Jewish State, majority Jewish state, state of all its citizens, and the healing of history


I am completely committed to a safe haven for Jewish people after 1600 years of insecurity and periodic persecution, occasionally unspeakable tragedy due to homelessness and inequality in a world where many religions still are not used to coexistence as equals. That is why I am happy that the West finally recognized its sins decades ago, after the Holocaust and embraced a safe haven for Jewish people. It is great that there is a place to go, automatic citizenship when facing persecution. Every persecuted people should have such a place to go to, such as Palestinians.


That is why I fail to understand why there is any need for such a haven to be called a Jewish state. First of all, there is no place in the modern world for a state to be an ethnicity. None of us would accept Russia as a Slavic state, a state for the Slavs, after a thousand years that Jews and other minorities suffered for not being Slavs. None of us, post-Nazism, would accept Germany as a state for Aryans! It makes no sense, and is morally outrageous. You must suspect that some desperately sought a final status formula that Palestinians could never accept.


What is possible is for two democratic states to emerge, one majority Jewish, one majority Palestinian, where all citizens will be equal, and in which both will have a right of return that guarantees to Jews and Palestinians globally and for all time a safe place of refuge from persecution. That’s it. There is a simple line here between restitution of the wrongs of history, the embrace of minorities becoming safe majorities, on the one side, and on the other a prescription for antidemocratic racism that the world, the Jewish people, Judaism itself cannot and must not abide. There is no way for Jews of Germany, England, Italy, Australia and America, to live with their conscience insisting on countries of absolute equality for minorities where they reside and accept an ethnocentric anti-democratic formula for the future of Israel. It is as if all the pain and suffering of thousands of years in intolerant lands of yester year would haunt and destroy the present. But we cannot let that happen. We must graduate from the old Germany, the old France, the old Russia, and yes the Old Israel.


© Marc Gopin