28 September '14..
The Washington Post has chosen the day of the Jewish New Year to publish one of the most disingenuous opinion pieces we’ve seen in a long time. While Patricia Marks Greenfield sounds eminently reasonable in calling for equal rights for all in Israel, she stops short of telling the reader what she is really calling for – the end of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
According to her:
In fact, Israel’s citizens, irrespective of their religion or ethnic background are equal in the eyes of the law. In addition, there are many countries around the world that have a state religion. Why should Israel, as the only state for the Jewish people, be singled out?it seems more important than ever to state two things clearly and forcefully: Israel is a full-fledged multiethnic, multireligious society, and it must provide equal legal and day-to-day treatment to all its citizens, no matter their ethnic or religious background. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those who are Arab or Ethiopian or whose religion is Muslim or Christian.
In this respect, Israel is out of step with much of the world. Over time, nations have become more ethnically and religiously diverse; populations have become more urban and educated; and economies have become more commercial. In response to these social and economic changes, many nations have left behind the notion of a favored state religion.
It is time for Israel to do the same. It must be a fully secular state.
But Marks Greenfield goes further:
Gaza and the West Bank must inevitably become part of Israel; there can be no two-state solution. And Israel must leave behind its official Jewish identity to acknowledge its multiethnic, multireligious character by providing equal treatment for all.
Having explicitly rejected a two-state solution, the call for Gaza and the West Bank to become part of an Israel without a Jewish identity is a call for a one-state solution.
And then this grotesque charge of racism:
Many Jewish Israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates among Arabs and Ethiopians mean that they will soon outnumber Jews of other national and racial origins.
While demographics are certainly a factor in ensuring a Jewish majority state, why does Marks Greenfield believe that many Jewish Israelis feel threatened by high birth rates among Israel’s Ethiopian population? While their absorption into mainstream Israeli society has not been without its issues, Israel can be rightly proud of its citizens of Ethiopian origin and the role that the country has played in bringing an entire community of African Jews to Israel. Is Marks Greenfield contending that Israelis are inherently racist towards people of color?
Marks Greenfield concludes:
If Gaza and the West Bank were truly part of Israel, and Israel were truly a multiethnic, secular society, there would be progress toward peace. The “right of return” championed by Arabs would have new meaning: It would no longer mean the transfer of Israeli land. Instead it would mean the opportunity to live in Israel as fully equal citizens, with all of the privileges from and obligations to the Israeli nation. Internal equality and external peace are two sides of the same coin.
But what does this really mean?
As HonestReporting has previously noted, Jewish Israelis aren’t opposed to a one-state solution due to a lack of interest in equal rights. To them, the one-state solution is unacceptable because:
- At its most basic level, the one-state solution denies the right of Jews to self-determination in their historical homeland and calls into question the very legitimacy of Israel as a state.
- A bi-national state would have the same consequence as the “right of return” – the negation of Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians, by virtue of a higher birthrate, would turn Jews into a minority before voting in favor of another Muslim Arab state in place of Israel.
- The one-state solution is therefore simply a thinly veiled strategy for destroying the State of Israel and questioning its right to exist. As Sol Stern and Fred Siegel have written in the New York Sun:
The “one state” solution is a euphemism for the destruction of the Jewish state – a trope of the most extreme rejectionist elements within the Palestinian movement and their allies in Syria and Iran. Terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah want to create an Islamic Republic in place of Israel.
Alan Dershowitz has stated in the past:
The one-state solution proposal now being made by Palestinian lawyers and some anti-Israel academics is nothing more than a ploy. It is designed to destroy the Jewish state of Israel and to substitute another Islamic Arab state. Those who advocate the single state solution would never do so with regard to India, the former Yugoslavia, or other previously united states which have now been divided on ethnic or religious grounds.
On a practical level, a one-state solution is simply unworkable. As Palestinian columnist Ray Hanania writes:
the two-state solution will always be the only option because the premise of “one state” where Christians, Muslims and Jews can live side-by-side and with equality, is fundamentally flawed.It is a fallacy that can never be achieved not just because Israelis won’t support it. The Arab and Islamic World don’t practice it. Exactly where do Jews and Christians live in the Islamic World today side-by-side with equality? We don’t even live side-by-side with equality in the Palestinian Diaspora.
- The one-state solution is also proposed by those who refer to Israel as an “apartheid” state. Drawing upon this comparison, the example of post-apartheid South Africa is held up as a model for a bi-national Israeli-Palestinian state. However, former anti-apartheid activist Benjamin Pogrund explains in detail, examining issues of economy, religion, third-party intervention, political culture, violence and leadership, why the South African model does not fit the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
- Ethnically mixed states such as Yugoslavia demonstrate what can happen when competing nationalities are artificially brought together under one flag. The current conflicts in the Middle East, most notably in Syria also demonstrate that ethnic or religious divisions can lead to the most brutal violence. In the case of a unified Israeli-Palestinian state, experience has shown us that an Arab majority cannot be relied upon to respect the rights of other ethnic or national groups and that this could ultimately lead to violence and civil war.
So why doesn’t Patricia Marks Greenfield just come out and say what she really wants to see – the end of Israel as a Jewish state. And why does the Washington Post choose to publish a piece calling for an end to Israel’s Jewish identity on Rosh Hashana of all days?
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