Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan speech: refusal to recognize Jewish state is at the core of the Mideast conflict

Binyamin Netanyahu speaking at the Begin-Sadat Center

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a very important speech at the Begin-Sadat Center of Bar Ilan University. In a similar speech 4 years ago Netanyahu made the dramatic statement that he recognizes the principal of two states for two peoples, causing a political earthquake in the Israeli political establishment.  At the time he was roundly criticized on the right and praised on the left.

This time his speech had a different timbre. Of course Netanyahu roundly condemned the Iranian regime and their nuclear aspirations, clearly explaining why they are not to be trusted and how dangerous are their ambitions.

Most importantly though, while not renouncing his acceptance of the two-state solution, he declared, correctly in my opinion, that the root cause of the Middle East conflict is the refusal of the Muslim Middle East to accept Israel as a Jewish state. This does not mean that the Arab states don’t recognize Israel – many of them obviously do, even with reluctance. And they may also claim that they understand that Israel is a Jewish state. But from that point to fully accepting that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people is a frog too big to swallow for them.

We see this rejection of the Jewish state in the constant antisemitism broadcast in the Arab media (even our “peace partners“) and in the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli incitement brainwashed into the minds of their children in their educational systems.

The salient point of Netanyahu’s speech is this:

In my opinion, if one must choose a process by which the conflict started in actual fact, I would set the date at 1921 on the day on which the Palestinian Arabs attacked the immigration hostel in Jaffa.
Many Jews were killed in this attack, including the well-known writer Y.H. Brenner. This attack was directed against Jewish immigration. My grandfather arrived in Jaffa, at that same hostel, the year before, as did many others. Clearly this attack was not about territory or settlements; it was against Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. Later there were more attacks: In 1929, the ancient Jewish community in Hebron was brutally slaughtered. It had existed there nearly uninterrupted for close to 4,000 years. After that, there were attacks in ’36, in ’39 – what they called unrest. These were repeated and methodical attacks against the Jewish community in Israel. Later on there was the Partition Plan of 1947, wherein it was proposed that there be an Arab state – they didn’t say Palestinian state, but rather Arab state – and a Jewish state. The Jews agreed, the Arabs refused. Because the matter was not at that time, nor is it today, the question of a Palestinian state, but rather was and remains, unfortunately, the Jewish state.

And even before 1967, for 19 years, they had us in a chokehold; there was a stranglehold around us with the sole goal of uprooting us, of extinguishing our lives. What was that about? There were no territories then either. There was no occupation, unless Tel Aviv is occupied and Jaffa is occupied. There were no settlements for 46 years, from 1921 to 1967, nearly half a century. We were excoriated by the Arab public unrelated to settlements, unrelated to what is presented as the historic heart of the struggle. I say these things because I can – well, so it ended there, but later everything changed. Later on, events developed as they developed. We withdrew from Gaza, every last centimeter. We uprooted communities and the attacks against us continued – approximately 10,000 missiles were fired at us from Gazan territory, from territories from which we withdrew. And when we ask those who launch the missiles and those who stand behind them: why do you fire at Jews? They say: in order to free Palestine. And what is Palestine? Judea and Samaria? No. Of course, they are part of it, but they say: Beer Sheva and Ashkelon, Majdal and Acre and Jaffa. Fine, those who say such things belong to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but the more moderate elements in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority – it is true that they do not engage in terror and this is an important distinction. They do not engage in terror, but when they are asked to say: Well, do you recognize? Not in Judea and Samaria, not in the West Bank, but are you ready finally to recognize the Jewish state? They answer: We are prepared to recognize the Israeli people; we are ready to recognize Israel. I say, that is not the question I am asking: are you prepared to recognize the Jewish state, the nation state of the Jewish people? And the answer so far has been no. Why not?

An answer to these ringing and bitter questions is provided by the Middle East expert Professor Mordechai Kedar (h/t Honest Reporting) who, after praising Netanyahu’s statesmanship, explained:

1. Muslims believe that the religion of Judaism was cancelled out when Christianity arose, and the same happened to Christianity when Islam arrived. And if Judaism is null and void, then how can the Jews come and say that they have a holy land all for themselves?

2. For the Arabs, the Jews are not a nation but a religious community assembled from various ethnicities and countries where Jews have lived for hundreds of years. So if they are not a nation why do they need Israel?

3. According to the Quran, the land of Israel is an Islamic holy land, therefore no Muslim authority will recognize a Jewish state in Israel.

4. Jerusalem is the eye of the storm: According to Islam, there cannot be Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, because such an event would signify that Judaism has risen from the grave after Islam had abolished it.

Indeed we saw such a rejection of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel just this week when the Palestinians had conniptions at the thought of the Czech Republic moving its embassy to Jerusalem:

Czech President Milos Zeman’s proposal to move the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prompted Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator in the peace talks with Israel, to send a letter of protest to Prague stating that such a move would undermine the peace process.

Zeman publicly voiced his views on the subject at the opening of the annual Days for Israel forum in Hradec Kralove in East Bohemia last week.

According to the Czech news agency CTK, Erekat has asked the Arab League and other Arab organizations to call extraordinary meetings at the ministerial level to support the Palestinian stance.

The Czech Republic is going to early elections later this month, and Zeman said that he will try to persuade the new prime minister and foreign minister to consider moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

We see more of this Arab repudiation of the Jewish right to Jerusalem in their utter rejection of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, not to mention their destruction of priceless artefacts in their quest to deny any Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem or Israel.   All of these go to confirm Netanyahu’s words.

Here is the full text of Netanyahu’s speech.

Will the world sit up and take notice or will they continue pressuring Israel to make concessions and let the Arabs continue to reject Israel’s historical Jewish rights to Israel? Don’t hold your breath while you wait for an answer.

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7 Responses to Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan speech: refusal to recognize Jewish state is at the core of the Mideast conflict

  1. PeteCA says:

    In many ways – that is true.
    The first action of Islamist hardliners is always to deny that Israel has a right to exist.
    So if these hardliners take control of a Government, or achieve a significant part of the voting process, then the chances for a peaceful long-term future look slim.

    I honestly do not know if these is any answer to this.
    It boils down to a battle between those people with very rigid hardline views, and those people with compassion and a desire for peace. This struggle has been going on for a long time now.

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      I think it will only end when the Arab world fully accepts a Jewish presence amongst them, and that will only occur after a total surrender, like the Japanese at the end of WWII. I can’t see it happening in any other way.

      Perhaps – a very big perhaps and highly unlikely – the Arab populations will rise up in a true Arab Spring and overthrow their dictators and instal proper democratic institutions and educate towards enlightenment.

      But I think pigs might fly sooner than any of that.

  2. Reality says:

    The world will wake up when its too late. When as they hope ,the nukes G-d forbid have finished falling on Israel & the Islamists turn their eyes towards Europe & America & aim & or fire their nukes there,only then(& maybe not even then) will they wake up that all their fear of riots & bending over backwards to be politically correct all through the years won’t help them one iota. They are infidels & will be considered& treated as such unless they convert to Islam. What a depressing thought.

    • anneinpt says:

      I think the world is beginning to wake up. Despite all the criticism of Bibi’s “party-pooper” speech at the UN, and the mocking of his “no jeans in Iran” flub, he has done what he did with his cartoon bomb last year – brought Iran to the forefront and kept it there. After all the cosying up to Iran was over at the UN, there are still sanctions in place (though they are wobbling) and demands are still being made for it to disarm.

      I’m not sure if the world is more scared of Iranian nukes or an Israeli attack on those nukes, but as long as they are scared of one or the other they won’t stop trying to stop the nukes.

      I hope…

  3. PeteCA says:

    It’s times like these that you realize how truly isolated PM Netanyahu is. He’s got to make some huge decisions, and he’s “out there” almost alone. I realize that many Israeli’s do support him, but still his isolation is really palpable. We need to remember to pray for him … the path of the world will be shaped by what he does.
    Pete, USA

  4. Reality says:

    He’ll never attack Iran-he’s too scared of the worlds reaction

    • peteca1 says:

      I’m sure the world’s reaction to an attack on Iran would be very big. And quite possibly Israel would find itself cast out and isolated from the world community – in a way that has never been seen before. There might very well be sanctions put on all imports to Israel … if an attack goes ahead. This is pure speculation on my part – but it is plausible.

      I’m not so sure about Bibi. I think he grasps the gravity of the options he’s got. If Iran gets the A-Bomb, the ME would go into its own version of a Cold War. I believe such an outcome is untenable – long-term stability could never be maintained. It would be a journey down a darkening corridor. I suspect that Netanyahu probably thinks similarly. But then again, who knows?

      Israel has maybe one or two more options left. But not many, and the sand in the hourglass is running out quickly.
      Pete, USA

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