sk Arguments 4 Israel

The Israeli Demand that Palestinians Accept Israel as a Jewish State

Jon Dyson's arguments for Israel blog.
15 January 2015

The Israeli Demand that Palestinians Accept Israel as a Jewish State

Why the Deal-Maker for Israel is the Deal-Breaker for the Palestinians - and Vice Versa

Part 1 Reut and wrong

Gidi Grinstein is founder and CEO of the Re’ut Institute of Tel Aviv. The great thing about his article Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People / Palestine as the Nation State of the Palestinian People (Re’ut-Institute website), is that it takes as its subject the crucial issue at the heart of the Israeli conflict with the Arabs. The not-so-great-thing is that it does this with a shallow analysis that trivializes and distorts a serious matter.

The issue is the Israeli requirement that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People.   Prime Minister Netanyahu has regularly made this the fundamental building block of any 2-State Solution.  For example:

There will be no Palestinian state before the state of Israel is recognized as the Jewish people’s state, and there will be no Palestinian state before the Palestinians declare an end to the conflict.
( 02/12/2012)
Gidi Grinstein finds that this Israeli demand is:
a just one, yet non-essential, and therefore unnecessary.  
Unfortunately, he supports this view with some silly arguments. Yet, Gidi Grinstein is both smart and substantial.  Therefore, his use of explanations that trivialize the issue is worrying.  For example, he says this:  

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Abbas' Cairo Interview: The Demise of Israel: Hidden in Plain Sigh

12 December 2014


The Demise of Israel:  Hidden in Plain Sight

Here are three quotations from the interview given by PLO appointed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Egyptian newspaper ‘Akhbar Al-Yawm’ on 30 November 2014.

Israel must recognize the June 4, 1967 border.
We cannot recognize a Jewish state.
There are six million refugees who wish to return, and by the way, I am one of them.
(MEMRI 05 Dec 2014 Special Dispatch 5898)

The occasion was the meeting of the Arab League on the previous day in Cairo where the Arab League restated its position as:

categorical rejection of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state
(Al-Ahram online 29 Nov 2014)

These terms were almost identical to a statement by the 22-member body made earlier in the year when the Council of the Arab League stated that it:

emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’
(Al-Jazeera online 09 Mar 2014)
The same Al- Jazeera article observed that:

B’tselem and the Martians Part 2

16 August 2014

B’tselem and the Martians (2) 

The Gaza War and Hamas

In Part 1 it was suggested that whereas the Martians were only able to see one of the parties to a conflict due to an equipment malfunction, B’tselem has no such excuse. Its failure to see is a product of downplaying or ignoring what it prefers not to see. 

As an illustration of this, Part 1 noted that the B’tselem website covers the conflict in Gaza with only a single article devoted to Hamas out of 15 front-page articles (on 11 August 2014). This briefly comments that the Hamas practice of firing rockets from civilian areas in Gaza into civilian areas in Israel is ”morally and legally reprehensible” – but apparently this is not illegal or criminal for B’tselem.

Given the unrelenting blame heaped upon Israel by B’tselem elsewhere on its website with a variety of accusations of criminal activity, it is hard to view this mild rebuke as other than a mere token. Presumably, its inclusion is intended to provide at least some appearance of 'balance' in its criticism.

How else to explain that nowhere in the article, or elsewhere in its coverage of the war, or elsewhere on the B’tselem website, is there any mention that Hamas is a murderous anti-Semitic terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of as many Jews as possible?     

Typically, this is also absent from the coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by the mainstream mass media.   But why would B’tselem want to hide it?   Is it such an irrelevance that it can be ignored?   Or is it information critical to understanding the conflict?   

B’tselem and the Martians Part 1

14 August  2014

B’tselem and the Martians (1)

The Gaza War and Hamas

Shortly after writing the previous blog entry (How Many Civilian Casualties in Gaza?) a link to the website of B’tselem arrived from a friend. This devotes many articles to the damage and casualties in Gaza. Possibly, the sender meant them as an antidote to my article. Instead, it reminded me of a story I heard many years ago.

This was not long after the BBC’s monopoly of British television was broken by ITV.   One of the innovations of ITV was the introduction of wrestling into sports programs.   Much of this was the sham, entertainment-type of wrestling - far too vulgar for the BBC.   

One day, as the wrestling was being shown; earth was visited by beings from space – almost certainly Martians.   While circling the earth, their receivers somehow picked up the wrestling transmissions.  

Unfortunately, these suffered a serious malfunction – and only one of the wrestlers was visible.   The Martians watched as the lone wrestler repeatedly smashed his head against the corner post, screamed in agony, twisted his arms behind his back, contorted his face in pain, bounced off the ropes, rose into the air and crashed to the floor in an unconscious heap.

Disturbed by this alarming display, the Martians could see no rational explanation and concluded that the earthlings were mad.  Curiosity satisfied, they reversed direction and headed back into space never to return.   

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How Many Civilian Casualties in Gaza?

24 July 2014

How Many Civilian Casualties in Gaza?
At the time of writing, it is reported that over 800 civilians in Gaza have been killed in the current conflict with Israel. But is this true? Where did these figures come from? Are they reliable? 

The short answer is that the figures come from Hamas and they are not reliable. They have been deliberately distorted. This is how.

In the first place, a directive from the Hamas Interior Ministry instructed spokesmen to report that ALL casualties are civilian. Further, they are instructed not to show pictures of rockets being fired from civilian areas. This can easily be confirmed by reference to the stalwart translation work of 

Secondly, from Hamas sources Al-Jazeera has compiled a list of what it says are civilians killed. This shows that male deaths were over 80% of the total. Even more indicative, those men between the ages of 18 and 38 were over 65% of the total. This means that deaths among men of fighting age are disproportionately high. 

Thirdly, the policy of Hamas to use civilians as human shields has contributed .... 

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Mazal Tov President Abbas Part 2

22 January 2012

Mazal Tov, President Abbas (2)

Lenin, President Abbas and the UK Deputy Prime Minister

Lenin is credited with having coined the expression useful idiots. By this is meant the service provided by innocent and ideologically blinded western politicians and reporters who defended the young Soviet state and did their best to deny, excuse or shield its totalitarian savagery from exposure. 

In other words, the useful idiots served a totalitarian, anti-democratic and anti-liberal purpose. In reality, by defending revolutionary totalitarianism instead of supporting the democrats and liberals, who were being wiped-out by Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin and Stalin, they became dangerous idiots. 

To look at this from another angle, the only people who are fooled by useful idiots are the liberal democrats who fail to see that their own liberal-democratic way of thinking and behaving is far from being shared by everyone. The liberal-democratic view that thinks disputes should be settled on a win-win basis without violence is fine when dealing with others who share a similar outlook. When reinforced by well-established and agreed structures, limits and laws the advantages seem obvious.

Mazal Tov, President Abbas (Part 1)

21 January 2012

Mazal Tov, President Abbas (1)

Solidarity with the Palestinians

Earlier this month, a momentous occasion passed for the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas - he began the eighth year of his four-year term as President. But instead of a tsunami of congratulations from the world's leaders for this popular figure on such a remarkable anniversary, the occasion has been almost universally ignored.

The absence of elections for the Presidency is not the only feature of Palestinian democracy to be ignored by large sections of the world's political leaders and media. They have also ignored repeated cancellations of the Palestinian local elections. Likewise, the disappearance of elections to the Palestinian Authority has been greeted by silence. This is not an oversight. There is a pattern and the pattern is clear. 

The Palestinian leaders, in both Gaza and the Disputed Territories, jettison democracy ...

Tzipi Livni: Inept or Dangerous?

26 October 2011

Tzipi Livni: Inept or Dangerous?

Misrepresenting Israel Abroad

Tzipi Livni is currently leader of Kadima ('forward') the largest opposition party in the Knesset. But if the remarks made by her deputy Shaul Mofaz at his recent Sukkot party are anything to go by (he announced that he would be the next Prime Minister of Israel), she won't be in this top position long. In a sense, this would be a pity. There is something comically entertaining in observing the constant stream of back-biting, incompetence, personal animosity and wishful-thinking at work.

Of course, this faint enjoyment would be spoiled entirely if these people ever came to power. But working on the assumption that Mofaz is as deluded as his leader, we may be forced to suffer her as boss of Kadima for some time yet. So we may as well make the most of the entertainment value of her speciality: sounding like a petulant, spoilt child in a constant sulk.

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on this...   

The New Egypt and the Clash of Civilizations

22 February 2011

The New Egypt and the Clash of Civilizations

More Lessons of History

In 1973, the leaders of Egypt learned two critical lessons from the October 'Yom Kippur' War. The first was that it took a truly enormous effort to make even limited military gains against Israel. As part of its preparation for the assault, Egypt devoted a huge proportion of its GNP to the military. Military spending rose from 13% of GNP in 1969 to 25% by 1973.

Employing advanced Soviet bridging techniques, an extremely enterprising technique to blast tank pathways through Israeli sand-barriers and a huge supply of sophisticated Soviet weaponry, the much admired assault by Egyptian forces was a tremendous success in crossing the canal and pushing back Israeli defences. Yet even with the advantage of a powerful opening attack and almost total surprise, the attack failed to completely achieve its modest aim of seizing two Israeli military roads running parallel to the canal a mere 30 kilometres (20 miles) inside the Sinai....

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The Fantasy of a Demilitarised Palestinian State

14 June 2010

The Fantasy of a Demilitarized Palestinian State
The Critical Security Needs of Israel for a Viable Peace

As Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated in his speech at Bar Ilan University exactly a year ago, at last we have a leader who makes a central diplomatic issue of the central Israeli requirement for peace with the Palestinians. This is that if the 2-State Solution is to be the solution in reality it is proclaimed to be in theory, the Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state.

The reason for this demand is simple. Without the acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state there can be no confidence that '2-State Solution' will end the conflict as its promoters believe or pretend to believe. Instead, it will only be a new stage in the war against Israel. Therefore, the incessant repetition of the demand for acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is needed to expose its serial rejection by the Palestinians for as long as they refuse to accept it. 

Further, with sufficient repetition and constant promotion, the fact that it is impossible to solve the conflict on the basis of a 2-state solution without this Palestinian acceptance will make it possible for Israel to attract far wider public and diplomatic support. Otherwise, Israel's position is widely seen as illegitimate with the result that it is perpetually on the diplomatic defensive....