They Say, We Say: There are 21 Arab states. There is one Jewish state

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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Do the Palestinians exist?

They Say:

There are 21 Arab states.  There is exactly one Jewish state.  If Arabs aren't happy living under Israeli authority, whether in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, or inside Israel, they can go to any other Arab state and make their home there among other Arabs.

We Say:

Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel, are not foreigners or guests living under Israeli rule.  They are an indigenous people, descendants of Arabs who have lived in this land for generations.  They have deep roots in these places -- it is where their lives, land, homes, and places of worship are, and where their ancestors are buried.  It is wrong to suggest that, because they are Arabs and not Jews, their attachments are somehow ephemeral or inconsequential.  It is also wrong to suggest that Arab state and Arab identities are so generic as to be interchangeable.

Israelis and Americans Jews are justifiably outraged when critics of Israel dismiss Jewish ties to the land or suggest that Israelis are foreigners who should "go home" to Europe or America.  We condemn such statements as ignorant, anti-Semitic, and antithetical to peace.  Suggestions that Palestinians have no legitimate claims to the land on which their families have made their homes and lived their lives for generations are equally odious and should be condemned with equal vigor. 

If there is ever going to be peace, security, and stability, then Israelis and Palestinians -- and Jews, Muslims, and Christians around the world -- must respect the legitimate attachments of all peoples in this land.