The UN's 1947 resolution on partitioning Palestine contains no fewer than 30 references to the "Jewish state" whose creation it was authorizing;Going a step further Jacoby demonstrates that besides Israel being a Jewish state, there is no inherent contradiction in saying that Israel is a Jewish democratic state either. As a matter of fact, there is nothing contradictory or novel in the idea of combining democracy and religion--nor in facilitating a particular ethnic distinctiveness:
25 years earlier, the League of Nations had been similarly straightforward in mandating "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." When Israel came into existence on May 15, 1948, its Jewish identity was the first detail reported. The New York Times's front-page story began: "The Jewish state, the world's newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel, came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination of the British mandate."
Many of the world's democracies have official state religions. Think of Britain, whose monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England; or of Greece, whose constitution singles out the Eastern Orthodox Church as the country's "prevailing religion." The linking of national character with religion is a commonplace. Israel stands out only because its religion is Judaism, not Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism.
Nor is democracy incompatible with ethnic or national distinctiveness. Ireland waives its usual citizenship requirements for applicants of Irish descent. Bulgaria's constitution grants the right to "acquire Bulgarian citizenship through a facilitated procedure" to any "person of Bulgarian origin." It is not oxymoronic to describe Ireland as "Irish and democratic" or Bulgaria as "Bulgarian and democratic." Israel's flourishing little Jewish democracy is no oxymoron either.Read the whole thing.
One thing is for sure: Jacoby did his homework.
Unfortunately, one cannot say the say for the self-described experts who do not realize that Israel has been a Jewish state all along.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Gaza and Hamas and Operation Cast Lead.