Talk:Zionism/Archive 1

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Stuff on 'abstract zionism' was initially removed by Anome (for a good reason, it failed the google test) but if you read the article (and the article on abstract zionism which has also been modified to take account of Anome's criticism) you can see why it went back in (in much improved form, so all credit to Anome for that). user:ericross

I don't like the "abstract" in "abstract Zionism". It's more like Zionism (broad sense) or Zionism (figured sense). Is Promised Land too bound to Israel or could it be used for Ethiopia and Utah? -- Error

RK: You said "(Wait - NO country's constituion allows for a democratic popular vote to overturn it. One could make this claim about any provision of any country's constitution. Israel's constitution, like that of other countries, needs a special process to be amended.)". You seem to misunderstand the Israeli legislation. It doesn't just say that a special process is necessary to change Israel's constitutional change as a Jewish state; it says that any party ADVOCATING such a change is ineligible to stand for election. It denies the right for Israeli citizens who disagree with that aspect of its constitution from organising a party and standing for election to the Knesset. That is more than just constitutional entrenchment; that is being totally undemocratic. -- Simon J Kissane

I don't think you're correct. The term 'Jewish state' is quite fuzzy. For example, many people from the Israeli public think that a state with a Jewish majority is still a Jewish state (and the legislation does nothing to cancel that out). Also, the law you seem to be referring to Israel Basic Law: The Knesset, can surely be amended (by a majority of two-thirds - see Section 45). And finally, no political movement has yet arisen in Israel that seeks the insertion of that amendment. Indeed, the only time Section 7a was put into effect was in order to block Meir Kahane (according to sub-section 3). Therefore, your statement is incorrect (it makes a real issue out of something that is not), and since you phrased it in a way humiliating to every Democracy-loving citizen of Israel (such as myself), I politely ask you to revise it. --Uriyan

Firstly, I was refering to its legal status, not its demographic makeup. Secondly, I never said the law couldn't be ammended; I merely said the law as it now stands is undemocratic. Finally, even if it has not been put in effect, what is it doing there in the first place? Surely section 7a(1) would not have been inserted if at least some intended to use it? Even if in practice no one is affected by the legislation, it shouldn't be there to start with. Even if not a single Israeli wants to stand for election on a platform of opposing Israel's status as a Jewish state, they still should be allowed to do so. So what I said was competely accurate. -- SJK.

I disagree. We are not talking about a 'Jewish state' as I see it or as you see it. We talk about how Israeli lawmakers chose to regard it. And they did not specify whether the interpretation was demographic or not. Section 7a(1) is powerless de facto and de jure. Is true that legal loopholes exist; however their significance (and importance to an article not concerning directly with Israeli state politics) is proportionate to their effect. Look foor example at Dumb Laws. Surely some of them can be very annoying and even menacing to democracy. It is the practice that determines whether they are noteworthy anywhere except Dumb Laws. And finally, I am not against you mentioning it - do so if you wish. But if you do so, you should also explain what is so undemocratic about Israel defining itself as a Jewish state.
Section 7a(1) is not powerless de jure. It would seem as legally enforceable as other parts of section 7a which the Israeli High Court used to uphold the denial of Kach's candidacy. As to de facto enforceability -- it may be irrelevant now, but it could become relevant in the future if a party proposed to repeal the definition of Israel as a Jewish state (both some leftwing Jews and some Israeli Arabs have criticised defining Israel as a Jewish state), and the Government sought to suppress it. Israel defining itself as a Jewish state implies that non-Jewish Israelis are second-class citizens. -- SJK
Section 7a(1) is powerless de jure, because nowhere in the Israeli law, we see a clear definition what is a "Jewish state". The only place that approaches this is the Declaration of Independence, but among other things it also speaks about the "spirit of the ideals of freedom and equality". As to the wording itself, many countries use symbols and formulas which are not always relevant to every single citizen or population in this country. Thus for example, the Swiss cross has very little to do with Switzerland's Muslim and Jewish citizens. And yet it seems to concern noone. Numerous problems exist in Israel between the Arab and Jewish populations; however the phrasing of 7a(1) is not one of them by a long shot. --Uriyan
Just because it may be unclear what a law means it does not follow that it is powerless de jure -- it merely follows that it must be the subject of judicial interpretation. I think using Jewish symbolism is very different from declaring the state to be "the state of the Jewish people", since that is an explicit constitutional provision. Symbolism over time tends to lose its meaning -- I doubt the Swiss flag is seen today as particularly Christian, whatever it meant at the time it was adopted. The British flag, the Union Jack, consists of not one but three crosses superimposed on each other, each cross named for a saint, and yet I at least have never thought of it as being the slighest bit Christian: it is the way it is for historical reasons. Find me a provision in the Swiss constitution that says Switzerland is "the state of Christian people". (Swiss is arguably not an ethnic or religious group, any more than Israeli is.) -- SJK
Well, the importance of 7a(1) is equal to the importance of the Swiss flag: nil! There are numerous political parties inside the Knesset (Merez, BALAD etc.) that call to total social equality, and no one seems to be implementing 7a(1) upon them. Think how stupid it would look if one tried to prove that a certain party goes again Israel being the state of the Jewish people. I can't manage even a single scenario where, according to the current Israeli judicial practice, and not your perception of a "Jewish state", section 7a(1) could be enacted. Perhaps you can? --Uriyan
Well as I said I doubt it has any practical application at present, but it might one day. Imagine a future situation where Israeli Arabs form a larger share of the population than now, and are much more politically active, and some Israeli Jews (especially the right) feel threatened by this. Such a situation might well lead to the Israeli government banning some Israeli Arab parties.
I think a demographic shift within Israel to a greater Arab population is very likely in the long term. Israel's economic success attracts Palestinians and other Arabs, and the Israeli economy needs cheap labour. Peace will only make immigration of Palestinian and Arab workers easier, by reducing the security risk and Jewish-Arab tensions. It would also result in Israel feeling less need to rely on extraregional sources (Eastern Europe, Asia) of low-skilled labour, which are more expensive (the main reason it uses them now is because they pose less of a security problem). Arabs and Palestinians tend to have larger families than most Jews (ignoring the ultra-Orthodox). And Palestinians are geographically so close to Israel that the Israeli right's dreams of separating them are impossible.
Further large-scale Jewish immigration to Israel is unlikely. Most non-Western Jews have already emigrated there. Most Western Jews are quite happy where they are, and while some will always be making aliyah there will not be enough to make a major demographic effect.
This possible demographic shift towards a larger Arab share of the population would lead to fears from some Israeli Jews that the Jewish state was being "taken over" by Gentiles. Provisions like 7a(1) might be very useful in this context. -- SJK
Well, we have both reached the conclusion that in the present situation, Section 7a(1) is quite irrelevant. It has never been used so far, and there are no plans to use it in the nearest future. Since using it is not part of any particular Zionist mindset, I must wonder whether if it should be mentioned at all, and whether Israel/Politics could not be a better place.
Also, the events of the last year have shown clearly, both to me and the Israeli public as a whole that this conflict is not going to go away by itself. Israel has 180,000 unemployed (both Jews and Arabs). An Arab work force is theoretically good, but the security risk and the further rise in the unemployment rate guarantee that the scenario you've proposed is most unlikely. Is there a scenario which can occur in no more than 5 years and involve anyhow 7a(1)? --Uriyan
The scenario I mentioned isn't going to happen in the next 5 years. I am talking about the long term -- it will happen decades, maybe even a century, hence. But it will happen. In the short term the only thing I can think of is Arab Israelis becoming more pro-Palestinian, which has been happening recently. If their opinions started to resemble more their Palestinian brethren, then there might be some movement to have 7a(1) applied to some of their parties. -- SJK
In the meantime, the Israeli Arabs' Palestinian brethren have been more concerned with blowing up Jews than negotiating with them. Tell me: is there any single movement, Arab, Jewish, parliamentary or non-parliamentary which is threatend by 7a(1)? Your allegations are based on the current state of affairs. Can you offer any scenario which is based on what is going to happen now or in a short period of time? Things change so quickly in this region that any other scenario is irrelevant. --Uriyan
As I said, no one is at present threatened by 7a(1). But in the future someone might be. And even if no one ever will be, the message the law sends is still bad. -- SJK
All right. May I add to the article, in that case, after the quote from the law that 'However, Section 7a(1) has never been applied so far to any contender in the parliamentary elections, nor does the existing legal practice indicate a situation where it may be.'? --Uriyan
I would support that, except for "nor does the existing legal practice indicate a situation where it may be". I would rather have it say something like "nor is it likely to be applied in the near future." Speaking of "legal practice" raises issues about exactly why it isn't applied, which it would be best to avoid. (Such issues are: is it not enforced because no one wants to enforce it? or is it because the law could never be enforced in practice, due to vagueness or something similar? or is it because the will to enforce it exists but what it seeks to prohibit never occurs in practice?) -- SJK

I changed the paragraph in question to attempt to fairly present this criticism. I added the context of Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East, which seems relevant to most of the important questions about democracy and Zionism and the right of the Israel state to exist, and also pointed out that the very next line of the criticized line seems to be in defense of democracy.

I deleted Ireland from the list of countries with ethnically preferential immigration laws, because as I understand it applies to all ethnic and religious groups, so long as your parent or grandparent was born in Ireland -- be they an Celtic Catholic or an Asian Muslim. It also only lasts for two generations -- I am over half-Irish, but I am not eligble for Irish citizenship AFAIK because I only have great grandparents born in Ireland, not parents or grandparents.

But that is my point! Of course it is not identical to the Israeli position, but it is similar. And Ireland *does* grant Irish citizenship to the children of Irish citizens born anywhere in the world, just as Israel does.
Yes, but almost every country does that! Almost every country provides that children of citizens born overseas are also citizens, although it normally only lasts for one generation. Ireland unusually provides it for a second generation, though it needs a special application. The Israeli position is very different because it is based on religious criteria -- i.e. the (mostly -- ignoring arguments about non-Orthodox conversions) halakhic criteria, plus the requirement of having not converted, or being a relative of a Jew by that definition. This is an explicitly religious criteria -- where does Irish law say "anyone who converts to a religion other than Catholicism is not eligible"? Furthermore the Irish law applies to descendants of all Irish citizens, but the Law of Return only applies to descendants of Jewish Israeli citizens. The Irish law is not discriminatory; the Law of Return is. -- SJK

Question from Jimbo: My wife's grandmother is Irish and we are looking into getting Irish citizenship jut for the fun of it. I'm not any religion at all, but they don't care about that. If my grandmother were born in Israel, would I be offered Israeli citizenship? Would I be asked about my faith? If so, I would honestly answer that I am not of the Jewish faith. Would this prevent me from getting a citizenship? If so, then this appears to be relevantly different from other countries and a possibly valid critical point to raise about Zionism. --Jimbo Wales

Yes, if your grandmother was born in Israel and she was a Jewish Israeli, you would be eligible (even if you weren't a Jew yourself, since you'd be sufficently closely related to a Jew); but if she was an Arab Israeli citizen, you wouldn't. -- SJK
You mixed up two things here. The child of any Israeli citizen, Jewish or not, even if he's not born in Israel, can receive an Israeli citizenship. However, in addition to that, Israel has also a Law of Return, which allows any Jew, or a descendant of a Jew (up to a grandchild) immigrate into Israel. The real issue here is whether Israel has the right to confine the Law of Return to Jews only. I think that yes, exactly in the same way as Germany hands out citizenships to ethnic Germans, but does not do so for Turks. --Uriyan
I would say that Germany in this regard is racist just like Israel. In fact to be honest Germany has some of the worst citizenship laws in all of Europe, but the CDU/CSU keep on opposing any real change. -- SJK
First of all whether an immigration law can be racist at all or not is debatable. I hope you don't object that each country has rights to protect itself from seekers of wellfare or preserve its demographical balance. Secondly if you think that the German immigration policy is racist, I'd like to see you write that in Germany. --Uriyan.
I'm a multiculturalist. I think that monocultural societies are bad, and that policy means used to encourage monoculturalism are bad. Thankfully Germany will probably have to change its laws when Protocol 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights enters into force for it, to treat ethnic Germans and non-ethnic Germans equally; but that still doesn't deal with the generally difficulty of becoming naturalised in Germany. The European Convention on Nationality is a step in the right direction (if only it was tighter). Now you suggest it, yes, I think I will add a section on German citizenship/immigration laws to Germany. (Switzerland deserves one as well, I think.) -- SJK
I appreciate it, sincerity and equal standards are more important to me than the difference in opinions. --Uriyan

Also someone wrote "the right of the Israel state to exist". The question of Israel's right to exist is entirely separate from the question of its status as a Jewish state. Not all Israelis are Jews. -- SJK

SJK, you're right on this point, and the article should be changed to reflect it. Precision is especially important since things get someone subtle. Zionism is not about the right of *some* state to exist in the area, but that specifically the Israel state to exist *as the Jewish homeland*, whatever that may mean. Will you make that change?--Jimbo Wales

May I suggest please that there are also important philosophical and practical differences between Religion, Ethnicity, and Statehood, which might be touched upon in the article? I know others have mentioned these issues, but I think it is important that these terms not be used as near-synonyms - or at least not without any critical comment. E.g. Ireland's "Irishness" is listed as a possible analogy for Israel's "Jewishness". However, Ireland (or at least, 26 counties of it) is historically and legally a Republic, not simply an ethnic- or religious-homeland for Gaelic-speakers or Roman-Catholics. Irish Nationalism, in its origins and even to this day was held to be a synonym for Republicanism, because it was originally a united movement of all religions and backgrounds in Ireland against the British Empire (it was originally led, in fact, by a Presbyterian - one of the then-called "dissenters" from the Established state-Church). During one famous rebellion, Gaelic-speaking Catholic loyalists (i.e. British Nationalists) were used against English-speaking Protestant/Catholic Republicans (i.e. Irish Nationalists). This is certainly not to suggest that ethnicity and religion have not been used for political advantage in the modern Irish state, of course. My point is that, arguably, associating any State (a territorial monopoly of physical force) - especially a seemingly expansive one - with a single ethnicity (let alone with a single religion) is problematic, especially if the ethnicity could be viewed as being of mainly an exclusive, rather than of an inclusive nature. I know this is more for the article on Nationalism, but it seems like these distinctions/questions would be important to at least raise here; as an extremely important case-study for all Nationalisms. -- Oisín 01:10 Sep 8, 2002 (UTC)

Someone asked: What is the relevance of section 7a(2) here?

This is in reference to this paragraph: Although Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, some have been critical of aspects of that democracy. For example, Israel's laws ban from standing from election all parties which have as a goal "the negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people." (Basic Law: The Knesset, section 7a(1)). But the same section 7a(2) of the Basic Law also bans from standing all parties which have as a goal the "negation of the democratic character of the State".

I think the relevance is that we are listing a criticism of Israeli democracy based on 7a(1). I think that in order to be balanced, we need to recognize that 7a(2), immediately following 7a(1) is exactly the same type of ban, but in defense of democracy. It strikes me that in a literal sense, 7a(1) and 7a(2) are contradictory and both are relevant to the question at hand. (One wonders how a constitutional literalist might answer a question about a hypothetical political party which runs on a platform that 7a(2) ought to be enforced more vigorously. Is that anti-democratic, thus invoking 7a(3)?)

I don't think that Wikipedia is the place to answer such thorny constitutional issues.  :-) So we have to look to give a balanced presentation, and omitting mention of the pro-democratic nature of 7a as a whole would be unbalanced.

I strongly disagree with this talk of a "Jewish nationality" as being somehow distinct from Jewish ethnicity or religion. Nationality is membership in a nation. A nation (in the relevant sense) is a group united by language, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. But by that definition it is wrong to say Jewishness isn't an ethnicity/religion, its a "nationality", since a nationality is the same thing as an ethnicity or relgiion. (There is another definition of nationality, which is a legal relationship with a state; but there is no state all Jews have or have had a legal relationship with.) So the Law of Return still constitutes ethnic and religious discrimination; claiming it is based on "Jewish nationality" doesn't make it any different.

Article says:

Since Israelis do not view Judaism exclusively as a religion (see above), Israelis who support this discrimination (some Israelis were shocked by the Rufeisen case) argue that once someone rejects one's nationality, one can no longer simultaneously demand membership in that nationality.

But how do you define the "Jewish nationality"? Under the Rabbinical definition, a Jew who becomes a Christian is still a Jew. Thus by the Rabbinical definition Rufeisen had "Jewish nationality". And if "Jewish nationality" is distinct from religion, how could become a Christian have been a rejection of his "Jewish nationality"? Unless "Jewish nationality" is no different from Judaism, in which case the law makes perfect sense, and in which case it still constitutes religious discrimination.

Article says:

They also argue that one of the major purposes of the law of return was to prevent Jews from being murdered by European Christian anti-Semites; realisticaly, converting to a European Christian clergy person circumvents this possibility in almost all cases.

AFAIK, Hitler didn't care if someone had converted. He viewed Jews in racial terms, and so he persecuted them no matter what religion they practiced. Whatever its historical origins, Nazi antisemitism had nothing to do with Christianity. --SJK

Jews don't allow Adolph Hitler to define who is, and who is not, a Jew. No Jew cares a whit about his definition of Judaism, let alone his definitions of anything else. Secondly, Nazi anti-Semitism explicitly was hinged on traditional German Christianity; it would literally have been impossible for the Germans to have created the Holocaust without centuries of Jew-hatred taught by German's Catholic and Lutheran Churches. A huge number of Germans were Lutheran Christians. The massively influential Christian leader Martin Luther explicitly and literally taught that Jews are Satanic monsters that should be burned alive in the homes and synagogues. (This was backed up by the New Testament, which refers to all Jews as the spawn of Satan/the Devil). This is what the Nazi literature promoted, and they got away with it because they were correct: It was a normative Christian teaching among many, many Christians. And Luther's demands are what many of the Chrisitians of Germany actually did

Ok, the paragraph became a mess. I propose to re-write it like this:

Although Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, some have been critical of aspects of that democracy. For example, the Israel Basic Law: The Knesset states that:

Section 7a Prevention of Participation of Candidates List A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:

  1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
  2. negation of the democratic character of the State;
  3. incitement to racism.

Some have been critical of section 7a(1), since it is represents only the Jewish people, and not other citizens of the state. However, Section 7a(1) has never been applied so far to any contender in the parliamentary elections, nor is it likely to be applied in the near future. In addition, Sections 7a(2) and 7a(3) are explicitly supportive of democracy.

Do you agree? --Uriyan

The original issue involving mentioning 7a(1) was not "Is Israel democratic?" but "Does Israel give special status to its Jewish citizens over its non-Jewish citizens?". Democracy isn't the issue in this context (discussion of the relationship between Zionism and racism), it is rather an illustration of the broader issue. Saying "In addition, Sections 7a(2) and 7a(3) are explicitly supportive of democracy" isn't exactly, relevant, since that isn't the issue.

I think "only democracy" might be better replaced by "most democratic country". Israel's democracy is far from perfect, and some other Middle East states are democratic to an extent. For example, Iran has elections, and although candidates are subject to approval by the religious establishment, the system still manages in practice to represent a wide range of political opinion (i.e. both conservatives and reformists). Jordan has largely democratic elections, though the Jordanian parliament doesn't have that much real power. So while Iran and Jordan aren't as democratic as Israel, it's not like all Middle Eastern countries except for Israel are dictatorships. It's a matter of degree.

Secondly, a far more common complaint about Israeli democracy than section 7a(1) is the fact that Palestinians in the occupied territories can't vote for the government which has ultimate power over them. (They can vote for the PA, but the powers of the PA are limited.) -- SJK

Well, the paragraph in all its forms was about Israel being democratic in general, and thus I put it. One can't isolate Sub-Section 7a(1) from its context - Section 7a. It illustrates both the democratic and the (alleged) non-democratic components of the Israeli law, and I think that both have to be displayed (if we want to discuss the issue - I still think it would be best to strike that particular paragraph out).
As to Israel's democracy, it is a democracy, while Iran's is not. There is no single entity controlling the Israeli politics (as it is in Iran); Israel allows for a very wide range of political and religious movements, even at the expense of harming its own integrity (for example, the the Israeli Islamic movement which is notorious for its unofficial support for violence). --Uriyan
I was the person who first mentioned 7a(1) [though at the time I didn't know the actual law I was reffering to], and the context I mentioned it in was discussion of Israel and racial discrimination, as part of the issue of Zionism and racism. Later editors turned it into a comment about Israeli democracy, which doesn't really have anything to do with Zionism and racism at all. I think the issue still might deserve some mention, but only in the context.
There is no absolute distinction between democracy and non-democracy -- it is a matter of degree. Iran is not as democratic as many, but is more democratic than many others. Where to draw the line on a continuum is ulitmately arbitrary. So to say it is "the most democratic" is better than saying it is "the only democracy". -- SJK
That is not exact. There are names to the kinds of the regimes in the Middle East. Now Iran, for example is a theocracy (although it is fortunately moving away from it). Syria and Iraq are totalitarian dictatorships. Jordan is a monarchy. Israel happens to be a parliamentary democracy. Perhaps Lebanon could be described as democratic, were it not for the Syrian military rule that nullifies most of its effect.
I am aware that you were the first to raise this subject. However mentioning only 7a(1) creates a misleading impression that it is the only standard in the Israeli elections, which is incorrect (and damaging to Israel). Therefore, I think that it can only be correct to mention 7a in it full form, or to drop the whole matter altogether.--Uriyan

Someone well-informed should take up the citizenship stub (we already have an entry on Lex solis, though not for Lex sanguinis, both of which are germane) and explain that the ideas and practices of citizenship are neither simple nor uncontested in either history or contemporary practice. To identify 'a criticism' of Israeli democracy as though it is earth shattering is to neglect all the other elective governments of the world, all of which have their citizenship oddities. This article, like everything else involving the region, seems to be moving in smaller and smaller circles of less and less interest to that wonderful mythical beast The General Reader. --MichaelTinkler

Michael: Well, there is an article on nationality, and if you think I'm being picky about Israel you obviously haven't read my contribution on British Nationality Law. (How much interest to the general reader has that article got?) I think the US, British and Australian citizenship laws (ignoring all the other non-"British citizen" nationalities in the UK law, and section 17 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948, which partially prohibits multiple nationality but which thankfully is in the process of being repealed) are pretty free from oddities. Most continental European laws, by contrast, are a awful. -- SJK

Since the point I had originally tried to make below had been edited into something else not really relevant to the issue, and since Uriyan convinced me that its of no practical import, at least at present, I've decided to excise the below:

Although Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, some have been critical of aspects of that democracy. For example, the Israel Basic Law: The Knesset states that:

Section 7a: Prevention of Participation of Candidates List

A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:

  1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
  2. negation of the democratic character of the State;
  3. incitement to racism.

-- SJK Some have been critical of section 7a(1), since it is represents only the Jewish people, and not other citizens of the state. However, Section 7a(1) has never been applied so far to any contender in the parliamentary elections, nor is it likely to be applied in the near future. In addition, Sections 7a(2) and 7a(3) are explicitly supportive of democracy.

I've revised the section about Rufeisen, explained the chronolgy of the Law of Return etc. Note that the Israeli Supreme Court has given an explanation to its verdict, and that Rufeisen was eventually naturalized. --Uriyan.

Arab states are even more restrictive on becoming a citizen than Israel; in fact, some of them outlaw the immigration of Jews outright, which is clearly bigotry. Many of them outlaw Jews as being members of the government, which is clearly anti-Semitic. Similarly, some of them outlaw Christians being members of their governments. Isn't this religious persecution?So how come there is no corresponding discussion on whether these Arab states are racist or bigoted in their respective Wikipedia entries? I would think that NPOV would be served by making this analysis impartial, instead of only being in the entry on Israel. Maybe some text could be worked out.RK

I removed/changed the following statements:

As early as during the 1880s, the Muslim and Christians appealed to the Ottoman government to limited Jewish immigration. The reason was among other things the Zionist practice of buying up land especially from absentee landlords and evicting the tenants.

In the literature available to me, I do not find any references for this as a significant phenomenon; indeed on the early stages, the local landowners were very happy to sell their lands to the Jews and the Ottoman authorities - to please the major world powers. Of course, this changed, but a quarter of a century later.
    • Note: Some people support the "Jordan is Palestine" argument. The claim is that Jordan was originally a part of Palestine and that Britain split it off as a separate state. However, this argument is controversial and generally not accepted outside Zionist circles. It should be remembered that the area to the east of the river Jordan was definitely included in the area promised to Husayn in 1915 (i.e. prior to the Balfour declaration); the very temporary linking of Palestine and Transjordan had been an administrative convenience for Britain and did at no point in time indicate any recognition of Zionist claims to the East Bank of the Jordan.
Yes, but most administrative divisions prior to the British had the Jordanian desert attached to the territories west of Jordan, which were in most cases also called "Palestine". This issue needs proper discussion, not notes stuck into the middle of the article; moreover, they belong to the Palestine page. --Uriyan

The page was changed to claim that (a) Herzl was the inventor of Zionism (b) Herzl had some ideology, which his followers interprted as settling in Palestine or elsewhere. Both of these statements are not true. First, Herzl was not the inventor of Zionism, but a skillful administrator, who brought together Zionists from all over the world into the first Zionist Congress. Secondly, Herzl's role in Zionism was not an ideological one, but was merely a moderator and participant in the Congress, and when it declined the Uganda Proposal, he accepted that. --Uriyan

Ed Poor changed the statement about how long Jews have hoped for a return to Zion. It used to say 1900 years, but he changed this to say "centuries", which is a significant understatement. I do not know why this has been changed, but it is off by literally an order of magnitude. The hope for a return to the land of Zion is two milennia old, not centuries. That is why I have changed his change. RK

At that time the Jews claimed that the area belonged to them because they had lived there for some time. The Jews rose against the stronger Romans in a campaign that included terrorism and other forms of asymmetric warfare.

What is that supposed to convey? The history of the Jewish Rebellion of 70 A.D. is much more complex than that (and mentioning terrorism seems obscure to me - what's the connection? Terrorism as a type of military strategy appeared only recently). --Uri

Some advocates say that discrimination in favour of Jews and against other ethnic groups is enshrined permanently in Israeli law. They regard the Declaration of Independence, which defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, as discriminatory and complain that no political party that seeks to re-define Israel as the state of all its citizens is permitted to put up candidates for elections [Basic Law: The Knesset (Amendment No. 9)].

Amendment Number 9 was what introduced Article 7a, which both me and SJK have previously decided to be irrelevant to the article as whole. Also, anyone with a clue in Israeli politics would know that the law does not forbid forming a party that would re-define Israel as the state of all its citizens (it is considered a legitimate approach, and it is a part of the agenda of Meretz and the Arabic country); the only thing that a party may not do is to deny Israel's existence as the state of the Jewish people (the term, by the way, was never even defined in the Israeli legislation so it's next to unusable - unless of course your agenda is pushing all Jews to the sea). --Uri

Ah also, a point to ponder about. My high school textbook for Citizenship lists several concepts for the nature of the state of Israel, including "State of all citizens" that are all declared equal and legitimate (it's not unique to the book, state exams written by Ministry of Education mean all books must include this classification). In other parts of the book, the importance of democracy, equality etc. are supported by quotes from not only modern Western and traditional Jewish sources, but also from Christian and Muslim sources. One photo (taken at the Oasis of Peace during Hillary Clinton's visit) displays Jewish and Arab children standing together. --Uri

I propose to change a sentence in the second paragraph under the heading "Political Zionism". The original sentence is as follows: "As defined by the documents and practices of Zionists over the past century, what Zionism means in practice is that Israel is Jewish in much the same was that Italy is Italian, or that Ireland is Irish." The problem that I have with the above sentence is that the goal of the latter part (comparing the make-up of the Israeli population with that of other countries in order to clarify the make-up of the Israeli population) is not met. In my opinion this goal is not met because there is a comparison of opposing types of population.

For the rest of my argument I shall simply use Italians/Italy as representative of the people/country that Jews/Israel is being compared to. To have a valid comparison, one would have to compare Israelis/Israel with Italians/Italy, as being Italian is defined as being a citizen of Italy, and being Israeli is defined as being a citizen of Israel. This comparison however is meaningless, as it tells us something that we obviously already know. We wanted to clarify the position of the ethnic group "Jews" within the state of Israel. We can therefore, to underline my previous point, not compare Jews with Italians, as one is an ethnicity (and/or a religion) and the other is a nationality. We have to compare "Jews"/"Israel" with another "ethnicity"/"country where the previous ethnicity is dominant". The example that comes to my mind is Arab/Saudi Arabia (Or any other such country). I can't think of any other at this moment, perhaps someone has got a suggestion for a second comparative group. Please tell me what you think of this suggestion, giving a clear explanation of why you are either for or against such an alteration. Thanks. --snoyes 05:27 Feb 13, 2003 (UTC)

Well, I don't know much about this subject but I don't think the comparison to Italy is appropriate. Historically, "Italy" has only been unified and conceived of as both a nation and a state recently, but there are definite cultural, religious and linguistic similarities between the vast majority of inhabitants of the Italian penninsula for centuries. The land currently comprising Israel has only had a Jewish majority (I'm excluding the race/religion question here) relatively recently. The Italians can't, in any reasonable sense, be said to have taken the land from anyone else, but the Israelis can. I'm not sure if all this is relevant, I just object to the two ideas being analogous because there's a world of difference -- same thing with the Irish -- the only somewhat analogous example I can think of off the top of my head is the now-Russian majority in some of the Central Asian countries. Tokerboy
I think that the issue of how the Jewish people came into posession of the territory now called Israel is sufficiently explained in the rest of the article - so that it does not need to be further clarified by the above comparison. However, if anyone can think of a better comparison than Arabs/Saudi Arabia (one which includes occupying a territory that they were not in posession of at the time) - then please say so. snoyes 15:23 Feb 13, 2003 (UTC)

Removed the statement that Jabotinsky supported the removal of the Arab population. Actually, Jabotinsky wrote about a presidential system of government for the Jewish state he envisioned, with a Jewish president and an Arab vice-president. There are many reasons to be critical of Jabotinsky (and of Zionism), but let's keep the criticisms real--not imaginary. Danny 05:13 Feb 16, 2003 (UTC)

Does somebody know more about the Manchukuo project? I never knew if it was ever more than a piece of paper on a Tokyo desk. -- Error