Sunday, March 22, 2015

Will Israel Remain a Democracy?...

Rational Nation USA
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Something conservative Israeli Jews and conservative Americans, Jewish and otherwise, ought to give serious consideration to. Dana Milbank makes powerful cogent and logical argument for a Palestinian State being in Israel's best interests. Mr. Milbank makes perhaps too much sense to be taken seriously by conservatives?

Eleven years ago, I carried my infant daughter into a synagogue basement and plunged her tiny body, head to toe, underwater.

She emerged sputtering and coughing, then wailing. The procedure, immersion in a Jewish ritual bath called a mikvah, felt barbaric. But it was for an important reason: Her mother isn’t Jewish, and by Jewish custom — and Israeli law — the faith is passed on by matrilineal descent, so I converted my daughter. Making sure she is Jewish in the eyes of the Jewish state gives me peace of mind. If the Gestapo ever comes again, she and her descendants will have a place to go. Just in case.

Such a threat seems unimaginable now. There probably never has been a better time or place to be a Jew than in 21st-century America. Yet there remains a deep sense of anxiety — some might say paranoia — hard-wired into Jews by centuries of persecution.

Israel, the Jewish state, is the antidote to this fear. The Law of Return, enacted by David Ben-Gurion’s government in 1950, guarantees Israeli citizenship to all Jews who move to Israel. This was meant to guarantee that Israel would remain Jewish (Palestinians, controversially, are not granted this right) but it also meant that, after the Holocaust, and thousands of years of wandering, there was finally a place to which all Jews could go, and defend ourselves, if nowhere else was safe.

This is why Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions on the eve of this week’s Israeli elections were so monstrous. In a successful bid to take votes from far-right parties, the prime minister vowed that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he’s in charge. It was an unmasking of sorts, revealing what many suspected all along: He had no interest in a two-state solution.

Netanyahu backed off that position after the election, assuring American news outlets NBC, NPR and Fox on Thursday that he still backs a two-state solution, in theory. His backtracking seemed nominal and insincere, but even that gesture is reassuring, for abandoning the idea of a Palestinian state will destroy the Jewish state just as surely, if not as swiftly, as an Iranian nuclear bomb.

This is a matter not of ideology but of arithmetic. Without a Palestinian state, Israel can be either a Jewish state or a democracy but not both. If it annexes the Palestinian territories and remains democratic, it will be split roughly evenly between Jews and Arabs; if it annexes the territories and suppresses the rights of Arabs, it ceases to be democratic.

There are roughly 4.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and another 1.4 million living inside Israel . That puts them in rough parity with Jews, who number just over 6 million. Higher Palestinian population growth and fertility rates indicate that Jews will be a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean in a few years.

Some right-wing outfits contest these numbers and try to make the dubious case that Israel can annex the Palestinian territories and still survive as a democratic Jewish state. Those were the type of voters Netanyahu was fishing for when he said before the election that he would not allow a Palestinian state — and when he warned on election day that “Arab voters are coming out in droves.” But in the end there can be no democratic Jewish state unless there is also a Palestinian state.

More BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

3 comments:

  1. Along similar lines as the Dana Milbank article, Fareed Zakaria makes an ethical and moral case is this op-ed,
    Israel’s threat from within:

    Right-wing Israeli politicians and their supporters often dismiss the plight of the Palestinians, pointing out that other ethnic groups — such as the Kurds — don’t have nations. But the Kurds are citizens of the countries in which they live — Turkey, Iraq, Iran. The Chechens may want to be independent, but for now they are full-fledged Russian citizens. Palestinians are virtually unique in the world in that they have neither a state of their own nor citizenship in the country where they live.

    Although most people think of Jews as a single self-identifying group, in actuality there is a cultural divide between several groups, the largest and most noteworthy being the Askenazim (meaning Jews of European origin) and the Sephardim (meaning Jews from the Middle East and North Africa).

    It was the genocide of European Jews that gave impetus for the founding of Israel. These Askenazim comprise the liberal factions favoring a two-state solution. In contrast, the Sephardim fill the ranks of far rightwing factions such as Likud and the ultra-orthodox parties. Please note the historical irony: The cultural descents of those who died in the Holocaust want peace through a two-state solution. The cultural descents of Jews unscathed by the Holocaust are militaristic neoconservatives who don't give a fig about human rights.

    ReplyDelete
  2. IMO, Israel's problem with their ultra orthodox (gov't funded conservative rabbis, many if not most of
    their followers funded by gov't welfare and none subject to the IDF draft is at least as critical as the
    Palestinian problem. While the ultra orthodox do well at the expense of the Israeli taxpayers, they
    consistently maintain arrogant power, particularly as regards to land grabs and settlements, as well
    as irritating the working Israeli sector with their anti-woman, anti-science anti-peace, anti-Arabic
    preaching. Until Israel itself comes to grips with that problem, instability will continue.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is not really any wonder why the Mid East is such a hot bed of radicalism. Religion at its core produces such outcome.

    And here in USA we have those that haven't made the connection and are advocating more theological influence in or governed.

    ReplyDelete

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