Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Does a Jewish State = Racism?

It seems that Israel's Supreme Court and Arab Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) have something in common - namely, they both believe that the notion of the State of Israel existing as a Jewish State is racist.

Let's start with Israel's Supreme Court:

Gov't school plan struck down as 'racially based'

The High Court of Justice on Monday struck down a government educational plan that gives preferential treatment to 500 Jewish communities and four Arab ones, ruling that the plan discriminates against the Arab sector...

"We have been convinced that the government decision on the matter of determining the national priority zones does not sit well with the principle of equality, as its consequences lead to unacceptable discrimination against members of the Arab sector in the fulfillment of their right to education, thereby resulting in its illegality," wrote Supreme Court President Aharon Barak...

"The result is contaminated by one of the most suspect distinctions, which is distinction based on race and nationality," wrote Barak. "This is a result that Israeli democracy cannot tolerate."

The Education Ministry said it would study the ruling and "come to the necessary conclusions" regarding the consequences.

Let's take a moment to enumerate some of the conclusions and consequences that the Education Ministry (and the rest of us) can draw from Supreme Court President, Aharon Barak's comments:

* The concept of Israel existing as a Jewish State, whereby the interests and needs of the Jewish People are placed above all others, is racist, as it represents a "distinction based on race and nationality".

* For Aharon Barak, and Israel's Supreme Court, preserving Israel as a democracy in which there exists absolute quality for all, takes precedence over Israel's existence as a Jewish State.

* In the (Jewish) State of Israel, the Education Ministry is forbidden from placing a stronger emphasis or allocating greater funding towards Jewish communities and Jewish education - as it " does not sit well with the principle of equality".

Now, let's compare Supreme Court President Barak statements to those recently made by Arab member of Knesset, Ahmed Tibi:

MK Tibi: Jewish state not democratic

"I certainly oppose Zionism and the Jewish character of the State. Everything I've said tonight, I will also say in the Knesset, and that is that a state can't be equal and democratic and prefer one ethnic group over another. Despite the fact that I'm aware of the presence of Basic Laws defining the country as a Jewish state, this does not take away from the logical contradiction between the two definitions of Jewish and democratic in our opinion, and our opinion is also shared by a wide echelon of a group of intellectuals and Israeli left-wingers."

"We won't accept a coercion of Zionism, which we oppose as we oppose the foreign and defense policies of the government, and the validity of the occupation. A million Arabs in the country oppose the occupation, oppose Zionism, and oppose the liberation of land which is a Zionist value. You can't force these things on us and our public... Our platform talks about equality of rights for the Arab public as a national minority in the context of a legal battle to change the country into a state of all of its nations," Tibi said.

Ahmed Tibi (who is scheduled to meet with Hamas' new PM Ismail Haniyeh), along with other Arab Members of Knesset, such as Azmi Bishara (Balad) - who has met with his fare share of terrorists who call for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel during his tenure as an MK, see the inherent contradiction between Israel being both a Jewish State and a democracy, and recognize that ultimately one of these two ideologies must take precedence.

They, along with Israel's Supreme Court, believe that it should be the State of Israel's democratic character that is the ultimate arbiter of all values and policies in the State of Israel.

As such, it will only be a matter of time before we see the following decisions rendered by Israel's Supreme Court:

* The annulment of the Law of Return, which establishes in law the right of every Jew in the world to move to the State of Israel and be granted citizenship, as it "does not sit well with the principle of equality" between Jewish and Arab citizens of the State of Israel.

* The rejection of Israel's national anthem, the Hatikvah, which contains the words: "The soul of a Jew yearns". The current national anthem is "contaminated by one of the most suspect distinctions, which is distinction based on race and nationality" and must be changed to an anthem that can equally represent all elements of Israeli society.

* The State of Israel must change it's national flag, as Israeli Arabs do not feel a connection to the Shield (Star) of David, nor to the blue and white stripes representative of the Jewish tzizit (ritual fringes) and talit (prayer shawl). This ruling will also apply to the State of Israel’s national emblem, the Menorah, which only holds meaning to a particular segment of Israeli society, and as such, is discriminatory.

* The State of Israel will establish all Muslim holidays as national holidays, as Arab citizens are not able to celebrate the State of Israel's current national holidays, which are by and large, Jewish in nature.

* Calls to "Judaize" the Galil and Negev regions of the State of Israel, in order to preserve a Jewish majority in those areas will be forbidden. As the State of Israel is a democracy, it should be of little consequence if a particular region is populated by a majority of Jewish or Arab citizens.

* The State of Israel will no longer publicly celebrate her Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzmaut), as for many of the State of Israel's Arab citizens, this day is mourned as The Nakba (The Catastrophe) - lamenting the terrible day in which the State of Israel - the Jewish State - was established. To continue publicly celebrating this day would represent the height of cruelty to an entire segment of Israeli society.

With leaders such as these, one can only wonder what future the Jewish State of Israel has.


I'd go with R. Meir Kahane on this this one. He agrees that Democracy and Jewish State cannot coexist. If you want Israel to be a Jewish Democracy, then you have to define it as a place where only Jews are responsible for the decisions of the state. But by current standards, it definitely would not be considered as a democracy.

By Blogger GregoryT, at Tue Feb 28, 04:43:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev, if I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying that providing equal funding to schools in the Arab sector would destroy Israel as a Jewish state. Is this correct?

If being a Jewish state requires discriminating against non-Jews in this manner, then why bother to educate Israeli Arabs at all? If you want one fifth of our population to be second-class citizens, then why not keep them illiterate, deny them health care, and make them all dig ditches or pick cotton for a living? Oh, and you might want to keep them from voting, make them ride in the back of the bus, and set up separate water fountains for them while you're at it.

Am I missing something here? When I made Aliyah, I didn't think Israel was supposed to be a Middle Eastern version of Alabama-circa-1955. Maybe they changed the pamphlets they give out to potential olim... 'cause the Israel you seem to have immigrated to sure doesn't sound like someplace I'd want to live!

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Tue Feb 28, 06:35:00 PM GMT+2  

Don, I do not believe that in the Jewish State of Israel there should be a problem allocating unequal amounts of funding to Jewish institutions that will strengthen Jewish identity within the State of Israel.

In the Jewish State of Israel, I do not feel the need to apologize that "National Priority Zones" are primarily Jewish communities throughout Israel - as that is the priority of the Jewish People in the Jewish State.

I do not believe, that in the Jewish State of Israel, we need to apologize that there will not be total equality between Jews and non-Jews, be they Arab or otherwise. This is the national home of the Jewish People, the only one we have, and as such, all policies and decsions should first and foremost have the best interests of the Jewish People and State at heart.

If there are those within Israel, auch as the Arab population, who are uncomfortable with this set up, they have plenty of Arab / Muslim countries to choose from where they might feel more at home.

You make comparisson of modern day Israel to the US of the 1950's, but your comparisson is flawed.

Israel was re-established as the Jewish State, the national home of the Jewish People - whereas the United States has a strict seperation between Church and State. There is nothing that should keep an African American living in the US from being just as American as his white counterpart. In Israel, the 1 million or so Arbs are not Jews, and short of conversiobn they never will be. Now that doesn't mean that they should be persecuted, but at the same time, so long as Israel remains a Jewish State, they will not and should not have 100% equality with their Jewish counterparts.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Tue Feb 28, 07:14:00 PM GMT+2  

This ruling is not surprising. There has been a growing amount of hatred, especially toward Orthodox Jews by the Left in Israel. An outrageous statement?...Watch this and THEN tell me that I am wrong.


Such brutality is sickening. That it is committed by Jew against Jew is almost unforgiveable.

Source: Israel National TV

By Blogger moderator, at Wed Mar 01, 02:21:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'e right on.This is the slippery slope to everything you mentioned-and why not a binational state ?

By Anonymous daat y, at Wed Mar 01, 03:31:00 AM GMT+2  

I agree with you. Israel is and must be a Jewish State. Without that there's no sense of existing a nation for the Jews. But I also believe if Israel is a democracy it must protect their minorities, only if these minorities want to belong to the state of Israel. And this is not the case. Arab parties should be banned, and all Arabs opposing Israel should not vote.

Democracy is a good system, but Europe is starting to weaken Democracy.

By Blogger Emanuel Ben-Zion, at Wed Mar 01, 04:51:00 AM GMT+2  

Why is Democracy good? Hamas came to power through Democracy, so did Hitler and the Nazis. Most of the Jewish people didnt want to leave Egypt.

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Wed Mar 01, 07:03:00 AM GMT+2  

kahane loyalist and Ze'ev: I fully agree with both of you on this one. If Israel is to maintain its integrity as the Jewish state, we must do everything in our power to not only give legal preferance for Jews rather than the malignant cancer living in our midst aka the "palestinians" but we must also disengage from most of the current "democratic" institutions in this country such as the Bagatz.

Another must is the prevention of Arab lists running for the Knesset. As I'm sure you're aware of, there's presedent for a decision to rule against these parties' running. I forget the number and year of the bagatz but it's absolutely clear that Arab MK's present a clear and present danger to the survival of the Jewish state (as do most lefties here). Meretz-Yahad, and Hadash (probably Don's election choice) serve one purpose: the denounciation of Zionism and everything that accompanies it.

Nice post, Ze'ev!

Be'tikva(still), Eitan.

By Blogger Greg, at Wed Mar 01, 09:35:00 AM GMT+2  

To Don,

Don't worry. I made Aliyah around the same time as Ze'ev - it has nothing to do with the Aliyah Shaliah, and everything to do with Ze'ev. But not just Ze'ev - it is clear that Orthodox Judaism's mainstream today is dangerously close to becoming a movement detached from reality and is already as anti-western in its fundamental principles as militant Islam.

I think Ze'ev that you were making an argument that according to you, for a state to be truly a Jewish state it cannot be democratic. I hope that Tovya from a previous post got the message.

There isn't really much to argue on this one - we have different understandings of what it means to be Jewish and what it means to be a Jewish state.

I would only say this - your desire to keep the arab population educationally weak and economically disadvantaged will only increase the arab birthrate - so your policy seems to backfire if you truly care about your imagined "demographic threat". If you truly wanted "the Arabs" to have less children, you would consider it in the interests of the Jewish people to invest in their education. Equally if you wanted to encourage Palestinian Israelis (Arab Israelis) to leave Israel - what better than establishing a Palestinian state (which we have the power to do in Yehuda V'shomron but not in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan).

So to put your two posts together - why don't we withdraw from Yehuda V'shomron - bringing the settlers back into the state's borders, create a Palestinian state which may encourage Arab Israeli "Aliyah", and increase expenditure on Arab Sector education, welfare and health care which will lower the arab birth rate.

Surely you should be in favour of all of this?

Why aren't you? Because you want there to be a demographic threat - it is good for the right for there to be a demographic threat. That is why you continue to propound this noxious lie. If there is a demographic threat, people are scared - and fear is good for the right wing politicians, fear is very very good. If your average Jewish ISraeli is afraid when he enters the kalpi he is more likely to vote for a right wing party than a left wing one. And what else is good about the lie of a demographic threat - it weakens Israelis' belief in democracy. If you keep telling people they can't have a Jewish state and be a democracy, then you make Israeli Jews choose. And when you tell them that democracy is the Arab codeword for the destruction of Israel - the choice is not that hard.

I am sorry to say that I have to agree with the statement that the rhetoric of Israel's far right, sounds no different than the people who lobbied against the Jews in AntiSemitic Europe of the 19th century.

By Anonymous H, at Wed Mar 01, 02:36:00 PM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 01, 06:15:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, I am not in favor, per se, of keeping the Arabs of Israel educationally weak and economically disadvantaged, what I said was that I do not believe, that in the Jewish State, that there needs to be 100% equality between Jews and non-Jews - that there is nothing wrong with devotinmg additional funding to Jewish communities and istitutions.

I am in favor of ensuring the basic rights of the Arabs of Israel so long as they accept the fact that the State of Israel was, is and will remain a Jewish State.

Unfortunatley for the Arabs of Israel, they do not seem ready to accept this reality, and as such, I do not feel sorry for them.

Tell me if you beleive the statements of their elected their elected officials in the Knesset reflect a willingness ot accept Israel as the Jewish State:

Ahmed Tibi:

Our platform talks about equality of rights for the Arab public as a national minority in the context of a legal battle to change the country into a state of all of its nations," Tibi said.

Azmi Bishara:

"I will never recognize Zionism even if all Arabs do," he said. "I will never concede Palestine. The battle is still long..."

Sorry Haim - until the Arabs of Israel can accept that this is a Jewish State, and forgo any aspirations ot change that reality, do not come to me for sympathy.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Mar 01, 06:15:00 PM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Mar 01, 06:47:00 PM GMT+2  

Radlauer and his ilk would lead us down the drain with Olmert & Kadima at the helm... Heaven help us!!! We cannot grant equality to the Arabs for they do not recognize Israel at all, they want to supplant Israel with their pseudo-"palestine". But Radlauer & his cohorts are too stupid to read the writing on the wall, and hopefully, will be the next - and ONLY - Jews to be disengaged!

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