The Washington post has chosen the day of the Jewish New Year to publish one of the most disingenuous opinion pieces we’ve seen in a long time. While Patricia Marks Greenfield sounds eminently reasonable in calling for equal rights for all in Israel, she stops short of telling the reader what she is really calling for – the end of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
According to her:
it seems more important than ever to state two things clearly and forcefully: Israel is a full-fledged multiethnic, multireligious society, and it must provide equal legal and day-to-day treatment to all its citizens, no matter their ethnic or religious background. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those who are Arab or Ethiopian or whose religion is Muslim or Christian.
In this respect, Israel is out of step with much of the world. Over time, nations have become more ethnically and religiously diverse; populations have become more urban and educated; and economies have become more commercial. In response to these social and economic changes, many nations have left behind the notion of a favored state religion.
It is time for Israel to do the same. It must be a fully secular state.
In fact, Israel’s citizens, irrespective of their religion or ethnic background are equal in the eyes of the law. In addition, there are many countries around the world that have a state religion. Why should Israel, as the only state for the Jewish people, be singled out?
But Marks Greenfield goes further:
Gaza and the West Bank must inevitably become part of Israel; there can be no two-state solution. And Israel must leave behind its official Jewish identity to acknowledge its multiethnic, multireligious character by providing equal treatment for all.
Having explicitly rejected a two-state solution, the call for Gaza and the West Bank to become part of an Israel without a Jewish identity is a call for a one-state solution.
And then this grotesque charge of racism:
Many Jewish Israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates among Arabs and Ethiopians mean that they will soon outnumber Jews of other national and racial origins.
While demographics are certainly a factor in ensuring a Jewish majority state, why does Marks Greenfield believe that many Jewish Israelis feel threatened by high birth rates among Israel’s Ethiopian population? While their absorption into mainstream Israeli society has not been without its issues, Israel can be rightly proud of its citizens of Ethiopian origin and the role that the country has played in bringing an entire community of African Jews to Israel. Is Marks Greenfield contending that Israelis are inherently racist towards people of color?
Marks Greenfield concludes:
If Gaza and the West Bank were truly part of Israel, and Israel were truly a multiethnic, secular society, there would be progress toward peace. The “right of return” championed by Arabs would have new meaning: It would no longer mean the transfer of Israeli land. Instead it would mean the opportunity to live in Israel as fully equal citizens, with all of the privileges from and obligations to the Israeli nation. Internal equality and external peace are two sides of the same coin.–Honest Reporting.