Memo to Abbas: Jews Also Have a Right to a Homeland By Rabbi Abraham Cooper

Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance

Posted: October 12, 2010 03:29 PM

The State of Israel is roughly the size of the state of New Jersey, 1/20th the size of California. Today,as genocider- wannabe Ahmadinejad tours Lebanon, Israel’s northern and central civilian communities are threatened by 60,000 rockets deployed by Iran’s lethal lackey-Hezbollah, Iran’s lackey in Southern Lebanon. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to launch missiles at Ashdod and other cities and towns that lie between Gaza and Tel Aviv, 40 miles away.

Against this backdrop, US President Obama strives to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that controls Palestinian cities on the West Bank. The president is pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to extend a ten-- month freeze on building in Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Mr. Netanyahu has offered to extend the freeze if his (supposed) partner in peace recognizes Israel as a Jewish State. PA President Abbas declined. His spokesman declared: “The topic of the Jewishness of the state is not connected at all to the issue [of the building freeze]”.

The New York Times on its front page labeled Netanyahu’s move “A Puzzling Offer” and went on offer an extensive “news analysis” headlined:
Netanyahu’s New Offer Doesn’t Sway Palestinians or Shed Light on His Motives

With all due respect to Middle East pundits, there’s nothing puzzling at all about the Israeli Prime Minister’s offer. Israelis-- Left, Right, and Center watch Palestinian TV, peruse websites and read Arab language newspapers. Young Palestinians continue to be inculcated with the canard that the Holy Land—all of it including Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem belong to them; that their Zionist neighbors have no legitimacy; that negotiations are just one stop along the road toward the day when millions of Palestinians—who never set foot in Israel—will exercise their “right of return” to Israel proper.

Forget the openly genocidal Hamas, the PA and it’s President Mahmoud Abbas who refuse to take the path of the late Egyptian Peacemaker Anwar Sadat and steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of any part of their Jewish neighbor’s national aspirations destiny.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was right to link the settlement freeze with Palestinian recognition of Israel’s Jewish statehood. “A Palestinian state could be a cause of continued conflict and terror if it is not handled responsibly," said Netanyahu. "Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is central to the dispute between us [and is necessary for its resolution]. If the Palestinians expect a national state, we can expect our own national state for the Jewish people. . . . There is no other democracy in the Middle East, and there is no other Jewish state in the world.”

President Obama has a powerful opportunity here. He’s exerted enormous pressure on the Israelis, 95% of whom no longer seek “ a Greater Israel”. By publicly backing Netanyahu’s call, Mr. Obama may force the Palestinians to put their vision of a ”Greater Palestine” on a reality-based diet and to finally get serious about “a two-state solution, with two nations living peacefully side by side.”