The Jewish State in Question (The New Yorker)


In a New Yorker opinion piece, Bernard Avishai, a visiting professor of government at Dartmouth, discusses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” or as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

“Netanyahu’s demand has at least three layers to it,” Avishai writes. “The first is symbolic, without practical significance—understandable, but superfluous. The second is partly symbolic, but is meant to have future practical significance; it is contentious but resolvable. The third, however, is legal: it has great practical significance, and is, for any Palestinian or, for that matter, Israeli democrat, deplorable. We are no longer debating resolutions at fin-de-siècle Zionist congresses. Making laws requires settled definitions, and what’s being settled in Israel is increasingly dangerous. Netanyahu’s demand is a symptom of the disease that presents itself as the cure.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 1/2/14 by The New Yorker.

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