Since A.B. Yehoshua’s recent remarks at the AJC centennial symposium, Haaretz has been compiling a diverse set of responses written by various public figures
I liked this one from Natan Sharansky:
There is no Zionism without Judaism and there never has been. Just as the Israeli people has never had a right to the Land of Israel. Only the Jewish people. It was the Jewish people that received the Balfour Declaration, and it was they who were granted by the United Nations the legal right to establish a state. It was the Jewish people that returned to its ancient homeland, for which it had prayed and longed for, for 2,000 years. For if we are talking about the Israeli “people” – how is the right of a “people” that has existed for about 100 years greater than or equal to that of the Palestinians, who have been living on their land for about 300 years? What really distinguishes it from other colonial projects that have vanished from the earth?
The discussion of our right to the land and the war between our narrative and theirs is not a purely philosophical discussion. At least not in the eyes of the Palestinian leaders. When the leaders of Hamas, like Yasser Arafat in his day, were or are prepared to consider recognition of the fact of Israel’s existence, but not its right to existence, they are not playing word games. That is why Arafat reiterated over and over again his supposedly historical claims with regard to the absence of the connection between the Temple Mount and the Jewish people. It was clear to him that the historical connection that is anchored and based in Jewish tradition is the basis for the existence of the State of Israel, and without it, the state will disappear, just as it “appeared from the sea.”