For months now, the Israeli government has been maintaining that the Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state. In his recent policy speech at Bar Ilan University, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Therefore, a fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people."
I really don’t understand the obsession with getting the Palestinians to accept a “Jewish state.” All I care about is that they accept us as a “sovereign state.” I’m happy to accept Saudi Arabia as a “sovereign state.” Why do I have to accept it as a “Muslim state?” I accept China as a “sovereign state,” do I have to accept it as a Communist and totalitarian state? What difference does it make?
As far as I know, the Jordanians and Egyptians never accepted us specifically as a Jewish state. This insistence that the Palestinians accept us as a “Jewish” state strikes me as incredibly petty and paranoid. Are we really so insecure in our place in the world that we have to force people who might disagree with some of our principles to “accept” them? It is perfectly legitimate for people to think that Israel should be a secular democracy of all her citizens. A lot of Jews think it should be (I’m NOT one of them, personally I prefer that Israel has an avowedly Jewish character).
The whole push to force the Palestinians to “accept us” as a “Jewish” state (and what the heck does that mean anyway, we can’t even agree among ourselves who is a Jew) strikes me as an attempt to taunt them similar to the border patrol guards making Palestinians sing “I love the border patrol” (captured on YouTube, see http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1094242.html ).
I feel no need to force Palestinians to be Zionists. I will settle for them stopping terrorists, and being peaceful neighbors.