Sunday, 12 April 2009

A second Jewish state: Iceland might be cool

It is said that radical times call for radical thinking, but even by my own standards this is a controversial proposal: perhaps there is merit in an argument for the creation of a second Jewish state – not to replace Israel, but in addition to it, to embarrass it in front of the world.

For more than 60 years the state of Israel has been publicly operating objectionable policies such as land grabs and collective punishment largely sheltered by certain western governments from international criticism and UN resolutions. In addition, some Israeli politicians have been accused by western academics of exploiting the tragic suffering and mass extermination of the Holocaust, and using the noble phrase “never again” as a cover to pretty much do as they please (as in the recent Gaza campaign) while maintaining throughout that they are representing Jews worldwide.

In truth, there has never been a greater rift between the Jewish diaspora and an elected government in Israel as the one that exists today. The newly elected government is so short-sighted and naive, lost in its extremist right-wing policies and desperate for power, that it was effectively still born. How else to explain the appointment as foreign minister of Avigdor Lieberman, a thuggish “politician” more like one of those Neanderthal characters from the era of apartheid South Africa?

The new prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice of Mr Lieberman as the public face of Israel is evidence of his own ignorance and arrogance. Even politicians with hardly any experience would realise that to appoint such a polarising figure, many of whose views are offensive even to committed allies such as the US, let alone covert allies in the region, is to shoot oneself in the foot. The EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has called Mr Lieberman “a man with whom I have been at odds for my entire life”, Egypt doesn’t want him to visit, and the Palestinians wouldn’t be seen in the same room as him.
Furthermore, a report in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth cited a poll conducted by J Street, the US Jewish advocacy group, which revealed that 60 per cent of American Jews oppose the extremist views expressed by Mr Lieberman during the Israeli election campaign, and a remarkable 75 per cent support a cut in US financial aid to Israel if the new government puts the skids under signing an agreement with the Palestinians. Today, clearly, a growing number of Jews around the world do not identify with Israel, largely because of its policies. Many of them object that a state claiming to represent their tolerant culture and sacred beliefs is the only country in the world that is officially occupying another people’s land.

Additionally, the notion that Israel is likely to last as a Jewish state is challenged by the demographic realities on the ground. Its population of Arab citizens is expanding, while educated and affluent Israelis are having fewer and fewer children. Moreover, a recent poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute found that most Israelis see themselves as Jewish first and Israeli second.

What, in fact, gives Israel the exclusive right to speak in the name of all Jews when it hosts fewer Jews than the USA, and when its very own ethnic make-up is diluted by the 20 per cent native Arab-Israeli citizens and the millions of other Arabs whose land it occupies? Demographically, the estimated 13 million Jews in the diaspora represent more than twice the number of Jews who live in Israel. Their assertions are akin to Taiwan claiming to speak on behalf of all Chinese people because it is “democratic” and “under threat”.

So I propose the creation of an additional Jewish state – also democratic, but not in the business of tarnishing the good reputation of the Jewish religion and people. After all, there are dozens of majority Muslim and Christian countries that are not founded on holy lands: why not one more Jewish one?

Because of the global economic crisis there are several countries in financial difficulties that might consider a possible purchase offer: Iceland, for one, with all due respect to Icelanders. With its dire financial situation, tiny population of 300,000 and strategic location between the USA and Europe, it would be an ideal candidate that shouldn’t cost more than $50 billion or so to purchase on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who don’t identify with Israeli policies and governments and who genuinely seek peace and tranquillity in a state that carries their attributes.

A successful, prosperous and secure second Jewish state could neutralise the voodoo spell that Israel has on the American Congress and media, as well as European leaders still haunted by the nightmare memories of their countries’ support or complicity during the extermination of their Jewry. This radical idea could act as a wake-up call for Israeli politicians who bank (literally) on America’s long-term counterproductive support, and make them realise that Israel has to face reality and finally commit to genuine peace negotiations for its own good.
It’s just a thought; after all, radical times call for radical thinking.

* This article first appeared in The National newspaper on Sunday, April 12th 2009.


Vilhjalmur Örn Vilhjalmsson said...

Hi there, Sultan. A baffled Iceland has been reading your piece today in the Abu Dhabi daily The National, and what a stupid piece it is.

According to you, radical times call for radical measures. You are definitely radical my friend, and your views are dangerously fanatic. Your proposal has a Hitleristic touch to it, and you don’t seem to be in touch with reality.

You should immediately apologize to the Icelanders as well as the Jews! You have drawn an ugly caricature, which is so insulting that one might suggest something like issuing a fatwa on you, and demand that your leaders bow in the sand and apologizes to the Western-world and especially to the Jews. But lucky for you, we don’t ship our problems off to islands or pay people off. Fatwas are neither Icelandic nor a Jewish speciality. Nobody will burn down your Embassy and stop buying your products. However, most of us know what you are playing at.

What has little Iceland ever done to deserve your disgusting proposal for the final solution for the Jewish problem of the Muslim world?

What have the Jews deserved to be deported by a journalist in a state so fortunate to be floating on oil in the desert? When The Arab League supports a genocidal leader of Sudan that is evidence of the ignorance and the arrogance of the Arab League. A citizen of an Arab League state, who serves a final solution proposal to the Icelanders on the Seder-plate of the Jews during Pesach, is a person of very bad taste. I strongly recommend the media, which publishes your hate-mongering nonsense to think twice before they publish your final solution-fantasies for the Jewish people.

Since Jews aren’t, and have never been in the business of buying states, (which cannot be said for some states in the Gulf), I suggest you worry about your own Kasbah and let the Icelander sort out their pocket pain, without being held hostage by your crazy thought-experiments , born out of your hate to Israel and the Jews.

You are quite right about one thing. There is already a Jewish State, although many hundreds of thousands of individuals in your part of the world and ignorant lackeys around the worlds, (also in Iceland), are trying to attack, deny, eliminate and eradicate the only real democracy in that turmoil part of our troubled world. If it weren’t for the fanatics and terrorists, who want to destroy Israel in the name of their God almighty, Israel would surely be a paradise on earth.

So if you want to spend your money wisely, I suggest you find a desolate island for all the self-destructive elements of the Muslim world, that see Israel as the enemy. That would be a proper investment, but you would gain even more if you simply got rid of your hatred and self-pity. Stop blaming your own problems on everyone else.

Dr. Villhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson

Anonymous said...

This article has appeared as a lead story on the Icelandic news blogs. You have scared a lot of Icelanders - probably because it would be very easy for someone to buy the country very cheaply. In fact you could buy the three main banks, which control the economy, for about $5 billion dollars.
If someone were to pay 150,000 adults for 7 years while they get get citizenship, you really could buy the country.

Anonymous said...

I thought drugs were illegal in your pristine, Islamic state.

If not, where can I get what you're smoking.

A bemused Icelander.

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi said...

Vilhjalmur Örn Vilhjalmsson, what a stupid, racist comment. You probably didn't even read the article.

Þorsteinn Jónsson said...


An amusing piece on a very serious subject. I am a citizen of Iceland and I must mirror my compatriot V.Ö V's sentiment that you do owe us an apology. However I must also add that for me and everyone I know, that is where my views and V.Ö.V's views part company.
As a member of the U.N we are by association a small part of the greatest shame of the U.N. The issuance of a hunting license for all human beings of any other origin on that particular strip of land between Egypt And Jordan.
However that does not in any way excuse your extremely plippant stye of journalism nor your disrespect of a sovereign nation and its people.

Þorsteinn Jónsson

Anonymous said...

As odd as your suggestions are, I agree 100%. I enjoy your articles. Please keep them coming.

As for the icelanders being freaked out... hush, or else I'll suicide bomb your house!

Anonymous said...

I feel it is a fair article given the suffering the poor Palestinians are having. but never the less, I believe this article is meant for giving a feel to Europe who is acutely responsible for the occupancy of Palestinian territory by Israel. imagine this really happens, i cannot, because no one wants to give up his land, even if they are actually bankrupt. land is more sacred than blood. Anyway, i don't believe that islanders should take this issue seriously because it wont happen, if it did the monetary fund and the international community wont let it happen. this article i believe is just based on an example, to give a feel of how would Europe feel and react if Israel was in their territory.

I just hope Israel would stop expanding their occupancy in Palestinian territory. and go back to the 1967 agreement of land map.

well written Sultan, Islanders i don't think any offending. meant.

Mohammed AL Bastaki
UAE - Dubai