[Report] UTCP Lecture "Israel: Jewish and Democratic"

29 July, 2010 HAYAO Takanori

Dr. Shlomo Sand(Tel Aviv Univ. of Israel) made the lecture "Israel: Jewish and Democratic" at UTCP.

The title of Dr. Shlomo Sand's lecture, "Israel: Jewish and Democratic" has long been a classic theme since the foundation of Israel, and is still now a hot topic as always discussed between people, that is, if Israel is "Jewish State" or "Democratic State", or both are compatible. The mainstream of Israel insists that Israel should be the state only for the Jewish, and at the same time, regards themselves as only one democratic state in the Middle-East.
The fact is that, both are inscribed in the declaration of the State of Israel, one of a basic laws, that says, all Jewish people in the world have the right to return to Israel, and all inhabitant should not be discriminated by their religion or ethnicity.
The former description apparently contradicts democracy. The latter description takes into consideration the existence of Arab Palestinian citizens that has consisted of 20% of the population of Israel since the fondation of Israel. The political position of Dr. Sand is that abolishing the former as non-democratic and groundless, then changing Israel society into really democratic one by getting across the latter.
Particularly, the concept "Jewish nation" is the invention by Zionism in the modern Europe, and Jewish people as believer of Jewish religion have no connection in their blood, or no roots in Palestine/Israel in the history. Nevertheless, the Zionism movement which sprang in the end of 19th century had been strongly influenced by the European nationalism assuming national entity then invented the notion of "Jewish nation" by making use of various myths and sciences.
By contrast, Dr. Sand focuses attention that there is no "Israel nationality" on the ID card of Israel. The approved nationalities should be "Jewish", "Arab", "Russian" etc., even if all of them are Israeli citizens. But he points out that in the world, it's natural that the form of states are multi-national and pluralistic, citing examples of U.K., Spain, Iran. He insists that Israel has no difference from these states considering from the reality of Israel society with Arab citizens and foreign workers and that Israel must change from "the state for all Jewish nation in the world" into "all the inhabitants in Israel", that is, a sense of "Israel nationalism".
This kind of criticism is important especially because the popular opinion of Israel has drifted to more rightist and exclusionist after 2000, many of them discussing the possibility of expelling Arab citizens from Israel. Dr. Sand’s liberalism seems to resist against the chauvinism in Israel.

  • HOME>
    • Blog>
      • [Report] UTCP Lecture "Israel: Jewish and Democratic"
//Page Top