They Say, We Say: Those calling for the removal of settlers are arguing for an openly anti-Semitic policy of ethnic cleansing

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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Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Those calling for the removal of settlers are arguing for an openly anti-Semitic policy of ethnic cleansing. It is a policy that is not unlike Hitler's call for German territory to be "Judenrein" (empty of Jews).

We Say:

The idea that Jews, because they are Jews, may not live in a given place is abhorrent.

Appealing to the trauma that Jews experienced at the hands of the Nazis when discussing the issue of settlements is inflammatory and misleading. Calling for Israeli settlers to leave or be removed from the West Bank has nothing in common with the genocidal policies of the Nazis. It also has nothing to do with the question of whether Jews, as Jews, can live in a future Palestinian state.

It should be recalled that there were no Israelis living in the West Bank in June 1967. The Israelis who have since settled there have done so either out of ideology - an ideology that includes a desire to remove Palestinians from the land - or because they have walked into a political trap, with the active encouragement of their governments - Labor as well as Likud.

Certainly, there was a small Jewish presence in the West Bank prior to 1948, but demanding a "right of return" to Jewish property in the West Bank opens a very dangerous question about the legitimacy of Palestinian claims to a "right of return" to property they owned in Israel before 1948. Following this argument to its logical conclusion would mean closing the door to the viability of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. Why would Israelis, and American Jews, want to go down this path?

We hope that once peace is secured, people of all faiths will be welcome to live in Palestine. However, one of the key aspects of sovereignty is the authority to determine who lives within a state's borders and under what conditions. Israel insists on this authority, rightly; so, too, will any future Palestinian state.