Israel Palestine Infos
June 18, 2011
I AM fed up with all this
nonsense about recognizing
It is based on a collection of hollow phrases and vague definitions, devoid of any real content. It serves many different purposes, almost all of them malign.
Binyamin Netanyahu uses it as a trick to obstruct the establishment of the Palestinian state. This week he declared that the conflict just has no solution. Why? Because the Palestinians do not agree to recognize etc. etc.
Four rightist Members of the Knesset have just submitted a bill empowering the government to refuse to register new NGOs and to dissolve existing ones if they “deny the Jewish character of the state”.
This new bill is only one of a series designed to curtail the civil rights of Arab citizens, as well as those of leftists.
If the late Dr. Samuel
Johnson were living in present-day
IN ISRAELI parlance,
denying the “Jewish Character” of the state is tantamount to the worst of all
political felonies: to claim that
To a foreigner, this may
sound a bit weird. In a democracy, the state clearly belongs to all its
citizens. Mention this in the
As a matter of fact,
WHAT FORMULA? - one may well ask.
The courts favor the words “Jewish and democratic state”. But that is far from being the only definition around.
The most widely used is
just “Jewish State”. But that is not enough for Netanyahu and
The one thing that all
these brand-names have in common is that they are perfectly imprecise. What does
“Jewish” mean? A nationality, a religion, a tribe? Who are the “Jewish people”?
Or, even more vague, the “Jewish nation”? Does this include the Congressmen who
enact the laws of the
The courts have been wrestling with the question: where is the border between “Jewish” and “democratic”? What does “democratic” mean in this context? Can a “Jewish” state really be “democratic”, or, for that matter, can a “democratic” state really be “Jewish”? All the answers given by learned judges and renowned professors are contrived, or, as we say in Hebrew, they “stand on chickens’ legs”.
LETS GO back to the beginning: the book written in German by Theodor Herzl, the founding father of Zionism, and published in 1896. He called it “Der Judenstaat”.
Unfortunately, this is a typical German word that is untranslatable. It is generally rendered in English as “The Jewish State” or “The State of the Jews”. Both are quite false. The nearest approximation would be “The Jewstate”.
If this sounds slightly anti-Semitic, this is not by accident. It may come as a shock to many, but the word was not invented by Herzl. It was first used by a Prussian nobleman with an impressive name - Friedrich August Ludwig von der Marwitz, - who died 23 years before Herzl was even born. He was a dedicated anti-Semite long before another German invented the term “anti-Semitism” as an expression of the healthy German spirit.
ultra-conservative general, objected to the liberal reforms proposed at the
time. In 1811 he warned that these reforms would turn
Herzl himself did not
dream of a state that belongs to all the Jews in the world. Quite the contrary -
his vision was that all real Jews would go to the Judenstaat (whether in
Far, far indeed from the notion of a “nation-state of the Jewish people” as envisioned by many of today’s Zionists, including those millions who do not dream of immigrating to Israel.
WHEN I was a boy, I took
part in dozens of demonstrations against the British government of
That was quite natural.
Without anyone decreeing it, we made a clear distinction between us
Hebrew-speaking people in
For us this was not
anti-Zionist by any means. Quite the contrary: Zionism wanted to create an
old-new nation in Eretz
So how did the formula
“Jewish State” creep in? In
Every word was carefully
chosen, after months of negotiations with Zionist leaders. One of the main
British objects was to win American and Russian Jews for the Allied cause.
(By the way, the British
rejected the words “the turning of
IN 1947 the UN did decide
The advocates of the
“Jewish state” make much of the sentence in the “Declaration of the
Establishment of the State of
This sentence says nothing at all about the character of the new state, and the context is purely formal.
One of the paragraphs of the declaration (in its original Hebrew version) speaks about the “Hebrew people”: “We extend our hands to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the independent Hebrew people in its land.” This sentence is blatantly falsified in the official English translation, which changed the last words into “the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land.”
As a matter of fact, it would have been quite impossible to reach agreement on any ideological formula, since the declaration was signed by the leaders of all factions, from the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox to the Moscow-oriented Communist Party.
ANY TALK about the Jewish State leads inevitably to the question: What are the Jews – a nation or a religion?
Official Israeli doctrine says that “Jewish” is both a national and a religious definition. The Jewish collective, unlike any other, is both national and religious. With us, nation and religion are one and the same.
The only door of entry to this collective is religious. There is no national door.
Hundreds of thousands of
non-Jewish Russian immigrants have come to
It is extremely difficult
to be converted in
We have an ongoing battle
about this in
But how, in God’s name (sorry), does this concern the Palestinians? Or the Icelanders, for that matter?
THE DEMAND that the
As the British would put it, it’s none of their bloody business. It would be tantamount to an intervention in the internal affairs of another country.
But a friend of mine has
suggested a simple way out: the Knesset can simply resolve to change the name of
the state into something like “The Jewish
This would also bring
Many Israelis would be shocked by the comparison. What, us? Similar to a theocratic state? Are we getting closer to the Pakistani model and further from the American one?
What the hell, let’s simply deny it!