Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2011

The Claim for Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State A Reassessment

Tal Becker

February 2011

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


Amid efforts to relaunch and sustain Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israel’s claim for recognition as a Jewish state continues to generate controversy. While Israel’s leaders have insisted that such recogni- tion is fundamental to any peace agreement, Palestin- ian and other Arab leaders have responded to the claim with consistent and widespread antipathy. To begin to explore how this issue might be appropriately addressed in the context of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is necessary to place the claim for recognition in its historical, political, and strategic context. We must consider the nature and legitimacy of the interests at stake and examine the alternatives for addressing them.