Article 4B of the Law of Return states “For the purposes of this Law, ‘Jew’ means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.” Yes, apostasy is apparently considered to nullify one’s Jewish identity. Well, apostasy is always a sticky question. As Hrant notes, the Qur’an says that ‘People of the Book’ (i.e. Jews and Christians) should be treated with respect, which historically has meant that Jewish and Christian minorities accepting Moslem rule have not been violently persecuted and have been allowed to practice their religions (although Jews and Christians were required at various times and places in history to live in ghettos, not to mix freely with the Moslem population, submit to restrictions against marrying Moslems, pay special taxes, etc.) But apostasy in Islamic states is another matter entirely: for a Moslem to become a Christian is a capital oﬀence in Iran, punishable by hanging. I suspect the punishment in Saudi is probably pretty extreme also. In today’s Arabic states, Christians are treated best in the secular regimes with diverse ethnic and religious populations, e.g. Lebanon, Syria and, until recently, Iraq.
>be treated with respect I think ‘respect’ is too strong an English word for the practices in traditional Islamic societies — ‘more or less tolerated’ would be more accurate. Both Christians and Jews were under the status of ‘dhimmi’, which is a distinctly second class citizen — similar the Jews in Europe until the emancipation, I believe. How harsh this subjugation was varied, as you say, from era to era and place to place. By the way Hrant, yes Moorish Spain was a period of ﬂowering. Islamic culture was then the most advanced in the West -before it ossiﬁed. But the other place that Jews thrived best was probably Babylonia until the Muslim conquest (around 700 I think). But most of all the USA for the past 350 years. ‘God Bless the USA’ as the country song says… >Jews are not anymore victims, they should stop this song. The Jews are right now not victims and they are not saying so, but as John said the very long history of persecution is relevant to the legitimacy of the founding of Israel. It is why the UN was willing to establish a tiny state for refuge of those of Jewish ancestry and religion. Today Israel is only saying that it is under attack from terrorists, but isn’t that just a fact? Of course Israel is undertaking military actions also. There is a war going on. That is why peace and territorial settlement is urgently needed. The idea that Israel is always whining is just not true. Why don’t you quote this whining from Israeli sources — its just not there. I never heard Rabin say ‘be nice to us because of the Holocaust’. He said rather that if the Palestinians try to kill us we will crush their bones. This doesn’t sound like whining to me. Too agressive and brutal maybe, but whining no. And then he was willing to make peace, even with Arafat.
So, just so I understand, why are Israelis and Palestinians still* blowing each other up? Is it because they’re still blowing each other up? I have yet to hear, see, or read an argument that varies from this basic point, when addressing why this conﬂict still rages. This conﬂict is too old, complex, and religious for either side to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I’m not trying to be glib, either. I just don’t see any depth beyond this point that doesn’t quickly degenerate into atrocity laundry lists and personal attacks. Hrant, this is one of those times that I agree with you about a monarchy. Someone needs to decaﬃnate that situation, regardless of the will of their people. *Not ‘why did they start’, but ‘why are they still’.
Now the other shoe has dropped, Arafat is dead. My question is what will the political situation be in Palistine? Will it be stable, conserative or reactionary. On another note president Bush is about as sensitive as a bomb. His reaction is now Arafat is gone maybe the Palastian leadership will embrace democracy and peace with Isreal. He isn’t even buried! Former president Jimmy Carter said something almost exactly like that.
Arafat was The Corrupt Leader. And I don’t know if the the word “leader” is the right one. He was rich. And the people?