They Say, We Say: "Why is the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state” a problem for the Palestinians?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Why is the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state” a problem for the Palestinians? Isn’t their rejection of this Israeli demand proof they aren’t really interested in peace and don’t accept Israel?

We Say:

For Palestinians, rejection of the “recognition-plus” demand – as that demand has thus far been articulated – is a function of their own historical and political narrative. According to this narrative, they are an indigenous people living for generations in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, only to be unjustly expelled or occupied as the result of the creation of Israel and subsequent disastrous wars. Israeli insistence that the Palestinians adopt the Israeli-dictated formula of “the Jewish state of Israel” or similar wording is thus understood by many Palestinians as effectively requiring them to renounce their national narrative and accept the delegitimization of their own history, suffering, and grievances. It is viewed as asking them to recognize, in essence, prior Jewish claims that erase their own rights, both in terms of lands lost and as refugees. Moreover, this demand is seen by many – on both sides of the Green Line – as requiring Palestinian President Abbas to “sell out” the more than one million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, sabotaging their own efforts to play an effective role in influencing the future character of the state of Israel and break down the barriers to equality inside Israel.

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