Long confined to the extreme margins, but, in recent times, beginning to seep into mainstream discourse, is the odious position that challenges Israel’s legitimacy as both a Jewish and democratic state. Many supporters of Israel – including those in our own community – sometimes have difficulty articulating why these two sides of Israel’s identity are not only compatible, but complementary.
In response, the Israel Action Network’s Project Director (and JCPA Senior Vice President) Martin J. Raffel, together with author and professor Gil Troy, penned a new IAN publication entitled, “Israel: Jewish and Democratic,” refuting the arguments questioning Israel’s dual identities. This booklet is an attempt to provide answers to commonly asked questions with the goal of empowering both community and campus activists to confront the issue with confidence and integrity.
Included in this discussion are five key points. First, that being Jewish is not merely just a religious category; that the deep connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel remained unbroken through the millennia, with modern Zionism providing a moral underpinning for the establishment of the State of Israel; and that the moral right of the Jewish people to national self-determination is recognized internationally. Additionally, Raffel and Troy discuss Israel’s Law of Return, which is consistent with other states’ immigration laws, and finally, they examine the fact that Israel is striving to be both the nation state of the Jewish people, and a state that treats all its citizens based on the principle of nondiscrimination.
Additionally, these five sections will be published in The Times of Israel as a five-part oped series. We are delighted to share what we view to be an important resource for a diverse range of audiences and hope it will inspire, inform and enlighten our conversations around these critical issues.