Guardian

Why are only the Jews denied a right to self-determination?


The EUMC working definition of antisemitism is very explicit in its formulation that, taking into account the overall context, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination is antisemitic. The so-called “one-state solution“, which posits a bi-national secular democracy in Israel and the disputed territories, is one manifestation of this and was being touted in an article yesterday by Mehdi Hasan.

As Alan Dershowitz in the past has stated:

The one-state solution proposal now being made by Palestinian lawyers and some anti-Israel academics is nothing more than a ploy. It is designed to destroy the Jewish state of Israel and to substitute another Islamic Arab state. Those who advocate the single state solution would never do so with regard to India, the former Yugoslavia, or other previously united states which have now been divided on ethnic or religious grounds.

It can only be expected that if the Guardian gives a platform above the line to antisemitic discourse, then the same can be expected below the line.

NathanCoombs

31 Dec 2009, 12:47PM

Contributor

I thoroughly agree with this piece. Not only was the two state solution idealistic nonsense pushed by the major powers (exactly because it would never work), but moreover it was a bad idea in the first place – there never can be a two state solution for many obvious reasons.

This all goes to show that what are often presented as the realistic compromises that have to be made are very frequently more idealistic than the solution called for by the logic of the situation.

I have also recently made this argument with regards to the green movement in Iran – that in backing Mir Hossein Mousavi as the so-called realistic, credible option for attacking the Islamic Republic they have lapsed into a dangerous form of idealism:

http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/ijzs/article/view/219/313

cellblocknumber9

31 Dec 2009, 1:00PM

Mehdi Hasan

Yours is a well reasoned article, and your links are very useful. I’ve just gone to the Jeff Halper page via the quote you inserted above, and he is right on the button with this.

One State: Preparing for a post Road-Map struggle against apartheid

For the Israelis [too] the prospect of a single state is obviously wrenching. Indeed, since a Jewish-Israeli state already exists, its transformation into a single state including a Palestinian majority is far more threatening to them. It means the end of Zionism, the end of a Jewish state qua Jewish state. But the Israeli public has only itself to blame.

But he goes on to say:

As an Israeli, I must say that the prospect of a single state encompassing our two peoples challenges rather than threatens me. Even without the Occupation, the notion of a Jewish state is demographically impossible, and Israel faces a fundamental transformation. Most Jews some 75% of them never came to Israel. Wherever they had a choice, most Jews preferred to migrate elsewhere. The Jewish majority stands at only 72% and is dwindling in relation to the growing Palestinian-Israeli population, the influx of some 400,000 non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and large-scale emigration (it is estimated that up to a half million Israeli Jews live permanently abroad). Maintaining a “Jewish” state on such a narrow base is becoming increasingly non-sustainable. The measures Israel must take to ensure its “Jewish character” are becoming progressively more repressive. By law “non-Jews” are forbidden to buy, rent, lease or live on “state lands” 75% of the country. The Palestinian citizens of Israel, almost 20% of the population, are confined to 2% of the land. Only a few weeks ago the Knesset enacted a law preventing Palestinian citizens of Israel from bringing their spouses from the Occupied Territories to live with them in Israel. An Israel belonging to all its citizens and beyond that, a democratic state of Israel-Palestine will finally release us from the preoccupation with the “demographic bomb” and lead us into a productive involvement in the wider region.

And that was written in September 2003 !!!

FalseConsciousness

31 Dec 2009, 12:57PM

You’ve reached the right conclusion, Mehdi. First of all, the “two-state solution” is reactionary, splitting the area up along communal lines won’t accomplish anything. Plus the Israelis are the ones with everything to lose so they won’t give up anything for peace. Palestinians should embrace the one-state solution and build a civil rights movement that demands equal rights and citizenship for all Palestinians in historic Palestine and for refugees that wish to return.

Clunie

31 Dec 2009, 1:39PM

Amen (in a secular sense!) Mehdi. It’s about time – I know that the haters on either side won’t like it, but it’s time for sanity. One secular state for all – the haters need to grow up.

JJ139

31 Dec 2009, 1:45PM

Keo2008

Interesting and well argued article, but the fact is as several have pointed out, that Israelis will never accept the one-state solution- so we are back with 2 state “solutions” after all

The fact is the Israelis will never accept a two state solution either. A solution has to be imposed, and a one state is the only one that makes sense.

Locotillo

Yes, we have heard this claim before. Another excuse to call for one-state, “return” Palestinians living oveseas to the area, including children and grandchildren competely settled in other countries

As opposed to the ‘return’ of Brooklyn and similar US Jews, obviously completely unsettled in the US and amongst the most strident of the west bank settlers!

DWearing

31 Dec 2009, 2:03PM

Contributor

What advocates of the one-state solution are effectively saying is this: it is more feasible to get Israel to completely and voluntarily dissolve itself as a state than to get it to remove the settlement infrastructure in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Getting Israel to withdraw from its illegal colonies: impossible
Getting Israel to voluntarily self-destruct as a state: practical and achievable.

One-state advocates need to explain how they plan to persuade the Israeli public (which just voted in its most right-wing government ever) that Israel as they conceive it should cease to exist.

Until that’s question’s been answered, repeated statments of the obvious re.the extent of Israeli colonisation will do nothing to advance the case for one-state.

bailliegillies

31 Dec 2009, 2:04PM

“the conditions for an independent Palestinian state have been killed off by the inexorable and irreversible advance of the settlements”.

Under International Law that is occupied territory and is still recognised as being Palestinian and not Israeli. So in any peace accord for a two state solution it would have to be returned to the Palestinian authorities and the occupants would be required to accept and recognise Palestinian statehood and citizenship.

Other than that I agree the only real way foreward is the one state solution and two peoples sharing the land as equals in a democratic Israel/Palestine

LaRitournelle

31 Dec 2009, 3:24PM

What an excellent, clear and refreshing article which cuts to the chase in a straightforward manner which is frequently so glaringly lacking in the majority of articles and discussions on the Issue of Israel-Palestine. I can say nothing less than I wholeheartedly agree with the author.

Also, some really fantastic contributions from the likes of PhillpD and NathanCoombs (having just finished Zizek’s latest, not all of it comfortable reading – I enjoyed the link to your essay – thanks).

I would go further and say that with the current situation as it stands: Lebanon, Gaza, the uber-right wing in Govt. led by Netenyahu and Lieberman, open acceleration of settlement building in occupied E.Jerusalem etc.etc. the State of Israel long ceased to even pay lip-service to the idea of a viable and just 2-State solution. Let’s be honest, hat has never been the intention from the outset.

One thing is certain though the road to the ideal goal of a secular, democratic state for all will be a long and very bloody.

La Rit

petrifiedprozac

31 Dec 2009, 3:45PM

How about a modern democratic multi-cultural, multi-ethnic state? The last thing the world needs is two religious states, either Jewish, muslim or for that matter, christian.

Though that is probably a too radical solution because it means not demonising, ethnically cleansing or murdering anyone.

iamid

31 Dec 2009, 4:25PM

An excellent article. And this is a great quote :

“It’s like you and I are negotiating over a piece of pizza. How much of the pizza do I get? And how much do you get? And while we are negotiating it, you are eating it.”

The two state solution has never been a goer, for too many reasons.

Firstly, the land on offer to the Palestinians is the scraps after the best bits were taken.

Secondly, the Israelis are living in the homes that Palestinians of 1948 lived in. People are reluctant to forget that their homes have been stolen from them.

Thirdly, a Palestinian state with an all-seeing, all-powerful, supposedly beneficent neighbour might just find that neighbour has an interest in a status quo something like it is now – a fragile, economically impoverished economy. Who gets the water ?

Fourthly, a state with supposedly high moral standards which is institutionally biased in favour of one race or sect – against a significant proportion of its populace – is setting itself up for long run pain. Minimum standards of housing, education and healthcare need to be equal for all if you wish to build a stable state.

Fifthly, What about the refugees ? They still live in camps around the region, unwanted and, indeed, not prepared to accept the nationality of their place of residence, because that would be to give up their claim to the land they were expelled from. They still believe it is rightfully theirs. Morally, I think they have a point.

There are many more reasons why the two state solution is unworkable.

Against this, above all, the ordinary folk on both sides want homes, jobs and an education for their children. It is not beyond the wit of man to put in place the institutions of a single state designed to promote these things for all members of the state. However, it is beyond the greed of man.

When I read Plato’s story of Gyges and the Ring, I thought it rubbish. The premise is, with apologies to Plato and Socrates, “If a man could do anything he wanted, he would take all for himself and stuff the weak.” This does not reflect man as he really is, I thought. That was then, and this is now. I look at Israel and think, “yes, you have Gyges ring. And look what you are doing with it.” Oh to hear Glaucon and Socrates discuss the ring again, using Israel as the context.

Only an outside influence will change the essential selfishness, which is why we should boycott all Israeli goods until the lot of the Palestinians is improved.

maceasy

31 Dec 2009, 4:30PM

The one-state ‘solution’ has been implemented already by Israel over the last ten years, except it has refused to give Palestinians human rights or the right to vote. The so-called two state ‘solution’ has been nothing more than a pretext, a cover for the expansion of Israel into the West Bank and the lock down of Gaza. It is there, as the farcical ‘freeze’ on settlement activity is, purely for the benefit of the foreign press and thereby public opinion. It is PR, as the odious Mark Regev proves every time he opens his mouth and lies and his head off to various ‘news’ channels. Israel’s preferred ‘solution’ is the one state version, except without any Palestinians. To achieve this they merely have to continue making life impossible for anybody to live under their ruthless occupation and siege. The answer for them is to just keep building, taking over and wait. Slow expulsion is all they are interested in. Failing that, caged populations living under inhuman conditions. They have done it in Gaza, this is the fate they wish for the rest of the West Bank.

maceasy

31 Dec 2009, 4:41PM

If Israel was actually interested in a two state solution it could have accepted the Saudi peace proposal which has been on the table for a number of years. Instead, Israel has steadfastly refused to even recognise it or engage with it. That is how much they care about a solution which gave them nearly everything they wanted. They are a gerrymandered rogue state, and they want to stay that way, continually expanding their borders, ruining the lives of people who have done nothing except live there for generations. And their excuse? A mythical fable about people most of them aren’t even related to.

dmgood

31 Dec 2009, 6:19PM

Mehdi,
I couldn?t agree with you more. I have always thought the two-state scenario was the worst possible solution. Here in the US our experiment with segregation failed miserably, and we have since come to learn that integration is the only viable way to live together peacefully. I don?t see why this is not also applicable to Israel/Palestine. If ethnic Jews from all over the world can live together peacefully within Israel, why can?t Jews and Arabs live together peacefully within a single, secular, multi-ethnic state with full political representation? The true enemy is not Jews or Arabs, but religious fundamentalism and political extremism. The situation in Israel/Palestine will never be resolved as long as fundamentalists and extremists are allowed to hijack the political process. In a sense, Fundamentalism was an inevitable response to 20th century events ? the downfall of empires, the drive for national self-determination throughout the Middle East, the Holocaust, and mass emigration to Palestine of people with completely new ideas about how land should be used and labor should be organized. However, we are now entering a new decade in a new century in a new millennium. It is time to strip extremists of their political influence and press on with fair, pragmatic solutions. All Israelis and Palestinians should be given equal rights, including the right to vote and to settle anywhere within the borders of Israel/Palestine. The right of return should be extended to both nationalities for a limited time, then abolished forever. There should be a single government, not parallel governments. Both Hebrew and Arabic should be taught in schools. The name of this new state should reflect both nationalities (as in Bosnia and Hercegovina). Etc, etc. You get the picture. Thanks.

Of course this kind of thread invites those that ascribe one of the worst evils to the Jewish state:

loewe

31 Dec 2009, 1:14PM

From 1967 on Israel’s aim was to grab and colonize the rest of Palestine they had missed to conquer in 1948. Now they more or less have achieved this aim and prepare for the next step.

I suppose their next (again: secret) aim will be the expulsion of many, most or even all Arab Palestinians from Palestine.

That would take some preparation and time.

Under what conditions it might be doable? – You need a lot of turmoil around Israel, because the deportation of millions would require some place for the victims – in Jordan and Syria, mostly – and of course this would spell a lot of additional trouble for Europe and the USA, too.

I wonder whether a deportation will turn out to be doable at all.

On the other hand – does anybody expect
– the Palestinians to surrender?
– the Israelis accepting to live with Palestinian resistance for ever?

As China’s role will grow – how will that influence the Palestinian future?

And those that hold the Jews… oops I mean Zionists … responsible for endless war (now where have I heard of that one before?)

Matzpen

31 Dec 2009, 1:26PM

Is a two-state solution still possible? Yes, in theory – but not with borders in any way similar to those that have gone before.

If we accept the premise that self-determination for Israeli Jews cannot be realised at the expense of Palestinian Arab rights, the consequence of this is that if the cloth is to be cut, it has to be cut according to the demographic realities that will obtain after the right of return has been realised.

This means that any future Israeli state will have to be concentrated on the Central, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem districts, as well as coastal areas either side of Tel Aviv, into the Southern district toward the present border with Gaza and north into the Haifa district towards (but likely not including) the city of Haifa itself.

There would still be an Israeli-Jewish majority in these areas even if every single Palestinian chose to return to the district from which they (or their families) were expelled/fled.

The question is whether – given that such an arrangement is the only one that can satisfy both separatist demands on each side and the universal demands of natural justice – this is practically viable.

My feeling is that it is not.

It is important to remember that the right of both nations to self-determination does not have to be realised in the form of two separate states. A right does not necessarily give rise to a duty. The right to seperation is absolute for every nation – there is no duty to exercise it. In the context of Israel/Palestine it may well be entirely irrational to even try.

The same right can be realised just as well, and more realistically, within the context of a federal state, a unitary bi-national state or autonomous cantons within a wider confederation.

None of this augers well for a solution that is ready tomorrow, the day after, a year or even 5 years from now but it is, I believe, the reality that we all have to face for the region.

Either endless war or the voluntary integration of the Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian-Arab nations into a reorganised Mashreq.

Zionism or peace, in other words.

ragworm

31 Dec 2009, 3:40PM

@Sabraguy……

although as a second-best they might be persuaded to accept a single Islamic state in which Muslims rule over Jews and Christians as a master race.

You’re very nearly describing the current situation!!! I’m glad you think it’s not acceptable! (you don’t do you?)

Of course, for centuries it was effectively one state, Muslims, Jews, Christians living peacefully together. What happened to change things? It begins with Z!

And those that trot out the false Israel-apartheid and Nazi analogies.

NathanCoombs

31 Dec 2009, 1:37PM

Contributor

The funny thing is that Israel-Palestine already is effectively one state, but a single state with unequal rights.

All those saying Israel will never accept it, its impossible etc. etc., should learn from history that the impossible has happened before – particularly when the contradictions and immanent possibilities push under the surface whilst no one notices.

Clunie

31 Dec 2009, 1:59PM

All the anti-one state arguments are uncannily familiar to anyone who campaigned against apartheid – the Afrikkaners used pretty much all of them.

RSutcliffe

31 Dec 2009, 2:07PM

Israel is a Democratic State and a Jewish State. Its Democratic for Jews and Jewish for Arabs. That is the bottom line. Israel is a manufactured democracy relying on a well tended ethnic majority, its citizens and politicians are waiting for the right time to expel the last of the Palestinians, just look at a recent poll in a right wing Israeli newspaper

http://pathofmostresistance.org/poll-shows-israelis-favour-forced-removals

bass46

31 Dec 2009, 3:30PM

On Monday, the Israeli housing ministry announced plans to build nearly 700 new apartments in occupied East Jerusalem.

A travesty. A grade “A” example of what the Israeli’s really want, there’s no bones about it. All the land. Simple.

The author puts forward logical argument, but he’s still way too optimistic. One state would involve the Israeli’s acknowledging Palestinians as equals, and it just won’t happen. Years of swallowing their own propaganda of “Israel, the permanent victim, assailed on all sides by savages hell bent on it’s mortal destruction” and using violence and misrepresentation as it’s prime weapons make this almost impossible. Imagine the shift in national thinking required. They’ve spent so long dehumanising their enemy can they ever find a way back?

Just look at the second post here

Locotillo

Another excuse to call for one-state, “return” Palestinians living oveseas to the area, including children and grandchildren competely settled in other countries or those kept to refugee status by fellow Arabs in Middle Eastern countries, and, in effect, eradicate the Jewish state, maybe even remove Jewish presence on the land.

No hope of peace will be found in Israel. The 90% support for attacking Gaza was proof of that. Any plan which involves compromise will be presented as a threat to Israel’s existence and rejected outright, but all plans involve compromise, so no plan will ever be acceptable. They’ll just invent some new rules which are designed to be broken and so justify the status quo.

In fact, there’s not one bright light on the horizon. Every single word out of Netenyahu’s mouth is a backward step if peace is his real goal, which it isn’t. The judiciary support evictions while the wall building continues and people continue to die from Israeli bullets on the West Bank and Gaza. Such is the level on paranoia that if an American administration stopped appeasing a nuclear armed religious state (Israel) they might do anything, convinced that some biblical hokum prophecy will come true.

The future is black. The world needs to take the risk and stop the appeasement, and force Israel to behave reasonably through apartheid era sanctions which would really shock Israeli’s, seemingly living in a bubble where attacking a refugee camp and killing 1400 civilians is a “success”. Why do we only have to confront violent religious nuts if they’re Muslims? What happens if they’re Jewish, or Catholic, or Christian? They get given more guns and a UN veto is what.

Gangastaista

31 Dec 2009, 3:40PM

Sabraguy

The single-state solution favoured by Hamas is one from which the Jews have been ethnically cleansed – although as a second-best they might be persuaded to accept a single Islamic state in which Muslims rule over Jews and Christians as a master race.

As distinct from the current situation where the Jews rule Muslims as though they were the Master Race?

Didn’t the “reap as you sow” cliché come from your neck of the woods?

And those that deny the existence of Islamic inspired antisemitism with the most facile of arguments.

petrifiedprozac

31 Dec 2009, 5:01PM

TomWonacott No question that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine has raised the temperature of Muslim antisemitism

Anti semiticism is a European phenomena, not a muslim phenomena. The Palestinian-Israel conflict is about land, not race. Jeez, Arabs are semetic.

TomWonacott Of course, and didn’t you just say above that the whole Middle East is the victim to Jewish immigration.

No I didn’t say that, you obviously can’t read.

TomWonacott Why those damn Jews changed the whole Middle East from a tolerant, multicultural society to what we see today – despotic, non democratic states (some failed like Yemen) who even go by a different standard of human rights called the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights In Islam which is just gender and minority discrimination couched in cultural relativism. All this from 600,000 Jews.

You have a way of putting words into people’s mouths to prove your point. I didn’t say the Ottoman Empire was a garden of Eden but there is enough documentatuion written by both Jewish and Arab people living in the region that Jews and Arabs lived peacefulluy in mixed communities before the mass immigration of European Jews. It was the immigration that destroyed the social cohesion as was the purchasing of land by absent Jews and then evicting Arab residents. It is all documented and much written by Jewish historians as by Arab historians.

And while almost all of the above comments were not deleted, here are a couple of examples of pro-Israel comments that were deleted:

Batleymuslim

31 Dec 2009, 12:52PM

Mehdi Hasan wrote:

Forget the idea of a Palestinian state existing side by side with a Jewish state, and to argue and agitate instead for the only remaining, viable and democratic option: a single, secular and binational state for Israelis and Palestinians. No longer “two states for two peoples”, but “one person, one vote”.

Anywhere else in the world and I would agree, however what happens when the bigger birth rate of Muslims results in a situation where the jewish state becomes a Muslim one.

Will we see edicts where governmental permission is required not only in which to build places of worship for all faiths But permission is even required to fix toilets bar one faith. Which is exactly what happens in every country in the region bar 2 (Israel and Lebanon) How about forbidding Christians and women from office, that is what is the current policy in Egypt and lets not forget that Jews are not allowed to live or own land in Jordan as written in their
constitution .

It’s all fine and dandy playing the democratic card for other people when you live in the UK. But for the peoples of Israel its a matter of life and death.

mantoani

31 Dec 2009, 1:50PM

Calling Benjamin Netayahu an UBER-hawk is sick mean and nasty.Using Nazi Metaphors for Israeli leaders seems to be the norm on CiF.

19 replies »

  1. Jeff Halper is incorrect. The Jewish majority stands at 75% within the Green Line and if Yesha is included, Jews have a 67% majority. With more aliyah likely in the next years and a shrinking Arab birthrate, Israel’s future as a Jewish majority country is secure. With the right Israeli government policies, its possible to create an 80% Jewish majority by the year 2035. The demographic fatalists in Israel have always been and are spectacularly wrong in their predictions that Jews in Israel would soon be outnumbered by the Arabs.

  2. NormanF – I agree – in fact, you often see some comment such as “Israel is afraid of one state that includes the WB and Gaza beacause it would have a Palestinian majority”, which is, of course, not the case as anyone adding up the numbers could see. There were very detailed demographic studies released a year or so ago that showed that the PA had grossly inflated the number of Arabs living on the WB, for example.

    But why let statistics and facts get in the way?

    The hidden point, however, is that the “one state solution” is intended to incorporate the RoR for the millions of Palestinians outside the WB and Gaza to return to wherever they claim their ancestors of 60 years ago live – even if that is not, shall we say, underneath an apartment building in Raanana or bus station in Hadera.

  3. BTW – Mehdi who?

    The parade of non-entities mouthing off their opinions in the Guardian continues.

  4. Even among the antisemitic slurs of the bigots’ brigade there are some pointers to the fact that they actually understand that their hatred and constant reviling is pointless.

    Bass above, for instance says, “No hope of peace will be found in Israel. The 90% support for attacking Gaza was proof of that.” Bass who spends a great deal more time and effort on the Israel/Palestinian threads than I do surely knows that more than 23% of Israelis are not Jews and that the figure he quotes of solidarity on the subject of Gaza was a proof that Jews and Moslems in Israel value the same national security which is of course proof of peace in Israel.

  5. I am ‘cellblocknumber9’ — so thank you (Hawkeye?) for saving my post as placed in your piece above.

    As I said to Karl Naylor in a comment on the other thread: I have just had my account withdrawn without any prior consultation because they considered, in the context of debate on Israel / Palestine, that my nom de plume — ‘cellblocknumber9′ — could be construed as an anti-Semitic reference the to the Nazi death camps and “therefore offend our Jewish readers” (it is in fact a line from an old American r ‘n’ b number!).

    My first post (now removed, I’m sure you will be pleased to know) on the Mehdi Hasan article went thus:

    In the words of Israeli academic Jeff Halper,

    “Israel, by its own hand has rendered a viable two-state solution impossible.”

    And I certainly believe that to be true.

  6. Personally I think that this was one of the most interesting I/P articles on CiF in along time. It’s too bad that the usual crowd automtically posted the usual comments. But the author’s point is valid – that at a certain point no amount of creative border arranging will be able to create a reasonable two-state solution and the cost of removing large number of settlers will be exhorbitant (look at the cost of removing 8,000 from Gaza). So what are the alternatives – a democratic one-state solution or an apartheid one-state solution. Unfortunately the Right in Israel has never been able to comprehend the fact that increasing the number of settlers in the West Bank does not diminish the number of Palestinians living there and it has never been able to propose a sensible solution to this problem since 1967.

    But getting back to criticism of the comments ‘below the line’ – if what the author says is true, then logically the supporters of the one-state solution should be encouraging settlements rather than opposing them ! But they don’t so I can only draw the logical conclusions: either they are stupid, racist and so full of hate that punishing Jews is paramount to logic, or else their vision of a ‘democratic state for all its citizens’ is one that confines its Jews to a Pale of Settlement .

  7. MindTheCrap

    A well reasoned first paragraph — and as you rightly point out:

    “So what are the alternatives – a democratic one-state solution or an apartheid one-state solution.”

    A shame that your second paragraph is an apology for the first.

  8. Freddie King:
    How is my second paragraph an apology for the (well reasoned) first ? There is only a one-state solution or a two-state solution; the author states that the settlements are destroying any chance of a two-state solution, therefore it seems logical that supporters of the one-state solution should support an expansion of the settlements. But have you ever seen a one-state supporter that is in favour of the settlements ? I haven’t and the question is why. Perhaps you have some ideas.

  9. Although I certainly do not support a one state (or even two state – the only realistic solution is to return the WB t Jordan) solution, the following reinforces the fact that the demographics are not as biased against the Jews as is generally believed. However, what upsets the calculations is that the Palestinians expect that in a unified Israel-Gaza-WB (actually, its hard for me to keep a straight face as I write that) they will be able to swamp the Jewish citizens with millions brought in from Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, and even from other places where Palestinians have been living for decades as laborers.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3828334,00.html

    A man on a mission

    Former Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger out to debunk Israel’s ‘demographic myth’

    The figures painstakingly collected and analyzed by Ettinger and his colleagues are startling, particularly for Israelis who for years have been warned of the demographic sword hanging over the Jewish State’s future. The data point to grossly exaggerated Palestinian growth predictions, statistical flaws resulting in inaccurate figures, steadily growing Jewish birthrates, and a dramatically declining Arab-Israeli birthrate.

    ….

    “Because Jews are not doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, there is no room for fatalism in our process of policy-making,” he says. “When policy-makers, military leaders, investors, or potential immigrants evaluate the future of the Jewish State optimistically, rather than fatalistically, this is the difference between growth and eventual oblivion.”

    “The bottom line of the study is that anybody who attempts to deploy demographic fatalism in order to scare Jews into excessive concessions is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading, “Ettinger concludes. “It is absolutely legitimate to call for a retreat on moral, democratic or security grounds, yet it is absolutely immoral to call for such a retreat on demographic grounds.”

  10. AKUS

    I believe that Caroline Glick, a right wing columnist for the JP, recently called for a one state solution i.e., incorporating the West Bank and Gaza into Israel based on the demographic projections – but I’m not sure if she used the same study as you cited.

  11. I think Yoram Ettinger’s projections are very conservative. Its largely a test of wills. If the Jews are confident about their future, their prospects are even brighter. Time is not on the Palestinians’ side. Within ten years, there will be a million Jews in Yesha. That will make all talk of a two state solution a pipe dream. The Palestinians believe they can pressure Israel into destroying itself. In reality, they are the ones with a raft of problems: a declining birth rate, bad policy choices, poor leadership and extreme political fanaticism. I see no sign they’re going to correct their problems any time soon. Plus, they have a death wish. And a society with one is at a dead end. Israel to be sure faces problems but is pretty good at recognizing them and addressing them. Don’t expect the Guardian and the anti-Israel forces in the world to acknowledge it.

  12. Normanf:
    I think you are missing the bigger picture, to say the least. There are about 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. If you add them to the one million Arab Israelis that makes 5 million compared to 7 million Jews. A one-state solution would make them full citizens. Your fantasizing about “death wishes” and “dead ends” doesn’t change the numbers. If anyone has a “death wish” it is the Israeli right, as Jeff Halper said (in one of his few lucid moments) “Israel, by its own hand has rendered a viable two-state solution impossible.”

  13. Mind…. there are probably 1.5 million in the West Bank and another million in Gaza. With Israel’s Arabs, that makes it 3.5 million. The Palestinians want to leave and their birthrate is in decline and they are blowing themselves up. In contrast the 5.5 million Jews in Israel see aliyah on the upswing, the Jewish birthrate is up and they have an attachment to life. Israel is nowhere facing a demographic crisis. Such a crisis has been predicted for the last 62 years and shows no sign of being realized any time soon. Its the Palestinians who don’t want a state and don’t want a political compromise peace with Israel. Present trends all but assure they will never become a majority anytime in this century.

  14. NormanF:
    I don’t know where you are getting your figures from, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume that they are correct. 3.5 + 5.5 = 9.0 and 3.5/9.0 = 0.39. So in your one-state solution 0.39*120 = 47 Palestinian members of the Knesset. But this is a democratic state, so if Jews have a Law of Return, so do the Palestinians ! If more than 1.5 million Palestinian refugees decide to return then they will have a majority. Why do you think Aliyah is “on the upswing” ? The numbers currently are the lowest in 20 years (I refrain from asking you where you live). I suppose you will have the Knesset pass a law declaring the Palestinians a “dead end” and that will solve the problem.

  15. Mind… the only way the demography in Israel can be upended is if Israel ever agrees to the Palestinian “right of return” – which would make the existence of a Jewish State beside the point. No Israeli government is ever going to agree to it. As for aliyah, the position of Jews in Europe is becoming increasingly untenable and in North America, the next generation of Jews won’t have the kind of quality of life their ancestors did. Ditto for South America and South Africa. Islamic extremism is also growing in Australia. Zionism is far from being irrelevant. The Jewish birthrate in Israel is well above replacement level. The Jews of the future will be a hardier stock than the present day effete ones – most of the growth is in the national religious Zionist and Orthodox population. In a generation, there will be more Jews but the Jewish State will be even more Jewish.

  16. NormanF:
    “The Jews of the future will be a hardier stock than the present day effete ones – most of the growth is in the national religious Zionist and Orthodox population.”

    Hahahahahaha.

    You mean in the population that doesn’t work and doesn’t produce anything. When they ‘take over’ you will probably see a gradual exodus of the educated working population, those who are the brains and manpower behind all modern hi-tech and other industries. Who will fund the multitudes studying in the Yeshivas if nobody actually works or produces anything? Long live the Shtetl of Israel !

  17. I happen to like this quote very much:

    “It’s like you and I are negotiating over a piece of pizza. How much of the pizza do I get? And how much do you get? And while we are negotiating it, you are eating it.”

    Its rather indicative of many things, and goes a long way to show how far he is willing to stretch reality to try and make a point.

    It is such a simplistic comment, and the simple minded are unable to see the absurdity in the comment, despite its mirroring of reality.

    You see, the Arabs see nothing wrong with letting the pizza go moldy and rot under their noses rather than eating some of it.

    They prefer to point and groan, wail about empty bellies rather than eating some of it.

    Negotiating for a slice has a very different meaning apparently, as they want to have it all or starve.

    Israel takes a slice of pizza at a time, and its true that as time goes by there is less pizza left….judging by the example given, the Arabs are just unable to settle for anything because….omg that means settling for an Israel, that means agreeing for Israel to have some of the pizza.

    Yes the example given has some merit, but it goes splat on the floor as he neglects to point out how the Arabs let the slices of pizza put in their hands squander and rot.