The thinking behind this decision is there are simply more Jews in the U.S. than in Israel. The dramatic announcement is believed intended to force direct face-to-face talks, whose end game is the creation of a Palestinian state (in this universe).
Unnamed Palestinian sources (though JeWikiLeaks released the names of their spouses) confirmed that a Palestinian state would fully welcome the Jewish State, providing it remained within the continental United States.
The proposal comes with additional preconditions, however. The Palestinian Authority demand an immediate freeze on all Jewish settlements in Lakewood NJ, South East Florida and all of Hollywood. Mel Gibson will raise a glass or 2 (hundred) on this last one.
”It’s all about compromise” Erakt said with a straight face. “That’s what Arabs do”, although he couldn’t come up with a single historical example. “We also insist on racially profiling anyone who’s remotely funny and Jewish (i.e. infidels). And we ask that everyone kindly turn a blind eye to honor killings.”
Israel responded by offering to build entire villages on Arab land anywhere outside of Israel, including London.
Proposal’s Pros: The numbers make sense.
There are more Jews who live in the U.S. than Israel (6.5 vs. 5.77 million). If the majority of Jews live in the Diaspora, then that is where you put their country.
To bend a phrase, if the Jews won’t go to Israel, then Israel will go to the Jews. Or as Mike Brady said in The Brady Bunch Movie: “Wherever you go, there you are.”
If achieved, the demographic implications resulting from this land-transfer would be staggering and could come back to bite the United Arab Emirates in their barrels.
Iranian President and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands the most to lose. Ahmadinejad would wake up to a new existential threat facing his country when seemingly over-night, the “Little Satan” had blossomed into a full “Uber Satan”, transforming “The Zionist Enemy” into the world’s #1 military super power.
Proposal’s Cons: The numbers don’t make sense.
While 45% of the world’s Jews live in America, the US Jewish population as a percent of the entire US is negligible. What’s the point of having a Zionist country where the Zionists make up less than 2% of the population? The odds are better to stay in Israel where support seldom drops bellow double digits.
Should we buy into this pledge?
By all means, yes we should. And why not? This is as ridiculous as every other Palestinian proposal sold as a “willingness to promote peace”. Let Israel take its’ usual wait-and-see approach i.e. wait and see how long it takes for the Palestinians to abrogate their commitments.
Previous guarantees to include maps of Israeli cities with their corresponding Hebrew names in school textbooks or removing Palestinian children’s programming that glorify martyrdom come to mind. These promises were dedicated with as much sincerity as this current, vacuous proposal.
E1 Silence: Israel’s decision to allow settlements in the E1 area of the occupied West Bank is a slap in the face of the two-state solution. So why aren’t American Jews speaking out about it?
Overwhelming silence. That’s been the public stance of the leaders of most major American Jewish institutions since the Israeli government announced that they were reactivating plans to construct a new settlement in the area of East Jerusalem known as E1. This absence of public response represents a missed opportunity for leadership on an issue that threatens both the vital relationship between Israel and the United States and the very future of the Jewish state.
Constructing settlements in E1 almost definitely destroys hopes of ending the occupation, which violates the human rights of Palestinians and threatens the long-term viability and security of Israel. Since E1 links East Jerusalem with the West Bank, Israeli settlements there would literally present an obstacle to a two-state solution. While final plans have not been released, previously-proposed plans suggest that such settlement will probably also limit Palestinians’ freedom of movement, restrict access to private agricultural land, and displace the Jahalin Bedouin living in the area.
Today, virtually every major Jewish organization publicly voices support for the creation of a Palestinian state. However, our leadership cannot profess commitment to this solution while closing our eyes to actions that undermine this very possibility.
NEWS UPDATE: The Union for Reform Judaism said it opposes the Israeli decision to build new settlements, “especially in the critical ‘E1’ area” of the West Bank. The declaration came in a policy document that addresses fallout from the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations.
The announcement of plans to build in E1 is a slap in the face to the United States, Israel’s closest and most important ally. The U.S. just recently stood with Israel in being one of the only major countries to oppose the Palestinian Authority’s bid to elevate its status to “non-member observer state,” and even used political capital to persuade other nations to vote no or abstain.
President Barack Obama strongly and publicly supported Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of rocket attacks by Hamas, while financing the Iron Dome system that saved Israeli lives. Construction in E1 would violate repeated commitments to the United States, dating back to 1994, not to build settlements in the area.
American Jewish communal leaders — including heads of major institutions, rabbis, and local leaders — have a historic opportunity to respond to these new developments by taking leadership on three fronts: vis-à-vis the Israeli government, the American government, and our own communities.
The Israeli government has a history of responding to concerted pressure by the American Jewish community. Usually, such pressure has focused on questions of religious pluralism within Israel. But if the most visible leaders of the American Jewish community made clear that we want settlement to stop, and real peace talks to begin, perhaps the Israel government would be moved to listen. As a community, we invest millions of dollars a year in Israeli society, and work hard to ensure bilateral support for a safe and secure Israel.
U.S. elected officials have demonstrated time and again their willingness to heed American Jewish leaders on matters relating to Israel. Today, Jewish leaders have the opportunity to tell our elected officials that we believe that the long-term safety and security of Israel as a Jewish state depends on maintaining a path to peace.
Within our own communities, Jewish leaders must do a better job of helping our constituents to understand the hard choices that will no doubt be required for a lasting peace.
This standoff takes place in the week that Jewish communities read the Torah portion that tells the story of the painful split between Joseph and his brothers. This is a story in which every character abdicates responsibility for his own contribution to the family rift. Jacob openly shows favoritism to his son Joseph. Joseph flaunts his role as favorite son. The brothers seize an opportunity to sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt.
But the story doesn’t end here. After Joseph achieves his position as second-in-command to Pharaoh, his brothers journey to Egypt in search of food to sustain them during a famine. Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, and they shudder with fear. They assume that their now-powerful brother will take revenge on them for their betrayal of years before. Instead, Joseph seizes the opportunity for leadership. He reconciles with his brothers, provides them with food, and finds them a safe place to live. By moving beyond blame, Joseph succeeds in achieving a lasting peace with his former adversaries.
Within the American Jewish community, we are good at pointing fingers to explain why we have not yet achieved peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We blame the Palestinian leadership for their internal fractures, for their failure to accept previous peace deals, for the unjustifiable terrorism that marked the Second Intifada, and for the approach to the U.N. There’s certainly reason to say that the Palestinians and their leadership have made mistakes. But pointing fingers gets us no closer to any resolution of conflict.
I am proud to call myself a Zionist. For me, Zionism means the right for Jews to live in a safe and secure state in the Land of Israel. It means that we have a refuge from oppression and a promise that the Holocaust cannot happen again. But Zionism also means taking hold of history. For thousands of years, history was something that happened to the Jewish people. Other nations invaded our land, expelled us, and massacred us. Zionism offers a new possibility, in which Jews make our own history. This new power demands that we refuse to stand back and simply blame others — even when others make mistakes. Instead, we should always be asking ourselves what we can do to create a better future for our own people and others.
Today, it is time for those of us who consider ourselves Jewish leaders to take leadership by demanding that Israel protect human rights and preserve the possibility of long-term peace.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Her most recent book is “Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-on Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community” (Jewish Lights, 2011).