Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
What does a
“Jewish State”
really mean?
Peter Larson
Chair, Education Committee on
Israel/Palestine
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON
CA...
Two conflicting narratives:
“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East”
“Israel is an apartheid state”
A little
geography
reminder….. Haifa
Acre
Presentation Outline
European Anti-Semitism and
the Zionist idea
The creation ...
The spread of Judaism
• European anti-
Semitism has a long
history
Evolution of the Zionist idea
•1895 Theodor Herzl proposes the idea
of a Jewish State as the only way to
protect Jews
•191...
States and borders created by imperial powers after WWI
Jewish immigration into
“mandate Palestine”
• Population of Palestine (1914)*
• 657,000 Muslim
• 81,000 Christian
• 59,000...
1937 – ‘45 The holocaust
 ‘38 – ‘47 Massive immigration of European Jews
 ‘31 -48” Jewish population triples (to estimat...
The “Naqba” (Dec. ‘47 – Dec. ‘48)
 Starting immediately after UN vote, in
December ‘47, Jewish militias move to
“liberate...
1947/48 - Palestinians driven out of most arable land
But the “Judaisation” was not complete
• Jewish troops only got 78% of former Mandate Palestine
• they couldn’t get West B...
Where are the
Palestinians today?
1. Refugee Camps
(Lebanon,
Jordan, Syria)* 3.7 M
2. West Bank 2.4 M
3. Gaza 1.8 M
4. Isr...
Israel
• a booming, high
tech, modern,
European-type
country
• “start up nation”
• GDP/capita $32K
Palestinian Israelis
(or Arab Israelis)
• About 20% of Israeli
population (1.4 million)
• 90% Muslim, 10% Christian
• Citi...
Furthermore:
• Palestinian Israelis can:
 travel wherever they want inside Israel
 shop at the same stores,
 go to the ...
But Israel is a “Jewish State”
•i.e. the State of Jews around the world, NOT the State of its Citizens
Implications:
any ...
Laws supporting “the Jewish State of Israel”
• Laws explicitly based on race/religion
• Laws that permit official discrimi...
Citizenship vs. ‘Nationality’
By law – every Israeli citizen has both ‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’
(e.g. ‘Jewish’, Arab...
Some citizenship rights:
• legal equality
• the right to vote
• the right to be elected
• the right to be named a judge
• ...
Israeli basic law defines Israel as "A Jewish
and Democratic State”
“The State of Israel will affirm complete social and p...
Three small examples
1. Can an Arab Israeli live in a
‘Jewish Municipality’?
2 Can an Arab Israeli get a
license to produc...
Example 1:
Can an Arab
Israeli live in a
Jewish
municipality?
93% of the
land of Israel
belongs to the
state
Jewish
comm...
September 14, 2014
Yesterday, Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Adalah: The
Legal Center for Arab Minority Ri...
Example 2
Can an Arab Israeli get a licence to produce and sell eggs?
For the first time in history, Arab
farmers hatch of...
Example 3 – Do Arab Citizens have any right to have a say in
planning?
Court Rules in Favor of Arab Planning Rights
Update...
Practical consequences - A tale of two towns:
Kufr Qasm and Rosh Haayin
Introducing
Rosh Ha’ayin
• Created in 1955 as a new
Jewish municipality
Rosh Haayin is a Jewish municipality in Israel. It could be a gated community in
California with checkpoints at the entran...
Arab Israeli village of
Kafr Qasim
KQ appears
rather over
crowded
But not “poverty
stricken”
Two neighbouring towns compared:
Kefr Qasm vs. Rosh Ha’ayin
• Pop’n: 18,500
• (Cf: 1931 census – 989)
• Founded (Ottoman e...
Two neighbouring towns compared:
Kefr Qassm vs. Rosh Ha’ayin
• no
• no
• no
• none
• 70%
• no
• YES
• YES
• YES
• SEVERAL
...
How to explain the striking differences
between the two towns?
Two neighbouring towns compared:
Kefr Qasm vs. Rosh Ha’ayin...
93% of Israel is now
“State land”
Socio-Economic Consequences
Jews vs. Arabs inside Israel
Some examples:
Income (average income $/year)
Jewish $31K Arab $2...
Education in Israel
• State supplied education K – 12
(“Bagrout”)
• Israel fares very well on international
tests
• But… e...
Education for
the Palestinian minority in Israel
Four major problems:
1.Inadequate funding
2.Poor outcomes
3.Curriculum
4....
Poor quality education for Arabs…
• Funding 3 to 4 times more
per capita for Jewish
schools
• Poor outcomes - few
graduate
Arab Israeli Curriculum
“The primary objective of education is to preserve the Jewish nature of
the state by teaching its ...
Barriers to higher education
for Arab Israelis
• No Arabic language
university in Israel
• Hebrew and English test
• Few P...
• Israel tolerant of
dissent (e.g. occupy
movement) but Arab
Israelis seen as ‘5th
column
• even peaceful Arab
demonstrati...
Objective: to protect the Jewish State of Israel
Provides for:
•military tribunals to try civilians without appeal,
•sweep...
Suppression of traces of Palestinian culture, history and identity
• Above – ruined Palestinian Bedouin
cemetery in downto...
Pervasive Racism
• 50% of Israelis think
“Arabs should leave
Israel”
• Petty exclusions
• Professional
limitations
• No le...
Palestinian Israelis
(A second look)
• About 20% of Israeli
population (1.4 million)
• Citizens of Israel
 Israeli passpo...
My conclusions
Bahai Garden on Mount
Carmel, Haifa
• Israel is a European type
country with high level of
socio-economic development
and a developed political
structure and ...
Conclusion # 2
• But Israel legally defines itself as a “Jewish State”.
• This allows preferential treatment for Jews - in...
Conclusion #3
• The Palestinian citizens of Israel struggle against a
different form of discrimination than that faced by ...
Conclusion # 4
• Israel’s Jewish majority can continue to “democratically”
vote privileges for itself as long as the refug...
Conclusion # 5:
Canadian support for the idea of Israel “as a
Jewish state” is very problematic for anyone who
believes in...
What does a
“Jewish State”
really mean?
Peter Larson
Chair, Education Committee on
Israel/Palestine
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON
CA...
The “Forgotten
Palestinians”:
The Israeli-Arab search for
democracy and equal rights
inside today’s Israel
Thank you
Peter...
UN Proposal – Nov. 1947
Britain out – Palestine partitioned
• Accepted by Ben Gurion and Zionist
Movement
• Rejected by Pa...
Map Source: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1935
Population of Palestine (1931)
• 734,000 Muslims
• 169,000 Jews
• 85,000 Christi...
• Source:
UN Special
Committee
on
Palestine
When the dust settled…
• Israel created -
controlling 78% of former
Mandate Palestine
• 85% of Palestinians
(750,000) are ...
Abandoned, evacuated and/or
destroyed Palestinian localities
(comparative figures)
Reference Towns Villages Tribes Total
M...
Sabra Jews
(born in
Israel)
Jews from
Europe and
America
Jews from
Asia/Africa
Palestinian
Arab
Others
Israel is a complex...
What does a "Jewish State" really mean?
What does a "Jewish State" really mean?
What does a "Jewish State" really mean?
What does a "Jewish State" really mean?
What does a "Jewish State" really mean?
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

What does a "Jewish State" really mean?

838 views

Published on

Israel wants Canada to recognize it as a “Jewish State”. But what does a “Jewish State” really mean – especially for its non-Jewish citizens?

Published in: News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

What does a "Jewish State" really mean?

  1. 1. What does a “Jewish State” really mean? Peter Larson Chair, Education Committee on Israel/Palestine NATIONAL COUNCIL ON CANADA-ARAB RELATIONS
  2. 2. Two conflicting narratives: “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East” “Israel is an apartheid state”
  3. 3. A little geography reminder….. Haifa Acre Presentation Outline European Anti-Semitism and the Zionist idea The creation of Israel Modern Israel Palestinian Israelis (or Israeli Arabs) Citizenship rights vs. national rights Consequences:  Land  Education  Employment Conclusions
  4. 4. The spread of Judaism
  5. 5. • European anti- Semitism has a long history
  6. 6. Evolution of the Zionist idea •1895 Theodor Herzl proposes the idea of a Jewish State as the only way to protect Jews •1914 – WWI – opposes Britain/France against Germany/Ottoman empire •1917 Britain promises to create a “homeland” for Jews in Palestine “Balfour declaration” •1921 – League of Nations gives Britain a “mandate” for Palestine
  7. 7. States and borders created by imperial powers after WWI
  8. 8. Jewish immigration into “mandate Palestine” • Population of Palestine (1914)* • 657,000 Muslim • 81,000 Christian • 59,000 Jews _____________ TOTAL 800,000 * est. J. McCarthy •Population 1931 •760,000 Muslim •91,000 Christian •174,610 Jews •____________ •1,026,000 •* British Census, 1931
  9. 9. 1937 – ‘45 The holocaust  ‘38 – ‘47 Massive immigration of European Jews  ‘31 -48” Jewish population triples (to estimated 650,000) Nov. ‘47 – UN vote to partition Palestine  the “Nakba” – expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians May 15 1948 - Israel Declaration of Independence May 1949 – Israel admitted to UN
  10. 10. The “Naqba” (Dec. ‘47 – Dec. ‘48)  Starting immediately after UN vote, in December ‘47, Jewish militias move to “liberate” Israel  by May 15th , 400,000 Palestinians expelled  the operation continues another 6 months - in total about 750,000 flee  Resulting in a Jewish majority
  11. 11. 1947/48 - Palestinians driven out of most arable land
  12. 12. But the “Judaisation” was not complete • Jewish troops only got 78% of former Mandate Palestine • they couldn’t get West Bank or Gaza • About 100,000 Palestinians remained inside Israel Why? Jewish militias limited – too many Palestinians After May 15th Arab countries intervened Hesitations of western powers Nazareth an interesting special case In the end: They became citizens of Israel For 20 years lived under military rule (1948 – 1967)
  13. 13. Where are the Palestinians today? 1. Refugee Camps (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria)* 3.7 M 2. West Bank 2.4 M 3. Gaza 1.8 M 4. Israel 1.5 M 5. Diaspora 2.0 M Total 11.4 M * - there are also refugee camps in Gaza and the WB Israel 1.4 M Gaza 1.8 M West Bank 2.4 M
  14. 14. Israel • a booming, high tech, modern, European-type country • “start up nation” • GDP/capita $32K
  15. 15. Palestinian Israelis (or Arab Israelis) • About 20% of Israeli population (1.4 million) • 90% Muslim, 10% Christian • Citizens of Israel • Passport • Right to vote • Represented in Knesset • State supplied education • Elect own mayors of towns and villages • Eligible for Supreme Court • Arabic officially recognized • Religious freedom • Surveys show they prefer to live in Israel > OPT or Egypt Israeli Knesset – 13 of 120 Knesset members are Arab Israelis
  16. 16. Furthermore: • Palestinian Israelis can:  travel wherever they want inside Israel  shop at the same stores,  go to the same beaches,  eat in the same restaurants as Jewish Israelis go to the same universities
  17. 17. But Israel is a “Jewish State” •i.e. the State of Jews around the world, NOT the State of its Citizens Implications: any Jew anywhere in the world can immigrate to Israel and automatically gain citizenship Most of the land of Israel (97%) is held “in perpetuity’ for Jews  Israel makes great efforts to recruit Jews  No possibility for the refugees to return to their homes  While Israel actively recruits Jews
  18. 18. Laws supporting “the Jewish State of Israel” • Laws explicitly based on race/religion • Laws that permit official discrimination on the basis of race/religion • Administrative practices based on race/religion  House building permits  Employment  Education  Government services, etc. Lack of laws that make discrimination on the basis of race/religion illegal
  19. 19. Citizenship vs. ‘Nationality’ By law – every Israeli citizen has both ‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’ (e.g. ‘Jewish’, Arab, Druze, etc. etc.)’ • some rights come from citizenship • other rights flow from ‘nationality’ • 75% of the citizens of Israel have the ‘jewish’ nationality
  20. 20. Some citizenship rights: • legal equality • the right to vote • the right to be elected • the right to be named a judge • the right to a passport and to travel • the right to travel anywhere inside Israel • free education K- 12 Some rights that flow from ‘nationality’ • the right to own property on 97% of the land • where one can live • various state subsidies • Immigration law • quality of school system • access to best jobs
  21. 21. Israeli basic law defines Israel as "A Jewish and Democratic State” “The State of Israel will affirm complete social and political equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race, or gender." - Israeli Declaration of Independence  But there is little legal foundation for equality or human rights.  These two notions are often in conflict and the High Court often has to balance them.
  22. 22. Three small examples 1. Can an Arab Israeli live in a ‘Jewish Municipality’? 2 Can an Arab Israeli get a license to produce and sell eggs? 3 Do Arab citizens have a right to have a say in planning?
  23. 23. Example 1: Can an Arab Israeli live in a Jewish municipality? 93% of the land of Israel belongs to the state Jewish communities have “admissions committees”
  24. 24. September 14, 2014 Yesterday, Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. According to Adalah, the court’s decision upholding Israel’s Admissions Committees Law, “entrenches racial segregation; 434 small communities in Israel, or 43% of all residential areas, will be allowed to close their doors to Palestinian Arab citizens of the state.”
  25. 25. Example 2 Can an Arab Israeli get a licence to produce and sell eggs? For the first time in history, Arab farmers hatch official Israel egg license Six Arab farmers who met the ministry's quality standards have now been chosen; others complain conditions make it financially not worthwhile. By Amiram Cohen and Jack Khoury | Dec. 28, 2011 | 1:50 AM Eggs at a Tel Aviv restaurant, 2010. Photo by Nir Kafri
  26. 26. Example 3 – Do Arab Citizens have any right to have a say in planning? Court Rules in Favor of Arab Planning Rights Update:June 13, 2013 The District Court for Administrative Matters ruled in favor of the Arab-Israeli residents. Up until now, Arab citizens of Israel have not been represented in the State planning committees and divisions that decide upon planning and building laws. - From ACRI website
  27. 27. Practical consequences - A tale of two towns: Kufr Qasm and Rosh Haayin
  28. 28. Introducing Rosh Ha’ayin • Created in 1955 as a new Jewish municipality
  29. 29. Rosh Haayin is a Jewish municipality in Israel. It could be a gated community in California with checkpoints at the entrances. I was surprised to see how segregated Israel is. Apart from a few “mixed” cities, no Jews live in Arab towns and no Palestinians live in Jewish municipalities
  30. 30. Arab Israeli village of Kafr Qasim
  31. 31. KQ appears rather over crowded But not “poverty stricken”
  32. 32. Two neighbouring towns compared: Kefr Qasm vs. Rosh Ha’ayin • Pop’n: 18,500 • (Cf: 1931 census – 989) • Founded (Ottoman empire) • 100% Arab Palestinian • Area• 9,1 km2 • Av. Income 3663 NIS • Pop’n 35,500 • Founded 1950’s (on site of earlier Arab village) • 99.7% Jewish (many from Yemen) • Area• 24,3 km2 • Av. Income 8408 NIS Figures from Israeli Bureau of Statistics, 2000 census
  33. 33. Two neighbouring towns compared: Kefr Qassm vs. Rosh Ha’ayin • no • no • no • none • 70% • no • YES • YES • YES • SEVERAL • 100% • Yes • Municipal library • Swimming pool • Cultural centre • Irrigated parks • % paved roads • Train station
  34. 34. How to explain the striking differences between the two towns? Two neighbouring towns compared: Kefr Qasm vs. Rosh Ha’ayin • Pop’n: 18,500 • (Cf: 1931 census – 989) • Founded (Ottoman empire) • 100% Arab Palestinian • Area• 9,1 km2 • Pop’n density: 2000/km2 • Av. Income 3663 NIS • Pop’n 35,500 • Founded 1950’s (on site of earlier Arab village) • 99.7% Jewish (mostly from Yemen) • Area• 24,3 km2 • Pop’n density: 1440/km2 • Av. Income 8408 NIS Figures from Israeli Bureau of Statistics, 2000 census Rosh Ha’Ayin is designated a “Jewish community” – Admissions committee – Subsidies from Israel – Zoning is in its favour – Government offices, etc.
  35. 35. 93% of Israel is now “State land”
  36. 36. Socio-Economic Consequences Jews vs. Arabs inside Israel Some examples: Income (average income $/year) Jewish $31K Arab $21K Poverty rate (families after transfers) Jewish 12.3% Arab 44.9% Education (Qualification for matriculation certificate) Jewish 75.9% Arab 30.8% Unemployment (Unemployment rate) Jewish 6.9% Arab = 10.9% Civil service employment Jewish 94% Arab = 6% All figures from Dirasat (Arab Centre for Law and Policy), ADALAH, and Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel
  37. 37. Education in Israel • State supplied education K – 12 (“Bagrout”) • Israel fares very well on international tests • But… education is segregated: • Jewish schools (in Hebrew) • Arab schools (in Arabic)
  38. 38. Education for the Palestinian minority in Israel Four major problems: 1.Inadequate funding 2.Poor outcomes 3.Curriculum 4.Barriers to higher education for Arabs
  39. 39. Poor quality education for Arabs… • Funding 3 to 4 times more per capita for Jewish schools • Poor outcomes - few graduate
  40. 40. Arab Israeli Curriculum “The primary objective of education is to preserve the Jewish nature of the state by teaching its history, culture and language”. – Israeli State Education Law 1953  The Arab Israeli school system does not teach Palestinian culture and history – it teaches Jewish culture and history
  41. 41. Barriers to higher education for Arab Israelis • No Arabic language university in Israel • Hebrew and English test • Few Palestinians on faculty (<2%) • Psychometric exam • Subsidies to those who have done military service • Justified on grounds that Israel is a “Jewish State”
  42. 42. • Israel tolerant of dissent (e.g. occupy movement) but Arab Israelis seen as ‘5th column • even peaceful Arab demonstrations often violently suppressed • Arab MK’s often attacked by police in demonstrations Peaceful demonstration over Gaza by Israeli Arabs in Nazareth broken up by Israeli police Repression of Arab Israeli dissent
  43. 43. Objective: to protect the Jewish State of Israel Provides for: •military tribunals to try civilians without appeal, •sweeping searches and seizures, •prohibiting publication of books and newspapers, •detaining individuals administratively for an indefinite period, •sealing off particular territories, and •imposing curfew, etc., etc. • First introduced 1949 • Re-voted every year by Knesset. •Always a potential tool against Arab Israelis •Almost never used against Jews Defense (emergency) regulations (1949) (= The war measures act)
  44. 44. Suppression of traces of Palestinian culture, history and identity • Above – ruined Palestinian Bedouin cemetery in downtown Be’ersheva • Right – Canada Park – built on ruins of a Palestinian village – all signage in Hebrew and English Elimination of traces of Palestinian culture in Israel
  45. 45. Pervasive Racism • 50% of Israelis think “Arabs should leave Israel” • Petty exclusions • Professional limitations • No legal remedy because Israel is a “Jewish state”
  46. 46. Palestinian Israelis (A second look) • About 20% of Israeli population (1.4 million) • Citizens of Israel  Israeli passports  Right to vote  Represented in Knesset  State supplied education  Elect own mayors of towns and villages  Eligible for Supreme Court • Arabic an official language • Religious freedom • Surveys show prefer to live in Israel Store sign: Help wanted “after military service”
  47. 47. My conclusions Bahai Garden on Mount Carmel, Haifa
  48. 48. • Israel is a European type country with high level of socio-economic development and a developed political structure and legal framework. • It has some aspects of a liberal democracy • Its declaration of independence declares that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, ethnicity, etc. Conclusion 1
  49. 49. Conclusion # 2 • But Israel legally defines itself as a “Jewish State”. • This allows preferential treatment for Jews - in education, employment, housing, land ownership and many other areas. • Commonly (but not always) upheld by the courts • This is the basic rationale for the proposed “Nation State” law NOTE: Being Jewish has little to do with religion. Many Israelis are secular. But you are a “Jew” if your document says so, otherwise …
  50. 50. Conclusion #3 • The Palestinian citizens of Israel struggle against a different form of discrimination than that faced by those who live in the West Bank. • There are no settler only roads, settlements or checkpoints • But it is a legalized, institutionalized discrimination based on race/ethnicity/religion
  51. 51. Conclusion # 4 • Israel’s Jewish majority can continue to “democratically” vote privileges for itself as long as the refugees are denied their right to return
  52. 52. Conclusion # 5: Canadian support for the idea of Israel “as a Jewish state” is very problematic for anyone who believes in equality and democracy.
  53. 53. What does a “Jewish State” really mean? Peter Larson Chair, Education Committee on Israel/Palestine NATIONAL COUNCIL ON CANADA-ARAB RELATIONS
  54. 54. The “Forgotten Palestinians”: The Israeli-Arab search for democracy and equal rights inside today’s Israel Thank you Peter.Larson@nccar.ca
  55. 55. UN Proposal – Nov. 1947 Britain out – Palestine partitioned • Accepted by Ben Gurion and Zionist Movement • Rejected by Palestinians • Over next 5 months, armed Jewish groups move to take over the country – several massacres of civilians, Haifa and Jaffa shelled with mortars, etc. • Palestinian civilians begin to flee to the interior or Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt • May 14th , 1948 Ben Gurion declares State of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flood into neighbouring states. • Neighbouring states armies attack Israeli forces to defend Palestinians
  56. 56. Map Source: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1935 Population of Palestine (1931) • 734,000 Muslims • 169,000 Jews • 85,000 Christians 1931 British Census of Palestine • Palestinian population mostly agricultural • About 20% lived in 3 or 4 major towns (Haifa, Jaffa, Lud, Jerusalem) • The rest lived in hundreds of small farming villages
  57. 57. • Source: UN Special Committee on Palestine
  58. 58. When the dust settled… • Israel created - controlling 78% of former Mandate Palestine • 85% of Palestinians (750,000) are outside Israel and not allowed to return • Israel now has a majority of Jews (600,000 Jews vs. 150,000 remaining Palestinians) • Israeli Parliament democratically votes a series of “basic laws” including the confiscation of all the land belonging to refugees in the name of Jewish people
  59. 59. Abandoned, evacuated and/or destroyed Palestinian localities (comparative figures) Reference Towns Villages Tribes Total Morris 10 342 17 369 Khalidi 1 400 17 418 Abu Sitta 13 419 99 531 What happened to their villages?
  60. 60. Sabra Jews (born in Israel) Jews from Europe and America Jews from Asia/Africa Palestinian Arab Others Israel is a complex society of 7.6 million people – about 76% are Jewish

×