Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some Things Sound Fair, But Aren’t


“Israeli Arab group proposes new 'multi-cultural' constitution.

A proposed constitution written by the Israeli Arab advocacy center, Adalah, states that Arab Knesset members will be able to bring about the disqualification of bills that impinge on the rights of Arabs, and classifies the State of Israel as a "bilingual and multicultural" country rather than a Jewish state.

The proposal, entitled "The Democratic Constitution," also calls for majority and minority groups to split control of the government ....

Adalah's version of the constitution essentially abolishes the Jewish elements of Israel, but allows the Jewish majority to maintain its character through educational and cultural institutions. The proposal invalidates the Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to people with at least one Jewish grandparent, and states that citizenship will be granted to those who come to Israel for humanitarian reasons, regardless of their religion.”

From Haaretz, by Yoav Stern, February 28, 2007.

* * * * *

This proposal will sound fair to many people.

Before you dismiss it as an attempt to embarrass Israel, as a clever way to gain international sympathy, as propaganda, as a way to eventually establish an Arab majority, or as a way to eliminate the sole Jewish State, do consider this from the point of view of an individual Israeli-Arab.

Consider that he or she may honestly be offended by “their flag” having a Jewish star in it. Wouldn’t most American Jews (among others) be troubled if the U.S. flag had a Christian cross on it?

Consider that he or she may honestly be offended by “their national anthem” referring to the land, as the land of the Jews.

Consider that he or she may honestly feel discriminated against because, legal equality aside, he or she IS discriminated against.

Please understand that even if a Palestinian State is created in the territories, the Israeli-Arabs—most of whom will undoubtedly do all they can to avoid becoming part of any festering Palestinian entity—will want full equality in Israel.

Any minority citizen of any State wants no less. It sounds fair.

Why do so many Israelis, Jews, and supporters of Israel look for a dark hiding place when confronted with the truth of discrimination? I think it is because Jews understand what it is to be discriminated against, and have a deep desire that discrimination against all people throughout the planet be eliminated.

Discrimination against Arab-Israelis doesn’t sound fair.

As supporters of Israel, it is necessary to accept and admit, without nuance, that some discrimination against Arab-Israelis is 100% true.

Given geopolitical realities, we need not be embarrassed by this truth. This admission frees us to have an honest and thoughtful discussion regarding why it is true, why it must remain true, and why Israel will fight to retain a democratic character, but within the fuzzy confines of Judaism (whatever that ultimately means).

Serious peace discussions between Israel and her neighbors will have to include incentives for people to move. Many Arab-Israelis will ultimately move.

Those that choose not to, and instead choose to live in Israel, outside of the vast lands in the extended region that are governed by 21 recognized Muslim Arab States will need to declare their loyalty and acceptance of Israel as a Zionist Jewish State, and will need to commit to performing national service.

Those who choose to remain in Israel but not make such a pledge should not be considered citizens. They should be considered resident foreign nationals with citizenship of Jordan, Syria, or another State in which Arabs are the majority.

Someday, if liberal democratic ideals truly prevail, we will live in a world without Nation States. People will treat each other as individuals, and not as a part of this group or that.

Until that day, the world is better off with Israel’s continued existence. But we must recognize that there is indeed a price to pay by any Arab-Israeli who, understandably, may be unwilling to fully come to terms with living in a Jewish State.

The price, however, can be offset, and it is a small price next to the moral price of Israel being forced to participate in its own slow demise.

There is no shortage of land in other Arab majority States. Neither is there a language barrier. These countries could easily accept resettling Arabs as full citizens, and there is no reason that they and their children would not thrive.

When all the circumstances of the situation are taken into account (read my book if you want to know more about these circumstances), the imperfect solution of a Jewish Israel, not a pluralistic one, is the most just outcome possible.

Establishing a “multi-cultural” constitution in Israel is not the most just outcome.

Some things sound fair, but aren’t.

--David Naggar

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Proper Incentives For The Right People…

The Correct Approach Should Be As Obvious As The Answer To Adding Two Plus Two


“The Finance Ministry [of Israel] estimates that the civilian-related cost the state incurred for the evacuation of Gaza is expected to total NIS 6.5 billion, an average of NIS 3.6 million per family." By Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz 2/22/07.


At a conversion rate of 4.17 Shekels to the U.S. Dollar, this amounts to an astounding figure of between $800,000 and $900,000 per family. Wow!

And now some politicians have concluded that the Jews who live in the West Bank can be willingly induced to move with the proper economic incentives too.

It is undeniably true that human behavior is greatly affected by incentives.

Indeed, a poll of Israeli settlers conducted in 2003 showed that 74% would leave in return for compensation.

This could prove financially rewarding to willing settlers, but may devastate Israel in the long-term.

That being the case—and if you don’t think it’s the case, take a look at my book—doesn’t it make sense to ask if the Palestinian Arabs could be offered proper incentives to move as well?

A poll taken in early 2004 by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion showed that 37% of Palestinians were willing to emigrate in return for a home, a job and $250,000. One can only presume the figure would be much higher if average Palestinians could freely speak their minds.

World leaders know the truth of the matter. Even in EPIC struggles between countries over boundaries and religion, most people in those countries just want a place to raise their family in peace, and with the chance of prosperity. History shows people will eagerly move for peace and prosperity.

Peaceful economic opportunity is why immigrants flocked to the United States in the 19th and 20th century, and continue to do so today.

Now here’s the reality in the Middle-East. Palestinian Arabs have places to go, the Jews of Israel do not.

If world leaders truly wanted peace in Israel and the territories, wouldn’t it make sense to offer an incentive to the right people to move? If this isn’t done, the BEST that can be expected is that the world will eventually live with two vulnerable, unstable, struggling, non-viable states.

And if that happens, well, you do the math.

--David Naggar

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Reality From Mecca: Forget About The Forced Creation Of A Palestinian State… At Least For Now


The following is a text of the Mecca Accord between the PLO and Hamas. Actually, the “accord” is in the form of a letter from PLO’s Mahmoud Abbas to Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh:

From The Associated Press 2/08/07...

“In my capacity as the head of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the president of the Palestinian Authority...

a) I designate you to form the upcoming Palestinian government within the time specified under the basic law.

b) After forming the government and presenting it to us, it should be presented to the Palestinian Legislative Council for a vote of confidence.

c) I call upon you as the head of the upcoming Palestinian government to commit to the higher interests of the Palestinian people, to preserve its rights and to preserve its achievements and to develop them, and to work in order to achieve its national goals as was approved by the Palestine National Council, the clauses of the Basic Law and the National Reconciliation Document...

Based on this, I call upon you to respect international resolutions and the agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

* * * * *

Wow. The best that could be agreed upon was to ASK Hamas to RESPECT international resolutions and the agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Mercifully, perhaps this will lead the Palestinians to stop killing each other. But no matter how this weak statement is received in Europe, it isn’t likely to affect prospects for peace with Israel.

Between the troubles in Iraq, and Palestinian fratricide, the oxygen has been sucked out of any Bush/Blair push to impose "peace," i.e., impose an untenable solution on Israel.

These events have caused the planned imminent push to be postponed indefinitely... at least for now.

Blair has already announced that he plans to devote time to work on Mid-East peace AFTER he leaves office. Maybe the soon-to-be former Prime Minister can join President Clinton and talk about both the situation and his vision at seminars and conferences. For what that'll do.

In the meantime, let’s see how Iraq goes.

And while we wait, I may just ask a print publisher to print my book. There now appears to be time to go through this process after all.

--David Naggar