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How Can Israel Be a “Jewish State” When Nearly One-Million of Its Jewish Citizens Reject It?

haredi protest

Haredi rally against State military service (Gil Cohen Magen)

I was struck by this Haaretz headline, which noted that a half-million Haredim had barricaded Jerusalem shut from the inside.  They’d sealed off the city entirely to protest the government’s attempt to compel Haredi men to serve in the IDF.  They currently obtain an exemption because their Torah studies presumably serve as potent a weapon in protecting the State as those they would physically wield serving in the army.

In reality, the Haredim, almost 10% of Israel’s population, are in varying states of denial and rejection of Israel as a state.  They’re more than happy to take social welfare payments and all the subsidies that are offered to them by the State.  But when it comes to recognizing the State in a formal way such as by sending your children into harm’s way on behalf of all the citizens of the State, the Haredim generally balk.

Further, there is a sizable minority of the settler movement which rejects the current State (especially its security apparatus) and seeks to replace it with a heavenly-appointed halachic kingdom.

Which brings me to the ultimate irony: Abu Mazzen is being pressured by Obama and Bibi to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of the current round of peace talks.  Aside from the fact that this is both a stupid and preposterous demand (for reasons I’ve explained in the past here), why should any Palestinian be expected to recognize Israel as Jewish when nearly a million of its own Jewish citizens don’t?

Unless the Haredim were joined by other Israeli Orthodox at this rally, I’m unsure how this rally could’ve drawn 500,000 protesters since there are only approximately 650-750,000 Haredim in Israel.  But that’s another matter…

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{ 44 comments… add one }
  • Shoshana March 3, 2014, 3:59 AM

    So Richard and the Haredim are both against recognition of Israel as ‘The Jewish State’.
    Politics makes for strange bedfellows, indeed.

    • Richard Silverstein March 3, 2014, 5:14 PM

      @ Shoshana: Of course, you’ve conveniently neglected the fact that my motivations and those of Haredim are diametrically opposite. I’m not waiting for a divine kingdom under Davidic kingship as they are.

      • Shoshana March 3, 2014, 9:00 PM

        No Richard. You’re motivation is to reflexively oppose anything the current Israeli government favors, like recogniton of the Jewish State. Your motivation is about as nutty as waiting for Mosiach.

        • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 12:55 AM

          Your motivation is about as nutty as waiting for Mosiach.

          That’s just the sort of gratuitous snark I warned you about. Your entire comment contains no argument, no evidence, no substance. Follow this rule: if you have a comment that contains a real argument with evidence & substance, bring it. If not, keep it to yourself.

  • bluto March 3, 2014, 7:25 AM

    The 2nd American Revolution and Judaism Revised

    Bibi and AIPAC left the rotten Apartheid COMPLETELY EXPOSED by their stupid tactics – and now we get all the marbles – AIPAC’s Girl Hillary and ‘Judaism as Zionist’

    The Strategy:
    1- Successful 2nd American Revolution: America Free of AIPAC [and free of AIPAC’s Girl Hillary (2nd Amerian Rev)]
    2- Reformulate Judaism as Free of as Zionistm

    The Tactics:
    1- Force AIPAC to register as agent of hostile foreign power then make it ILLEGAL
    2- Shame ‘All American Jewry’ and ‘All American Zionism’ – re-dedicate Judaism to SERVING Palestinians

    • Richard Silverstein March 3, 2014, 5:22 PM

      @ bluto: If I didn’t know better I might think you were a hasbara troll double agent. All I can say is that no one is ever going to take any of these ideas seriously. Nor do I. But they’re more bizarre than truly objectionable.

      • bluto March 3, 2014, 7:27 PM

        Haha – I totally agree with you that things SEEM bizarre – but let’s recap:

        If Obama’s historic reading of the Apartheid Riot Act to Israel/the Israeli Lobby and his joining of Jimmy Carter in ‘the fight against Apartheid’ is bizarre – I say lets have more of this bizarre reality.

        1- Obama watched the Lobby destroy itself over Hagel, Syria, and then the Iran Deal. Wow!

        2- President Obama just told Bibi, Israel, AND THE US PUBLIC TODAY – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER – that Israel is an Apartheid State (‘I won’t protect you at the UN, Apartheid Israel’) and the US cannot/or will not protect it at the UN this coming Sept. That is historic. This bizarre fact is not mine – it is reality.

        3- The US, due to AIPAC-media control, DOESN’T KNOW THAT ISRAEL IS APARTHEID – so HOW does the US media ‘TELL AMERICA’ that they have been LYING to America for 20 yrs or more? BIZARRE! i TOTALLY AGREE

        Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, David Brooks, Rachel ‘Whats a Neocon?’ Maddow – yeah THOSE GUYS – are going to have to let the word ‘Apartheid’ escape their choked lips for the FIRST TIME EVER. BIZARRE! What exactly will be Israel’s popularity rating in the US as a known and BDS’ed Apartheid State? 10%? Less?

        3- The US will be OPEN for BDS Boycotts on Israel? – is there ANYONE who doesn’t think that’s EXACTLY what Obama just singed Bibi’s ears off with. BIZARRE! (I’m been boycotting Israel for years now heheh)

        Hey – since BIZARRE is on such a roll – I say bring on all the BIZARRE we got

        Every Jewish American I know is busily trying to reformulate Judaism/Israel not tolerate Israeli APARTHEID – I look upon YOUR work as that, Richard. Same with Mondoweiss, JVP, Halper,etc. If that’s bizarre then I guess ‘pot meet kettle’ – glad to know you, Kettle Brother! – you’re great

        Hillary is riding AIPAC, declared her presidency at Saban Forum with guests Ehud Barak, Yvette Lieberman, and the whole who’s who of the Israeli Lobby and AIPAC; and you don’t think it bizarre that as the ‘Apartheid Candidate from AIPAC’, that progressive Democratic women are not going to have just a eensy little problem with that? If so you’re wrong (but I bet gladly)

        Things are BIZARRELY GOOD right now – NOW is the time to take out AIPAC-Hillary-Israeli Apartheid while they are all ‘tarbaby stuck’ to each other – without a INCH of DAYLIGHT because they are STUCK SHUT with tar.

        AIPAC’s Girl Hillary is stuck to this HOT MESS like a couple of dogs stuck at the park. BIZARRE all right – what’s next? – are they going to get chicken feathers dumped on them?

        • bluto March 3, 2014, 11:33 PM

          Richard – for your humor: watch that performance by Yvet at the Saban Forum when Hillary (also watch) declared (Remnick/newyorker).

          Lieberman reminded me of that scene in Young Frankenstein where Wilder was showing off his magnificent Israeli creation and things went, well, Yvette was not quite ready for prime time PRICELESS

          Borat:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzOQjZgdiLE

  • ben March 3, 2014, 8:06 AM

    I dont think Israel should be a jewish state. But I do think it should be a state of the jewish people. It might sound like a insignificant difference but to me it makes a huge difference. Here is a decent article that talks about it http://www.jewishjournal.com/rabbijohnrosovesblog/item/the_jewish_state_or_the_state_of_the_jewish_people_a_distinction_with_a_sig

    • Renfro March 3, 2014, 9:46 AM

      Let me explain why you are wrong about that.
      Israel and zionism are based on the premise of ‘Seperation’ of Jews and Others due to anti semitism.
      I wont go into a history of how some to much of the claim of Jewish persecution being due to irrational hatred by others is not totally true and real history tells a more complicated history about the events of and reasons for some Jewish travails.
      But to come forward to today, Zionism is trying to have its cake and eat it too—‘pretending’ to be ‘seperate ‘ out of the anti semtiism problem –yet unable to exist without the involvement and support of the rest of the anti semitic world.
      This contridiction which is in reality a claim to ‘exceptionalism’ doesnt work….a claim to be what it is not based on not needing what in reality it actually needs to survive.
      There are group, cults, etc that can be ‘seperate’ but only in ‘commune style ‘ entities–and only if they are ‘non agressive’ toward others and dont provoke others to destroy them.
      Zionism and Israel have become a cult, a aggressive cult, a demanding total acquiesce from all others and the world to its every wish cult.
      And based on vicitimhood, ethic, religious rule—-exceptionalism.
      It wiill never work. It was never going to work ‘as a nation ‘ that wants, needs, has to interact with the world.

      Could Jews live in Palestine–could they have immigrated to Palestine as their home? Yes but it would have had to have been with the consent of the population already in Palestine…as part of them, not as a “Jewish state”.

      • ben March 3, 2014, 10:29 AM

        Israel Exists today not just because of European Anti-Semitism. Yes it was the main reason for the friends of Israel to form in the 1880’s after the Russian pogroms… Israel exists as the state of the Jewish people due to the intrinsic right of any nation to have a “home”… originally Uganda was proposed to be this home but fortunately WWI happened and Palestine was selected as the Natural choice due to at the time good relations between Jew and Arab, and the historical connection to the land and not withstanding the connection of the religion to the land.

        As for the historical reasons of Jewish persecution in Europe that is a matter of conjecture…

        Could Jews have moved to Palestine to be apart of them without interfering in the emerging national aspirations of the Palestinians? Who knows… that is a great question and subject for debate. I for one don’t know how it could have played out differently as the Jews who moved to Palestine at this stage purchased land from Syrian land owners who had Palestinian Farmers working the land (this type of situation was commonly known as serfdom). Sure the Jews could have just swapped land ownership but they did not simply want to own the land they wanted to work it with their own hands which naturally lend to tensions when Jews arrived and said to people who had been farming the same land for generations that they had to move and had no right to their homes.

        At the end of the day, this is now History and we are left with two separate entities and in it the option of being a “Jewish sate” which is by nature is discriminatory due to the separateness of the exclusion or we can support the “state of the Jewish people” which in itself is inclusive of minorities.

        Example being Canada which is a Bi-national country is also a multicultural country… the two identities do not conflict but compliment each other. Much like Israel IMO should be the national home of the Jewish people and also a multicultural society.

        • Say That Again? March 3, 2014, 5:02 PM

          “Israel exists as the state of the Jewish people due to the intrinsic right of any nation to have a “home” ”
          There is no such “intrinsic right”.
          The Tatars don’t enjoy that right.
          The Kurds don’t enjoy that right.

          There is no such “right” for “a people” to have a state of their own.

          But there is such a thing as HUMAN RIGHTS, first and foremost being the right of every individual not to be “stateless” (which is an altogether different thing to being able to claim a “nation-state” for “me and the rest of my people”).

          American Jews are not stateless: they are citizens of the United States of America.

          American Jews don’t have their own nation-state: the USA belongs to *all* its citizens, irrespective of their “nation”.

          Are American Jews worse off than those Jews who make aliyah to Israel?

          Israel would be a much, much better place if it sought to emulate the USA rather than constantly seeking to emulate the Balkans.

          • ben March 3, 2014, 6:52 PM

            The Tatars enjoy a federated republic inside of Russia and to date the Kurds are expressing more freedom then they have had in centuries in northern Iraq. Yes there are many Injustices in which peoples are denied the right to have their own nations but these injustices do not somehow negate the same right that the Jewish people also have just like the French or German or Russian or Chinese or any other nation on Earth that has the right to have a representative state but that does not mean said state cannot also be multicultural and plural and also be a nation state of a people.

          • Richard Silverstein March 3, 2014, 9:30 PM

            There is no single Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu nation. These are religions as Judaism is a religion. Israel must be a nation of Jews, Muslims, Christians. Not a nation state of or for the Jewish religion.

          • Say that again? March 3, 2014, 9:43 PM

            Ben: “The Tatars enjoy a federated republic inside of Russia”….

            Riiiiiight. So, not so much of that “state” stuff then, heh?

            Ben: “and to date the Kurds are expressing more freedom then they have had in centuries in northern Iraq.”…

            Annnnnd, again, I’m not seeing a “state” anywhere in that “statement”.

            Ben: ….”the same right that the Jewish people also have just like the French or German or Russian or Chinese or any other nation on Earth “…..

            Let’s all examine that statement and see where the fundamental flaw lies.

            Yes, that’s right: France is the state for all the citizens of France. It is not the state for all the French-speakers of the world, much less the state for all the Francophiles of the world.

            Similarly, Germany is the state for all the citizens of Germany. It is not the state for all the people who speak German, much less the state for all the “ethnic Germans” of the world.

            So your comparison would carry much more weight if you said that all the ISRAELIS have the same right to the state of ISRAEL as all the GERMANS have the same right to the state of GERMANY, and all the AUSTRIANS have the same right to the state of AUSTRIA, even though Germans and Austrians share the same language and culture.

          • dov Koala March 3, 2014, 10:57 PM

            “There is no such “right” for “a people” to have a state of their own.”
            Can you say that about Palestinians also?

            There is more to Judaism than just a religion (and Mr Silverstein knows better than that), so to claim that Jews, like Budhists or Muslims do not need a state of their own, is just being shallow. Most Israeli Jews are not religious but still want their state to have a Jewish character.

          • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 12:52 AM

            @ dov Koala:

            There is more to Judaism than just a religion

            No, actually there is nothing more to Judaism than a religion. Judaism is just that, a religion. What I think you meant is that there is more to Jewish identity than Judaism, a statement which has some truth.

            Having “Jewish character” is not the same as a Jewish state. A state could grant equal rights to every citizen and still have both a Jewish, Muslim and Christian character. If you meant by “Jewish character” that it should be state that privileges Jewish citizens and religion, I’m not sure secular Israelis are as keen about that.

            As for Palestinians and whether they deserve a state of their own…I’m sure Palestinians would be just as happy with a single state in which they were granted full citizenship. It wouldn’t have to be Palestine. It could, after all, be Israel! Otherwise, millions of Palestinians are stateless. Unless you want to ethnically cleanse you’re going to have to give them some sort of citizenship. That’s because you own the problem by virtue of Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn rule.

          • Southerners Truth March 4, 2014, 1:25 AM

            Not a nation state of or for the Jewish religion.
            Richard-the anthem of the country states “the Jewish soul yearns.” This was written by a secular Jew.

          • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 12:52 PM

            @ Southerners Truth: Does the “Jewish soul yearn” for a triumphalist Jewish state that privileges Jewish citizens over non-Jewish? Not my Jewish soul. My Jewish soul longs for a homeland in which Jews can fulfill their goal of self-determination. But such a homeland doesn’t preclude from Palestinians having their own homeland either in Palestine or in Israel itself.

          • ben March 4, 2014, 10:49 AM

            @ Richard when I say state for the Jewish people I refer to the culture not its religion. Judaism is much much more then just a religion heck the majority of young Jews of north america no longer consider themselves Jewish by religion but Jewish by culture. Case in point the Jewish dating site j-date you can now select culturally Jewish not practicing.

            here is the wiki talking about the Jewish culture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_culture

          • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 12:50 PM

            @ ben: So because there is a “Jewish culture” that means Jews merit a state in which their rights will trump those of non-Jews?

          • ben March 4, 2014, 10:52 AM

            @say that again…

            As i said there are many nations that are denied their right to a nation state but that does not preclude that Jews do not enjoy the same right.

          • Say That Again? March 4, 2014, 12:30 PM

            dov: “Can you say that about Palestinians also?”

            Indeed, I can.

            Their claim to statehood rests on something quite different i.e. unlike the Israelis (and here I include the Israeli Jews and the Israeli Arabs) the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are STATELESS.

            They are stateless.
            They have no sovereign.
            The territory belongs to no state.
            The territory has no sovereign.

            Q: So who decides what happens there?
            A: They do, precisely because They Have No Sovereign Power Standing Above Them.

            Q: So what have they decided?
            A: They’ve decided they want a state of their own making, and they have decided they want to call that state “the state of Palestine”.

            Q: Are they allowed to do that?
            A: Dude, they have no sovereign, they can do whatever they want….

        • Shoshana March 3, 2014, 11:29 PM

          @ben

          “Could Jews have moved to Palestine to be apart of them without interfering in the emerging national aspirations of the Palestinians? Who knows… ”

          I know.
          My forebearers came to Jerusalem in 1811 as talmidim of the Vilna Gaon. They only intended to settle and prepare for the forecast coming of Mosiach in 1844, as per the Kabbalah. My forebearers were roundly mistreated by the Ottomans and local Arabs. Murders, robbery and beatings were their fate until the European consuls intervened. Enough said?

          • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 12:59 AM

            @ Shoshana: The Kabbalah does not predict the coming of the Messiah in 1844, though your ancestors may have interpreted it to say that.

            Also, I don’t think I’m going to grant much credence to your one sentence dismissal of several hundreds years of Ottoman rule. It’s quite a bit more complicated and nuanced than that.

      • Shoshana March 3, 2014, 10:51 AM

        ” Yes but it would have had to have been with the consent of the population already in Palestine…as part of them, not as a “Jewish state”.”

        Oops. I guess we made a big boo-boo coming here.
        Thanks for straightening us out, Renfro. Now you can move on and get a life.

        • Richard Silverstein March 3, 2014, 5:15 PM

          @ Shoshana: Comments must be substantive. Comments based on snark or attempted wit which are devoid of substance are not permitted.

  • bluto March 3, 2014, 8:31 AM

    Hillary is CHAINED to AIPAC and AIPAC is CHAINED to Apartheid. Hillary is riding a dead horse. Anyone else want to be president RUNNING ON A 2nd American Revolution Ticket FREE OF AIPAC? Rand? Glenn Greenwald? Silverstein? Eric Snowden? Sibel Edmonds? Chas Freeman? Hey Richard – take your voice NATIONAL

    Hillary is CHAINED to AIPAC and AIPAC is CHAINED to Apartheid, freefalling to the ICC where Hillary won’t be charged with warcrimes, but she is the ‘IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO CANDIDATE of AIPAC and APARTHEID’. Dead.AIPAC-APARTHIED-Horse.Riding. And Obama just joined Jimmy Carter and called ISRAEL AN APARTHEID STATE

    NOW is the time to De-Zion-ize Judaism. Richard Silverstein? Phil Weiss? MJ Rosenberg? Do ALL of you heroes want a part in THAT beautiful dream, reclaiming Judaism from Zionism? I want YOU guys doing it rather than a Rabbi

    Hillary is CHAINED to AIPAC and AIPAC is CHAINED to Apartheid. The implosion (see Commentary article) of Bill Kristol notwithstanding. Why? Because we are 16 steps ahead of them and we KNOW ALL THE STEPS. They are in rout. Apartheid was GONE in Dec 2012 according the Secret/Then Public Wikileaks cables where the IDF said once Palestine has an open door to the ICC (which was WAY BACK in Dec 2012 and no I am not arguing with stupid hasbara claiming that Palestine doesn’t DOESN’T, because the IDF lawyers THEMSELVES know AND SAY THEY damn well DO)

    All three are CHAINED to each other. FREEFALL TO ICC. NO PARACHUTE. NO WAR OF THE WORLDS WITH IRAN. NOPE, NOT EVEN UKRAINE (nice try, Vicki Kagan)

    All three are CHAINED to each other, WITHOUT A PARACHUTE (Iran and NOT EVEN UKRAINE) as they FREEFALL to the ICC where Scarlett SodaStream, Hillary, and the AMERICAN PEOPLE and WHOLE MSM AMERICAN MEDIA REPORT Obama’s talk to Netanyahu/Apartheid Israel

    Panelists question TO David ‘Curveball’ Gregory and Andrea ‘Judy Miller’ Mitchell;
    ‘How come you have to report Israel is an Apartheid State now, only because you are being FORCED to report Obama’s speech to Netanyahu, where, according to current US Pres Obama, Israel is an APARTHEID STATE, when you have been LYING to cover SPECIFICALLY that point up from the American people for Years?*’ YOU’RE FIRED Andrea and David, ALONG WITH HILLARY CLINTON.
    *The answer being of course, that you are two of the Apartheid State’s HASBARA AGENTS to America, via your ‘Zionist Sympathies’. *ahem*

    Andrea? David? David Brooks? Alan Dershowitz? Tom Friedman – oh please don’t say you didn’t tell us Israel is a flat out Apartheid State, Tommy, because then you would have to retire in shame like Dennis Ross, Indyk, Rahm Emmaneul, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Diane Feinstein, McCain, Graham, Kirk, Bill OReilly, Bill Kristol, Krautyammer, Rubin, Gordon, Isabel Kerschner, Greg Gutfeld, Donny Deutsch, David Horowitz, Michael Ledeen, John Bolton, Woosley, StandWithApartheid, Emergency Committee for Apartheid, Clean Break Plan for Securing Aparthied, the Global War FOR the Apartheid State (the dovetailed Clean Break Plan to the GWOT), etc, etc

    Andrea and David have to say Bibi is a war criminal BECAUSE OBAMA JUST JOINED JIMMY CARTER AND CALLED ISRAEL AN OPEN-TO-US-BOYCOTTS ‘APARTHEID STATE’

    2nd American Revolution – COURAGE IS CONTAGIOUS – NOW! NOW! NOW! – Hillary is the FIRST PRIZE

    • Richard Silverstein March 3, 2014, 5:24 PM

      @ bluto: Anytime any commenter writes more than three of these long rambling monologues it’s 3 times too many. Do NOT publish any more than one long comment in a 24 hr period. I don’t mind short comments as much. But you’ve monopolized the threads & I don’t appreciate it.

      • bluto March 3, 2014, 8:35 PM

        Got it – apologies

  • bluto March 3, 2014, 9:12 AM

    [comment deleted: there’s only so much of this I can take.]

    • Deïr Yassin March 3, 2014, 1:24 PM

      Wow, Bluto is on drugs (at least it isn’t Ziocaine…), and is spamming this thread.

      • Richard Silverstein March 3, 2014, 5:17 PM

        @ Deir Yassin: It gives me a huge headache when people do what he’s done. Ugh! I have to read the blather, decide whether to delete it &/or warn him. A waste of time. I wish people would write comments when they aren’t under the influence of illicit substances or bizarre ideas.

  • Renfro March 3, 2014, 9:56 AM

    I have no real comment on the religious fanatics in Israel except that they are religious primitives…a throwback to primitive times.
    Any time fanatics have any influence with a government a country is courting its own demise.
    But there again the religious component borrowed or built into Zionism in order to get support from Judaism followers is one of reasons it was never going to work or last to begin with.

  • Andy March 3, 2014, 9:46 PM

    A genuinely Jewish state would treat the Palestinians according to Deuteronomy 10:19 –

    “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    I’m sure the Palestinians will be willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state once Israel actually becomes a Jewish state.

  • dov Koala March 4, 2014, 3:39 PM

    @RS
    “So because there is a “Jewish culture” that means Jews merit a state in which their rights will trump those of non-Jews?”
    No it does not. All citizens of the Jewish state should have the same rights. And duties. But all citizens should accept the fact that Israel is the state of the Jewish nation. Not the Jewish religion but nation.

    • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 5:58 PM

      @ dov koala: If it is a “Jewish state” then it is a state for Jews. Non-Jews by definition cannot have “the same rights.”

      Israel is not the “state of the Jewish nation.” It is the state of its citizens who are Jewish & non-Jewish. If Israel is the state of the ‘Jewish nation,’ then it is the state of the Palestinian people/nation as well. This logic leads to a binational state. Is that where you’re going?

      • Sara March 4, 2014, 8:09 PM

        I don’t understand why Israel can’t be the state of the Jewish people while respecting the rights of non-Jews. How is this different from Sweden which has a cross on its flag and is the nation of the Swedish ethnos but also respects the rights of non-ethnic Swedes? Israel is the Jewish state, the homeland of the Jews, and the Arabs already have 22 countries. Why do you think the Palestinian flag is the same as most other Arab countries’ flags, the Arab liberation flag based on the tri-colors symbolizing the classical Muslim empires.

        • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2014, 8:59 PM

          There is no religion called Swedenism as there is Judaism. Sweden’s religion is Christianity. Sweden is not a nation of the “Swedish ethnos.” People of Swedish origin or children of those of Swedish origin who are citizens of other countries are not automatic citizens of Sweden.

          Israel is not “the Jewish state.” It is a state for all its citizens, some of whom are Jewish, some not. Nor is it “the homeland of the Jews”. I am a Jew, but it is not my homeland. That is the U.S.

          Your comment is objectionable and racist. Palestinians are not “the Arabs.” The terms are not interchangeable as you”ve made them out to be. You can’t argue that. Palestinians should be shoved into some other Arab country because, after all, they’re just Arabs.

          I’m moderating you since your arguments are classic Arabophobia.

          • Shoshana March 5, 2014, 3:10 AM

            [comment deleted–off topic]

          • dov Koala March 5, 2014, 4:36 AM

            “There is no religion called Swedenism as there is Judaism”. That’s right.
            But there is a Swedish nationality, like there’s a Jewish nationality. And that what’s unique with being Jewish, it combines religion and nationality. That’s how you can be a secular Jew, but you can’t really be a secular Muslim or a secular Christian.
            And Israel might not be a homeland for you, it appears all Jews has relations (for better or for worse) with it, otherwise you wouldn’t invest so much in trying to make a change. A Christian American would not feel anything towards Sweden, not like how an American Jew will feel for Israel. Even the term “American Jew” is a description used, when American Christian is not used in that meaning.
            BTW, take France for example. A secular state with a Christian character. Part of the national holidays are Christian. Israel should be something like that. A state for the Jewish nationality, what determines the character of the state, but still give equal right to its not Jewish citizens.
            That said, there should be one exception. Jewish nationality should be the majority for the state to be Jewish. Just like any nation cannot become a minority in its own state – in a hypothetical example – France would not accept more than 50% of its citizens to be of English nationality, because it will cease to be of French nationality.

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2014, 11:55 AM

            Nope, sorry. Not. There is an Israeli nation. It can’t be both a Jewish nation and an Israeli nation. An Israeli nation contains non-Jews, which precludes it from being a Jewish nation. It can be a nation which includes Jews and respects their traditions and religion along with all the others within the nation. But not a nation privileging Jews at the expense of non-Jews, which is what it is now.

            I choose not to live in Israel, hence I am not a part of the Israeli nation. As for what the concept of “Jewish nation” means, I couldn’t tell you except that it is vague and imprecise and full of mystical overtones that can’t be parsed in reality.

            That’s how you can be a secular Jew, but you can’t really be a secular Muslim or a secular Christian.

            A secular Jew does not see himself as part of the Jewish nation. He sees him or herself as part of Jewish culture & perhaps Jewish tradition, but not nationhood. Nationhood implied a desire for political sovereignty and very few secular Jews feel a need for this since they’re citizens of their own nation, not Israel. As for your claims about secular Muslims & Christians, that’s too laughable even to rebut. It doesn’t even pass the smell test.

            My relationship with Israel has nothing to do with it being my nation. It has to do with the role of Israel in Jewish identity and history. Israel is of course an important part of many (though not all) Jews identity. But that does not make it their nation or political representative.

            A Christian American would not feel anything towards Sweden

            An imprecise parallel. Let’s take a Swedish-American: he does not feel that Sweden is the location of his political sovereignty. He is American with an ethnic connection to Sweden that has nothing to do with Swedish nationhood or sovereignty.

            A state for the Jewish nationality, what determines the character of the state, but still give equal right to its not Jewish citizens.

            But Israel cannot give “equal rights” to its non Jewish citizens unless it recognizes their religious traditions as co-equal with Judaism. National holidays either must not recognize any religion or they must recognize all (Islam & Chrisitianity).

            Jewish nationality should be the majority for the state to be Jewish.

            Now, you’ve just KO’ed your democracy since you’ll have to expel non-Jewish citizens to maintain such a majority.

            France would not accept more than 50% of its citizens to be of English [sic] nationality, because it will cease to be of French nationality.

            You’re so confused by your various nationalities that you’ve confused French & English nationalities. Israel is different than France since Israel has had non-Jewish citizens since it was founded (France had very few non-French residents or citizens in the 16th century, for example). These non-Jews were indigenous to Israel and predated much of the Jewish population. These non-Jews are now Israeli, so you cannot make the argument that they shouldn’t be allowed to become a majority.

            Another point is that France, like Israel, has French who are Catholic and Protestant. You would never hear a Frenchman say he could tolerate a France in which a majority was Protestant. It would simply be preposterous as it should be in Israel.

            I’m hereby declaring this discussion done. You & others have had your say. So no more discussion on this subject. Move on to another comment thread.

  • Yael March 6, 2014, 1:15 AM

    Richard, the issue of what “Jew” means, is a long stand one…
    You cannot define it as “religion”. A “religion” is not transmited from the womb of a mother.

  • shulamit braha March 7, 2014, 4:09 PM

    Best point I have seen you say. Combine the hareidim and the Israel Arabs and you probably have a majority of Israel citizens against zionism which will bring the downfall of Israel, if the government does not give in to hareidim demands. Zionism means that Judaism is not a religion, rather an identity. And it was invented 100 years ago by secular in their fight with the religious. As there is no need(peopple like yourself have no problem renouncing the core belief of moshiach) zionism is totally irrelevant to anyone younger than 40, unless they are those hypocritical American rabbis.

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