Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mearsheimer and Walt Respond

Mearsheimer and Walt have responded in the London Review of Books. So, after you've seen Benny Morris wipe the floor with their work, it might be amusing to look at their pathetic "rebuttal." I am only going to excerpt a small part, because I think it is quite representative of their response as a whole. This is what Mearsheimer and Walt write in their defense:
Finally, a few critics claim that some of our facts, references or quotations are mistaken. For example, Dershowitz challenges our claim that Israel was ‘explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship’. Israel was founded as a Jewish state (a fact Dershowitz does not challenge), and our reference to citizenship was obviously to Israel’s Jewish citizens, whose identity is ordinarily based on ancestry. We stated that Israel has a sizeable number of non-Jewish citizens (primarily Arabs), and our main point was that many of them are relegated to a second-class status in a predominantly Jewish society.
It's pretty interesting first of all that the fact alone that Israel was founded "as a Jewish state" is a problem for them. But what exactly is their excuse? Doesn't the fact that their claim applies only to Israel's Jewish citizens (in fact, not even that!) completely negate their claim? Maybe I am missing something, but if you acknowledge that Arabs (Muslims, Christians, Druze) are Israeli citizens, doesn't that mean that citizenship is in fact NOT based on "blood kinship"?

Just as a reminder, here is what they said in their original piece (p. 9, in a section titled "Aiding a Fellow Democracy?"):
By contrast, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this conception of citizenship, it is not surprising that Israel's 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class cititzens ...
They told an OBVIOUS lie. Their attempt to cover their tracks is pure equivocation and cowardice.

This is what Benny Morris told them:
On page 9, Mearsheimer and Walt write that "citizenship [of Israel] is based on the principle of blood kinship." This is an outrageous assertion, with the worst possible echoes. The truth is that since the state's inception, 15 to 20 percent of Israel's citizens have been Muslim and Christian Arabs. In 1948-1949, citizenship was granted to all persons living in the country, regardless of race or religion, and it is granted by law after five years of residency and the satisfaction of various qualifications (as in all western democracies) to applicants today regardless of race or religion--though it is true that Jewish immigrants can and do receive citizenship upon arrival in Israel, and it is also true that Israel is a Jewish state, as France is (and, I hope, will remain) a French state and Britain is a British state.

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