Fareed Zakaria: Why Must Israel Be a Jewish State?

CNN's Fareed Zakaria asked Sunday why it was important that Israel be called a Jewish state.

This seemingly absurd question was asked of Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States (video follows with transcript and commentary):

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: A lot of Israeli-Arabs tell me that to describe Israel as a Jewish state essentially renders them invisible. And they are, you know, 20 percent of the population by some counts. Israelis have a state, Palestinians have a state. Why is it important there’d be Jews?

MICHAEL OREN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO UNITED STATES: Well, because the Jews are a people, and we have a right to self-determination. There are about 193 states in the world, Fareed. Most of them are nation states. The Bulgarians, the Hungarians, the Germans.

ZAKARIA: But those are not religious categories. Those are national categories.

OREN: The Jew is also a national category, and unlike countries like Denmark, that have a national church, unlike Great Britain that has a national church, we don't have an official religion. We are a people and we are a nation state like most of those nation states in the world. And many of those nation states if not most of them have ethnic minorities that are loyal minorities, whose rights are respected. Some of them have an ethnic affiliation with another state. It's very common, certainly in Europe and there's nothing anomalous, nothing unusual about the arrangement we’re seeking.

I wish Oren would have asked Zakaria with all the Muslim states in the world, why does he find it objectionable there be just one Jewish state.

Maybe that would have exposed Zakaria's hypocrisy.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.