February 19, 2007


Undemocratic demography: Ensuring Jewish majority via human rights violations could de-legitimize Zionism (M. Cohen-Eliya, G. Stopler, 02.16.07, YNet News)

The fear of losing the Jewish majority in Israel has played a major role in the thinking behind the country's future when it comes to the disengagement plan, amendments to the Citizenship Law, the Lieberman plan for trading territory, and the activity of the National Demographic Council.

The desire to guarantee the majority does not necessarily contradict liberal principles of humanism and human rights.

Many national groups present a legitimate demand to realize their right for self-determination through a majority in their own country. This requirement is particularly strong in Israel in light of the Middle-East conflict. It is clear that failing to maintain a Jewish majority would lead, under current circumstances, to a substantive threat to the personal security of Jews in Israel.

However, the State of Israel is not only "Jewish," but rather, also "democratic." Therefore, it must balance these legitimate aims with human rights.

Facing Mecca (Uri Avnery, 19 February, 2007, Gush Shalom)
The United States does not give a damn if anybody recognizes its right to exist or not. It does not demand this from the countries with which it maintains relations.

Why? Because this is a ridiculous demand to start with.

OK, the United States is older than the State of Israel, as well as bigger and more powerful. But countries that are not super-powers do not demand this either. India, for example, is not expected to recognize Pakistan's "right to exist", in spite of the fact that Pakistan was established at the same time as Israel, and--like Israel--on an ethnic/religious basis.

SO WHY is Hamas required to "recognize Israel's right to exist"?

When a state "recognizes" another state, it is a formal recognition, the acknowledgement of an existing fact. It does not imply approval. The Soviet Union was not required to recognize the existence of the USA as a capitalist state. On the contrary, Nikita Khrushchev promised in 1956 to "bury" it. The US certainly did not dream of recognizing at any time the right of the Soviet Union to exist as a communist state.

So why is this weird demand addressed to the Palestinians? Why must they recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State?

I am an Israeli patriot, and I do not feel that I need anybody's recognition of the right of my state to exist. If somebody is ready to make peace with me, within borders and on conditions agreed upon in negotiations, that is quite enough for me. I am prepared to leave the history, ideology and theology of the matter to the theologians, ideologues and historians.

Perhaps after 60 years of the existence of Israel, and after we have become a regional power, we are still so unsure of ourselves that we crave for constant assurance of our right to exist--and of all people, from those that we have been oppressing for the last 40 years. Perhaps it is the mentality of the Ghetto that is still so deeply ingrained in us.

Running with the jackals of hate: Prominent 'progressive' Jewish critics of Israel stake a false claim of victimhood (Jonathan Tobin, 2/19/07, www.JewishWorldReview.com

Sometimes, the most daring thing a scholar or an organization can do is to mention the obvious. That is a lesson that Indiana University's Professor Alvin H. Rosenfeld and the American Jewish Committee have recently learned to their sorrow.

Rosenfeld is the author of a 30-page study titled " 'Progressive' Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism," which was published in December by AJCommittee. In it Rosenfeld, briefly surveys the international rise of anti-Semitism and then goes on to touch on the various excesses of intellectual anti-Zionists with an emphasis on those leftist Jews who are important elements in the massive contemporary assault on Israel.

Rosenfeld's conclusion is that those Jewish writers and thinkers who have aided the assault on Israel's legitimacy and its right to exist cannot pretend that their stand is unrelated to the wave of violent Jew-hatred, which is itself largely focused on the delegitimization of Israel and Jewish self-defense. He rightly asserts that anti-Zionist Jewish authors such as British historian Jacqueline Rose, New York University's Tony Judt and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner have been carrying the intellectual water for a weird coalition of the far-left, the far-right, and the Arab and Islamic propagandists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2007 6:58 AM

So we're quoting Uri Avnery, eh?

Actually, Avnery does have a point. Israel shouldn't give a damn whether it gets recognition or not.

But what Avnery, whose Perversity Quotient (PQ) is right up there in the stratosphere, doesn't want to recognize (like his myriads of cohorts around the world) is that it's not a matter of recognition, not at all: Hamas, and the PA for that matter (along with Iran and Hizbullah) want to see Israel detroyed and are going about it in the best way they know how---or any way they see fit.

And Israel might want to give a damn about that---in spite of all kinds of advice from those advocating that peace can only be achieved if Israel agrees to its own dismemberment.

But then, denying that Palestinian ideology calls for the eradication of Israel seems to be all the rage amongst an amazing number of supposedly intelligent, humanist, progressive types.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 19, 2007 10:44 AM

As you say, his point is accurate.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2007 1:00 PM

The United States does not give a damn if anybody recognizes its right to exist or not...So why is this weird demand addressed to the Palestinians? Why must they recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State?

Well, because no one is strong enough to push the US into the sea, wipe it off the map; no one threatens to "return" to reclaim the land they previously occupied/ not occupied; no one uses that as a cause to suicide bomb Americans. If the Mexicans ever tried to forcibly reclaime American SW, the Americans will annihilate them. Thus, the US does not need the Mexicans to recognize its right to exist. Of course, the Mexicans don't mind emmigrating to the US and occupy it any way. The Americans don't mind as long as the Mexicans don't openly demand their land back.

Posted by: ic at February 19, 2007 2:07 PM

The Mexicans who come here occupy the land in the same way as we all do. All us Americans, I mean.

Posted by: erp at February 19, 2007 2:13 PM

Yes, his point is accurate, but it's grossly misleading and irrelevant, given the larger picture.

Of course, that just might be why some find it so appealing.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 19, 2007 4:07 PM

Yes, his point is accurate, everything being equal, but given the larger picture, it's grossly misleading and highly irrelevant.

Of course, that just might be why some find it so appealing.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 19, 2007 4:07 PM

People who find the truth misleading are generally just detached from reality.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2007 6:42 PM

There is no conflict between being Jewish and demographic. Israel can annex Judea and Samaria and remain both . Here's how.

Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterranean

Oslo Alternative

Posted by: Ted Belman at February 19, 2007 9:50 PM

Well, let's just say then that some like to tailor their truths more than others.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 20, 2007 7:06 AM

Truth fits. Lies need tailoring.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2007 7:29 AM