Monday, July 23, 2007

One State; One Population or a Catastrophe

As the NYT reports,

The education minister, Yuli Tamir, of the left-leaning Labor Party, told Israel Radio that there were two populations in Israel, Jewish and Arab, and that “the Arab public deserves to be allowed to express its feelings.”

How to express?

Israel’s Education Ministry announced Sunday that it had approved a textbook for use in the state’s Arab schools that for the first time described Israel’s 1948 war of independence as a “catastrophe” for the Arab population

Well, Professor Yuli, the problem with you is that there should be only one population, one that includes everybody who wants to be Israeli. Following my mentor, Jabotinsky, one needn't necessarily be Jewish to be Israeli (although it helps) but we are not talking about a bi-national state. Jabo didn't approve of that as he wrote:

In our case it means: should we Jews be condemned forever to remain a minority in Palestine, even a minority protected by the best imaginable kind of bi-national constitution, when Palestine will eventually become in its entirety an Arab national state, gradually but inevitably obliterating all the essential expression of our own Jewish individuality?

If, on the contrary, we Jews become the majority in Palestine (in which case, no doubt, it will be a matter of pride for us to endow our country with the most perfect of all bi-national constitutions), the tendency will be in the opposite direction, towards a Jewish national State ever more pronounced and complete ; and with every oncoming year that tendency will grow stronger because a Jewish majority will mean an open door for further Jewish immigration.

True, the "national" prospect for the Arabs under a Jewish majority would be much brighter than the "national" prospect for the Jews in an Arab majority state. The reason is obvious: Palestine is situated in the middle of several countries whose civilisation is, and will remain, Arabian. The Arabs of Palestine will always enjoy the advantage of easily accessible Arab influences across the border; not so the Jews.

Furthermore: should Palestine be allowed to crystallise as a state with an Arab majority , that would only be the beginning of further Arabisation. The next step would be for that state to join an Arab or pan-Arab federation; which would mean that the Jews, even if they formed a "considerable" minority within Palestine as such, would sink to the status of a very small percentage within the greater state.

To sum up the bi-national state trick is worthless. The crux of the problem remains the same old one: Jewish majority or Arab majority. For the Jews to agree to a minority status under the aegis of a bi-national regime would be suicidal. Nor can Arab nationalism be expected to welcome the opposite prospect.

That was written in 1930. And Yuli Tamir is stuck back in some visionary idyllic "peace".

And where will Israel be with this educational program?

A catastrophe.

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