Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Anti-Semitic incitement that opposes the Jewish people's right to self-determination in its only homeland - by Dror Eydar

The controversy surrounding the nation-state law, which defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, crops up at every junction because it touches on our very existence and identity in this land.

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
16 November '18..
Link: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/11/16/another-type-of-anti-semitic-incitement/


When Lt. Col. M. was killed in the course of a botched military intelligence operation in Gaza, it galvanized a number of irresponsible lawmakers to again stir up the incitement against the nation-state law – legislation that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The law's provisions, including the assertion that only Jews have a right to self-determination, have angered Israel's non-Jewish citizens, who view the law as discriminatory and offensive.

One example of this incitement was Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich's recent tweet, in which she didn't hesitate to post a photo of the slain officer – whose identity has not been released for publication – and his children, and conclude with "great pain" that "his death in battle shines an even more appalling light on the racist and despicable nation-state law, which states that citizens who aren't Jewish are second-class citizens."

Great pain? Perhaps cynical pain. The law doesn't "state" anything about the (equal) citizenship of non-Jews. It touches only on the issue of nationality, which has nothing to do with ethnic groups or minorities, which are not a nationality.

The publisher of Israeli newspaper Haaretz Amos Schocken wasn't far behind Yachimovich. He called the nation-state law "fascist" and characterized its supporters as having "divorced the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence." He added more generally that "one need not go as far as the crematoria to identify fascism."

Schocken may not be aware of this, but the word "Jewish" and its various iterations are mentioned about 20 times in the Declaration of Independence. Only in one place, the document says "The State of Israel … will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex." Here, equality is promised in a civil context, without regard to nationality. National equality is a path toward a state that enshrines all nationalities – in other words, the death of the Jewish state.

We have grown tired of the constant "racist" and "fascist" (and worse) accusation against those who uphold our national identity. These types of stupid accusations deserve a response in the same language: Anyone who opposes the Jewish people's right to self-determination in its only homeland is an anti-Semite, even if he is a Jew. He, too, is racist – how else can you explain the desire to strip the Jews of their nationality while at the same time acknowledging the nationalities of our Muslim neighbors or of the European Christian peoples?


The members of the Joint Arab List, for example, who oppose the nation-state law, are actually opposed to the very definition of Israel as a Jewish state. Behind their opposition lies deep-seated veiled racism against us. They think of the Jews as members of a religion, not as a nationality, therefore, we are not entitled to any land. And regardless, we are actually colonialists who invaded from Europe and stole their land.

These sentiments are clearly outlined in Article 20 in the Palestinian National Charter, which states that "Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong."

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when Jews tried to integrate as citizens into countries across Europe, the anti-Semites rejected them with the claim that Jews are not an ethnic group but rather a nation, a nationality, and granting them equal citizenship would create a Jewish state within a state.

Once the Jews became disillusioned with the idea of integrating into Europe, they turned their focus on realizing their vision of returning to Zion, to re-establish a Jewish state in their ancient homeland. But then the anti-Semites cropped up again to reject this idea, too. This time, they gave the opposite argument - the Jewish people are not a nation, just a religion, and therefore are not entitled to the land.

Article 7 of the nation-state law states that "The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation." Racism! the opponents say. But settling the land of Israel is a Zionist value. It is the reason we came to Israel. It is for this purpose that we drained the swamps and planted flowers in the desert. In fact, all of Israel is a "Jewish settlement." If Jews in the Galilee comprise just over half the general population then it incumbent upon anyone who believes in Zionism to encourage Jewish settlement there. Otherwise, one day, the Arabs of the Galilee will demand autonomy, or even independence, as a separate region where they are the majority.


As far as the Arabs are concerned, the Law of Return is also "racist" because it discriminates in favor of Jews by giving them blanket approval to immigrate to Israel and granting them automatic citizenship, while denying these rights from members of minorities. Israel's Arabs don't have a problem with the Arab nation-states that discriminate in favor of their own Muslim citizens. It is only the Jews who are "racist." Fine. But even the Jewish radical Left wants to do away with the Law of Return, and some members of Meretz and the Labor Party also want to revoke or at least amend it.

The question is what the Zionist Left is doing about the Law of Return. Among this sector, we hear about a distinction between those living in Israel and those living outside it, with those in Israel being equal citizens and those living outside it being subject to immigration laws, just like in any other sovereign state. But this explanation fails to acknowledge the intricacies of the law. The meaning is that one group of citizens in Israel are easily able to bring their relatives over and provide them with citizenship while another group of citizens can't do the same. Going by the logic of MK Yachimovich's tweet, we can deduct that like the nation-state law, the Law of Return is also "racist" and "despicable" as it "states that citizens who aren't Jewish are second-class citizens." This would mean that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination," as the U.N. concluded 43 years ago this week.


The truth is that the Law of Return and the nation-state law are simple, natural laws, because at their core lies the deep, moral foundation on which the state of Israel was established as the nation state of the Jewish people. There is one state in all the world that is the homeland of the people of Israel. It is where the Jews have the right to realize the prophecies of the Biblical prophets and to ingather the exiles after years of wandering outside our national home, under constant existential threat. Israel has a historical responsibility for every Jew, wherever they may be. You can't accuse a family of racism for preferring a family member over a stranger, particularly when the family has the kind of bloody history that the family of the Jews has. But regardless of all this, within the national confines, every individual has the right to equal citizenship, without exception.

The critics of the law have a problem with the very meaning of the Jews' return to history. Establishing a state means having to use force. It means police and military action. In other words, it is a shift from being exclusively a cultural civilization and becoming a national entity, adding another dimension to the identity. This is difficult for some Jews, who would prefer to remain the victims rather than hold the sword - in their eyes, that's what Esau would do, not Jacob. Some of these Jews opted to remain in exile, where other people can handle the use of force and the Jews are free to focus on the spirit, commerce and culture.

Schocken, Haaretz's publisher, told me that his problem with nationalism is that "Judaism has nothing to do with nationalism. Judaism is cool." As a rule, he argued, "all this nationalism that you people have stuffed into Judaism is a sign of serious regression."

In short, Judaism is agreeable as long as it is nothing more than folklore, an intellectual amusement, fertile ground for academic research, general prophets' ethics, or even just a religion. But when nationalism becomes involved, it's a different story.

But the truth is that Judaism has never been just a religion. We were a nation thousands of years ago. That is the unique character of our people, as it was recorded in the Bible. It is a national movement that centers around a moral idea that also manifests in a religious manner. It is the national aspect of Judaism that supports the spiritual, moral and religious dimensions not just in the lives of individuals, as righteous as they may be, but in the collective life of a nation comprising all walks of life. Anyone looking to remove the national dimension from Judaism, or sees it as a "serious regression," is trying to alter our identity. That is precisely what the debate is about.

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