Israel doesn’t have to be a big tent

The favorite argument of the Left is the demographic argument: that unless Israel gives up the territories, it must choose between its democracy or its Jewish character. Either Israel lets all those Arabs vote or it doesn’t. Therefore, Israel must ‘make peace’ and give up Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

But analysis shows – and I’m not going to repeat it here, I and others have explained it thousands of times – that giving up land won’t bring peace, that the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and indeed the great majority of the Palestinian Arab population see Israeli concessions as indications of weakness and stepping stones to the ultimate replacement of Israel by an Arab state. The kind of settlement Barack Obama and the Europeans want to see would simply set the stage for yet another war.

The two-state solution, in other words, is a mirage. There could be two states (for a while), but it wouldn’t be a solution. So what to do?

There are hidden premises in the argument of the two-staters. They are 1) that the Jewish character of Israel and democracy that includes the Palestinian Arabs  are equally important, and 2) that ‘democracy’ means that every person must be a citizen regardless of his ideology.

I deny the first premise, and in fact I insist that the imperative of maintaining at least one Jewish homeland in a hostile world (and it is getting more hostile every day) is an overriding one. And I deny the second one: why can’t citizenship require a commitment to the basic principles of the state?

Israel has put itself between a rock and a hard place because it feels that it has to respect the wishes and even the ‘rights’ of the Palestinian Arabs, who as a matter of fact want to destroy the Jewish state.

On the face of it, this is absurd. It’s as if the US had decided to fight WWII while respecting the wishes and rights of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.

Palestinian Arabs and their supporters make no bones about wanting Israel gone, even the so-called ‘moderates’. They don’t talk about the need for democracy in the ‘Palestine’ that they want to create from the river to the sea. They’ve been murdering Jews there for a hundred years, and are doing it (or trying) as I write. Why is it so important to compromise with them – especially since they won’t accept a ‘compromise’ that is less than a surrender?

“But you are suggesting that Jews and Arabs won’t have equal rights – that’s racist apartheid!” says the Left.

No. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with ideology. The proposal of a loyalty oath for everyone, Jews, Arabs and members of the Ha’aretz editorial board, is not a bad idea. Support the Jewish state and you  can vote, pay taxes, etc. Oppose it – either violently or by incitement – and please close the door on your way out, to an Arab country, to Europe, to the US.

“But how can you expect Arabs to support a Jewish state?” Well, if they like living in a modern state with modern conveniences like good health care and other benefits, perhaps this is more important to them than nationalist or Islamist ideology. Or perhaps not – but if not they can leave.

Israel, as many Americans don’t seem to have noticed, is in the Middle East. This is a place where democracy blind to ideology doesn’t exist. Look at Lebanon if you think it has a future. Most Middle-Eastern countries are dictatorships or monarchies which are not democratic in any respect. What I’m proposing could be called ‘limited democracy’, where the limitation is based on one’s decision to accept an ideology, not religion or race.

Sure, the devil is in the details, but the devil in the details of keeping control of the territories and Jerusalem is a smaller devil than the one that will be released by withdrawal from them.

Israel is a tiny country. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a big tent.

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2 Responses to “Israel doesn’t have to be a big tent”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I see many dangers with the two- state solution.I sense also that among its dangers is another war. That war however may well come without the two- state solution. I do not see any other real answer either. Having Arabs within or without the Green Line take a loyalty oath to Israel will change nothing. You can’t legistate a person’s heart. The Arab minority is despite all efforts in Aliyah and a diminishing difference in birth- rates between Arab and Jewish populations still growing faster than the Jewish majority population. This is not a problem which is going away at present.
    I tend to favor the Leiberman program i.e. A negotation for two- states which includes a land – swap and a swap of populations. But the Prime Minister is against this , as are the Arabs in Israel. It does not seem politically possible. Why am I for it? Because I believe a Jewish state with a very large majority Jewish population,even with contracted and difficult
    borders will have a better long- term future than the ‘too large a minority state’ present trends are leading us to.

  2. Robman says:

    I’m also for a two-state solution: Israel and Jordan being the two states in question.

    J&S needs to be partitioned between Jordan and Israel, and given the status of a DMZ.

    Israel needs defensible borders like it needs water and air. This cannot be negotiated away under any circumstances. A future PA Hamastan – and that is what they will be, if the PA gets their “state” – will attack with the full backing of their neighbors at some point down the road. Not right away, of course, but it will happen. So Israel would buy “peace for land” – in even the most optimistic scenario – and get peace for perhaps ten or twenty years, and then face annihilation.

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