Q: Your parents were part of Herut, the forerunner of today's Likud party. As a champion of the two-state solution, is it difficult to break with that past?
A: This is a misperception [sic!]. I believe that what I'm doing is implementing the values that my parents taught me are essential for the state. It was never only about the land of Israel, but it was also about our values. The idea was not only to create a state. The vision, then and now, is being a Jewish and democratic state, or being a homeland for the Jewish people. Since the realities are such that, in order to keep Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, we need to give up part of the land, it doesn't mean that I don't believe in the rights of the Jewish people to the entire land. I still do. I believe the Jewish people have the right to the entire land -- judicial, biblical historical, moral, whatever.
But my vision, as I believe the vision of my parents was, is to keep the state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people. And since they also believed in the values of democracy, there's a need for a Jewish majority. In order to have peace, we need to give up part of the land. The whole vision is to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic state living in peace and security in the land of Israel. And the only way to keep all these together, is to give up part of the land. Because without giving up part of the land, it means we give up the idea, or the essence, of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people. And this is something we cannot afford.
There's a big problem here, besides the fact that her parents are dead and we can't ask them what they taught their daughter and what they would be thinking today on the issue. And that problem is that Livni is indeed using proper terms from Revisionist ideology and political philosophy but corrupting their meaning.
For one, Jabotinsky, when he gave testimony before the Palestine Royal [Peel] Commission in 1937, declared that his "demand for a Jewish majority is not our maximum - it is our minimum" and he stressed that there would soon be 3-4 million European Jews seeking a safe haven in Palestine (and little did he know that 6 million was the real figure but the British closed off the gates to immigrants in 1939 which is something Livni would be doing, in a figurative sense, if she gave away our homeland through territorial compromise now.
The recommendation of the Commission to the partition Mandate Palestine, or what was left after 1923 when its eastern portion was handed over the Abdullah, into two states, Jabotinsky opposed the plan as he argued that all territory in the original 1920 British Mandate over Palestine - encompassing all of the Land of Israel on both banks of the Jordan River - should be part of the Jewish homeland.
What is Livni talking about?
As I've written previously, Jabotinsky and his followers were no Livnis.
Here is another longish excerpt from Doar Hayom, April 12, 1929 which contributes to comprehending the Jabotinsky thinking:
...when we, the `extreme Zionists`, dream of our future Hebrew state, we also dream that it will be an example to the world of how to organise the internal structure of a multi-racial society on the basis of real equality. And in this we will realise the first and greatest blessing of our most beautiful hope - that from Zion will go forth Torah, to all the nations of the world, that they might learn from us.And this from 1923:-
And if this will be so, will the country then be a Hebrew country? Yes, if it will have in it a Hebrew majority. If it has a Hebrew majority of 60%, it will be at least 60% Hebrew. In England there is, as I have mentioned, complete equality of rights. There is no differentiation made between English, Scots, Welsh or Irish residents of London or Manchester, but England remains England, because the majority there is English, as Scotland is Scottish, because the majority there is Scottish.
...There are people (in the Land of Israel, in Uruguay, what does it matter) who are satisfied with a population of a quarter of a million Jews in Zion. And I also know that there are millions who want to settle in Zion, and this, and only this, is my concern. It is no concern of mine whether the non-Jewish residents of the Land of Israel become `Judaised` or not; this is their concern...
I will take this opportunity to raise a number of issues regarding the matter of peaceful relations between ourselves and the non-Jewish inhabitants of the Land of Israel. We all seek peace. And we would all be very happy if it became known to us that it was possible to reach it without giving up Zionism. But Zionism is not an empty word; it is a word possessing a fixed content, a content which cannot be cancelled or replaced with an alternative meaning, and the essence of this content is the Aliyah of Jews from the Gola to the Land of Israel.
As long as our enemies do not agree to this, it is they who do not want peace, and there is nothing to be done but to fight for Aliyah. I will be asked Aliyah - up to what figure? A million? Two million? Also on this our response is very simple: Aliyah is required until the point that life itself will veto it, on the grounds that there is no room remaining in the country...We will not agree to give them the right to say `stop`. This is why we demanded that the land of Israel be given over to the rule of a non local administration. Because of this, for as long as there is a non-Jewish majority in the Land of Israel, we will not agree to the creation of a local government dependent on the will of the majority. On this matter there is no room for compromise. And this is the central factor in the dispute between ourselves and the Arabs.
...if there are irrational people among us who believe that it is possible to change the attitude of our neighbors on the principle of Hebrew Aliyah, and to obtain from them their agreement to give up their demand for the right of `veto`, then let them go and preach to our neighbors, and not to us. We have nothing to concede. Aliyah without `veto` is the spirit of Zionism. And Zionism is a question of life or death for our people. We cannot concede on life, even if we wished to. And we do not wish to.
There is not much that we can concede to Arab nationalism, without destroying Zionism. We cannot abandon the effort to achieve a Jewish majority in Palestine. Nor can we permit any Arab control of our immigration, or join an Arab Federation. We cannot even support Arab movement, it is at present hostile to us...And this state of affairs will continue, because it cannot be otherwise, until one day the iron wall will compel the Arabs to come to an arrangement with Zionism once and for all...It is an act of simple justice to alienate part of their land from those nations who are numbered among the great landowners of the world, in order to provide a place of refuge for a homeless, wandering people. And if such a big landowning nation resists which is perfectly natural – it must be made to comply by compulsion. Justice that is enforced does not cease to be justice. This is the only Arab policy that we shall find possible. As for an agreement, we shall have time to discuss that later.I would strongly suggest to Ms. Livni (notice how female politicians maintain their original family name? Her husband is an accountant, Naftali Spitzer) that she review her Jabotinsky, her Revisionism, her Begin.
All sorts of catchwords are used against Zionism; people invoke Democracy, majority rule national self-determination. Which means, that the Arabs being at present the majority in Palestine, have the right of self-determination, and may therefore insist that Palestine must remain an Arab country. Democracy and self-determination are sacred principles, but sacred principles like the Name of the Lord must not be used in vain – to bolster up a swindle, to conceal injustice. The principle of self-determination does not mean that if someone has seized a stretch of land it must remain in his possession for all time, and that he who was forcibly ejected from his land must always remain homeless...
And now when the whole of the civilised world has recognised that Jews have a right to return to Palestine, which means that the Jews are, in principle, also "citizens" and "inhabitants" of Palestine, only they were driven out, and their return must be a lengthy process, it is wrong to contend that meanwhile the local population has the right to refuse to allow them to come back and to that "Democracy”. The Democracy of Palestine consists of two national groups, the local group and these who were driven out, and the second group is the larger...