Why Israel can’t be a ‘Jewish State’

Sari Nusseibeh writes:

The Israeli government’s current mantra is that the Palestinians must recognise a “Jewish State”. Of course, the Palestinians have clearly and repeatedly recognised the State of Israel as such in the 1993 Oslo Accords (which were based on an Israeli promise to establish a Palestinian state within five years – a promise now shattered) and many times since. Recently, however, Israeli leaders have dramatically and unilaterally moved the goal-posts and are now clamouring that Palestinians must recognise Israel as a “Jewish State”.

In 1946, the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry concluded that the demand for a “Jewish State” was not part of the obligations of the Balfour Declaration or the British Mandate. Even in the First Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897, when Zionists sought to “establish a home for the Jewish people”, there was no reference of a “Jewish State”. The Zionist Organisation preferred at first to use the description “Jewish homeland” or “Jewish Commonwealth”. Many pioneering Zionist leaders, such as Judah Magnes and Martin Buber also avoided the clear and explicit term “Jewish State” for their project of a homeland for Jews, and preferred instead the concept of a democratic bi-national state.

Today, however, demands for a “Jewish State” from Israeli politicians are growing without giving thought to what this might mean, and its supporters claim that it would be as natural as calling France a French State. However, if we consider the subject dispassionately, the idea of a “Jewish State” is logically and morally problematic because of its legal, religious, historical and social implications. The implications of this term therefore need to be spelled out, and we are sure that once they are, most people – and most Israeli citizens, we trust – will not accept these implications.

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2 thoughts on “Why Israel can’t be a ‘Jewish State’

  1. Ian Arbuckle

    Jewish State = Racist Zionist nationalist apartheid Israel (same thing as Hitler’s 3rd Reich Germany or pre F. W. de Klerk’s 1992 referendum South Africa).

    The Zionists worked with the Nazis to give German and other German occupied Jews a single exit for their selected people and money to Palestine in the 1930s, they worked with South Africa to proliferate and give themselves tested nuclear weapons in contravention of international laws.

    Now we are not to question the legitimacy of the Jewish State? Can anyone with a straight face suggest that the present government of Israel has any intention to, or ambition in, achieving a peaceful, just, and equitable resolution with the Palestinian people?

    I believe if the Palestinians can wait a few years more they will witness Israel destroying itself from within. It is what happens to ideas which are built on delusional myths and ignorance, and directed by corruption, greed, fear, lies and violence.

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