I can fight propaganda and I can write letters to my leaders and I can join groups that make news and support Israel and I can hijack hostile events meant to deceive the unwary and I can stand security at friendly events meant to enlighten. You are right to make fun of me. I don’t matter, but ten more of my friends might, and ten more of their friends might, and ten more of their friends’ friends might, then I get to whisper into the ear of a Congressman here and there, I get to have lunch with an author or two, a journalist now and then from an influential paper, I join a committee, I am asked to give a speech or two, I get on the board of an organization and, and, and, and….I am not important, but every spare minute of my time is devoted to the Jews of Israel 365 days a year since Tali Hatuel and her children were gunned down by the people Noam wants for neighbors. Israel will do what it wants, of course, but unless the Arabs drop the war effort I will never support anything they do, for good reason.

  23. 23 John said at 6:42 pm on July 21st, 2010:

    Noam,
    I doubt that Israel can accept Palestinians as full citizens and remain a “Jewish state”. I believe that some form of Zionism can flourish inside a larger “state of all it’s citizens”, but that state has to be separated from a religion or a dominant race/ethinic group.

    It is interesting, to me, anyway, that Israeli “right” and “left” mean nothing like American or European right and left. I am surprised that Arens would make this suggestion, just as I was surprised, in reading “City of Oranges”, to discover that more than a few Israeli generals have made or supported peace initiatives.

  24. 24 noam said at 1:32 am on July 26th, 2010:

    John: Arens is one of the few remaining conservative democrats in the Likud, so in a sense, his positions are consistent with what he said and done in the past.

    Traditionally, the Labor has always been more militarized and less concerned with civil rights then Likud (while being more politically pragmatic at the same time), but this is changing in the last decade or so.

  25. 25 noam said at 1:36 am on July 26th, 2010:

    Michael: your idea of forced explosion of the Arab population contradicts the whole concept of Rights as I (and from what I gather, most other readers) see it. You are part of a different morale discourse, one that I don’t accept.

  26. 26 Michael LeFavour said at 3:56 pm on July 26th, 2010:

    Maybe, we have different morals. You think giving rights to a people that spit on you and murder your children in return is something noble, because we must ALL be equals, right? I wish it were that easy, but that idea only works if the other side wants to be your equal and nothing more. When they want to be your master or worse, your executioner, you have to find another solution. I think defending your own innocent citizens is more important than drowning in a sea of blood hoping they will suddenly respect you because you treat them as equals. Where are Jews, outside of Israel, treated the way you demand the malcontents inside of Israel be treated?

    My question stands. How many Jews must die before you see that separating two peoples is not immoral? Millions of peoples have been exchanged peacefully in order to have peace. Millions. It would be great if both sides could get along, but the Arabs you champion have no intention of getting along. The Arabs have made the need for separation a reality, not the Jews. How many more Jews are you prepared to bury as payment for your illogical morality and who do you blame? If a nuclear Holocaust befalls Israel will you blame the right the way you blame Israel for everything? Will you still support this grotesque boycott and divestment foolishness then? Will Israel have deserved it?

    My morality demands that individuals take responsibility for their own actions and doing something about bad behavior is not racist or unfair. Part of accepting responsibility for your actions is suffering consequences when you commit a crime. The Arabs have proven beyond a doubt that they do not want to live as equals with Jews. You can continue deluding yourself that they would if given a chance, but you will have to bring evidence to support that conclusion or accept that most reasonable people see it otherwise, despite what you have to say about the “other readers” coming here.