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One Democratic Secular State for all its citizens in Israel and Palestine

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Posted August 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Q: Why can’t the Jews have a state like everyone else?

Everyone else doesn’t have one. Only about 10% of national groups have a state identified with them, and rarely is the ethnic make-up homogeneous. The birth of modern nation states coincided with a massive expansion of colonialism, and the world got carved up. The straight lines drawn on maps with a ruler say it all. Ethnic, religious and linguistic communities got lumped in with others or split up arbitrarily. Most of the recent nationalist struggles are demands to re-form into more coherent groups, though this may be aggravated by oil, diamonds or other coveted natural resources.

In no other place than Israel have people who don’t live there demanded the right to gather themselves from all over the globe into someone else’s country and take it over. Not unless you count the settler colonists who took over the Americas, Australia and parts of Africa, but right now they’re figuring out how to apologise for it.

And this is not “a state like everyone else’s”. It’s a state that claims to be totally different, in a league of its own, above the law, which can ignore international standards, rules and judgments against it, make war on its neighbours and murder their leaders, and continually terrorise people of the “wrong” race to make them leave. Far from the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East” acting to help democratic movements around them, they lump all the neighbouring populations into one category: enemies, to be weakened, fragmented and kept at war, where dictatorships can flourish on a diet of anti-Zionism.

Israel has also perverted the workings of other sovereign democracies, notably the USA, using its formidable lobby to buy votes, intimidate, and form policy —  most noticeably manoeuvring America into the disastrous Iraq war.

All the gifts and talents and good fortune and sympathy that Israel started out with have been squandered and distorted by the one single defining determination not to share the country equally or at all with its original inhabitants. In the process it has become a nuclear-armed rogue state, which in today’s international parlance surely means it has forfeited any legal or natural rights it may have had.

The only way it can redeem itself is to “hit the re-start button”, re-boot with a different programme, and invite all the people of historic Palestine to join it in creating One Great Country. Then the Jews there can indeed, as other Jews do around the globe, live in a state like everyone else’s — law-abiding, democratic, multi-cultural and fully accountable to the international community.

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