32 thoughts on “Kerry Lobbying Arab Strongmen to Pressure Palestinians to Accept Israel as Jewish State – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Does Kerry have a shred of integrity left since he protested the Vietnam War?
    Or is he so desperate to take part in global politics that he will kneel at Netanyahu’s feet and cater to his every command?
    I thought Blair was a lap dog. Kerry is Blair to the10th power.

  2. Re: “Kerry Lobbying Arab Strongmen to Pressure Palestinians to Accept Israel as Jewish State”

    In order to adopt this hairbrained proposition, Netanyahu has to ignore the doctrine of the founder of the Revisionist movement:

    They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. . . . A plan that seems to attract many Zionists goes like this: If it is impossible to get an endorsement of Zionism by Palestine’s Arabs, then it must be obtained from the Arabs of Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and perhaps of Egypt. Even if this were possible, it would not change the basic situation. It would not change the attitude of the Arabs in the Land of Israel towards us. Seventy years ago, the unification of Italy was achieved, with the retention by Austria of Trent and Trieste. However, the inhabitants of those towns not only refused to accept the situation, but they struggled against Austria with redoubled vigor. If it were possible (and I doubt this) to discuss Palestine with the Arabs of Baghdad and Mecca as if it were some kind of small, immaterial borderland, then Palestine would still remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center and basis of their own national existence.

    — Vladimir Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs) http://www.danielpipes.org/3510/the-iron-wall-we-and-the-arabs

  3. Well done, it’s imperative to unmask these extremist statements for what they are. The blockades put up by both sides does seem to lead nowhere in negotiations. As an optimist, I do see some movement forward although the key issues haven’t been tackled yet. The position of King Abdullah II of Jordan and his Hashemite Kingdom as guardian of Jerusalem’s holy sites with an ever increasing number of Palestinians at home, doesn’t look promising either. In recent weeks, I’ve never witnessed so many red lines drawn on the road both parties need to travel. Most reader comments on Israeli blogs are just awful, let’s hope they are not mainstream and will adjust as the benefits of peace for the region becomes clear. As the deliberations are secret, all what is written and analized is speculative.

    Ya’alon says Israel, PA working to extend talks beyond 9-month period

  4. President Truman’s scribble on this note should be engraved in stone as US policy towards the state of Israel. President Obama called far the recognition of a Jewish State of Israel in one of his speeches. A blunder.

  5. This is Machiavellian only in the sense that Kerry/Obama are seeking to keep the Iran war/Iran-increased-sanctions from happening (and keep BIG-ZION political money going to Democrats) while they work for an Iran “deal” that can end the Iran problem. They also want to run out the clock (on April 30 more or less by my reckoning) on the 9-month gestation period of the most recent I/P agreement to keep working for 9-months toward peace.

    They do this by continuing to appear to work the “peace process” (in my lexicon, the quotes are part of the spelling of this by-now-known-to-be nonsensical pretense). As to the latest wrinkle, the demand by Israel for recognition as a “Jewish State”, well, that is only one more impossible demand put forward to derail peace by making the PA look bad. It’s a very bad one. But the settlements, the land-grabs in Jordan Valley and Jerusalem, etc., all point to much worse preconditions on Israel’s part, namely, that the most PA can “get” is the suggestion of a Bantustan-non-state in a so-called (or perhaps no-longer-so-called) two-state agreement.

    I hope PA will refuse and instead go to the ICC, etc., in May. And I hope the EU will find itself able to stand up for decolonization here — as it was forced after WWII, etc., to undergo its loss of colonies. I have very slight hopes as to EU action today, but absolutely ZERO hopes of useful USA action — or of I/P peace determined by the parties themselves.

  6. The only issue with Liberman’s suggestion is that the Israeli-Arabs (that’s the way they describe themselves, despite your notion) see themselves as part of the Israeli state, and say out loud (at least to Shlomi Eldar) that they are not Palestinians.

    Now, i’m confused. I read on your site that they are Palestinian-Israelis, They claim they are Israeli-Arabs, what are they ?

    1. No Israeli-Palestinian refers to himself as “Arab” unless possibly he’s a pan-Arabist, and they’re not too many of those around. The notion that an Israeli Jew is going to tell us what Palestinians call themselves is ludicrous.

      If you insist on calling them Arabs, you don’t mind if they call you Hebrews or Israelites, do you?

      1. You wrote that no Israeli-Palestinian refers to himself as “Arab” (unless possibly he’s a pan-Arabist) but are you sure this is the case? I am curious to know where your understanding of this comes from.

    2. The only issue with Liberman’s suggestion is that the Israeli-Arabs (that’s the way they describe themselves, despite your notion) see themselves as part of the Israeli state

      They see themselves as people with family and friends in places like Jerusalem and Nazareth and with freedom of movement to Haram al-Sharif and know that Liebermann is trying to denationalize them and put an international border and checkpoints between them and all of that and make them part of a ghetto. The Palestinians simply see this as an attempt to swap land that has already been inhabited by members of their own ethnic group for generations on exchange for their land that was illegally acquired by Jewish only settlement blocks. That’s still a net loss of land and fundamental freedom..

    3. @ Major Scoop: if you’re really interested in what the Arab citizens of Israel call themselves (which I doubt)
      All polls show (cf. ‘Arab citizens of Israel: self-identification on wikipedia & particularly notes 15-24) that the immense majority of the Arab citizens of Israel choose a label that include “Palestinian”. The ‘Israeli Arab’ label is a Zionist label that has the purpose of cutting off the Palestinian citizens of Israel from the larger Palestinian people. ‘Arab’ is supposed to be the cultural identification and ‘Israel’ the political but that’s NOT how they see themselves !
      I encourage you to see this very long documentary by Al-Jazeera (three parts, four hours) made by a Palestinian about the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Right in the beginning you hear people say: “I’m Arab, Palestinian, holding Israeli citizenship”, another “We’re part of the Arab Palestinian nation” etc.
      Ibtissam Mara’ana made a documentary about her village Fureidis (whose young men were forced to dig the graves after the massacre in neighboring Tantura in ’48). The discussion comes up about identity: the old men in the coffee shop seem reluctant to express themselves but a young man cuts off to says ‘no matter what they say I’m Palestinian’ (I paraphrase by memory, unfortunately the documentary is not on the net any longer, it was scheduled on Witness” by al-Jazeera).
      The land-swap issue has nothing to to with the identity as Palestinians.

      1. The poll cited in the Wikipedia article you reference indicates that a little less than half of those surveyed self-identify as Arabs, with 22 percent identifying as Israeli Arabs, 18 percent identifying as Palestinian Arabs, and 6 percent identifying as simply Arabs.

        1. @ Bob Mann
          I don’t get your point, if you have one….. There’s no contradiction between what I wrote and ‘your’ poll. What poll by the way, lots of polls and surveys are mentioned.
          You write ‘a little less than half of those surveyed self-identify as Arabs’. What about the rest ? How come I get the impression that you’re sumarizing the poll to state your case with Richard concerning the ‘Arab’-label. I didn’t speak about the ‘Arab’-label (of course all Palestinians are and consider themselves Arabs, and I think Richard knows that too….) but about the “Israeli Arab”-label which is an Israeli invention, putting the stress on ‘Israeli’ (cf. note 23).

          You write that according to the poll, 22% identify as “Israeli Arabs”. I guess you agree with me that 22% is NOT a majority.

          If you read note no. 15 “according to the author’s survey approximately 66% of the Palestinian Israeli identified themselves in whole or partly as Palestinians”
          Note no: 16: “In numerous surveys conducted over many years the majority of Arab citizens define themselves as Palestinians rather than Israeli Arabs”.
          Even Jody Rodoren acknowledges that (cf. another note).

          “Israeli Arab” denies the link between the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Palestinian people elsewhere, indicating that the link is like that with Iraqi Arabs or Tunisian Arabs. Isn’t it ironical: many Israelis are incapable of calling the people who stayed in their land for Palestinians but once they’re in a refugee camp in Lebanon, they have no problems calling them Palestinians. I’ve noticed that hypocrisy by some of the ‘left-wing’ writers at 972mag, for instance.
          The notes (who only represent a little of what’s written on the subject) clearly indictes that ‘Palestinian’ is included in the majority of self-identifying labels chosen, and that the number is fastly growing. It’s not that the State of Israel has done anything to make the Palestinians feel at home in their state, is it ?
          The documentary that I posted is excellent (3 parts)

      2. @ Deïr Yassin,
        I appreciate your significant contribution to this blog and I thank you for the insight that you have afforded me over time.
        I disagree with you on some points;
        1) You harp upon the injustice done to the Palestinians by the Jews of Israel and I ask you a simple question;would the Palestinians have treated the Jews any better had they and their invading allies (Egypt, Jordan and Syria) won in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Many good Jews died in that war.

        2) You dwell upon the Nakba but the Palestinian citizens of Israel have evolved since then. Most have integrated into Israeli society becoming successful doctors, engineers and tradesmen. They are often second class citizens in their own country, a situation which is not right but such is human nature that they are treated with suspicion by many of the Jewish majority. I fully appreciate the injustice being done to them and the fact that they have to be better at the same job to be considered equals. I appreciate the effect of constant minor humiliations.

        3) “The ‘Israeli Arab’ label is a Zionist label that has the purpose of cutting off the Palestinian citizens of Israel from the larger Palestinian people”………
        The Palestinian citizens of Israel, whose financial situation (for most) has improved immensely since the founding of the State of Israel, have partially cut themselves off from their poorer Palestinian relations. They value the opportunities afforded to them in Israel and, all things considered, they understand that they are better off with the “Yahood” that with Hamas.
        Talking of inequality; in 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_de_Toqueville) noticed the paradox of inequality:As social conditions become more equal, the more people resent the inequalities that remain.

        1. @ Daniel
          “Would the Palestinians have treated the Jews any better had they and their invading allies (Egypt, Jordan, Syria) won the war.”
          First of all, I’m not sure you can talk about “allies” as shown in Avi Shlaim and Eugene Rogan’s “The War for Palestine”. There’s an article by Rogan on Jordan ( or read Shlaim’s book on “Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine” about the Zionist-King Abdullah collaboration), Joshua Landis has an article on Syria, Fawzi Gerges on Egypt: these three countries had different, and opposing interests concerning Palestine, and the Palestinians weren’t their primary concerns.
          I also don’t agree with ‘invading’. What did they invade ? A state that proclaimed its independance on other people’s land and that the Arab states didn’t recognize, and rightly so. The Arab armies entered Palestine the day the Brits left, and if you notice, almost exclusively the parts that were supposed to belong to the Arab state. And don’t forget that at least 300.000 Palestinians had been exiled PRIOR to the declaration of independance, also from territories that were supposed to become the Arab state.. Taking about ‘invading’, I’d say the Zionists had been invading Palestine for decades.
          Your question has no value as far as I’m concerned because you put on the same level a native population and European settlers who’d come with the idea of taking over the land.
          2. “You dwell on the Nakba”.
          The Nakba has never stopped ! Everyday, within the State of Israel as in the OPT, Palestinians are being pushed out from their land and their houses are being demolished (cf. Negev, Yaffa, Akka etc).
          Why don’t you see the documentary that I posted in the commentary to Major Scoop about the Palestinian citizens of Israel: it’s very long (four hours/3 parts). Take your time, try to understand what these people are saying (known and unknown citizens, activists, Jamal Zahalka, Azmi Bishara, etc).
          3. You’re a joke: what do you know about what the Palestinian citizens of Israel value ? How come a majority (according to all polls and survey) include ‘Palestinian’ in their self-identication, and hardly nobody consider themselves as ‘Israelis’ more than ‘Arab/Palestinians’ (well, maybe Khaled Abu Toameh….).
          Yeah, Palestinians in Israel should read some Tocqueville, right ? One of the slogans during the ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt and Tunisia was ‘karamah’ (dignity), a word often used by Nasser in his time. I know people who were economically relatively well-off within the State of Israel (not due to Israel but to personal efforts, studies abroad, success within the community etc) and who left because they simply could’t live there as Palestinians any longer.
          Read this interview with the famous actor Saleh Bakri about his feelings towards the State of Israel. He was born in Bi’na, a village close to Akka, nearly all the land has been taken away by the State:
          You’re really wasting your hasbara-light on me…. but maybe you could get a job at the Israeli embassy in Dublin.

  7. The demand “to recognize Israel as a Jewish state” actually means to formally recognize and accept tthe Zionist ideology at the international level.

    Uri Avnery, the founder of the “Gush Shalom”, once wrote:

    “IF I were asked to swear allegiance to the “Nation-State of the Jewish People”, I would have to respectfully decline. Perhaps by then a law will be in force that will cancel the citizenship of Israelis who refuse this demand, and I shall be demoted to the status of permanent resident devoid of civil rights.
    I would have to refuse so as to avoid lying.
    First of all, I don’t know what the “Jewish people”, to which the state of Israel supposedly belongs, is. Who is included? A Jew in Brooklyn, a citizen of the Nation-State of the American People, who served in the Marines and votes for the American president? Richard Goldstone, who is denounced by the leaders of Israel as a liar and self-hating traitor? Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, who was told this week by Lieberman to solve the Burka problem in France instead of poking his (Jewish) nose into our affairs?
    And how does the ownership of Israel by these Jews express itself? Will they be able to vote for our government (after this right has been taken away from a million and a half Arab citizens)? Will they determine the policy of our government – joining the Jewish billionaires, casino and brothel owners, who own our newspapers and TV stations and buy our politicians wholesale or retail?
    No Israeli law has defined what the “Jewish people” is. A religious community? An ethnic group? A race? All these together? Does it include all those professing the Jewish religion? Everybody who has a Jewish mother? Does it include a non-Jew married to someone with one Jewish grandparent, who today enjoys the automatic right to come to Israel and become a citizen? If 100 thousand Arabs were to convert to Judaism tomorrow, would the state belong to them, too?
    And what about the confusion between “Nation” and “People”? Does the Nation-State belong to the “Nation” or to the “People”? According to what scientific or juridical definition? Does the German “Nation-State” belong to the German “People” – which, according to some, also includes the Austrians and the German-speaking Swiss?
    We have here a knot of concepts, terms and semantic confusions, a knot that cannot be unraveled.
    THE FORMER Minister of Justice, the late Yaakov Shimshon Shapira, a Zionist through and through, told me once that, as the Legal Advisor of the government, he had advised David Ben-Gurion not to enact the Law of Return – because he would never find an answer to the question “who is a Jew”. It is even more difficult to answer the question “what is a Jewish State”.
    And indeed, what does it mean? A state in which there is a Jewish majority – something that may well change in time? A state whose language is Hebrew and whose official holidays are Jewish? A state that belongs to the Jews all over the world? A state all of whose citizens are Jews, and Jews only? A state of transfer and ethnic cleansing? And how do the words “Jewish” and “Democratic” go together?”


  8. The demand for recognition as a Jewish State and the homeland of the Jews is intended to make
    a Palestinian State the homeland of all Palestinians thus solving the problem of a right of return of the
    refugees. Lieberman has made this very clear in his comments. And if nothing else a precondition that will
    prevent any agreement.

    I don’t understand why anyone thinks that there is any prospect for an agreement or that
    Israel is bargaining in good faith. Oslo which was to be the foundation of a peace process
    is now 20 years in the past and all that has happened is the expansion of the settlements and the
    continued loss of Palestinian land and rights. Israel having created facts on the ground and many of them
    extremist facts on the ground knows that it can not remove the settlers nor does it want to.

    Obama has a history of being willing to settle for the appearance of progress that goes back to is days
    as a State Senator and that may be all that this push is about. I find it hard to believe that he and Kerry
    think they can solve this on any basis that would be deemed equitable. There may be the fantasy that
    they can push the Palestinians into a settlement that will meet all of Netanyahu’s preconditions and that if
    they can’t they can blame either or both parties.

  9. Nice!

    Let’s swap Lieberman and keep Wadi Ara by Yigal Sarna

    There is a wonderful Hebrew term – “a quarrelsome person” [איש ריב ומדון]. A. Lieberman is such a person. As long as it’s within the community, who cares? When it turns into a nationwide problem, it’s serious trouble.

    … So if it were in my hands, I would be glad to carry out a much less dramatic and inflammatory population exchange. A. Lieberman, who immigrated at the age of 20 from Kishinev in Moldova, could remain in his home in the settlement of Nokdim as a Jewish enclave under the PA’s control beyond the West Bank fence, while my friend, lawyer and human rights activist Hussein Abu Hussein, whose great-grandfather was born in Wadi Ara, would stay put as an Israeli citizen working frequently in the PA territories. Thus everyone’s problems would be solved.

  10. I’ve held the “Machiavellian Kerry” view from the beginning, although I confess from time to time I give in to entertaining notions that the Kerry mission might actually be successful in delivering a just peace treaty. But Machiavellian is the only thing that makes sense — why would Obama/Kerry go into this fraught arena otherwise? Both of them are too smart, too politically experienced, they didn’t need to put themselves through this torture. What can they hope to achieve from this hopeless endeavor? Answer: delivering Israel to the European sanctions. Once the ‘peace talks’ go down, and if Israel is perceived as being the guilty party — which the US negotiations have exposed — the sanctions floodgates open wide. There is a small steady trickle of sanctions happening now, including the celebrated ASA, but the Europeans are holding back until the peace talks are finished.

  11. Oh Bibi, you want to be the Islamic Republic of Iran SO BAD.


    No one will recognize the simple title because it would give Netanyahu and the greater Israel goons (the ones who think no one else knows the shtick still) a proverbial carte blanche to go ahead with their ethnic cleansing operation a la Jabotinsky. The fact is, what religious identity would an “Israel” most bear by virtue of definition? The necessity for the redundancy points to a fanatical insecurity. Such identity springs forth from strong culture. The historical examples for this are endless. You will never be able to mandate such recognition successfully (in fact, the opposite will occur).

    So, are Bibi et. al. really that stupid? Are they actually concerned about “preserving a Jewish identity”, or are they blatantly trying to represent the entire demographic of Jewry by seeking such things through Indyk? Why would they want to hide under such a broader religious demographic (often, mish-mashed into a talk on race despite there being several ethnicities to the religion)? Are Bibi et. al. doing anything immoral or wrong and has hiding under that larger religious demographic helped? Abe Foxman doesn’t think so. Wink, wink.

  12. I hate to say the obvious but isn’t the “Jewish” state ad hoc requirement just another condition added because it is unacceptable to Palestinians? Bibi can then say he tried.

    Even a Palestinian state (e.g. 10% of Palestine?) will not convince Palestinians that they should forgo their claim of right of return. It seems to me that only recognition of the ROR, and suitable steps toward remedy (e.g. reparations) can liquidate this claim. Palestinians want some modicum of justice, at least, above all: But, who ever gets that? Anyone who has been through even a divorce knows better.

    1. I don’t know if Yair-my-hair-is-perfect-Lapid ever divorced, I’ve heard he’s not too bright and still he gets the point about justice for the Palestinians, so maybe the brighter people in the Knesset get it too.
      In an interview with Charlie Rose:
      Yair Lapid: The Israelis and the Palestinians want two very different things, the Palestinians want peace and justice, the Israelis peace and security.
      Charlie Rose: You’re saying you can’t have justice for the Palestinians and security for the Israelis (….). The Palestinians are interested in justice and you’re not prepared to give it”

  13. The idea is that Israel will remain the state of the Jewish people. That Jewish people from abroad has the right to return. This is not antidemocatric, and it is similar to Germany as the state of German people. By not recgonizing it, the Palestinians might deny the right of the Jewish people on this land. And there is a fear that one state wouldn’t be enough for them. I’m sure that for Hamas it is not enough. And demographically speaking, I don’t know what will happen if Arabs become majority in Israel. But the world is divided etnically and every etnic group include the Jewish and the Palestinians has right for state of their own.

    1. No, actually it would be far more apt to liken Israel to a Germany divided between religions and say that Germany was the homeland for German Lutherans, but not for Catholics, which of course would be absurd. Or like saying West Germany is the homeland for German Catholics while East Germany was the homeland for German Lutherans. Equally absurd.

      As for the Right of Return, imagine if German Catholics enjoyed the Right of Return while Lutherans didn’t. By the way, under current German law someone claiming German ancestry does not get immediately get citizenship, as the Right of Return offers Jews.

      In other words, in almost all other countries in the world (with the exception perhaps of Vatican City), religion and nationality are not the same thing. In Israel, as far as Jews are concerned, it is.

      1. Thanks for the replay!
        You are clinging to facts (and I don’t deny this) that doesn’t reflect the true nature of the state. This nature is secular.
        You can say that “In god we trust” is written on a bill. Is the US religious country?

        The founders of the state were , mostly, secular. They were influenced by Communism, not by rabbis.
        The purpose of the state is to be a place for the Jewish people to be , as a lesson learned from the Holocaust.

        Some comprises were made to keep the status quo with the religious people. Too much.
        In 1958 , Ben-Gurion decided that to get citizenship , if you are not part of the Jewish people(Genetically, if you want) , you will have to be converted to Judaism. I think that is because , as some people see it , the traditions from Judaism , are part of the culture of the Jewish nationality. I think that is totally wrong. But I think this is somehow not fundamental. It means we don’t accept many newcomers(and it is not done fairly).

        Apparently 42% of the population are secular , and 38% traditional(In 2009). That is 80% who are not quite religious. De facto , This is a state of the Jewish people. Not Jewish Orthodox people. The real difficulty in the peace process is not because of Judaism, but because of security problems.

        1. EK
          RE: Is the US religious country?

          That cannot be a serious question.
          There are laws passed against abortion and for prayer in school. The ten commandments are posted in some courtrooms.

          I tried affirming instead of swearing on the bible when giving evidence. Despite telling the judge I was an atheist, he ignored my request and told me I would HAVE to put my hand on the bible and swear or would be held in contempt of court.

          If that is not religion, I don’t know what is. The US and Israel are controlled by religious extremist but constantly deny deny it.

    2. Why then is it that a Jew can be a Frenchman but a Frenchman cannot be a Jew, except by religious conversion (if then)? I mean as long as you are making parallels, let’s get it right.

      1. If you follow through these “ethnic” “nationalist” analogies you wind up with oxymoron “Catholic Jews” or “Jewish Protestants.”

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