Thursday, May 27, 2010

Israel as a Jewish State

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 5/27/10

Should Israel be a Jewish state as England is a Protestant state*? As Tibet was a Buddhist state before the communist invasion? A lot of Americans probably think it already is. It is not. In the phrase of Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the Likud, it is simply a “state for Jews.” But this will be the historic question that rises now to new generations here and in Israel as we enter into the new century.

“This year, with G-d's help,” writes Feiglin, an orthodox, native-born Israeli, “there will be more Jews in Israel than anywhere else in the world. This is a sea change in the state of the Jewish nation and the first time since the First Temple era that the majority of Jews has resided in Israel. This summer we start the countdown to the end of the exile.”

Unfortunately, though, it is also the worst of times. Anti-Semitism is exploding all over the world. The State of Israel is rapidly losing the legitimacy for its very existence. “Simply put,” he says, “our successful state has turned into a pirate ship. Ahmadinijad can fly wherever he wants, while Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon dares not land in Europe. It is now fashionable in academia to talk about the day after the destruction of the State of Israel.”

Should there be a Jewish state, commentator Daniel Pipes asks in National Review Online? That is the central question. It does not help anyone to distract from it.

It was long assumed that the Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979 would end Arab-Israeli conflict but it had the perverse effect of making other states and also the Egyptian populace more anti-Zionist, Pipes writes. Then in the 1980s Palestinian recognition of Israel gave birth to a hope that the conflict would close. The total failure of the 1993 Oslo Accords buried that expectation.

“What now,” he asks? “Starting about 2007, a new focus emerged: winning acceptance of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state.”

Palestinian leaders responded with howls of outrage, declaring that they “absolutely refused” to accept Israel as a Jewish state. “On taking over the prime ministry in early 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Olmert’s point in his diplomacy. Regrettably, the Obama administration endorsed the Palestinian position, again sidelining the Israeli demand.”

It would seem to a distant (Buddhist) outsider here in New Hampshire, that a race of people so tenacious that it would survive Romans and Pharaohs, a thousand plagues and curses and after that Hitler and Stalin, that Hillary and Bono would be a cake walk. But Israel is threatened today not by bombs and programs, but by vague, globalist ideology and makeshift rock and roll utopianism which seems cobbled together at Starbucks after a late night.

War changes people but the Clintons and Obama seem much the same as they were before 9/11 and five years of war in the Middle East. But we will want to know how do Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rick Perry and any others who might seek the Oval Office in 2012 feel about Israel as a Jewish state.

* England’s government is called a Parliamentary Monarchy. The monarch for England is Queen Elizabeth II. The monarch, also known as the Crown, is the head of state in England. It serves as the head of the judiciary, commander in chief of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England, and Church of Scotland, and summons and dismisses Parliament and ministers of the cabinet.