Amir Hetsroni

The Law of Return: Racism, idiocy, or both?

He doesn't expect an Israeli society “addicted to myths” to adopt his rational approach to immigration policy

The past week was my personal watershed. From an academic whose name rings a bell among mass communication scholars interested in studying the effects of sex and violence on television and among those who are interested in campaigns targeting the protection of freedom of speech in academia (as a result of my longstanding fight with Ariel University, which attempted unsuccessfully to get rid of me because of my unusual political views), I became the talk of the town.

One appearance in a morning talk show on Channel 2 vis-à-vis a reality TV persona did what crafting numerous op-eds and taking part in several academic panels and roundtable discussions failed to do. Amira Buzaglo, the reality TV starlet, called me a lowly character, racist and fascist. I answered: “Nothing bad would have happened if your parents had stayed in Morocco and rotted there.” She retorted that there is no difference between me and Hitler. The host of the program asked me to apologize or leave the studio. I chose to leave the studio. Crescendo. In my absence, the MC and his side-kick celebrated the successful clean-up of their realm from rotten apples, and wondered who could have guessed in advance that as a guest I would speak the way I did. Who could have guessed? Anyone who bothered to really read my articles and invited me to talk about my views concerning immigration.

Since 2009 I have published several texts that go against the further implementation of the Law of Return. This law, a cornerstone of Zionism, gives any Jew, or son of a Jew, or even grandson of a Jew, the benefit of naturalization in Israel without selection or a preliminary background check. This is a gloomy combination of racism and idiocy: racism because the law discriminates against people on the basis of their religious affiliation (or, even more severe, that of their parents or grandparents); idiotic because this law is responsible for the absorption of hundreds of thousands of people whose sole advantage is Jewish origin.

It is not a coincidence that the truly attractive countries like the USA, Canada or Australia select immigrants on the basis of totally different standards such as profession in demand, money in the bank and so on. As a result, they recruit the best migrants that the world has to offer. Israel, in contrast, chooses to cater to people who reside in third class countries and seek a quick upgrade to second class. The only thing these people have to offer is circumcision, and we take their offer without reservation. I am not against immigration per-se; I am against illogical immigration policy. If we need more computer programmers, there is no reason to bring in carpenters even if they are wearing yarmulkes or music teachers even if they pray in synagogue three times a day. When the Law of Return was enacted in 1950, one was still able to see some justification as a number of Holocaust survivors were still searching for a permanent refuge, yet 65 years later this law has lost its purpose and gone out of context.

My iconoclastic views are probably not in line with mainstream Zionism, but there are no signs of racism on my part; only evidence of a logic that might be out of synch with a society that is addicted to myths.

Hetsroni vs. Buzaglo

About the Author
Amir Hetsroni was a faculty member at Ariel University in the West Bank. He is emigrating from Israel in order to miss the next war, earn higher wages, enjoy cooler summers, and obtain a living package that is cost-effective. He has three passports and does not feel particularly worried about anti-Semitism.
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