Is Israel a Racist State?

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad argued before a U.N. anti-racism conference Monday (4.20.09) that Israel is a "paragon of racism" founded on "the pretext of Jewish sufferings" during World War II.

I want to be clear, before anyone calls me anti-Semitic, that I greatly respect Jewish people. I simply do not agree with the politics of the nation state of Israel. As an American, I would not agree to making our country a "Christian" state and designating all other religious groups as second class parties. This is what Israel has done in the region of Palestine by creating a Jewish state in between numerous Muslim nations. The result has been over 60 years of war. It's time for change, and ... Yes We Can!

We claim we are an open society where individuals retain the right to speak honestly about their beliefs and feelings. Yet we boycott and deny leaders from the Middle East who point out injustice. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ahmadinejad's "hateful rhetoric" was "one of the reasons why you saw the administration and the president determine that its participation in this conference was not a wise thing to do." Sadly, this is a continuation of Bush administration policies where we refuse to talk with people who disagree with us.

Ahmadinejad said:
"Following World War II, [Israelis] resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless, on the pretext of Jewish sufferings and the ambiguous and dubious question of the Holocaust.

They sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world, in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine, and in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racists, in Palestine.

So long as Zionist domination continues, many countries, governments and nations will never be able to enjoy freedom, independence and security. As long as they are at the helm of power, justice will never prevail in the world and human dignity will continue to be offended and trampled upon. It is time the ideal of Zionism, which is the paragon of racism, be broken." Source: Washington Post
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu referred to Ahmadinejad as "a racist and a Holocaust denier who doesn't conceal his intention to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth."

Commentary: On the one hand, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls Israel is a racist nation due to the fact that Israelis claim they are the "special people of god" who have a right to this "promised land." In response to this criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu calls Ahmadinejad a "racist" and furthers the lie that Ahmadinejad wants to "wipe Israel off the face of the Earth."

You must decide who the racist party is, but it is clear that Netanyahu distorts the words of Ahmadinejad. He has never called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Yet Iranian representatives along with other Middle East leaders have proposed a "one-state" plan as a solution to the over 60 years of war between Israel and neighboring states.

I have included an excellent summary of this position written by Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi.

The One-State Solution

Published: January 21, 2009
Tripoli, Libya
Source: NY Times

THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend's cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

But everywhere one looks, among the speeches and the desperate diplomacy, there is no real way forward. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions.

Although it's hard to realize after the horrors we've just witnessed, the state of war between the Jews and Palestinians has not always existed. In fact, many of the divisions between Jews and Palestinians are recent ones. The very name "Palestine" was commonly used to describe the whole area, even by the Jews who lived there, until 1948, when the name "Israel" came into use.

Jews and Muslims are cousins descended from Abraham. Throughout the centuries both faced cruel persecution and often found refuge with one another. Arabs sheltered Jews and protected them after maltreatment at the hands of the Romans and their expulsion from Spain in the Middle Ages.

The history of Israel/Palestine is not remarkable by regional standards - a country inhabited by different peoples, with rule passing among many tribes, nations and ethnic groups; a country that has withstood many wars and waves of peoples from all directions. This is why it gets so complicated when members of either party claims the right to assert that it is their land.

The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.

But the Palestinians too have a history of persecution, and they view the coastal towns of Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and others as the land of their forefathers, passed from generation to generation, until only a short time ago.

Thus the Palestinians believe that what is now called Israel forms part of their nation, even were they to secure the West Bank and Gaza. And the Jews believe that the West Bank is Samaria and Judea, part of their homeland, even if a Palestinian state were established there. Now, as Gaza still smolders, calls for a two-state solution or partition persist. But neither will work.

A two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point.

Further, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would do little to resolve the problem of refugees. Any situation that keeps the majority of Palestinians in refugee camps and does not offer a solution within the historical borders of Israel/Palestine is not a solution at all.

For the same reasons, the older idea of partition of the West Bank into Jewish and Arab areas, with buffer zones between them, won't work. The Palestinian-held areas could not accommodate all of the refugees, and buffer zones symbolize exclusion and breed tension. Israelis and Palestinians have also become increasingly intertwined, economically and politically.

In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an "Isratine" that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.

A key prerequisite for peace is the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes their families left behind in 1948. It is an injustice that Jews who were not originally inhabitants of Palestine, nor were their ancestors, can move in from abroad while Palestinians who were displaced only a relatively short time ago should not be so permitted.

It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 - violence that did not occur, but rumors of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never "un-welcomed." Yet only the full territories of Isratine can accommodate all the refugees and bring about the justice that is key to peace.

Assimilation is already a fact of life in Israel. There are more than one million Muslim Arabs in Israel; they possess Israeli nationality and take part in political life with the Jews, forming political parties. On the other side, there are Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli factories depend on Palestinian labor, and goods and services are exchanged. This successful assimilation can be a model for Isratine.

If the present interdependence and the historical fact of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence guide their leaders, and if they can see beyond the horizon of the recent violence and thirst for revenge toward a long-term solution, then these two peoples will come to realize, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace.

Well written... Thank you, Mr. Qaddafi. This proposal demonstrates the necessity of "learning how to share." As you can see, nobody is calling to "wipe Israel off the map." It is simply a rational plan to end the violence and provide a long-term solution for all the people of the Palestine or "Isratine" region.