Memo To Annapolis Summit: Israel's Status As A Jewish State Not Negotiable

November 27, 2007   


The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on all participants at the Annapolis Summit to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. “Even as Israel is being pressured to again make painful concessions on the road to the establishment of a Palestinian state, there are signs that there are those who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish State,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Center.  Hier challenged an assertion by the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, that there was no state in the world that connects its national identity to a religious one. “In fact it was the United Nations 60 years ago this week that voted to recognize both a Jewish State and an Arab State in the Holy Land,” said Hier. “If the Arabs deny the legitimacy of that vote, they deny their own legitimacy in the Holy Land.”
Rabbi Hier also noted a TIME MAGAZINE (November 25, 2007) interview with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. When Saud was asked about accepting Israel's legitimacy, he referred to it as only a “Jewish Homeland”-- a term used in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, well before Saudi Arabia's establishment in 1932. “The King's choice of terms is confusing because if he takes us back to World War I, then he is taking us back to a time when there was no Saudi Arabia and it is difficult to believe that he would advocate giving all that oil back to Britain,” said Hier. “The bottom line is that all parties committed to peace must also respect Israel's sovereign right to continue to exist as a democratic, Jewish State,” he concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS and the Council of Europe.

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