Tonight I received an e-mail from a member of my synagogue, with the subject heading: "Something that we can all agree on re Obama speech". I'm pretty sure he sent out to a wide network of recipients.
Here is the e-mail:
From Saturday's NY Times letters:
To the Editor:
In President Obama’s push for Mideast peace, one key unasked question is: Can the Islamic world accept a non-Muslim state in the middle of an Arab-dominated region? If the answer is no, then all negotiated agreements are nothing more than subterfuge.
Englewood, N.J., June 5, 2009
I wrote back to my friend:
The simple answer to this question is: yes, the Arab world can accept a non-Muslim state in the middle of an Arab-dominated region. Parts of the Arab world already have -- Israel has formal peace treaties and diplomatic relations with Egypt and Jordan, diplomatic relations with Turkey, informal diplomatic contacts with Morocco and a few Gulf states, and recognition by the Palestinian Authority. The letter poses a silly question of slight rhetorical impact to a certain predisposed audience, but the question is totally and factually misleading. The Saudi/Arab League Peace Proposal of 2002 and 2007 states unequivocally that in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal, a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, and the creation of a Palestinian state in all the lands that Israel conquered in 1967:
"the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.
II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace."
The conditions for such recognition are utterly unacceptable to Israel, but the Saudi/Arab League Proposal in theory is a clear statement that the Arab world can accept a non-Muslim state in its midst.