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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about John Kerry's statement that Israel can't be a Jewish state and stay a democracy?

Asked by JLeslie (59766points) December 28th, 2016 from iPhone

I’m on a thread on Facebook about this and it’s basically a ridiculous discussion, because most everyone commenting is evangelical Christian, right wing, blindly supports Israel without really knowing any of the history, and without knowing the current circumstances.

I could bitch for three paragraphs about what the people on that thread have said, but I’ll control myself.

I’m interested in the opinions of the collective.

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29 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Link please or context

Cruiser's avatar

I will reel in my comments to just say that Kerry dropped the ball…didn’t even attempt to recover the fumble and left the playing field with no clue why he was even in the game.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I read the links,but I failed to find a correlation between Judaism and their type of government.

I personally find the settlements, and the overall way that Israel treats Palestinians reprehensible. And it does violate international law…

Their relationship is the direct result of religion for sure. But I don’t understand why Judaism itself cannot coexist with democracy.

I’m sure that Kerry is frustrated from trying to talk sense to both sides. Israel probably deserves most of the blame for refusing realistic compromises.

My understanding is that both parties teach their children to hate one another. I’ve seen examples of that in pictures of their respective text books. The violence is shamefully preventable through diplomacy.

Perhaps Kerry miss spoke, or meant his words to be interpreted differently.

Maybe he’s just sick of it all, and giving a parting shot…

I know he hates senseless violence. It doesn’t get much more senseless than that conflict.

zenvelo's avatar

Israel is not a democracy, it is a theocracy, and uses ultra orthodox religion in governance decisions. So they feel justified in trampling the rights of citizens of another faith, and won’t work to resolve the differences by a two state solution.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^They’re fine with a two state solution. As long as they have most of the land and all their “holy” sites… They’re being really unfair about it. The US would have denounced their actions,if done by anyone else.

flutherother's avatar

Kerry was saying that if the occupied territories become part of Israel proper then Jews could become a minority in their own country. I’m not sure that is necessarily a bad thing but I doubt if it is what Netanyahu wants.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Kerry is saying that Israel cannot be a democracy if its Arab population has no vote.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Well that’s true.

I don’t hate Israel.

I understand their thinking. But it doesn’t make their tactics ethical. There’s a reason for their actions ,and sometimes they use their religious beliefs to “excuse” their behavior.

But equality is what makes democracy work. It means we are all equal, on equal ground.And, as long as we give each other respect,as our equals ,we should have improved relations.

LostInParadise's avatar

To reiterate what @flutherother said, it is a simple matter of math. If you add the Arab population of the occupied territory to that of Israel, it is larger than the Jewish population. On the reasonable assumption that the Arabs would not want a Jewish state, it would disappear under a democracy in the one-state scenario.

JLeslie's avatar

That’s what I said on the fb thread. It’s the math! The math and that Arab-Israelis don’t really have full rights. They can’t be in the army for one thing. I wrote the math is partly why the two state solution seems like the best answer to a lot of people.

The people on that fb thread kept saying America is Christian and a democracy, and that the Jewish people can choose to be a democracy why am I against Israel. They were totally stuck on hating Kerry they wouldn’t listen about the perils of democracy when the minority population (whom some would argue that in this case can’t be trusted to maintain democracy and civil rights) grows. The Arabs do now have representation in the Israeli government. I’m sure a lot of Arabs there appreciate democracy and religious freedom, and probably are glad to live in Israel vs other Middle Eastern countries, but still a lot of Arabs hate Israel and want her land given to the Arabs.

The fb people were argumentative and ignorant at every turn. No problem with not knowing things, but I have a problem with not wanting to learn and saying to me that because I pointed out the facts about the population statistics I’m anti-Israel. I didn’t even say what I think Israel should do, I only talked about why democracy is problematic.

Their opinions were just what I thought, right wing bullshit. I can see why some people believe Obama and his representatives aren’t as supportive of Israel as most Americans would like, but I definitely don’t think they are anti-Israel.

My Q wasn’t to give myself a pat on the back, but rather I was really curious if I was missing something. My knowledge regarding the history of the Middle East and even what is happening currently is far less than perfect, so I felt the need to check myself and get more information.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The Palastinian birth rate is more than twice that of Jews in the region 40 per 1000 vs. 18.3 er 1000. (2002, Source) That is a huge difference.

Also there is a different mindset between Jews and Palestinians:
“I have six sons, three for the struggle and three for me,” he said, echoing the words of Arafat, who famously told Palestinian women to have 12 children: “Give 10 to Palestine and keep two for yourself.”

“Married at 15, she gave birth to her first child less than a year later. Six months ago, she gave birth to her eighth. Fatima Shaher, 31, a Palestinian woman with dark eyes and an easy smile, loves children. She said she expects to have more.”

You won’t see many Jews doing this.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I brought that up too. I didn’t have all the stats, but the premise was there.

I would guess many Arabs in Israel are educated, want peace, want a democracy (for the right reasons) and aren’t birthing ten children for “the cause.” The problem is there are too many who still do reject Israel even existing and who are brainwashed and willing to sacrifice their children for the cause.

So, I just saw in TV that many people feel the two state solution is impossible. I understand why. The Palestinians never agree to compromise on this when it’s presented. I do understand why the Palestinians probably feel frustrated. Now I’m thinking, why should they settle at this point? Their numbers continue to grow.

On TV they talked about a one state solution. I guess that is sort of in line with the fantasy I have stated in the past to imagine if the Arabs had welcomed the Jews at the time of the creation of Israel by the UN and had welcomed the opportunity to be part of a democracy with freedom of religion, speech, and civil liberties. Is that what some Palestinians are suggesting now? Is there a reason to trust it?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Kerry is correct.

Netanyahu has been playing a duplicitious and cynical game for years. Now Kerry has finally called him out on it by telling the truth. Netanyahu doesn’t like being exposed for the slimeball he is/

LostInParadise's avatar

I once spoke about the Palestinian issue with a work colleague who had lived in Israel. He told me that the Palestinians are perfectly content with the way things are. I told him that this was great news, and that the quickest way to solve the problem to everyone’s satisfaction would be to hold a referendum. Oddly, this caused him to retract his original statement.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise Can you expand on that? What exactly does that mean? That they aren’t really content? Or, that they won’t put on paper their true feelings?

zenvelo's avatar

And then last night I saw this posted by a Mathematics professor at UCSD:

I’ve been reluctant to wade into the vitriolic “discussion” about the UN Security Council resolution against Israel, but I’ve seen too many reposts of utterly false propaganda to remain silent.

I am NOT commenting on whether the resolution is good/bad, fair/unbalanced, peace-promoting/antisemitic, etc. I am only commenting on the claim that is being repeated (on social media and “real” media, whatever that means) that the U.S. abstention is unprecedented and the first time a U.S. president has allowed the Security Council to condemn Israel. The current term for that claim is “fake news”. I prefer the term “propaganda”. Either way, it’s COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

Since the birth of the State of Israel, the U.S. has allowed 77 UN Security Council resolutions against Israel to pass—some by abstaining, many by voting in favor (or even sponsoring). Many of these resolutions specifically or generally condemned settlements and the status of Jerusalem. Since the Six-Day War (1967), every single U.S. president has supported (or allowed) UN resolutions against Israel, with (until last week) one notable exception: Barack Obama.

All of this is nicely summarized in the linked Op-Ed from the NYT in April. To be clear: the author of the Op-Ed, Lara Friedman, is involved with Americans for Peace Now, a left-wing non-profit allied with Israel’s שלום עכשיו‎, a liberal NGO that supports a two-state solution. If you don’t agree with those organizations, I’m not trying to change your mind; but the data in the article are easy to confirm from other sources (starting with Wikipedia).

So what’s going on here? In my opinion, the big difference is that every previous U.S. administration has witnessed several changes in Israeli leadership. By contrast, Netanyahu’s government (the most right-wing Israel has ever had) has been in power for the entirety of Obama’s two terms, giving Bibi the opportunity to push a single narrative, and spread his propaganda uninterrupted. I mean, Bibi praised George W. Bush as the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House, after Bush allowed 6 UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. No one has protected Israel from the UN more than Barack Obama (even after last week’s event), and yet Bibi has pushed this message that Obama is Israel’s enemy since nearly his first day in office. I’d rather not opine on the reason for this strategy, but it’s important that everyone (across the spectrum) see this propaganda for the falsehood that it is, at least with regard to the UN.

LostInParadise's avatar

@JLeslie , I can’t say for sure. I think he was just making things up.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Oh, that didn’t even occur to me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are grim realities leaning against the long term prospects for Israel, starting with the demographic nightmare alluded to above. The Palestinian situation has already isolated the country as the poster child pariah state everywhere but here. It is rather clear that a world outlook based exclusively on the embarrassing farce of the Israeli tail wagging the American dog is not only unsustainable, but downright suicidal.

Pandora's avatar

I think no country could be any one faith and remain a democracy. The United States is becoming less of a democracy by, definition. So Israel is not alone. Just in equal rights and privileges we all fail.

See more synonyms on
noun, plural democracies.
government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
a state having such a form of government:
The United States and Canada are democracies.
a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
political or social equality; democratic spirit.
the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.

Jaxk's avatar

First, I’ll admit my bias, I think Kerry is an idiot. Always have. Kerry was specifically talking about a one state solution. That has little relevance since no one is talking or pushing for a one state solution. You’re right in that the numbers are simple, there are more Arabs in that region than Jews. But why does he attack a one state solution when nobody is pushing for that. It’s an attempt to make Israel look bad by implying that they want a one state solution. They don’t.

Karry’s whole point was to justify that idiotic UN resolution. Israel can’t afford to start negotiations from the ‘67 borders. If they do there is no reason for the Palestinians to negotiate. They already have everything they want with the exception of the annihilation of Israel. That’s what the ‘67 war was all about. Now the UN wants to give them a ‘do over’ and Kerry seems to support that. Ambassador Bolton had a solution he calls the three state solution which would annex Palestine to Egypt or Jordan. this would give the Palestinians a chance by being annexed to a larger economy (they have no economy of their own). Seems like a solution that Israel could negotiate on but once again not from the ‘67 borders.

LostInParadise's avatar

^You are wrong. Israel is not pushing either for negotiation or a two state solution. Kindly show me an example to the contrary.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah. I think Israel’s leaders would gladly kill all Palestinians if not for the blowback they would suffer.

It’s sad that a people who were victims of genocide would so easily commit it…

Jaxk's avatar

Israel has repeatedly called for bilateral negotiations while the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected them. The Palestinians want to work through the UN which is unabashedly anti-Israel. How can you negotiate a peace between two parties if they are not present at the bargaining table.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Israel NOW has a one state solution and is rushing like hell to gobble up as much Palestinian land as can be achieved. They are accomplishing this with your money and mine with the world looking on at big stupid America stumbling around as “Israel’s bitch.” It can’t continue. Even the biggest of dummies cannot Long ignore the demographic realities confronting an otherwise hopelessly isolated Israel. It isn’t the UN alone that is unabashedly biased against snatching up and settling on land THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU. It’s the ENTIRE world. Israel has come to the apartheid colonization game about 100 years too late. And when it falls apart there will be whining and breast beating over the collapse of the unsustainable dream as WE are urged to finance the mass transfer of the Israeli population to guess where?

stanleybmanly's avatar

And I’m SO tired of the argument about Arab intransigence when it comes to Israel. There isn’t a speck of difference between what the Israelis are doing and the game we pulled on our own Palestinians. The trouble is that sensitivities have changed, and no one but the land of the dummies is willing to put up with such behavior these days.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Jaxk . The Palestinians want a halt to settlement before negotiations. A reasonable stipulation. The Israelis are committing war. They have a front line. And they advance it.

I’m not pro Israel, or pro Palestinian. I have no dog on this fight.

Israel doesn’t look very ethical from what I’ve read.

The two simply HATE one another. Their proximity, coupled with their religious differences, make ANY sort of peace impossible…..

JLeslie's avatar

^^Historically when Israel has pulled back, even clearing out Israelis who had already settled to show they want to compromise and find peace, the Palestinians have continued to fire at Israel and blow themselves up and Israelis.

Having said that, I can somewhat understand the Palestinian point of view.

The big question always in my mind is do the Palestinians have shitty living circumstances, and no economy, because they are supposedly oppressed? Or, is it because even if we hand them all of Israel they still would have a crappy circumstance.

Mind you, it’s not like I think Palestinians are born idiots, I’m not a bigot. The Palestinians I know here in America are wonderful people, smart, and prosperous. But, they also aren’t macho bullshit, crazy fanatic religious. They are Americans, and barely religious, even if they identify as Christians or Muslims. But, the Middle East isn’t America.

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