New Israel Fund ‘Jewish Homeland’ Controversy
I posted here about the controversy concerning NIF’s new guidelines as reported by Nathan Guttman in The Forward. He reported that the group would require grantees to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish homeland. On that basis, I wrote a post harshly critical of what I perceived as a one-sided set of rules which would discriminate against Israeli Palestinian grantees.
Apparently, according to an authoritative source, Guttman portrayed the guidelines incompletely. The sources he used for his report appeared interested, again I have this from a reliable source, in guidelines that would’ve forced grantees to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state. That isn’t going to happen.
Leonard Fein, in fact, said in my last post when I noted that NIF was considering compelling grantees to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, that I had lied. And then he had the chutzpah to wish me a healthy New Year! In fact, there were those within the NIF who proposed just that. But their proposal was not successful.
My source tells me the proposed guidelines will include a provision acknowledging Israel as a Jewish homeland. But the language will also affirm that Israel is:
…A democracy dedicated to the full equality of all its citizens and communities.
I want to make clear that while I’m not fully satisfied with this new wording, it’s less offensive than the incomplete language suggested by Guttman. And I believe that those who negotiated this wording did so in good faith and attempted to conciliate both a Jewish and Palestinian perspective on the issue.
The reason I’m less than content with the above quoted language is that it does not offer Israeli Palestinians what it offers Israeli Jews. If you are dedicated to the full equality of all citizens and you’ve conceded to Jews that their nation is their homeland, but refuse to concede this to Palestinian citizens, then they still aren’t equal to Jews. You’ve come awfully close, but close isn’t equal. There are some things you just can’t finesse and this is one of them.
There is absolutely no reason that Israel cannot be a single state in which two separate ethnic groups see it as their respective homelands. For any who would claim that this formulation indicates a bi-national state, that is not the case since Israel will still be a unitary state containing two major ethnic groups. It will not be two states and will not divide into two separate ethnic enclaves. While there are some especially on the Jewish side who would prefer to see Israel as a state rid of Palestinians, most Israeli Jews want a state in which the two groups co-exist within a single state of Israel. Palestinian citizens, of course, want a unitary, and not bi-national state.
35 thoughts on “New Israel Fund ‘Jewish Homeland’ Controversy – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
“most Israeli Jews want a state in which the two groups co-exist within a single state of Israel.”
please provide some sort of supporting evidence for your outright false statements.
You’re saying that most Israeli Jews want to ethnically cleanse Israel of Palestinians?
Because that’s the alternative to co-existence. Before you answer, please consider the meaning of the word “alternative”.
So these are the only two options in your narrow book ?
most Israeli Jews would support a two state solution with minor land swaps, they would be in one place we would be in the other.
the stream of though Richard is trying to present is the minority in Israel, always had been.
I don’t read Richard’s “most Israeli Jews want a state in which the two groups co-exist within a single state of Israel” as you apparently do, but, then again, I never attended a English 101 course !
As far as I read his sentence – within the context of the whole article, of course – he is only talking about the State of Israel and not any future One State Israel/Palestine. As I read his article, he’s advocating for a democratic Israeli state for all of its citizens, leaving the specific ‘Jewish’ aside.
But if you tell us that the majority of Israelis want to ‘ethnically cleanse’ the Israeli Arabs/Israeli Palestinians, well, nothing surprises me anymore from this country. That’s more or less the Lieberman-option, and, who knows, maybe in a few decades, Bibi would be considered a left-wing radical.
But then again, maybe I totally misunderstood Mr. Silverstein’s idea. You seem such an incredibly bright person, I can’t see how you could have missed the point.
I know exactly what Richard supports.
he support a one state solution, and presented as a fact that most Israeli Jews support that option as well.
This isn’t the case. Most Israeli Jews oppose that idea, we believe that there should be a fence between two good neighbors, and we don’t want to find ourselves living as a minority in the state of Israel within 50 years.
you think i am a racist because of that, this is your problem.
it’s like preaching the US and Canada to become a one state, if people in the US would deny that idea would you call them racist ?
I will give you 12 hours to reply to this comment with an apology for grievously mischaracterizing my views on this subject or you are gone. 12 hours. After that, you’re toast. Until then you’ll be moderated. I do not allow anyone to distort my views on such an important matter.
“I know exactly what Richard supports”
Well, I’ll be happy if Richard is another partisan of the One State-solution which is my personal option for combining justice to the Palestinians, the ‘moral’ right of the Jews to stay, and peace for everyone.
I’ve been reading this blog for a long time, and you surely are much more clairvoyant than me – you may even have a cristal ball – because I’ve never seen Mr Silverstein explicitly advocate the One State-solution but he has exposed this as an eventuality.
As far as this article is concerned, I still insist on the fact that he is talking of Israel within its present borders and the ‘Jewish’ vs ‘democratic’ dilemma.
I don’t see how you read ‘you think I am racist because of that. This is your problem” in anything I wrote, but then again with your cristal ball . . Your comparison of the US and Canada is simply Hasbara spinning, and I withdraw my (sarcastic) comment about you being a bright person !
PS. I know very well that the majority of Jewish Israelis don’t support the One State-solution, but you might not have a choice in a couple of decades.
Indeed, you are right. I don’t support a one-state solution. I present it as something that could happen if Israel continues down the barren road it is travelling. But it isn’t an option I currently support. BTW, anyone who inaccurately portrays me as supporting a 1 state solution will be banned. I do not accept anyone distorting my real views on such a critical matter.
now you are hiding from your own words ?
when you blame me for wanting an ‘ethnically cleanse’ place you are calling me a racist, aren’t you ?
before we go any further, 4 Israelis were murdered today in the west bank, 2 man and 2 women, one of them pregnant.
the PA announced that it was Hamas who carried out the murder.
would you condemn Hamas for that act ?
English is not my native tongue neither my first foreign language so I certainly make mistakes when I write, but you do have comprehension problems too.
Maybe you should read the articles and the comments thoroughly without a priori before jumping on your computer !
Who are you to ask me to condemn an act I haven’t even heard of yet ?? I could ask you in return: According to your informations, they were Israelis. What were they doing in the West Bank ?? Do you condemn Israeli presence in the West Bank ? Do you condemn murder of Palestinian civilians by the IDF or settler nutcases ?? You better not go down that road, you have far more shit under your shoes than the Palestinians !
Hypocrisy at it’s best.
6 kids left with no parents, the youngest less then a year and a half.
i didn’t expect anything else from you by the way.
i on the other hand condemn any murder in that area, weather it is committed by settlers or Palestinians.
My discussion with you is over. you justify one killing yet you object the other. You justify the right of the Palestinians to resist yet you oppose the right of Israel to self defense.
you wave your Humanitarian values and justice for all yet until it’s time to actually take action.
i do not talk to hypocrites.
Oh please. Enough with the self-righteousness. Of course there are orphans in Hebron today. ANd you think there are no Palestinian orphans? In fact, there are 10 times as many Palestinian orphans as Israeli. The diff. bet. you & I is that you don’t care about the Palestinian orphans except to mouth platitudes about how you really truly do care.
Israel hasn’t engaged in true self defense since 1967, & even that is arguable.
If we observed the same rules we would’ve stopped engaging w. you a long time ago.
the notion you think you know what i mean is ridiculous.
i stated exactly what i mean, if you have problems with my english i will write it in hebrew.
enough with your cheap propaganda.
Of course you stated what you mean. That’s precisely the problem.
@Deir Yassin: I think you’ve captured my thoughts on the matter.
Talking of hypocrisy:
You forgot to condemn the murder of innocent Palestinian civilians by the IDF ! I’m not a great fan of Hamas to state it politely, they are not representing my world-views on anything. I still insist that they were elected by the Palestinians and are as legitimate as Bibi. The killing of Israeli citizens is not different than the killing of Palestinian civilians, IDF, Hamas or whatever, it’s the same to me.
And you didn’t condemn settler presence in the West Bank either. Those 4 persons were settlers and not within the Israeli borders. If you were a Palestinian (I guess you couldn’t ever imagine that for a second) how would you resist the occupation, humiliation and dispossession ?? Singing some Bob Dylan and Joan Baez songs ?
And could you, please, qoute where I’m justifying the killing of civilians ??
And our discussion ‘isn’t over’. There never was one. You’re not discussing, you’re agressing people constantly. I wonder how many pseudos you’ve had around here ??
Minority of whom? Jews? Perhaps, though a lot of Jews agree with me. Israeli Palestinians? No, most agree with me. That still equals around 30+% of all Israelis, which is a significant number.
“They would be in another?” Meaning you’d expel Israel’s Palestinian citizens? Do tell.
Israel is not Democratic nor Jewish (Think Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Al Aksa Mosque)
One state equal Right- Only just solution
Does accepting Israel as a Palestinian homeland mean accepting the right of return?
Does accepting Israel as a Jewish homeland mean Palestinians have to accept the Law of Return?
Richard thats not a fair answer as in a two states solution Palestinians will have Palestine as a home land.
so Israelis have a right to ask why a right of return in to Israel?
Sure it’s fair. Palestinians haven’t chosen to have a Palestine that excludes their native communities within Israel proper. That decision has been made for them by those who reject a one state solution. So if you don’t wish to have a 1 state solution it is YOU (& not Palestinians) who want this 2-state solution. So those Palestinians remaining within Israel have every right to see Israel as their homeland. Why should a country & a place (the W. Bank & Gaza) where they never lived be their homeland. Besides, they’re Israeli citizens & not Palestinian citizens unless you choose to expel them. Do you?
Yes, but than why should present-day Israel be the homeland of the Palestinians? They can have their homeland in the west bank. Which is, by the way, what the original UN partition plan mandated in 1947.
“They can have their homeland in the West Bank. Which is, by the way, what the original plan mandated in 1947”
I know that ‘wikipedia’ is a very bad reference, but as you apparently know nothing about the Partition Plan, it’ll be fine as an introduction.
Don’t you study history nowadays in Israeli schools or only the hasbara version ??
@ Yacov, Improper use of the word Homeland :
From : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeland
A homeland (rel. country of origin and native land) is the concept of the place (cultural geography) to which an ethnic group holds a long history and a deep cultural association with —the country in which a particular national identity began. As a common noun, it simply connotes the country of one’s origin. When used as a proper noun, the word, as well as its cognates in other languages (i.e. Heimatland in German) often have ethnic nationalist connotations: Fatherland, Motherland, Mother country, each having some distinct interpretation according to nationality or historical usage. The term “Motherland” is very often applied to Africa due to it being the origin of humanity and civilization[by whom?]. Many Russians around the world refer to Russia as their motherland”
So, many of the folks in historic Palestine now may by actual definition call Russia, South Africa, and America their “Homeland” Wherein a Palestinian can call Palestine the “Homeland” and be factually correct.
But keep at it 🙂 We will help you!
Do you mind to stop assuming what you don’t know for fact? Do I have to attach a quote, a reference for every word to have simple credibility? I quote from Wikipedia:
“The UN General Assembly made a non-binding recommendation for a three-way partition of Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State and a small internationally administered zone including the religiously significant towns Jerusalem and Bethlehem”
note: a Jewish state and an Arab state. So,how am I wrong?
RE: “They can have their homeland in the West Bank. Which is, by the way, what the original plan mandated in 1947.”
I’m sorry. I forgot to give the link to ‘wiki’. Please look at the map of the Plan of Partition. It wasn’t exacly ‘the West Bank’ that was mandated to the Arabs, was it ?? And there is nothing on ‘transfer of population’ from one state to another. In fact, the future Jewish state was to supposed to have a huge Arab minority.
Of course, there is nothing on the right of return of the Palestinians, but here you have the resolution 194 on the matter. Note, by the way, that Israel was allowed to the UN in 1949, ONLY under the condition of implementing the resolution 194. We’re still waiting !
Don’t play the ‘international community-and-the-UN’ game if you only pick the resolutions that you like 🙂
If Jews from Russia and everywhere else with no connection to Palestine can “return” The actual Natives of Palestine should be able to do so also.
I think the 2 state solution is dead, and unjust.
One state (not Jewish) equal rights for all.
For what some Gazans think, Here is a video I made in Gaza:Share or split Palestine? A discussion in Gaza.
Just a sidenote,
I really appreciate this blog, and the discussions therein.
@ Tyler Westbrook
Thanks a lot for your video. Were you a English teacher there ?
I also wholeheartedly support the One State-solution, and though it’s still a long way to go, I have a proposal for the name of the new state you were talking about in your video. Israel/Palestine becomes REAL PALS, but it only works in English 😉
I was not a teacher there, just a visitor for a month. I went after “Cast Lead” to see what my tax money had done, all I could find was holes and ruin… and a very welcoming determined people. I stayed away from the Politics, to focus on “the Life” Here is what I saw: http://www.youtube.com/user/WHYNotNews?feature=mhum#g/c/8030E34DC8051C01
I wonder whether any thing else has changed in the NIF’s new guidelines as a result of the pressure on it? Will they, for example, stop funding Israeli NGOs that support boycott (of settlements or of Israel) – because boycott is going to become illegal in Israel soon? Specifically, will they stop funding Who Profits, the project run by Coalition of Women for Peace that outlines which companies profit for the occupation- and is used by boycotters as a resource? Or will they defend their right to protest in this way? Will they stop funding Israeli NGOs that provide information to international organisations that prosecute Israeli officers overseas (also called ‘universal jurisdiction’)? That’s going to become illegal soon too. My questions are not idle. Reut Institute drew up ‘red lines’ between ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel and ‘delegitimising’ of Israel and the activities I mentioned are on the other side of those lines. Will NIF bend to them? Shouldn’t they be upholding the right of every NGO to engage in any type of democratic and nonviolent protest, including unpopular activities? Or are they defenders of human rights only when the sun shines and human rights defenders are popular? If the activities become illegal – what do they do then? How are they going to deal with immoral legislation? If there are no answers to all this then there is a sad lack of courage and integrity in the NIF….
If there are no answers to all this then there is a sad lack of courage and integrity in the NIF….
I dont think anyone in Israel expected the NIF to do anything but duck. It was Richard Silverstein’s PR that propped up their image so far as “freedom fighters”against the evil forces.
. Its an organization with no backbone, it had consistently stabbed activists in the back.
@Delta, What a silly thing to say.
America did not commit genocide against the Canadians (Indians, yes) to steal their land. We do not bomb Canada, nor call for the elimination of Canada. I can not remember one school or place of worship we bombed in Canada. We do not hold scores of Canadians hostage, nor try to assassinate its leaders. We do not lay siege to Canada to “put them on a diet” We do not murder Canadian farmers and fishermen for coming within range of the border… We do not torture Canadians. for starters.
We did try in the War of 1812 to convince Canadians to secede from the British Empire & go to war against Britain & Canada. But that failed miserably & we haven’t bothered the Canadians since (at least not militarily). Maybe Israel will someday meet a similar comeuppance & live as peacefully w. the Palestinians as we now live w. the Canadians!!