A quiet Netanyahu/Lieberman diplomatic victory

Among the contributions of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the Israel-Palestinian peace process was introducing the demand, as a precondition for resuming peace talks, that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Palestinians rejected this pre-condition; explanations of the Palestinian position can be found in a May Foreign Policy article, and from a 2009 piece in Palestine Monitor by one Abu Yusef (no relation) which provides a pithy summary of the problem with Netanyahu’s proposal:

“recognizing Israel as a Jewish state means giving up the right of return
prior to sitting down at the negotiating table. Though this right may
some day be surrendered or altered in the final status agreements
establishing a Palestinian state, giving it up prior to negotiations
severely weakens the Palestinian negotiating team by limiting the amount of tools at their disposal.”

But fear not, lovers of the Jewish State of Israel, because while the Palestinians haven’t been willing to declare Israel as a Jewish state, Capitol Hill has been eager to.

Yesterday, one congressman released this statement:

My condolences go out to the families and friends of the Israelis who were murdered in Southern Israel today and to all of the people of the Jewish State of Israel. (emphasis added.)

That struck me as an odd locution. But it turns out that it is increasingly common on Capitol Hill. A Google search shows it used about 46 times at All but two come after Netanyahu first raised the issue.

So, Mazel Tov, Bibi. With diplomatic ties to Congress better than ever, who needs relations with Turkey?

12 thoughts on “A quiet Netanyahu/Lieberman diplomatic victory

  1. Netanyahu is never going to go for a deal with the Palestinians, not in a million years. And, assuming he serves out this term and is elected again, he’ll probably be PM for another 7-8 years, at least.
    And even if somebody like Livni were elected, the deal she would go for is not something the Palestinians would accept, and vice versa.
    We might as well start talking about one state: the only option that even has a chance of working.

  2. 1) What is the problem with Jewish Israel when there are tens of countries that are either Muslim or Christian States?
    2) Is there any doubt that “Palestine” will be a Muslim State? What’s the problem with Jewish Israel?
    3) If the Palestinians problem with recognizing Israel is a Jewish state is that it will affect issues they think should be discussed in negotiations, why not drop their precondition of a settlement freeze until final borders are set in negotiations as well?
    Looking forward to your responses

  3. Avraham, there are countries that practice official discrimination against minority religions or ethnic groups. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia come to mind. Why would it be okay for Israel to join their ranks? Why would it be reasonable to ask Palestinians to approve it? Why would any proud Zionist give two shits for what Palestinians think of internal Israeli affairs?
    Building settlements while conducting negotiations is like talking about how to divide a pizza while eating more slices. The first think you need to do is utterly crush the pizza eaters, and then have some negotiations while they are busy walking back to Israel with their possessions in hand carts. Or something like that.
    Or not; I’d like to see the pizza eaters stripped of their illegal homes and political influence regardless of what Palestinians do or don’t do. They are a blight upon Israel, every little bit of pizza they eat is another knife in the back of Israeli democracy.
    Perhaps I’m not being clear. I think settlers are like stage IV metastasized cancer cells, dancing the hora (ay-ay-ay-yay) while the country I grew up in is dying, squirting ever greater amounts of morphine directly into the bloodstream.
    This will simplify it: I think the settlers are, collectively, war criminals who should be tried at the Hague and forced to compensate the Palestinians and the Israelis who died so they could fuck up the landscape with those awful red tiled houses.
    But then, the only people who listen to people like me are…. Europe, the UN and some assorted others.

  4. Jew Guevara,
    Regarding your point of the blatant discrimination that takes place in countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, I agree. we should not join their ranks. However, there are other countries with state religions that are much more benign. I point England as a paradigm for this.
    Having a state religion means recognizing the religious character of the state. It need not mean enforcing the adherence to the religion or discrimination against members of other religions.

  5. The problem with the pizza eaters analogy is that the PA is demanding cessation in ALL building. This includes building within the borders of existing towns, enclosing a porch, and building in towns that are going to be part of any future land swap (like Maale Adumim). It seems to me that this eats away at your analogy (I apologize for the pun) even if one does subscribe to your views regarding the legality and morality of the settlements.
    Hope you have a nice day.

    1. Avraham writes:
      towns that are going to be part of any future land swap (like Maale Adumim)
      This “inevitability” argument (based on “facts on the ground”) is EXACTLY what the pizza eaters analogy is about.

  6. If only Bibi would appoint me to the negotiations committee, I bet I could get a blanket exemption for all porch building.
    Good pun! Apologies for over-ranting.

  7. going to be part of any future land swap (like Maale Adumim)
    What kind of idiotic Palestinian leader will agree to a state that has a foreign city set exactly in its middle?

  8. Jonathan1,
    I suppose this is where we disagree on issues like Jerusalem and defensible borders. I’d be happy to have that discussion but I’m not sure it falls within the scope of this thread.
    That being said, I am pretty sure that keeping Maale Adumim and the Gush Etzion bloc is a position not limited to the right wing of the Israeli political spectrum.

  9. That being said, I am pretty sure that keeping Maale Adumim and the Gush Etzion bloc is a position not limited to the right wing of the Israeli political spectrum
    It is surely consensus in Israel, (the way that a united Jerusalem was consensus not so long ago, btw.)
    But this is why two states isn’t feasible. What’s acceptable to Israel–like keeping Maale Adumin–isn’t acceptable to the Palestinians . . . just like what’s acceptable to the Palestinians–real autonomy in the air and along the borders–is not acceptable to Israel.
    Those are the breaks.

  10. Why is it that Jews are so beaten down with a variable of issues, that our own self determination seems worthy of equation with racism, supremacism, or worse, Aryanism? How asinine.
    Israel exists, as a Jewish state. With some problems, sure. Evolving.
    If this displeases you, then so does the very fact that it’s the single bastion of coexistence. Not perfect, but still it’s the single shining example of Jews and Muslims, and every one else in between, co-mingling, and progressing. Together.
    Make it a theocracy, or a single state shared government, and all that changes. There’s no point for Israel to be on the map, a thorn in the side of her enemies. Jews must retain their self determination. There is no denying, Israel’s existence has improved the lives of many non-Jews, in some very concrete ways too. Let’s focus on what does work.
    How sad that such obvious words need even get repeated to a Progressive Jewish audience.

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