Little wonder that, during the question-and-answer session that followed the speeches, distinguished educator Baroness Deech – daughter of renowned Yiddishist and biographer of Herzl Josef Fraenkel – declared that fellow members of the audience should be aware that they “have been subjected to the most inaccurate and one-sided history that I have heard in recent years”. And so it was – an absolute disgrace, in fact, with no mention by Nice during his speech of the fledgling Jewish State’s immediate invasion by several exterminatory Arab armies, and with Shlaim inveighing (to applause) that since its birth Israel has been “too ready” to participate in military conflict! (Arab aggression and rejectionism, anyone?)
British blogger Richard Millett has provided a neat critique of Nice’s views, quoting some of the most noxious passages, such as: “Israel as a state was thus imposed on and within Palestine in 1948 … an as yet unfinished state project because the territorial ambitions of Israel were not satisfied. Thereafter, claiming to fight for the security of their people and preservation of their land, Israel fought their Arab neighbours, expanding Israel’s borders.”
Having watched the relevant video, one assertion by Sir Geoffrey strikes me as singularly noisome.
During the question-and-answer session he volunteered how, not so long ago, his eyes were opened to the fact that a “one state” solution is probably the way to proceed. After all, he pointed out, “we in Northern Europe” no longer live in countries composed of a single ethnicity or culture … (you really have to watch the video to appreciate the casual obnoxiousness of the remarks).
No consideration, of course, of what a single state would entail, demographically, for the Jews of Israel. No nod to the fact that Israel is a thriving democracy and already home to minorities who are equal before the law, including, let’s not forget, people of Vietnamese origin taken in as refugees from Communism when much of the world shunned them. No remembrance of the fact that Arab women, still treated as mere chattels and subject to “honour” killings in much of the Arab and Muslim world, were enfranchised in 1948 by Israel, the first Middle Eastern nation to give them the vote. No acknowledgment that it is effrontery in the extreme to suggest that a sovereign state should be dismantled in order to be incorporated in the entity that Sir Geoffrey Nice and his cohorts will find acceptable. No recognition of the fact that many people would consider such a suggestion antisemitic since the sovereign state offered up on the altar of abolition is the world’s only Jewish one.
No admitting of the fact that there is just one Jewish State on planet Earth and a very significant number of Arab ones, indeed a large number of states that are constitutionally, to a greater or lesser degree, self-defined as Islamic states in which, to some extent at least, disabling legislation against non-Muslims and the operation of sharia law applies.
There is, of course, Saudi Arabia, that most extreme of fundamentalist Arab states, in which no Jews may officially set foot and no churches are allowed, towards which a discrete silence reigns in view of the West’s reliance on the desert kingdom for oil and, Saudi Arabia’s export of Wahhabism notwithstanding, its tacit alliance with the West and Israel: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State with Islam as its religion. God’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet … are its Constitution ... Government in Saudi Arabia derives from the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s traditions ... the State protects Islam, it implements its Sharia...”
And then there’s post-Taliban Afghanistan, whose Constitution proclaims: “the religion of the State of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam ... The state shall devise and implement a unified educational curriculum based on the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam ... Presidential candidates ... should be ... Muslim.” Post-Saddam Iraq: “Islam is the official religion of the state and it is a fundamental source of legislation. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”
And take Mauretania: its Constitution (1991) declares that country “an indivisible, democratic, and social Islamic republic … Islam shall be the religion of the people and of the state … the President of the Republic shall be a Muslim”. Or Pakistan, proclaimed as an “Islamic Republic” in 1956, which oversaw a radical islamification of its Constitution in 1985, and the following year foreshadowed the persecution of Christians with the making of blasphemy against Islam a capital offence, and where since 1993 basic constitutional rights are based upon the Quran and Sunna. Or Egypt (“the Egyptian people form part of both the Arab and Islamic community … Islam is the state religion .... The principles of Islamic law form the main source of legislation’), Iran, and Malaysia, where conversion to a religion other than Islam is regarded as apostasy and in Iran liable to capital punishment.
With the exception of Turkey, officially still secular as Ataturk intended yet showing increasing signs of re-islamification under Erdogan, Islam is, I believe I’m correct in saying, entrenched in the constitutions of the remaining Muslim states.
I think we can all make an educated guess as to how long Nice’s “one state solution” would last before it, too, adopted a Constitution that enshrined the supremacy of Islam and the effective dhimmitude of its minorities.
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