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Israel and democracy

Apparently Israeli bookstores are systematically eliminating a book that criticizes the extremely violent and illegal settler movement in Palestine. Not too surprising, I guess. But the authors raise some utterly undeniable points, such as this one:

Israel is a democratic, Jewish state. If we remain in the territories we will have to choose: either Jewish or democratic. It won’t work together, because in a democracy the majority rules and soon [Arabs] will be the majority between the Jordan and the sea. If we want to remain a Jewish state, we will have to deny the rights of the majority and we will turn into an apartheid state. If we insist on remaining democrats, an Arab prime minister will soon be elected by a majority of votes.

I have no idea how anyone can possibly consider this to be false.


  1. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Come quickly, Jesus . . . what a mess!

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  2. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Didn’t God give Israel the “Land.” When did the force of that end?

    I do not condone the ethics or actions of some of these settlers. This is a hard issue, ethically.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    I think the notion that the modern secular state called Israel can be equated with biblical Israel is pretty thin.

    But if it can, wouldn’t that mean that Israel has carte blanche permission from God to invade and conquer a large chunk of Egypt, Jordan, and much of the rest of the Middle East? As long as we’re taking the land promise, and the boundaries described in the Pentateuch literalistically, it seems like we have to go all the way with it or own up to a pretty significant inconsistency.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  4. Arild wrote:

    Israel is already damn near an apartheid state. Their country is founded exclusively on a religion that preaches unabashed ethnocentrism. They take as much as they can get away with; I promise that if they could pull it off, they would take ALL of the biblical “promised land.” However, Middle East and Global politics are such that Israel has to limit its territorial ambitions, at least for the time being. But that’s Zionism for you.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  5. Halden wrote:

    I agree. Literally no other country in the world could do what Israel does and get a pass. Well, except for Burma. That country is run by one real lot of bastards.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  6. Bobby Grow wrote:

    I agree with you, Halden.

    Even, literalistically, the “Land promise” was made within a theocratic framework and contingent upon obedience to the law. The only time Israel will be under that framework again is when Jesus comes again (whatever one’s millennial view).

    But, my question has to do with how someone is supposed to understand what the actual boundaries for the state of Israel should be. Historically speaking, why not those set originally by God in scripture?

    What I wonder is why all the Arab, Persian nations pushing for Palestine to have their share of the land in Israel don’t just open up their lands to the Palestinians and allow them to establish a free Palestinian state in their respective countries? As I understand it most Arabs and Persians view Palestinians as a “red headed step child” who they use to accomplish their agenda, by proxy, against Israel.

    I wonder if anyone actually believes that Palestine (the gvt Hamas) actually just wants a state shared with Israel (I know many of the people do, just for some peace and rest for once)? If so this is really naive, they desire nothing less than to push Israel into the Mediterranean (the Israelis know this); in fact this is the only doctrine in Islam that holds all of the disparate sects of Islam together (i.e. that is to destroy Israel) — their is an Arabic word for that doctrine which I forget.

    To me there is this geopolitical issue and then the humanitarian issue; and they are unfortunately all mixed up together, which again makes this issue very hard to parse out. I don’t Israel has carte blanche in regards to all that they do, but they do have the right as a nation to defend themselves against the attacks of those around them (including the UN).

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    Yeah, I agree that it is a geopolitical and humanitarian issue, not primarily a theological or biblical one. Thus, from my perspective it seems to me that the issue of the boarders of the Jewish state should be determined on such bases, namely on the basis of the original international agreements giving them statehood, and international consensus about human rights, etc. for all concerned.

    But of course the whole matter is really, really, complicated and there are dastardly figures on all sides of the issue that make any hope of true resolution inestimably thin.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  8. Bobby Grow wrote:


    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  9. Nate Kerr wrote:

    For what it is worth, I have found Alain Epp Weaver’s States of Exile: Visions of Diaspora, Witness, and Return to be theologically very helpful here.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink
  10. Halden wrote:

    Me too. Probably the best theological book on the topic, at least that I’ve read.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
  11. kim fabricius wrote:

    Binary oppositions and exclusions, fed by fear issuing in hatred, hardened by historical amnesia and distortions, exploited through the myth of redemptive violence: the either/or of Hasfari and Yaniv makes the proverbial choice between a rock and a hard place look pretty straightforward. I think that a two-state solution remains the only realistic achievable goal, alas now contingent on an end to the settlements and, more (presumably), a withdrawal of the settlers. How’s it gonna happen? Short of a regional resurrection, pray for a mass women-led nonviolent joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jewish-Muslim-Christian peace movement prepared not only for acts of civil disobedience but for the shedding of a lot of blood. Come to think of it, pray for the regional resurrection.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 4:24 am | Permalink

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