Throughout this tract we translate ‘am and laos as “people”, goy and ethnos as “nation”, qahal and ekklesia as “church”.
Israel is a people which does not count itself among the nations (Nm 23:9). Israel is a church (Nm 20:10-12). The word gentile, “non-Israelite”, comes from Latin gens, “nation”. Israel did indeed go down into Egypt and there become a great nation (Dt 26:5), but the Sinai experience turned that nation and its hangers-on (Ex 12:38) into a church. At the beginning of Joshua (5:8) we read that the nation was circumcised, but after that the Bible does not approvingly call Israel a nation.
In general, Israel gets contrasted with the nations (e.g. Ez 6:21), notably in that Israel has been given the Law and no nation has (Ps 147:20). When Israel does get called a nation, it is generally because God is annoyed with it (e.g. Ml 3:9).
How then can we briefly and usefully portray this church? First we note that it was founded at Sinai and absorbed many tribes and nations in Canaan (Ez 16:3), eventually fixing its central shrine in Jerusalem (2 S 6). It had a state of sorts to protect it in its formative centuries, but this state split (1 K 12:17-20) and so did the church (v. 28-29), definitively about 520 BC (Ezra 4:1-4). One of the successor churches we call the Jews, the other the Samaritans. Each has its own history up to the beginning of the Common Era, when another great split took place.
Because churches have doctrines to teach, both branches of Israel, but especially the Jews, made converts outside the two states. The Book of Jonah proclaims Israel’s duty to spread the doctrines. By the beginning of the Common Era there were Jews from Barbary to Babylon and beyond.
Israel expected a Redeemer, a Messiah (Is 61:1-2 and many other places). At the beginning of the Common Era, Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be the Messiah (Lk 4:21, Jn 4:25-26). About the year 50, at the Council of Jerusalem (Ac 15:5-29), his followers renewed Israel. In the year 70, when the Romans were about to destroy Jerusalem, premessianic Jews stayed in the city while Christians fled beyond Jordan. The Emperor gave permission to rebuild the Temple, but instead the premessianic-Jewish hierarchy stayed in Jamnia, also known as Yavne. About the year 90 the Council of Jamnia founded the Rabbinical Jewish church as a continuing premessianic branch of Israel. Thus the Jews split into Christians and Rabbinical Jews, the most obvious difference being the question of whether Jesus was the Messiah, the most important perhaps the question of which matters of the Law are the weightiest (Mt 23:23 etc.).
Meanwhile we find a reference (Jn 11:48-52) to the people of the Holy Land as a nation, presumably a result of the Herodian conquest’s unifying effect. The chief priest would certainly not call Israel a nation, and John would not make the mistake of putting such a mistake in his mouth. This is the nation we now call Palestine, the first majority‑Jewish nation.
Both Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity continued evangelization, the Christians by the year 200 converting a majority of the Palestinians from Samaritanism and premessianic Judaism – an apostasy for which some Rabbinical Jews have not yet forgiven them. The Palestinians remained majority-Christian until after the Crusades. Christians converted most of the Roman Empire, whereas Rabbinical Jews converted several Central Asian peoples, most notably the Khazars, from the remains of whose Empire the original Zionist settlers came.
Catholics tend to be left-wing. Left-wingers tend to be pro-abortion. Therefore Catholic constituencies frequently elect pro-abortion politicians.
Now, this is not true in, say, Germany, where both great parties are, in Anglo-Saxon terms, left-wing. But it does seem to be true in both the United States and the United Kingdom. I am pretty certain the pattern can be seen elsewhere too. There is a problem here, and resolving it may by generalization resolve and describe higher-level things. I suspect, for instance, that it may help explain the Italian situation regarding abortion, although one might suppose Italy to be here similar to Germany.
The reason my premise seems paradoxical is that the Catholic Church not only officially but also in the minds of most of the flock condemns abortion: Catholic talk of “dignity” refers to the whole gamut of human rights, of which that to life is the first and most fundamental. What we have is people voting the opposite way from what they explicitly believe and what, I am sure, they have for the most part internalized.
As a first step I resolve the problem into 3 questions:
1. Why are Catholics left-wing?
2. Why are left-wingers pro-abortion?
3. Why do people who believe in human rights vote for left-wing candidates even when those candidates oppose human rights, the defense of which should be to the Catholic prior to any left-right question?
Catholics are left-wing because many of the things called left-wing are desirable from a consistent Christian perspective. A slew of papal and episcopal letters have pointed this out. In addition, many Catholic Anglos are of Celtic descent and so have been low down the social hierarchy, another factor which makes for left-wingery; the Chicanos in California today in this sense resemble the Irish of Massachusetts a century ago.
When I wonder why left-wingers like abortion, I am not wondering about specifically pro-abortion forces or secular inhumanism generally: I am wondering about those who have abortion on a palette of favorite things, most of which are more understandable from a left-wing stance. Contrary to my original intention, answering this question has become the bulk of this essay.
All political movements run a danger of dishonesty, even if only to sidestep explaining difficult ideas. The pro-abortion movement has produced the most contemptibly dishonest arguments of any political trend I have come across. I have in fact only once come across a pro-abortion argument both honest and informed, and that was Libertarian, not left-wing. I see no point in searching dishonest arguments for clues.
Left-wingers are pro-abortion because left-wingers like to be anti-establishment and the establishment until a few decades ago forbade abortion. This is not an adequate answer. Also, pro-abortion propaganda claims sympathy for the unwilling mother and abortion is touted as a relief for her; the unreflective left-winger goes along. Neither is this answer adequate: it should work just as well for right-wingers, and left-wingers are certainly much more pro-abortion than right-wingers(except when the right-wingers are thinking of socially poisonous races).
The real answer goes deeper. Consider the Irish potato famine. Potato blight increased over several years until the potato crop was worthless. There was hunger in the land. The hungry people had not produced any material values which they could exchange for food produced by others. Other people on the island of Ireland, not relying on a single crop, had indeed produced food enough that there was actually “export” of some kinds of food from Ireland. The food could be sold in Great Britain for prices far higher than people in Ireland could afford to pay. So it went east, out of reach of the hungry.
So great is our horror at people (especially of more or less our own race) going hungry in large numbers that we are inclined to say that Her Majesty’s Government should have done something about the situation. My mother used to say that HMG, noticing the annual decline in the value of the potato crop, should have organized the introduction of new varieties and new crops. To this the libertarian would reply that every farmer should have chosen to plant a different crop, as some in fact did, resulting in the possibility of surplus food from some farms. Even if HMG had advised the farmers about alternative crops and farming methods they might have ignored governmental advice – as has happened in recent years in Mexican Chiapas, where peasants insist on continuing unproductive methods, then revolt because they remain poor. It is also said that HMG should have bought vast quantities of food and distributed it to the unfortunate farmers and their frustrated customers. Most of all, however, critics of HMG say it should have forbidden the “export” of food from the island of Ireland. This would have got prices down to a level at which a significant proportion of the hungry people could have afforded at least some food. This kind of argument is common among left-wingers, even among Christian-influenced right-wingers. Many liberals will agree with this socialist argument.
What the socialists and their liberal fellow-travelers forget is that the farmers who had produced the exported food were its owners until they sold it. They had chosen to farm better than their neighbours, and so had a surplus. They were entitled, one might think, to all the benefits resulting from their choice. To prevent them selling their produce where they wanted would be stealing. Even to compulsorily purchase it would be stealing unless the price paid were equal to what could be obtained by “export”-ing it.
Left-wingers sneer at this kind of argument. They seem to themselves and even to many right-wingers to hold the moral high ground because starvation is abhorrent, and because they seem to be advocating charity – a kind of charity they might call justice, ignoring the injustice done to the good farmers, from whom this charity would have been exacted. In recent decades it was for such reasons illegal to export more than a certain quantity of beef from Guatemala, because beef was so expensive in the importing country that it was worth while dedicating land to pasture rather than to corn to sell at a price people could afford to pay. The call for trade restrictions looks like a call for social justice.
The left-wingers may be right: perhaps food exports from hungry areas should be limited. But they are impatient of the intellectual effort required to justify what looks very like stealing. They then go further and ignore private-property rights. George Orwell, for instance, bemoaned the re-fencing of people’s lawns in London after World War II. He said that if it was theft to compel the owners to maintain what would in effect be small public parks, he was in favour of theft . And how had these owners acquired ownership anyway? he wanted to know. Again we see impatience of intellectual effort to justify what seems socially beneficial.
One area where public benefit requires private loss is public projects, such as roads and ports. In deciding whether a proposed project should be carried out, governments typically list all the losses anyone would suffer by the project and all the gains people would realize. If the gains are clearly greater, then the project should go ahead, with such confiscation of private property and loss of private amenity as is needed. Obviously, those who lose property or amenity should be compensated for their losses. The great left-wing economist Kaldor (who gave bad advice to the governments first of Ghana then of the UK) said no, it was not necessary to compensate those who lost by the public project. He went the whole way, approving stealing for the alleged common good. And many people would agree with him, especially if those losing were some kind of outcaste (the Afro-Irish villagers displaced with low compensation to construct Central Park in New York, the allegedly idle rich almost anywhere, the “boss class” hated by the Socialist Workers Party).
One of the functions of government is to construct great common works. All functions of government should fulfil government’s sole purpose, namely the securing of such human rights as those to life, to liberty and to property. But Kaldor says that the functions of government can legitimately involve the violation of human rights. He would be impatient – or at least many of those agreeing with him are impatient – of arguments showing the basic fallacy of this thesis. They choose what seems somehow right and then ignore what makes it wrong.
For a number of minor reasons, often classed as social, left-wingers see something attractive in abortion. With the impatience gained in scorning the right to property they scorn the right to life, even lying about important facts and constructing – or at least regurgitating – the contemptibly dishonest arguments I mentioned earlier, so distracting themselves from their refusal to think. The fashion has taken hold, and there is little that can overcome it.
As for the third question, people do not vote on issues in any hierarchy but on a congeries of issues without any systematic weighting. Having once decided to be left-wing (or right-wing, for that matter), the voter thinks of a candidate’s stand on abortion as one among many issues. Disagreeing with the candidate on several issues, the voter may still choose him for his general tendency. Voters thus give the same weight to methods of securing human rights (which is the purpose of the state) as they do to the question of whether to secure a fundamental right at all. To see the raison d’être for the pursuit of power lost in the pursuit of that power renders the whole thing meaningless, but somehow people get lost in the plethora of arguments about a plethora of secondary, tertiary and n-ary issues. In internal discussions of a party, there is a tendency to mock moral arguments against party doctrine, and even those comparatively clear in mind about why power is being pursued often cannot express themselves and feel ashamed about being the exception on “single issues”, unable to explain, even to themselves, that abortion is so basic, so important that unless we get this right we will not get anything else right .
What, then, is to be done? Firstly, I must be honest on this matter and in all political questions, clearly distinguishing means and ends. I must not make health-care provision, for example, an end which justifies state-funded abortion, just as I must not make tidy streets an end which justifies euthanasia of the homeless. I must in political discourse, whether internal or external, always remember that the purpose of government is to secure such God-given rights as those to life, to liberty and to property. It is better that the state do nothing at all than that it violate these. All my wonderful plans for a better world must be discarded if they imply wrong-doing by me or by the state, my servant.
One thing that has led people astray in reading (often indirectly) papal social encyclicals is that when the earliest of them were written it was generally agreed and understood that personal human rights were inalienable, however often violated. The popes therefore saw no need to reiterate the primacy of personal rights when developing their theories of collective rights. Furthermore, the earlier social encyclicals, at least, preferred the collective rights to be secured less by the state than by other societies, so that the state’s special duty of securing human rights, and in particular personal rights, fell by the wayside. It was even thought that personal rights were so well understood that securing them need not be mentioned among the state’s functions. This was a serious error. All future ecclesiastical pronouncements on collective and social rights should clearly make them subsidiary to personal rights. Among ecclesiastical pronouncements I include guidance from the pulpit at election time. And when politicians are interviewed by clerics, personal human rights should be emphasized even to the extent, where necessary, of forgetting the favourite social projects of the clerics.
In ordinary preaching the clergy should from time to time explain the meaning not so much of the 5th as of the 7th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal. I did not create Bill Gates’ wealth (he got it by making other people’s work more valuable), for example, and it is not my business, apart from taxation, to tell him how to spend it. Similarly, the “windfall” taxes in Britain not long ago were effectively stealing, because they were directed at people who were already paying taxes on the same scale as other enterprise owners, employees and customers. Did one sermon in the realm point this out? If envy (not ambition) and stealing are suitably rebuked, Catholics will develop the reflexes required to protect them also against pro-abortion propaganda disguised as left-wingery.
More generally, to change left-wingers in this regard we must understand how they became pro-abortion, concentrate their attention on the basic human rights, and have them work out in detail why coercion to certain charity-like actions is in truth justified. Then they will see that they cannot apply the same arguments to abortion: we restrict the rights to liberty and property to secure the right to life, and the reverse motivation is insane.
In all political discourse human rights should be prominent. Discussion of them should be prior to left/right, devolution/subsidiarity, democracy/aristocracy, even anarchy/government questions, and when that becomes customary those other questions will doubtless become more tractable. There may be partisanship about methods of implementing, but the principle of securing human rights, firstly by ourselves (including the state) avoiding violations and secondly by punishing egregious violations, should never be subject to partisan politics.
More generally still, in all our discussions about means we should remember our ends. Unless we know roughly what we have in the pantry our trip to the supermarket is pointless. We should not use a scouring pad to polish the car. And in all our votes we should remember the purpose of the state.
John A. Wills 1999.01.01
The recent pro-Palestinian marches in various U.S. cities were reminiscent of the 1960s movement against U.S. aid for South Vietnam. The U.S. is the main provider of money and weaponry to the Israeli state, and one can easily imagine the pro-Palestinian movement growing until that aid stops and Zionism comes to an end. The parallel with the Vietnam demonstrations is not entirely accurate, of course: North Vietnam’s cause was not just. It is a great pity that the demonstrators of the 1960s chose to support a tyranny in the conquest of a democracy rather than an oppressed and exiled people trying to get home. Communism and Zionism are both works of the Devil, who, I suppose, used support for one to avert opposition to the other. But now the pseudoliberals of the U.S. are taking the morally right side. Europeans are now predominantly pro-Palestinian, but U.S.Americans, who have the financial and armament power to end Zionism, have somewhat less competent news media and also tend to identify the Israelis with the Biblical Israelites, who in the Bible have the assumption of being on the right side.
This linguistic confusion is addressed in a chapter of my book Albatross ISBN 0-595-19418-4. The great irony here is that those making this linguistic error are predominantly Christian, and , as I point out in another chapter of Albatross, a prime motive for Zionism is to punish the Palestinians, national descendants of the Biblical Israelites, the first Jewish nation, for following the false Messiah Jesus of Nazareth. Also, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has wielded tremendous clout from 1957 on, and there was no equivalent lobby for South Vietnam.
These problems will be overcome, as far juster arguments were overcome when the pseudoliberals opposed democracy in South Vietnam; after all, the pseudoliberals will not have to lie this time. In a decade or two, unless better solutions are found, the Zionists will be violently defeated. North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam to replace liberalism and democracy with Communism and despotism; also, perhaps, to pay off some scores from the quarrel between Bao Dai’s people and the Viet Minh and from the later quarrel which split the Viet Minh. It was natural that victory led to horror and poverty. It is not natural that Palestinian vindication lead to horror or poverty, but it is very likely: the Zionists have taught the Palestinians to hate Jews, something new in their history; on the other hand, the Zionists have always hated Palestinians, and have nukes to wreak that hate in their last days of power: the victory is likely to be violent and pyrrhic, leading to bad karma on all sides, with consequences for another century or so. Furthermore, since the June War there has, initially at Zionist prompting, been a tendency to identify Palestinian patriotism and Islamic Fundamentalism, so it is possible that a “liberated” Palestine would be some kind of despotism. Iran has shown that an Islamic state can be a democracy, but the other omens are not good; furthermore, it would be preferable that the democracy be more or less secular, and not only because of the Christians and Rabbinical Jews in the country. There can be no doubt that Christian support of Zionism has been one of the components in the rise of Islamic Theocratic movements. There is a real danger that Palestinian victory may act like a tonic on these dangerous movements, hindering democracy worldwide, and even leading to interstate wars and further atrocities like September 11. We certainly do not want the Holy Land ruled by some Taliban-like group, with resurgent Zionists from abroad attacking them and thus strengthening both ideologies for decades on end.
What then is to be done to end the succession of bad karma? How can we help the Palestinians emerge from Hell with empty hands? As often in politics, the answer is to concentrate on commutative justice. The U.S., as chief beweaponer of the Zionists, is in a position to insist on progress here. If the U.S. were to demand that the Israeli state cede its sovereignty to the PLO the state would refuse and try to carry on without U.S. weaponry and money, nuking Jerusalem rather than lose it, but if the demands were such as to keep the Israeli state itself working, without sudden changes, there is a good chance that the Israeli leaders would acquiesce, with the result of a comparatively peaceful transition without loss of whatever good Zionism has done(Museum of the Diaspora, Yad vaShem Archive, kibbutz idea).
313,000 people own homes and farms and orchards in the 1948 territories, property stolen from them or their parents in the Nakba – and on some later occasions. There are also many people who have been robbed of their property in the 1967 territories. I am not talking here about sovereignty, but about personal property rights, protected by the Seventh Commandment. The Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property is in charge of these properties, although in fact some of the dispossessed live in the 1948 territories and so are not absent, being recognized as Israeli citizens. He delegates his authority to the Jewish National Fund Qeren Qayemeth leIsrael, which rents the property out to immigrants. The Israeli state has an absolute moral obligation to arrange the return of these properties to their owners, with the payment(by the JNF, which has had the profit) of back rent with interest for the time of dispossession. Each returning owner should be given a note from the JNF(or, in some cases, the state) for the back rent with interest, at least the accruing interest to be paid each month, with no reduction in payment until the last payment. Those whose property is in the 1948 territories must also, of course, be given Israeli citizenship without naturalization oaths, because they should never have been expelled from their property or country.
The U.S., as chief beweaponer of the Israeli state, should credibly threaten the withdrawal of all aid and arms sales unless the enabling act is before Knesseth Israel within a month, it gets signed by the President within another month, the Custodian of Absentee Property issues claim(not petition) forms within another month, the first family has returned to its property within another month and within 6 months the speed of restitution is such that one can reasonably expect all the owners to be home within 5 years. This demand should be independent of any irrelevant matter, such as behavior of the Palestinian Authority or other Arab polities.
The property owners, together with their immediate families, make up more than a tenth of the refugees; also most of the settlements in the 1967 territories would be dismantled. This act of simple commutative justice will therefore at once lessen the refugee problem, Palestinian anger at Zionism, the bigoted “Jewish character” of the Israeli state, and the hatred for the Palestinians which the Israelis nourish in themselves by this robbery. Once the Israelis do what they know is right in this matter, some of them will recognize that the Zionist project is mostly immoral and unJewish.
Disputes as to ownership in the 1948 territories should be resolved primarily in Israeli courts. To ensure justice, there should be the possibility of appeal to a bench of the International Court of Arbitration whose members would be appointed half by the Israeli government, half by the PLO or the Palestinian Authority, and the chairman by those appointees or by the president of the International Court of Justice. Further benches of the ICA can be erected later to deal with other problems.
There arises the problem of those currently living in or working on the stolen property. We might think them unentitled to much sympathy, because they have known all along that they are on stolen property, so they have no claim against the owners, the JNF, the Israeli state, or, indeed, anyone. But that matter of justice will not prevent bitterness. Various solutions are possible. Firstly, some of the property consists of blocks of flats and the like, and the Israelis have a Tenant Protection Law, so no-one will be immediately displaced by the restitution. Similarly, owners may choose not to re-occupy their property at once but rather to live somewhere else in the 1948 territories, renting the property out to the current tenants, perhaps until the termination of the current lease from the JNF(usually for 49 years), perhaps for some other period; this is something on which the owner must decide; some such owners may even choose to ask the JNF to administer the tenancies for a while. Other tenants may have family they can live with, either in Eretz Israel or abroad; many, I imagine, would choose to return to their ancestral countries(Arab states already have the administrative machinery in place for the return of their nationals, with restitution of abandoned property and citizenship; but most Arab states are rather unattractive places to live in) or to third countries. A few may move to wherever the owners were living just prior to the restitution; some tenants in Ein Hawd may move up-hill to Ein Hawd al Jadidah – and so understand at first hand what Zionism has meant to the Palestinians.
Another problem arises from the destruction of property carried out by the Zionists not only in 1948 but also later. What is to be done with the property rights in Emmaeus, which the Israelis dynamited and bulldozed after the June War to make Canada Park? What about the Arafat family home, destroyed not out of Zionist spite but for the more or less legitimate purpose of expanding the worship area in front of the Wailing Wall? Some of these difficulties can be resolved with either state or JNF funding of reconstruction, but that will not always be practicable. Still, these are a minority of the cases.
Once having shown that it means business about peace, the U.S. can one by one make other demands. One is similar to the rights of owners: for some kinds of tenancy from the state, e.g. miri, there was in Ottoman and Mandate times a right of the tenant to continue the tenancy, and those with such rights can at some time be treated like the property owners, although the back rent owed would have to be calculated differently, and would obviously be lower. And there are other angles to work from.
As I write the Israelis are demanding the extradition of the killers of a genocidal maniac hight Zeevi, who was murdered in revenge for the murder of a violent resistance activist hight Zibri. There are many such claims being made by the Israelis, and the Palestinians might make many more. If there are to be two states, as there more or less are at present, there should be an attempt at symmetry. Each state should be able to make extradition petitions in the court of the other, with external appeal to a second bench of the International Court of Arbitration. A third bench should be available to ensure that trials have been conducted in accord with relevant law. This would make many people feel uncomfortable, but it is so obviously the right thing to do that most will be ashamed to object to it; at least, I hope they will. It is conceivable that other kinds of dispute will also be resolvable in this general kind of way.
It is probably not worth while to have the parties go to the International Court of Justice to determine their proper boundaries, because there has been so much change since 1948 as to make it most convenient to have borders decided in some other manner. It is conceivable that the Partition of Palestine was contrary to the United Nations Charter(the U.S. wanted the ICJ to decide that, but the U.K successfully begged the U.S. not to suggest it in open forum), and I know that the Mandate of Palestine was contrary to the League of Nations Covenant, but it might be taking states’ rights, a legal fiction, beyond their legitimate function, the securing of human rights, to try to adjudicate these matters now.
The Holy Land question set includes many problems about religion. The oddity is that a solution to an important part of these problems has been known since 1929. In that year the Holy See, central administration of the Catholic Church, was given a microstate, smaller than many city parks, with juridical sovereignty, thus fulfilling the needs formerly fulfilled by the larger Papal States and allowing the Italian territorial state to develop without ecclesiastical domination. This means that the Pope can condemn politicians without being thought to have his own political motives for doing so. It is surprising that the same solution has not been applied to other churches. One reason is, of course, that not all churches have equivalents of the Holy See, but that can be remedied.
The World Jewish Congress should develop a method of choosing a Chief Rabbinate of All Israel, separate and distinct from the Chief Rabbinate of Eretz Israel, and the Israeli state and the Palestinian Authority should in parallel cede a small piece of land up against the Wailing Wall as Zion City State. Historically the Mount of Olives would be a better location, but modern Rabbinical Jews have forgotten that. Just as the Holy See has some say in holy places outside the Vatican, the Chief Rabbinate might have some rights outside its state, notably the Tomb of Abraham. Many people support Zionism who really want something like the Holy See, as I mention in Albatross, though they may not realize that that is what they want.
The World Muslim Federation, which is separate and distinct from the Organization of the Islamic Conference, should develop a method for electing a Supreme Mufti of the Faithful. He would probably not be accepted by Shias, but the Pope is not accepted by Protestants. The Supreme Mufti should be given a trilocal state including the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Tomb of Muhammad in Medinah and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The last would very much annoy some people, but Rabbinical Jews could have rebuilt their temple in the second century of the Common Era(they had imperial permission) but did not even move the Patriarchate to Jerusalem, instead keeping it at first in Jamnia and then in various places in already Christian Galilee, so I think they have abandoned their rights; as indeed have the Christians, who, during the Christian period of the Roman Empire, did talk about erecting a basilica there but never actually did anything. The Supreme Muftiyyah too might have interests in the Tomb of Abraham, as well as in the Tomb of Moses.
The Christian leaders in Jerusalem are quarreling a lot less than formerly, having even taken the keys of the Holy Sepulchre back from the Moslem families who had been holding them for centuries. They should be able to work out some kind of deal for a Holy Sepulchre City State, with recognized interests in the Church of the Nativity, the Church of the Annunciation, and so forth.
For symmetry, any movement for these states would include motions for a Sikh Golden Temple City State and a Buddhist Potala City State.
The three microstates in Jerusalem should over a period of years cool down much of the religion-related anger about the holy city, although obviously a lot of people would be dissatisfied. The Supreme Mufti and his microstates would probably weaken the movements for Islamic theocracy, not because the Supreme Mufti would say anything in particular about it but because the daily working of the Muftiyyah would distinguish church and state in people’s minds.
Somehow, in conjunction with these matters, perhaps, the Chief Rabbinate of Eretz Israel, now appointed by the Israeli state, should become more independent, perhaps following the pattern of the Chief Rabbinate of the British Commonwealth, which too was once state-appointed. Similarly, it is probably a good idea for the Chief Mufti of Jerusalem to be elected by someone other than the Palestinian Authority. For that matter, there should be no more state interference in the appointment of Christian prelates.
There would be a lot more to do to bring peace to the Holy Land. The U.S. can induce this slowly. At present villages formed by people classified as Jews promptly get utilities installed. Other Israeli citizens often have to wait decades; think of Ein Hawd al Jadidah. The U.S. can probably stop this, if the gradually reforming Israeli citizenry does not itself do so. Similarly, public housing, even when administered by the JNF, should be available to citizens regardless of religion. This would go a long way towards transforming Israeli society.
Eventually the Israeli state and the PLO should be merged; not federated. I have ideas of how this might be carried out in stages, but will not go into them here. One can imagine a peaceful, democratic prosperous Palestine as the nucleus of a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Araby, itself the nucleus of a peaceful, democratic, prosperous world. That is not the way I choose to direct my political activity, but I pray God’s blessing on those who do. I do not believe that their next steps can reasonably be very different from what I have described above.
© 2002, John A. Wills