Daniel Pipes: Accept Israel as the Jewish State?

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org. Click here for his blog.]

Surprisingly, something useful has emerged from the combination of the misconceived Annapolis meeting and a weak Israeli prime minister, Ehud ("Peace is achieved through concessions") Olmert. Breaking with his predecessors, Olmert has boldly demanded that his Palestinian bargaining partners accept Israel's permanent existence as a Jewish state, thereby evoking a revealing response.

Unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as "a Jewish state," Olmert announced on November 11, the Annapolis-related talks would not proceed. "I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state. This will be a condition for our recognition of a Palestinian state."

He confirmed these points a day later, describing the "recognition of Israel as a state for the Jewish people" as the "launching point for all negotiations. We won't have an argument with anyone in the world over the fact that Israel is a state of the Jewish people." The Palestinian leadership, he noted, must "want to make peace with Israel as a Jewish state."
Raising this topic has the virtue of finally focusing attention on what is the central topic in the Arab-Israeli conflict – Zionism, the Jewish nationalist movement, a topic that typically gets ignored in the hubbub of negotiations. Since nearly the birth of the state, these have focused on the intricacies of such subsidiary issues as borders, troop placements, armaments and arms control, sanctities, natural resources, residential rights, diplomatic representation, and foreign relations.

The Palestinian leadership responded quickly and unequivocally to Olmert's demand:

  • The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Nazareth unanimously called on the Palestinian Authority not to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
  • Salam Fayad, Palestinian Authority "prime minister": "Israel can define itself as it likes, but the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state."
  • Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee: "This issue is not on the table; it is raised for internal [Israeli] consumption."
  • Ahmad Qurei, chief Palestinian negotiator: "This [demand] is absolutely refused."
  • Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO Negotiations Department: "The Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel's Jewish identity. … There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined."

    Erekat's generalization is both curious and revealing. Not only do 56 states and the PLO belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but most of them, including the PLO, make the Shari‘a (Islamic law) their main or only source of legislation. Saudi Arabia even requires that every subject be a Muslim.

    Further, the religious-national nexus extends well beyond Muslim countries. Argentinean law, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe points out, "mandates government support for the Roman Catholic faith. Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor of the Church of England. In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the constitution proclaims Buddhism the nation's ‘spiritual heritage.' … ‘The prevailing religion in Greece,' declares Section II of the Greek Constitution, ‘is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ'."

    So, why the mock-principled refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Perhaps because the PLO still intends to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.

    Note my use of the word "eliminate," not destroy. Yes, anti-Zionism has until now mainly taken a military form, from Gamal Abdel Nasser's "throw the Jews into the sea" to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "Israel must be wiped off the map." But the power of the Israel Defense Forces has prodded anti-Zionism toward a more subtle approach of accepting an Israeli state but dismantling its Jewish character. Anti-Zionists consider several ways to achieve this:

    Demography: Palestinians could overwhelm the Jewish population of Israel, a goal signaled by their demand for a "right of return" and by their so-called war of the womb.

    Politics: Arabs citizens of Israel increasingly reject the country's Jewish nature and demand that it become a bi-national state.

    Terror: The 100 Palestinian attacks a week during the period, September 2000-September 2005 sought to induce economic decline, emigration, and appeasement.

    Isolation: All those United Nations resolutions, editorial condemnations, and campus aggressions are meant to wear down the Zionist spirit.

    Arab recognition of Israel's Jewish nature must have top diplomatic priority. Until the Palestinians formally accept Zionism, then follow up by ceasing all their various strategies to eliminate Israel, negotiations should be halted and not restarted. Until then, there is nothing to talk about.

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    N. Friedman - 12/10/2007



    You present a general model for understanding disputes and politics and imperial behavior. It may be a correct one, overall considered. I am not going to quibble with it.

    That, of course, does not mean that such model applies in every case or at the level of detail of any specific dispute.

    Frankly, I do not think it applies all that well in the case of the Arab Israeli dispute. I think that the Arab side is so completely captured by its ideology that it cannot live with Israel over the long term. I do not think it is a question of the Israelis making an offer that is generous. It is a case of the Arab side rejecting any non-Muslim rule in the land ruled by the Israelis.

    Here is an example that illustrates the Arab mind set regarding Israel and it support my way of thinking about the dispute. In the recent meeting in Annapolis, the Saudi representative insisted that he would not walk through the same door as an Israeli - and he and his staff did not. He further refused - as did his staff - to wear earphones so that they might hear a translation of the remarks made by the Israeli leader. In addition, at the end of the speech by the Israeli leader, he seemingly clapped if seen from a distance but, in fact, he did not, as he never brought his hands together.

    That, to me, bears explanation as it representative of views espoused among Arab Muslims and behavior by such people over the decades. In the case of the Saudis, the most likely explanation is that the Saudi leaders would have been branded traitors had they shown any degree of cordiality toward the Israelis. Which is to say, the problem brews, in considerable part, from the bottom up, not entirely from the other way around.

    And, the most likely reason for such behavior, given that Saudi Arabia is a captive of its religious ideology, is that the idea of rule by non-Muslims over Muslims - most especially if the non-Muslims are, to employ some current Islamic mythology, contemptible Jews - is sinful. I submit to you that such ideology is so prominent feature of Arab, not just Saudi, society that it makes settlement of the dispute next to impossible. One need only read the Hamas Covenant to see that the Hamas holds to the very same view on display by the Saudi leadership.

    That is not a mere ideology of imperialism issue. It is not manufactured opinion that can be readily manipulated to new views. Rather, it is religion, as in one religion which takes the view that the other religion must be driven entirely out of the region.

    As I see the Arab side of the dispute, the issues in dispute revolve around religion. To Hamas, Israel's destruction is God's will. Read the covenant. Such is what it says. Hence, it is sinful, not just wrong, to compromise. In that ideology, Jewish rule is simply sinful. Jews can only exist, as it states explicitly, under the wing of Islam.

    Historically, there is no more difficult problem to solve than one which is supported by religion. It is one that leaders ignore at their peril, as Sadat learned the hard way.

    From the Israeli side, there is certainly a Greater Israel party and, for a number, religion plays a role in supporting that viewpoint. That makes things harder to settle as well, I certainly admit. On the other hand, they backed down over Gaza, determining that their survival as a people was more important than the noted religious principle. So, they may not be quite the zealots that they are accused of being.

    In any event, the religious revival among Muslims has, for most Israelis and most Israeli politicians, focused the Israelis on surviving, most especially due to all the violence it has brought: hence, Sharon's ceding of Gaza. That from the man who did not believe in doing such things. And note that he was prepared to do something very similar for the other captured territories - as he said repeatedly. The Arab side - most especially those who take the Hamas line - saw the ceding of land as a sign of weakness, as they say repeatedly.

    Which is to say, I think you are applying an interesting general model to a dispute regarding which other factors are more important. Otherwise, Sharon would not have ceded anything. He, evidently and notwithstanding his reputation as a war monger, appears to have wanted to settle the dispute - perhaps for the reason that he understood that holding the land was futile and causing his country to lose international support. Whatever the reason, it is not explained by manufactured consent or imperialism, unless you mean imperialism in reverse.

    And, as Benny Morris' research shows, the Arab side, even under Arafat, never was prepared to end the dispute. They always saw the Israeli state as a crusader state to be destroyed. And, that is a view which, quite clearly, has a religious character to it that is poisonous.

    So, I respectfully disagree.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/10/2007

    I do not think that Israelis as a nation of several million people wants the perpetual state of war, the same way as I do not think that
    American as a nation wants to make perpetual imperialistic advances around the world or Soviet Russians
    as a nation wanted to spread communism around the world by force
    and coercion. But the mainstream ideology and political philosophy establshed within those (and others) nations by the leading and most powerful social and political groups, especially elitarian ones, constantly promote the ideas (through educational and informational systems) essentially alien to the populus majority, brainwashing the people to eliminate their internal resistance to the deeds that primarily benefit those elites.
    That's what is called by contemporary
    historians and pholosophers "manufacturing of consent".
    This phenomenon is not new, but it received tremendous impetus in modern era in all areas of cultural, ideological, social, and political life.
    If we severely restrict ourselves just to the area of military conflicts between the countries, the recent and not so recent history shows that all of them were preceeded
    by fierce anti-mutual and chovinistic propaganda along with moral, ideological, and often, social persecution of the opponents
    of militaristic option.
    How many folks in Germany, France, GB, Russia before WWI resisted entering their countries in to the war? Alas, not many... Do all those nations, as a whole wanted the War.
    Surely not; people are always feel and live better during peaceful times, than over wars. But they went along with the imperialistic and chovinistic designs of their leaders, being brainwashed with the false notions of patriotism and nationalism.
    The analogous thing, though within different decorations, happened with
    WWII Europe, especially with Germany, this time in history.
    We aslo know now that the Cold War and the accompanied arms race with all its bloody consequences, primarily in the Third World, this time in history, has started and continued not as a necessity, but was primarily manufactured by the prevalent ideological and political elites on the both sides of the adversity. No nation per se wanted it to continue, but no nation did much to stop it either (though some
    did more than others).
    The see practically the same thing happening in the forerun to every other military and not just military conflict(Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, Iran,
    Chili, Nicaragua, Argentina, etc.)
    It is true again about Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
    no nation apparently wants it to perpetuate (certainly, not Arabs, who have much more casualties in all regards), but it moves along under the pressure of the prevalent ideological and political culture on both sides of the conflict.
    It is exactly that vicious politico-ideological circle of self-righteousness and evil nature of the adversary that neither Israelis nor Arabs can get out from that
    is the primary fueling source of the
    conflict now.

    Thus, what you call "my cynicism"
    is actually the cynicism of the ruling socio-economic elite in this country and Israel, propagated through the consciense of the Israeli and American populus.
    All the talks about impossibility
    of peaceful and productive negotiatiations with Arabs is just the cover-up for that cynicism (the fact illuminated by many historians
    and political observers, not just me).

    The roots of European alternative behaviour towards the Middle-East conflict, lie in the imperialistic competition between Western Europe on one hand and US and UK on another in that region of the world, the "competition" the former side is haplessly losing, because of its comparative economic and military weakness.

    N. Friedman - 12/9/2007


    Well, I do not see any other imaginable reason for a secular country, faced with enemies who do not believe - as they say repeatedly - that Jews are a people, only a religion, to ask to be accepted as a people. Surely, you do not think that the Israelis want to perpetuate the dispute and love fighting endlessly. That, after all, is what the other interpretation suggests.

    To note, Arnold. I do not know why the Israelis do what they do. I do not take their pronouncements one way or the other. However, I note the irrationality of thinking they want to perpetuate the dispute.

    And that idea is certainly foreign to the manner of thinking of all the Israelis I have ever met - both those of European and of Middle Eastern origin. They think, by and large, like Westerners, meaning, they do not like fighting. Rather, they feel that they have been thrown into a mess from which they do not know how to get themselves out of without committing suicide.

    Consider, Arnold, just how isolated the Israelis really are, in the scheme of things. A tiny country in a hostile region that, in the end, is unlikely ever to accept them. The Europeans, the next layer of surrounding countries, see more to gain from befriending the oil rich Arabs so their interests and those of the Israelis do not gel. That leaves truly outside powers (e.g. Russia, China, India and the US) as potential allies. But, such things are not a long term prospect. So, if you ask me, your comment assumes a reality that does not exist - which is to say, your approach assumes that the Israelis really perceive themselves as having the time to mess around. Without exception, every Israeli I know thinks exactly the opposite, namely, that they are in an non-ending dispute that they wish they resolve but have no idea how to resolve.

    Which is to say, I do not buy your cynicism. The Israelis do not have that as an option.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/9/2007

    If the intentions your read in the Israeli leaders minds are what you say they are, I'm absolutely OK with them. Alas, I think (based on what I've heard, read and observed for many years) those intentions are more one-sided, nationalistic, and insidious than you ascribe to them.
    I'm afraid you take the official statements of Israeli leaders for their face value, the same way as many of Americans take the statements of the US political elite about spreading democracy, freedoms, and in general, about altruistic nature of the American power for a face value.
    I've never been a fan of conspiracy
    theories, but I'm used to compare the talking with the walking when it
    concerns politics and ideology.
    My experience clearly indicates that's what mainly distinguishes realist in this material world from ideologue and idealist.

    N. Friedman - 12/9/2007


    I appreciate your comment very much. Civilized debate - which you offer and I like to think I offer - helps people to understand each other and their ideas.

    I address you by your first name because it appears with your name. You should feel free to call me "N" which is what every one calls me.

    The reason I noted where the refugees and their children ought to be settled is your comment which reads: "allow the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to its native lands..." I assumed you had in mind Israel agreeing to commit national suicide in order to bring an end to the dispute. Evidently, I read into your comment something you did not intend.

    You are, as noted in this post, quite correct that Israel is not going to take in such refugees. However, that is really and truly the position taken by Palestinian Arabs during negotiations. According to Morris, the world mistakenly believed that such position was asserted as a bargaining chip. But, it was the major point of disagreement, when negotiations seemed otherwise to get somewhere - particularly in December of 2000. He thinks, as do I, that such is a position in earnest and it represents an unwillingness to accept rule by Jews over any land in the region.

    The reason that Israel insists that it be accepted as a Jewish country - meaning, a country ruled by Jews, not a country based on the Jewish religion - is really for purposes of testing the sincerity of the Palestinian Arab side. They think that if the Arab side accepts non-Muslim rule by Jews - having nothing, in this instance, to do with religion -, the dispute is over. Otherwise, the best that can be hoped for is a respite before another war. It is akin to Germany being asked to accept French rule as legitimate in Paris. Do you see my point?

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/8/2007

    What's your first name Mr. Friedman?
    The reason I'm asking is that you you adress me by mine (and it's fine with me), but I don't know yours.
    Let me tell you something else. I do
    appreciate the exchange with you, since you seem to be the only one among those I commonly debate against on the Israel-related issues that is not only less fanatical, but
    can really forward some valuable and sensible points. Believe me I don't say this to win your support or something like that, it's just what I feel.
    Back to our sheep, now.

    <If there is to be two states, why should the Israeli one be the one to take in refugees and their offspring?>
    I didn't (if I wrote something that can be interpreted like it I apologize) say it should accept those refugees on the Israeli territory within the borders before 1967. If that's what Arab/ Palestinians insisted or insist now on, then it's not going to happen and should not happen.
    The Palestinian state created on the lands mapped out for it by the UN, including the lands taken now by the Jewish settlements on their territory
    should accept those refugees.
    I'm pretty sure the international community will be willing to help them financially to accept
    the majority of those folks.

    On the other token, Israel should cease insisting on Palestinians/Arabs
    calling it a Jewish state, specifically.
    After all, everyone (including them) knows that it is a Jewish state!
    The fact that some Arab countries has
    religion-based extensions to their names just show their reactionary, anti-humanitary essence.

    N. Friedman - 12/7/2007


    A number of points.

    Your theory places the entire blame on one side. Maybe. Maybe not. But, whatever the initial causes, yours is certainly not a sufficient explanation for where things are today. And, it is where things are today that must be addressed, not whether the Arab or the Israeli side or even both of them originally caused the problems.

    I shall follow, at this point, Benny Morris' argument. His position is that, from the perspective of the Arab side, the Israelis are a modern manifestation of the Crusader states and that in time, the Arab side must drive Israel's Jews out of the region. He says that Arafat made that point rather clearly on numerous occasions. Morris says, in addition, that the violence on the Arab side has an intensity to it of expressing the will not only of the fanatics who kill themselves but the will of the Palestinian Arabs, as a whole, to commit genocidal violence, if need be, to accomplish the aforementioned goal.

    That is not something you can dismiss out of hand. In fact, that exact objective appears in the Hamas Covenant and, in his view, also is the agenda of the somewhat more secular Fatah party. He notes that there is more than ample evidence to support the noted theory.

    Further, according to Morris, notwithstanding Israel's current military advantage, it is, by far, in the weaker position and growing weaker over time. Which is to say, there will certainly be a real temptation on the Arab side to attempt again and again to annihilate the Israelis.

    So, in some important ways, you have a situation akin to how the Versailles Treaty relates to WWII. Which is to say, it was a wrong suffered by the German side at the end of WWI but not a sufficient explanation for how things stood in Germany by the 1930's. In any event, like you with the Palestinian Arabs, many Europeans deluded themselves into thinking that, notwithstanding the horrible ideology that had taken root in Germany - for whatever actual reasons (about which debates still continue) -, the concerns of Germany could be addressed by undoing the damaged caused by the unfortunate Versailles Treaty (which was that age's version of the root cause theory of conflict resolution).

    Again: The response by the Palestinian Arabs to their actual circumstances is not explainable entirely out of what the Israelis have done - some, but not all, of which Morris believes to be wrong headed and immoral. He notes that other groups on Earth have suffered displacement and colonization and a host of other indignities and horrors even worse (e.g. the Armenians) without reacting as the Arab side has reacted. So, he says that one also has to examine things specific to the Arab regions (e.g. its history, culture, society and religion).

    That, it seems to me, is what is wrong with your approach.

    Now, I also have a practical problem with your approach. If there is to be two states, why should the Israeli one be the one to take in refugees and their offspring? After all, such new Israelis are almost certainly to be more loyal to the Palestinian Arab state than to Israel.

    That, to me, is a recipe for civil war. And, that is, on my view, a pretty cruel approach. In any event, I would like to understand how you explain the need for two states if Israel, not the Palestinian Arab state, will take in refugees and their offspring. How could that possibly be the end of the dispute? How could that possibly do anything but fuel further fighting?

    I shall await your thoughts.

    N. Friedman - 12/7/2007

    Mr. Mutik,

    I certainly was not trying to justify Gee's opinion. I was attempting to explain the manner by which the sort of argument she makes misuses language in order to show why it is a phony argument.

    Joseph Mutik - 12/7/2007

    please replace:

    "in the business of making money to the USA"


    "in the business of making money I moved to the USA"

    Joseph Mutik - 12/7/2007

    What you describe is the old ways of defining human races using common biological characteristics like skin color, contour of the eyes etc. In the present time we are well over this kind of definition, which of course created a lot of confusions, we have a more precise genetic definition. There is no reason to try to justify Sally Gees' sleazy and racist behavior!
    When I lived in Israel I voted for tyhe party of Shulamit Alony (the precursor of the left wing Meretz party headed by Yossi Beilin). Being, as a good Jew, in the business of making money to the USA and the move helped in opening my eyes. I am now a David Horowitz style convert. I am still a socialist (what Americans call liberal) on social issues but a real hawk on external policies and on Israel security issues. I am an atheist but I believe god (good old defense) exists and is called IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in which I served as a soldier and I am very proud of it.

    omar ibrahim baker - 12/7/2007

    Zionist Racism or Racist Zionism, both being of equal validity and applicability in that “racism” and “racist” are , intrinsic qualification ,inborn with Zionism and is its sine quo non and its raison d’etre.
    As with all “racisms” Zionism has the three major distinctive components that mark them all:
    -The commonly shared feeling between the members, a majority or sometimes a minority, of a community, religious or otherwise, a nation, a “race”, an ethnicity etc that it together with its distinctive (UNIQUENESS) form a whole “identity” distinct from the rest of humanity.
    -That that distinctiveness, uniqueness, endows it with certain privileges , prerogatives, extra rights or rather “super rights” , not allowed others, all of which being born out or resulting in an inferiority or, mostly and invariably, a superiority complex .
    -The resulting feeling, always manifested in a certain BEHAVIOUR/outlook and several intrinsically immoral and universally rejected practices, that being “special” with “extra rights” not only empowers them to conduct themselves the way they do, invariably unethically and contrary to the laws of natural and universal justice, but an equally shared conviction, within that community/race/ethnicity, that that ,its behaviour .and those practices , for the single reason that THEY, IT, were behind them, are, consequently moral and legitimate!
    This behaviour and the special privileges and crimes that go with it , and in an attempt to justify (?) it, is mostly attributed to the special Mission entrusted to that presumed unique entity.( to maintain Aryan or White purity or to colonize “the promised land” for the sole benefit of “the chosen people”)

    Modern times have witnessed several “racisms” notably Nazi, Afrikaner, (Southern) US
    and Zionism.
    Nazism founded its “racism” on the presumed ethnic exclusivity, uniqueness, and hence in born superiority, of the ARYAN race, as distinct from other races, and allowed itself to behave in the most atrocious manner towards all other ethnicities, real and presumed alike.
    Both Afrikaner and US (Southern) racisms were founded on the presumed exclusivity and/or uniqueness, and hence inborn alleged superiority, of the WHITE race as distinct from other, mainly, “coloured” races allowed itself many heinous practices.
    Both “Aryan ”Nazism and Afrikaner and US White racism lost their cause in due course as a result of military /militant action, international universal rejection of and hostility to their absurd racist claims and an eventual realization within “their own community” of , at best, its absurdity and ,at worst, of its nonviability and counter productivity.

    Zionism, manifested by Zionist Israel, still maintains its absurd racist claim of:
    -special prerogatives
    -Entitlement to atrocious, counter human, anti legal actions and practices.

    Zionist racism has its roots in the unique, as compared to other monotheistic religions, Jewish belief that the Jewish religious community is particular to the Jews, being, until recently but mostly except for some of its “liberal” offshoots, averse to spreading the faith and the enlargement of the community through missionary and other action (wanting to keep it to keep it to themselves)
    the equally absurd belief in ,of a common ethnic provenance/origin..
    Both of these attributes are manifested in the particularly ODD Jewish belief that to be a Jew , according to the predominant conservative Judaism, one must be BORN out of a Jewish woman!
    Thus insuring the non admission of others, the nonproliferation of the uniquely selective faith, AND the blood, ethnic, racial/racist continuity i.e. “ blood purity” of new incomers into the faith.

    To maintain both fantasies the Jewish conservative establishment worked endlessly and feverishly to combat other history or views on the subject,
    The late Arthur Koestler, a Jew of Hungarian decent (?) was fiercely attacked and ostracized by the Jewish conservative establishment, the then and present pre dominant influence, for writing and publishing a book, in the early fifties (?), “claiming”, according to said establishment, and “proving/demonstrating”, according to the rest of the world, that the majority of East European Jews, being the majority of all Jews at the time, were converted into Judaism and were NOT Born from JEWISH WOWEN. Thus negating both claims of uniqueness (exclusivity of the Jewish faith) and distinct ethnic/racial provenance through the mother’s, not father’s, ” blood”; both being major underpinnings of the Jewish/Zionist claim on Palestine

    (The topical relevance of the both the book and the fierce opposition to its hypothesis is best understood in the light of the Jewish claim on Palestine.)

    The presumed uniqueness and exclusivity of the Jews, for Zionist racism to hold and employ better, had to have a theoretical underpinning/justification of the EXCLUSIVITY of its community, the Jews of the world; this was readily found in the absurd, and extensively held, claim of being God’s “chosen People” with all the privileges, prerogatives and extra rights (denied others) and practices that accompany it.

    As with all “racisms” the BEHAVIOUR and practices of Zionist racism witnessed and was noted , was /IS characterized by some of the ugliest practices and ongoing policies of modern times.
    The BEHAVIOUR of Zionist racism was characterized by the arrogant , self righteous and self induced and self centered , blind and blindness inducing belief in presumed Jewish extra rights and privileges to colonize a land from which they have been substantially absent for the last 20 centuries regardless of the fact, that it has been ,ever since , inhabited and populated by an indigenous native population of another human community and irrespective of the consequences of such a colonialist enterprise on the lives, well being and fortune of indigenous people that still inhabited it , the region and the world.
    This BEHAVIOUR, attitude, was manifested in some of the least human, most immoral and least legitimate practices of modern times.
    These practices included but are not limited to:
    -The dislocation
    -Dispossession and
    -The Disfranchisement and Subjugation of an indigenous people, the Palestinian Arab people, in their homeland and supplanting them with persons, the Jews, selected, “franchised” and gathered on a purely declared and avowed RACIST basis.

    -The Denial of displaced, during war activities, Palestinians their inalienable human right to RETURN to their homeland and the repossession of their legal properties.

    -The ongoing denial of Palestinians, resident in their homeland, their right to freedom and liberation by the ongoing occupation of their homeland.

    -The ongoing de jure and defacto expropriation and annexation of Palestinian lands.

    (to name only a few of Zionist/Israeli practices that ensued from an unshakable RACIST ZIONIST doctrine and outlook on human affairs.)

    Of the unholy trio of recent racisms two, the ARYAN and WHITE based , are now of the past darker times.
    The sole survival, active and as destructive and aggressive as ever, is the equally ugly and equally pernicious ZIONIST Racism manifested daily in Israeli policies, practices and overall behaviour of aggression and constant denial of basic human rights.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/6/2007

    I would answer your new arguments point by point, but alas, you continue to sway the attention from the main focus of the article discussed (and yours!) that no resolution of the conflict and even no talks make sense (that's what the author of the article stated), until Palestinians/Arabs call Israel Jewish state.
    I (to be exact - the history) showed that the major causes of the conflict are in the roots (not in the name game) to which I dedicated the most space in my last comments.
    Unless someone proves operating by the most relevant historical facts and their logic, as I briefly did there, that those are not the major causes of the conflict, but the name of Israel is,
    there is really nothing to talk about, since the debate loses its grounding.
    However, if someone is more interested in the practical resolution of the conflict in its current state, I still maintain my old position, which I expressed on numerous occasions that unless, on one side, Israel
    return the status of free city to Jerasulem, returns to its 1967's borders, eliminates ALL jewish settlements on the previously occupied territories, allow the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to its native lands, and
    on the other side, Palestinians/ Arabs stop organized terrorist activity, create their own Palestinian state, officially recognize the right of state of Israel to exist and its sovereignity within the borders before 1967, there is really little, if any, to talk about. There is, of course, the third side of the story: the USA and the rest of the world.
    This country in close cooperation (not confrontation) with Europe, Russia, and China can make everything
    indicated above happen, if ... it really wants to. But the last "if" is the huge one...

    N. Friedman - 12/6/2007

    Mr. Mutik,

    Bernard Lewis correctly notes in a fairly recent edition of his fairly early book The Arabs in History that the meaning of the word "race" has changed over time. In particular, the word at one time encompassed a meaning that would include what we might, today, call ethnicity or nationality. Hence, he re-wrote portions of his book, not only to take into consideration new information and criticisms of his general approach but also to remove uses of the word "race" which no longer mean what the word is understood to mean today.

    I might note that one might read other books that pre-date the 1970's which use the word "race" differently than we would use the word today. In this regard, I would note - since they are still works worth reading today - particularly the book The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill in which the various European nationalities are referred to as different races and the book Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau which does much of the same.

    One other change that has been removed from the term "race" but which fits the earlier usage is that the different "races" - used by me in this instance to refer to what we might call nationalities - were thought to have different characteristics that relate to their respective races. Today, we would write that such nationalities come under specific cultural, religious, political, etc., etc., forces.

    I note this point also to comment, for you, regarding the direction that Ms. Gee seems to have in mind relative to Arnold's comment. Ms. Gee is one who calls Zionists by the name "Nazi" (e.g. she writes: "Zionism as the most direct contemporary expression of Nazism."). That is far beyond what our buddy Omar claims. In any event, there is an argument taken up by some Anti-Zionists that plays on the use of the word "race" that appears in the writings of the early Zionists, as it appears in the writings of pretty much everyone else during that period - even in the writings of Marx and Engels (e.g. The Communist Manifesto, which refers to the proletariat as a "race" in this statement: "Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race.") One might also note that such is a deceptive argument, since it manipulates the word "race" by employing today's meaning and without carefully examining what the early Zionists had in mind.

    N. Friedman - 12/6/2007


    (#116301) appears at http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=116301&;bheaders=1#116301

    N. Friedman - 12/6/2007


    I gather that you do not dispute my facts and/or have no facts that refute my assertions in my post, namely, Re: Arnold, you ought to read your comment before posting it (#116301) by N. Friedman on December 5, 2007 at 12:50 AM.

    Sally Gee - 12/6/2007

    OK, Arnold, but I can't help feeling that strengthens the case for a racially diverse and universal Caliphate which seems to be the essential objective of the Islamists.

    I can see the logic underpinning the demand for the integrity of state, territory and racial group - although as a member of a racially and culturally diverse community I do not accept it - but I cannot see the logic (other than that commonly associated with lots of footstamping and threats to hold one's breath if Mummy doesn't do as she is told) behind acceptance of the claims made by a "racially diverse ethnic group" to someone else's territory. By definition, some members of an ethnically defined group will have had no predecessors with any historical physical contact to the territory that is claimed.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/5/2007

    Thanks , but I meant what I wrote:
    "ethnic group".

    N. Friedman - 12/5/2007

    Ms. Gee,

    Arnold usually chooses the words he actually means. I rather doubt he meant "racial."

    In any event, he is a grown up with whom it is possible to have an intelligent conversation. If he has chosen the wrong words, he will correct himself.

    A. M. Eckstein - 12/5/2007

    Mr. Mutik, I totally agree.

    Now, a RACIST act would be the intentional murder of, say, any Jews you just happen to see (young, old, men, women, children, no matter what their political stance might be, it doesn't matter)--you know, like Palestinian suicide-bombers.

    And to see the Nazi ideology behind such Palestinian conduct, just google-image "Hamas + Salute" or "Fatah + Salute" or "Hezbollah + Salute". Gee, guess what you'll find?

    Joseph Mutik - 12/5/2007

    1) ethnic group = people who share a distinctive culture
    2) racial group = people genetically related
    I don't know about Arnold's English but mine isn't the first language. Even for a non native speaker of English the distinction between "ethnic" and "racial" is very clear. The Jews are a racially diverse ethnic group.
    The sleazy attempt to replace "ethnic" with "racial" is pure and simple hate!

    Sally Gee - 12/5/2007

    I think when Arnold says "ethnic group" he really means "racial group", a term which would seem to fit Zionism's perverse 19th century ideology much more closely.

    N. Friedman - 12/5/2007


    Not to be picayune but I answered your exact assertion and refuted it. Your exact assertion was: The issue, in discussion, however, is not which ethnic group comprises numerical majority or minority, agreed upon by everyone on this board, but whether it is appropriate for a democratic and civilised state (as Israel is claimed to be) to add the nationality/ethnicity to its official name.

    Note: You have added a new qualification. You claim that it is OK to do so if the state is long standing. You now assert: The fact that the names are the derivatives of the ethnical majority is the direct consequence of the same reasons - long history and tradition.

    So, you have added something new.

    But what you now add is not true. Italy is a very new country. So is Germany. And, they chose to pick the name of the dominant ethnic group on such lands - and that population was not a constant over time. Which is to say, what you assert is incorrect.

    You also claim that Israel was created on land that was primarily Arab in character. In response, I guess that is one of those things that happens. My recollection is that Gdansk once had a fairly German character. That changed, as such things change all over the world.

    For example, Greece - also a fairly recent country which has a name from antiquity (like Israel does) but which did not exist as a country until the 19th Century - had a Muslim character since about the 14th Century. The Muslims, however, were driven out by (i.e. millions of refugees were created) the Christians who called the country they created by the name Greece. If memory serves me correctly, a good number of these refugees call themselves "Palestinians." Why? Because the Ottoman Empire resettled Muslim refugees in what is now Northern Israel.

    Why not apply your picayune formula to Greece, Arnold? The same sort of issues arise as with Israel. And, you will note that Turks often call Greece European Turkey. And, if we go by history, they are correct.

    And by the way, Arnold, a good number of "Greeks" were immigrants from Europe who inspired Christians to drive out the Muslims in what is today called Greece. And, in fact, the division between Greek and Turk is religion, not ethnicity.

    As for Israel's ethnic makeup, I was not aware that societies are museums. Is your goal to preserve Arab society in its current state? Why should Arabs receive preferences that do not exist elsewhere?

    Look at Korea today. It has rapidly taken on a Western character. Why is that ok for Koreans but not Arabs?

    And, what is wrong with people immigrating? That is the norm in history.

    I do not see how Jews migrating to what is now Israel is different from the many millions of Muslims who have migrated to Europe - with Europeans never having been asked whether they wanted such people. Such people are changing Europe's character and, in large measure, against the will of most Europeans. But again: civilizations are not museums.

    How are these cases any different Arnold? And, if, in due course, Europeans and Muslims in Europe cannot find a way to get along - which, if current trends continue, is certainly a good possibility -, there will be national divisions that form in Europe based on religion - just as has occurred in Europe in the past.

    So, it seems to me that what you are doing is creating a special class for Jewish migrants. I trust, knowing your background, that such is the result of having received incorrect or, politically undesired, information.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/4/2007

    <Well, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, China, Japan, Korea, etc., etc. include a nationality and/or ethnicity to their official names.>
    First of all, I would like to return the "compliment": you, Mr. Friedman, ought to read your comment before posting it; there is no such a grammatical construct as <include to>. However, this writing slip is very well understood in Freudian sense: you just so desperately wanted <include to> to exist..., 'cause it existence, in the meaning it was applied to, would validate the point suggested by you.
    Alas, it does not, and therefore all
    your examples show is the historically formed and accepted by the world community names of those countries. The fact that the names are the derivatives of the ethnical majority is the direct consequence of the same reasons - long history and tradition.
    The real situation regarding the state of Israel is, however, quite different and contravercial.
    The state of Israel was created rather recently, in modern era, so speak. It was created on the lands
    occupied primarily by Arabs/Palestinians who lived there before 1948 for thousands of years, and therefore, absolutely justifiably, considered themselves
    the real owners/habitants of the lands. It was created against the expressed will of those people at the time. Not only that, but Arabs and Jews were both
    deeply - I would say - fanatically religious ethnic groups, preaching
    vastly different (though as intolerant as any other "Great" Religions) and competing religious views. Thirdly, the majority of the
    Jewish newcomers - European immigrants carried also vastly different cultural and social(European) traditions with them onto their new habitat. Thus, the Arab/Jewish conflict was actually hereditary syndrome of the new-born
    child - state of Israel; it was designed to happen in one form or another, but mostly probably as
    bloody and continious conflict.
    The same thing done even in the most democratic and free country in the
    world against the will of its majority (plus the exraneous circumstances mentioned above) would certainly precipitate a real disaster (as it did happen in the USA, e.g., in regard to its native population.)
    So, there is no surprise here, and definitely no name game involved, either.
    The rest were the consequences (though, addmitedly, not all of them had been destined to happen) of the
    ill beginnings.

    N. Friedman - 12/4/2007


    You write: "The issue, in discussion, however, is not which ethnic group comprises numerical majority or minority, agreed upon by everyone on this board, but whether it is appropriate for a democratic and civilised state (as Israel is claimed to be) to add the nationality/ethnicity to its official name."

    Well, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, China, Japan, Korea, etc., etc. include a nationality and/or ethnicity to their official names. Last I noticed, the main group in all those countries and the name of the countries match. I do not see how that is different from Israel. No doubt, Arnold, you can explain the difference.

    As for being called the "Jewish state," I think you will find that if you google that term, newspapers and governments very frequently refer to Israel as the "Jewish state."

    With due respect also to your understanding of the dispute regarding Israel, the reason Israel insists on being accepted as a Jewish state is that such acceptance would mean the end of the conflict with Arabs. After all, why is it so important to the Arab side to reject that when all the Arab states officially define themselves as Muslim states? It is just words, in a sense.

    But, there really is a reason for rejecting it on the Arab side. It is that the Arab side, as a substantial body of evidence shows, does not accept Jews controlling any state, much less Israel. And that is due, in part, to Islamic theology and, in part, to the school of Christian theology that is common in the region - i.e. neo-Marcion Palestinian Replacement Theology.

    So, from the Israeli point of view, the issue is a test of whether there really is room to settle the dispute for good or whether there is only room for the creation of an armistice.

    A. M. Eckstein - 12/3/2007

    Sally Gee:

    The Palestinian refugee situation may be tragic but it is not unique in origin, it is not unique in suffering nor in scale. The only thing that is unique is blaming the Jews over and over again as if this situation WERE unique. And blaming the Jews when the situation is not unique is a sign of anti-semitism--according to the EU.

    There were numerous population exchanges and displacements at the end of WWII and during decolonization:

    1. About ten million Germans had to flee their centuries-old homes in eastern Europe in 1945. A million died; another million were raped. They were not welcomed in western Germany, and there was much much suffering. Some Eastern European is enjoying those Germans' property as we speak. None of these Germans or their descendants is blowing up discos in Danzig.

    2. About seven million Hindus had to flee from what became Pakistan (and an equal number of Muslims fled from India). Some Muslim is enjoying these Hindus' property as we speak. No Hindus are blowing up schoolyards filled with students in Islamabad.

    3. The number of Palestinian refugees resulting from the Nakbah of 1948 is about 750,000. Bernard Lewis is right: the number of Jewish refugees expelled from Muslim states between 1948 and 1960 was LARGER: about 850,000. These Jews were forced to leave everything behind (uncompensated). Some Muslim is enjoying these Jews' property even as we speak (perhaps this illegally-seized property could be a source of compensation for the Palestinians!). None of these Jews or their descendants is blowing up supermarkets in Marakesh or Aden.

    4. About 300,000 Greeks were intentionally forced from Egypt by the Nasser government policies 1953 and 1960--in order to Egyptianize and Muslimize Egypt; this is an example of conscious ethnic and religious cleansing to the max. Most of these Greeks had come to Egypt in the early 19th century; but some had been in Egypt for 2,300 years. The refugees weren't happy, nor was it easy for them to assimilate where they ended up: there was much suffering and trauma. They had to leave everything behind (uncompensated); some Muslim is enjoying their property as we speak. No one speaks about this at the UN. And no Greeks are blowing up buses in Cairo.

    5. Millions of Greeks were forced from western Turkey in 1922; the ethnic cleansing of Greeks by the Turkish government went on as late as 1955 in the area called "Pontus" on the south coast of the Black Sea; this was conscious govt ethnic and religious cleansing to the max. there was much suffering and trauma and the Greek refugees remain bitter and when a Greek "Pontic" refugee girl won a gold medal in the Olympics in 1992 the bitterness in Greece was very public. None of these Greeks or their descendants is blowing up restaurants in Ankara.

    6. About 50,000 Hindu Indians were driven from Uganda in 1972 by Idi Amin in a program of ethnic and religious cleansing. Their property was confiscated (uncompensated). Someone designated by Idi Amin and his successors as an "African" is enjoying these Hindus' property even as we speak. None of these Hindus or their descendants are intentionally shooting rockets at civilians in Uganda.

    When I pointed out these parallel tragedies to a Muslim, and these parallel "thefts", and the lack of terrorism on the part of the victims, his response is revealing: "None of these people is as honorable as the Palestinians are."

    I wish I was making up this psychologically revealing story. I assure you that, unfortunately, I am not.

    Sally Gee - 12/3/2007

    Well, why don't we just call it Palestine as a prelude to giving the land back to the Palestinian people?

    Joseph Mutik - 12/3/2007

    The problem is singling out the Jews (and Israel).

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/2/2007

    Well, you "Spaniard" and "Turkish" examples just tell us, as you explicitly did yourself that Basks
    and Kurds are minorities in those countries, repsectively - nothing more mothing less.
    The issue, in discussion, however, is not which ethnic group comprises
    numerical majority or minority, agreed upon by everyone on this board, but whether it is appropriate for a democratic and civilised state (as Israel is claimed to be) to add the nationality/ethnicity to its official name. Neither Spain is called itself officially Spanish state, nor Turkey - Turkish state (no pun intended). So why is it insisted by Israel, which also does
    have other ethnic groups among its population to be officially accepted as Jewish state, not just as the state of Israel, as the world knows it?
    This has nothing to do with anti-semitism, which you sir, as it is apparent from all your numerous comments on other topics see everywhere and in every disagreement
    expressed by non-Jews and Jews with the policies of the state of Israel.
    Haven't you still realized that by emanating such vicious intolerance to everyone that have different with you views on the "Jewish" issues give the other Jews bad name, as well as to you?

    Sally Gee - 12/2/2007

    An acceptance of grim reality is rarely symptomatic of a mental disorder whereas to pretend it is....? Now that's truly sick.

    Joseph Mutik - 12/1/2007

    Try a shrink, blaming the Jews is no help! Calling the Jews, Nazis, it's a sign of mental disorder. Please get some help!

    Sally Gee - 12/1/2007

    So, let's concede that Joseph is right and the "Jews are a Nation". This does not give them a right to displace the Paletinians on Palestinian soil, nor the right to create a Jewish State on Palestinian soil. That was, and is, the result of a quirk of the balance of America's strength in the United Nations since its formation, and nothing more.

    For the record, Zionism, like Nazism which it so uncomfortably resembles in almost every meaningful way, is a vile relic of 18th century Central Euopean nationalism which asserts the right of the Jews, as a racial group, to self determination, and the result of this self determination is the Jewish State named Israel on the land of the Palestinian people

    Joseph Mutik - 12/1/2007

    The Jews are a Nation! The religion expressed for about 2000 years what is common to the group of people called Jews and for this period of time replaced the destroyed Nation State of the Jews. To the dismay of the Jew haters not all the Jews died in the ovens and since 1948 the Jews have a country called Israel. Israel has an Arab minority but but Israel is the state of the Jews, the same as the state of the Turks with a Kurdish minority, the state of the Spaniards with a Basque minority (the same about the state of the French). The list of states belonging to a nation and in the same having minorities is very long.
    The Jew haters, as always, blame the Jews for everything and deny the Jews anything that's normal for other nations.
    For the record Zionism is the right of the Jews to self determination and the result of this self determination is the Jewish State named Israel.

    omar ibrahim baker - 12/1/2007

    In many ways Israel is a forerunner and a pioneer in its incessant perversion of values and "civilized" modes of behaviour!
    Israel is the first and only nation /state in modern, all?, times to:
    *** claim being a democratic state while continuously maintaining, upholding and practicing an unmistakable and unequivocal racial/racist policy (Israeli Law of Return.)
    ***refuse to delineate its borders, or point out what it presumes, it demands to be its borders while continuously encroaching on neighbouring lands and annexing it de facto (the Settlements, west of Wall) and de jure (Jerusalem and surrounding)
    *** Practically always , and at times officialy, designate a major portion of its inhabitants ( the Arabs in 1956 and 1973) as hostile "citizens" and aliens in a country they, as a cultural/ethnicity, have been dwelling much before the majority of its other, mostly newcomer, "citizens".
    *** refusing to allow that portion of the indigenous population of the land that has moved during war time to return to their native land and repossess their legitimate properties
    *** supplanting those who moved away during war time by aliens of all nationalities selected on a strict confessional/racial RACIST basis.

    Now the "Democratic" state of Israel is embarking on a new "first ": to designate itself, and win official international approval and recognition, as a country with an everlasting, permanent, unchanging cultural/confessional/racist identity: as a JEWISH state.

    Considering that Israel's presently has some 20-25 % of its "citizens" definitely NOT JEWISH , by any standard, plus some 3.5 million non JEWS dwelling in the land it controls and covets and is increasingly annexing ; what does that desire imply and fore tell?

    It could foretell any of the following measures:

    a-Denying all present and/or future non Jewish inhabitants? Dwellers? Citizens? ( of a geographically undefined but expanding Israel) Israeli citizenship.

    B-Imposing a strict birth control regime (absolute or no more than….. a la china method) on all non Jews living in an undefined Israel.

    C-Ceding, geographically dispossessing and withdrawing from that part or parts of its, UNDEFINED, land domain which has a considerable non Jewish plurality

    D-Deporting by forced expulsion all non Jews from its present, always UNDEFINED, land domain.

    (There is no worry about new incomers since ONLY Jews are admitted according to Israel's strict admission racist policy.)

    Judging by historical precedent, the virtual existential impasse it confronts and its Zionist ideology and methodology Israel will most probably attempt, revert to, the ethnic cleansing policies and practices that has served her well in the past.
    However this the year 2007 NOT 1948 !

    Arnold Shcherban - 11/30/2007

    Don't you have any doubts, Lorraine, about their complete knowledge of the reason(s) they do that.
    They do it continously and intentionally, exactly because they are not "fools", but... deliberate liers and disinformers, besides of being racist.
    It's just the old story of the thief
    yelling "Hold the thief".
    As far the Pipes' trick is concerned, he, as if out of wrong interpretation, but actually with insidious intention, confuse the nationality with religion.
    No democratic and civilized country in the world is named after the main
    religion its citizenry preach (and everyone who knows the works of Daniil Pipes is aware that he unequivocally states that Israel is perfectly democratic
    and civilized state.)
    The examples to justification of calling Israel Jewish state Pipes
    offers don't stand even cursory
    Regardless of what the laws of Argentina or Great Britain or Greece mandates or what church their political and religious leaders belong to, neither Argentina, nor UK, nor Greece (as states) require other countries to recognize them as Roman Catholic Argentina, or
    Church of England United Kingdom, or
    Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ, respectively.
    So why making the religious part of the multienthnic country's name a central issue, essentually the blocking stone, on the way to negotiations? Everyone knows that the official religion of the state of Israel is Judaism, Jewish being
    just an ethnical definition.
    So, why Argentinians are called Argentinians, not Catholic Argentinains, and British are called British, not Church of England British, etc., but Israelis should be called Israeli Jewish? What about
    Palestinians living on the Israel's legal territory, how are they supposed to be called: Palestinian Jewish?

    Lorraine Paul - 11/30/2007

    Why does Pipes specify 'Jewish' state instead of 'Semitic' state? After all, according to Pipes and others, if one criticises Israeli policy and brutal actions towards the Palestinian refugees as 'anti-Semitic'.

    It is usually the same fools who describe those who criticise the US government's foreign policies as 'anti-American'!

    Well, we all know why they do it. However, one cannot help wondering if they know why they do it.

    Sally Gee - 11/30/2007

    "Demography: Palestinians could overwhelm the Jewish population of Israel, a goal signaled by their demand for a "right of return" and by their so-called war of the womb.

    "Politics: Arabs citizens of Israel increasingly reject the country's Jewish nature and demand that it become a bi-national state."

    Same old points, same improbable solutions. A Jewish state, steeped in Arab blood and free to wreak havoc, or a bi-national state in which Jews live alongside Palestinians? I know what you prefer; I know what I prefer; and I know which one the rest of the world prefers of the two.