Just when you thought the extremist anti-Israel campaigning could not get any worse, from the palsied haters come more charges: Zionism is intellectually consistent with Jim Crow racism. And Israel practices institutional racism – indeed, is an apartheid state, as one libertarian (who else?) blogger bloviated.
The writer splutters about how “all manner of basic rights in Israel are granted according to race … If a person born in Israel is not of Jewish bloodline, he is not entitled to any of these; in fact, he is often legally barred from all of them. However, if he is of Jewish blood, even if he was born, say, in America, he is automatically entitled to them all.”
I’ll try and interpret this blognoscente’s outrageous canard as charitably as possible. Since he would be lying if he did, he can’t possibly mean that Israel’s Arab citizens are robbed of their rights. I’ll thus presume the hatemongering and incitement here are with reference to the general selectivity with which Israel confers citizenship.
Indeed, if the inhabitant of this impoverished blogistan is attempting to convey that not everyone can immigrate to Israel, gain citizenship and full rights, then what can I say? I’m humbled by his gifts of observation!
With a foreboding, “It’s not called the Jewish state for nothing,” our writer drives home his “insight” into the nature of the Jewish state, and, by extension, Israel’s transgressions. The Jewish state is hereby damned to hell for daring to fulfill her designation and for rejecting non-Jews as immigrants with full rights.
I’ll be damned! What a concept! And what next? Japan for the Japanese? China for the Chinese?
Equally unaware of how impossible it is for anyone to immigrate to Taiwan or India (ever heard of the “brown India policy”?), a FindLaw.com human-rights lawyer-chick elaborates with horror (“omigod”) on the nature of the Jewish state: Israel’s “laws benefit Jews over other potential immigrants,” she protests. Sorry, bubbles, as hard as it is to conceive, what you call “potential immigrants” are “potential immigrants” only according to your rules (and the rules of state-sponsored multiculturalism in the United States.)
That Israel enforces strict citizenship restrictions is to her credit. That the U.S. refuses to enforce strict citizenship restrictions is to her discredit. One of the many misfortunes of the 14th Amendment (and why its repeal is a matter of such urgency) is to have decreed that anyone born in the U.S. is an American citizen. At the time, the intention was to rightly secure full citizenship for African-Americans. At the time, the need to protect the nation against certain situations was not foreseen. As a result, to acquire American citizenship for her newborn and eventually for her family, all a Mexican woman needs to do is to cross the border and give birth on American soil and dime.
So, yes, with rare exceptions, Israel prohibits immigration by non-Jews. A strong leftist, counter-culture, non-traditionalist streak, imbibed in all likelihood with the brainwashing of the multicultural managerial state, may explain why so many libertarians see any state that protects the ethnic nature of a nation as racist. In a perverse way, these libertarians seem strangely pleased when the state thwarts the wishes of historic, founding populations, and intensely displeased when a state actually upholds the ethnic majority upon which a civilized polity depends. (Murray N. Rothbard referred to such libertarians as “simplistic” and “vulgar” individualists.)
The prospect of the demise of the historical majority in the U.S. has brought tears of joy to Bill Clinton’s eyes. To judge by his policies, Bush junior also welcomes this end-of-days scenario. In Israel, however, retaining a Jewish majority is a matter of greater urgency. It’s a matter of life and death really, considering that her Arab citizens are reluctant to accept Israel’s Jewish-Zionist identity and that their Palestinian brethren outside the Green Line seem to think that Israeli real estate ought to be confined to the Mediterranean Sea.
Bear in mind that for their purposes, anti-Israel libertarians appear to have adopted leftist human-rights nomenclature, according to which feeling like a second-class citizen is the same as being a second-class citizen. The fact that immigration is limited to Jews (as is the burden of military service), or that they retain a majority, doesn’t, however, mean that minorities in Israel are oppressed, discriminated against or don’t have full rights.
The political climate in Israel is free – everyone and his dog is a human-rights activist. In fact, Americans will find the claims made by Israeli-Arabs strangely familiar. Complaints such as “living standards are far below those of Jews, and the country’s Arabs are severely underrepresented in many choice occupations,” must surely ring a bell. Much like the demands made by African-American activists (would any self-respecting libertarian heed those?) against mainstream America, the gripes of Israeli-Arabs pertain more often to the standards and influence the community thinks it deserves rather than to rights it doesn’t have.
The preference given to Jews in the Jewish state is a no-brainer. But should this preference be tarnished as racism? As it’s understood in the U.S., racism is more often concerned with discrimination based on distinct physical characteristics. It’s thus important to understand that Jews are not a race. There are white, brown and black Jews in Israel. In fact, there are Jews from 100 countries, including Yemen, India, the Arab countries and Ethiopia. (Roughly 36,000 Ethiopian Jews were lifted to safety in a series of daring operations initiated by successive Likud governments headed by Menachem Begin and then Yitzhak Shamir. It’s hard to imagine an American government doing the same for say, white, persecuted, Christian farmers in Zimbabwe, who are no less oppressed under Robert Mugabe than these Ethiopian Jews were by the brutal Marxist-Leninist Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, at the time.) While these Jews share a common culture or faith – Judaism – in what way are they a race? Israeli Jews are a variegated people – many look just like Arabs and vice versa. The charge of racism as we know it in the U.S. is no more than liberal lather, meant to push politically correct buttons. (Miss Israel 1999 was an Israeli-Arab. She is indistinguishable from many a Jewish girl.)
If Israeli-Arabs are not shunned and “segregated” based on defining physical appearance, let’s examine the accusation that roughly 18 percent of Israel’s more than 6 million citizens incur “institutional racism.” According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Israeli Arabs have equal voting rights – in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Israeli Arabs have freedom of speech, assembly and press, as is evident from the many Islamic journals that thrive in Israel. Arabs currently hold 10 seats in the Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts and they serve on the bench. Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel.
The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army (a bonus, wouldn’t you think?). As such, they don’t qualify for veteran benefits and, I imagine, will not get work where military security clearance is required. On the other hand, as the JVL points out, Israeli Arabs get a head-start in the economy while Jews are conscripted for 3 years.
Israel has all the usual socialistic drives – the kind America deploys with Africans and other minorities – in order to ensure her Arab population is not underrepresented in higher education and certain industries. In place to handle the advancement of Arab citizens and their equal-opportunity aspirations in the private and public sectors are all the various bureaucracies leftists love. There are laws against discrimination in employment. (A rather funny anecdote concerns the government’s subsidies for large families. In an effort to increase Jewish birthrates, and since there is no discrimination in the grant of entitlement, subsidies to large Israeli-Arab families have meant that the state’s meddling is compounding demographic anxieties associated with the Israeli-Arab population’s robust reproduction rates.)
It is not Israel that has a moral problem, although the many progressive Jews who defend her in the Diaspora sure do. Israel is not the leftist-neoconservative nirvana they make her out to be: She is most definitely – and thankfully – not a free-for-all pluralistic hodgepodge. While fervidly supporting Israel’s right to retain her distinct Jewish character and dominance, Diaspora Jews, all too often, continue to undermine an expression of similar sentiments and aspirations among the dominant cultures of Europe and the U.S.
Jews can support Israel’s right to retain her ethnically coherent character. But they cannot in good intellectual and moral conscience do so while at the same time condemning Europeans and Americans who reject multicultural immigration policies or who would like to see a greater acceptance and expression of mainstream Christianity.
Again, there is nothing wrong with a nation that doesn’t admit everyone into its body politic. Nor is there anything wrong with maintaining ethnic homogeneity so long as minorities within the arrangement are not oppressed. Switzerland enforces well-nigh impossible migration barriers. The barriers Switzerland imposes may very well act as de facto surrogates for race. But so what? The property and way of life of the people of the Swiss cantons should not be up for an egalitarian universal grab any more than Israel should be flooded by a bogus class of refugees maintained and expanded by U.N. definitional trickery.
©By ILANA MERCER
September 3, 2003