Elliott Abrams is coming to town!
His visit should not be overlooked!
A VIGIL IS CALLED
Sunday April 25, 2010
8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m
(show up any time)
At the corner of
Please bring signs with messages for Middle East Peace!!
A State for All Its Citizens
claim that it can be both Jewish and democratic.
By Nadim N. Rouhana | April 22, 2010
In the conflict studies courses I teach, I expose my
students to theories that claim state-sanctioned
inequality is a source of perpetual conflict. I know
this to be true not only from my academic research, but
from personal experience: I also run a small research
institution in the northern Israeli city of
focuses on the status of the Palestinian citizens in
population, with the silent complicity of the United
States, has long been the target of official state
policies of discrimination.
In spite of
state, which in theory and practice means privileging
Jewish citizens over all other citizens. U.S. President
Barack Obama declared his support at the United Nations
last September for "two states living side by side in
peace and security -- a Jewish state of
true security for all Israelis, and a viable,
independent Palestinian state." Similarly, Vice
President Joe Biden told an audience at Tel Aviv
University in March that negotiations should lead to "a
Jewish state with secure and recognized borders." It
appears that affirmation of
"Jewish state" is becoming a routine part of
discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
But it would be politically and morally wrong for the
between 16 to 20 percent of the population, depending
on whether the Palestinians in
counted -- a larger percentage than the African-
American population in the
percentage of non-Jews in
Christians, and others -- reaches approximately 25
percent. To recognize
this sizable minority from full and equal participation
for enduring social strife and conflict.
There are few honest observers in
that a Jewish state, by definition, privileges one
group of citizens over another. This inequality is
expressed in various ways, including in
Laws and its laws of land control, immigration, and
resource distribution. The modern Israeli state belongs
only to its Jewish citizens -- and even to non-citizen
Jews in the diaspora -- but not to its Palestinian
citizens. As a result, a sizable minority of
citizens have no state to call their own.
Basic Laws stipulate that "a candidates list shall not
participate in elections to the Knesset ... if the
goals or actions of the list ... expressly or by
party that explicitly requires
for all its citizens and not a Jewish state runs the
risk of disqualification.
Is this really what Obama wants? Has he contemplated
the built-in inequality that accompanies a "Jewish state"?
security is the result of international politics, on
which there can be differing views. However, supporting
over another on the basis of national identity or
religious affiliation is neither morally defensible nor
concept of a "Jewish state" is not equivalent to the
still-objectionable term "Christian state" used by some
groups in the
a "white state" -- a notion that is completely
unthinkable in the West.
settlement policy for reasons related to its national
interests and domestic political considerations. Now
policies: Difficult political choices over
settlements have precipitated increasingly sharp
divisions within Israeli society. Similarly, the
diplomatic support the
ambition to be recognized as a "Jewish state" does not
serve either country's long-term interests.
welfare is best ensured by a system that guarantees
real equality for all its citizens and national groups,
rather than state-sanctioned ethnic discrimination.
Nadim N. Rouhana is professor at
the Haifa-based Mada al-Carmel, the
Applied Social Research.
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