Do we really just need to move on?

This is a republication of an original article written by David Kahane in the Hoya on Friday, November 19, 2004 and in the Israel Campus Beat on Sunday, November 21, 2004.


While the world talks of new opportunities to re-launch peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis following Yasser Arafat’s death, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) sponsored an event on Monday on “bi-nationalism.”

Look beyond the aura of political correctness and you will find that the term means nothing short of the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

The math speaks for itself. Today approximately 5 million Jews and about 1.2 million Muslims make up Israel. And then when you incorporate the 3 million Palestinians that reside in the West Bank, Gaza, and, not to mention, those in neighboring Arab countries and elsewhere into Israel proper, you would no longer have a Jewish state in a very short period of time.

This is not a coincidence of numbers. It is a deliberate strategy.

A couple of decades ago, Arab countries used to talk about “driving Jews into the sea.” As repeated attempts to destroy Israel militarily failed, the strategy shifted. Today, the Palestinian Liberation Organization has largely opted for a strategy of gradualism (of “bleeding Israel to death”) through terrorism. Dominant forces within Palestinian society openly call for Israel’s obliteration.

Groups like Hamas are not “resisting” the occupation of 1967, but instead that of 1948 (the year Israel was established). Arab neighbors, with varying degrees of vehemence, seem to need to deflect attention from their own despotism and have been equally waging a war against the “Zionist enemy.”

While some nations directly harbor terrorists, such as Syria, others settle for spreading hatred through their educational systems and media. One finds today an unprecedented, nauseating level of anti-Semitism in the Arab world.

In the United States, the war against Israel is largely being waged by a marginal number of uninformed, over-zealous American kids who care a lot about sensationalism and very little about detail and nuance. “Israel is imperialist!” It is part of the new “liberal” package. You hate the World Bank? Think Bush is a “baby-killer?” Put on a kafya and join the march.

This is all very sad. Things could be different. There is so much room for intelligent, tolerant Palestinian activism.

Instead of denying Jews their own right to self-determination, there could be moderate voices out there calling for an end to terror, against the hijacking of Islam, and for making sure that Palestinians get a state of their own — not replacing, but instead side-by-side with Israel.

Stop the guerilla theater. Drop your prepared pamphlets. Instead, be real advocates for the Palestinians.

Work to bring about a true Palestinian leader, one who has the courage to disarm the Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups. And don’t call them “extremists,” “militants” or “insurgents.” They are terrorists.

Demand a leader who, unlike Arafat, will sit down in Camp David and accept, or at least negotiate, a Clinton-Barak offer of 97 percent of the West Bank and 100 percent of Gaza, including East Jerusalem, control of Muslim holy sites and reparations from a $30 billion international fund collected to compensate them.

It all comes down to this. There will never be peace in the region until there is real acceptance of the existence of Israel. How could you make peace with a state if you do not believe it has the right to exist?

So here it is. Israel exists.

It will exist no matter how many bombs explode inside buses, cafes and pizzerias.

It will exist no matter how much hatred is spewed and no matter how much the international community wishes to scapegoat it.

And not only will it exist, but it will exist as a Jewish democratic state.

You might question the need for a Jewish state. Most every other Jew and I could endlessly talk about it. In the end, it comes down to the centuries-old longing for self-determination of a people persecuted in every corner of the world that culminated in the Holocaust.

Although the world of Hitler seems almost inconceivable these days, it occurred a mere 60 years ago. It is sometimes difficult for those of non-Jewish backgrounds to fully comprehend this yearning — those whose families did not escape the war and whose grandparents did not have tattoos on their arms from concentration camps.

Though they can agree to the fact that, like every other people (including the Palestinians), surely Jews have a right to self-determination and to a refuge. There are Islamic states out there: Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan just to name a few. Israel is a Jewish state.

Now let’s move on.


About the Author

David Kahane is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.