There are no second-class citizens, only second-rate democrats
Before I start criticizing the newest discriminatory Israeli law, let me make very clear that racism and other bigotries are part of almost any group and every nation. These are never used as a pretext to justify delegitimizing those people or states except in one case, that of the Jewish Nation State. Therefore, no matter how flawed Israel may be, delegitimizing it, is baseless hatred against Jews or anti-Semitism. I will have no part in that.
Sometimes we owe a lot of gratitude to stupid or evil individuals. Their arguments sometimes give us clearer guidance than any of our good ideas (where not to go). So hurray for this imbecile op-ed that claims that Arab Palestinian leaders always fought for one State for one people (Gentile Arabs) with one official language (Arabic) and one state religion (Islam), so Israel is OK when it does the same: one State, only centered around Jews, Hebrew and Judaism. Of course, this is too crazy. Israel is not the counterpart of an Arab Palestinian State – it is the alternative to it.
Whether there will ever be an Arab Palestinian State or not, and whether it will be in Gaza, part of the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon or the Sinai (or combinations), there will be non-Jews living in Israel and they need to be equal for the law.
Israel needs to be Jewish, the Homeland of the Jewish People, but it also needs to be thoroughly democratic with no second-class citizens. That can be a challenge but there is no compromise on either of these two principles. I’m not the only one who thinks so. A recent poll shows that 60% of Israeli Jews think that the law should guarantee equality for all Israeli citizens. That means that when we see high percentages agreeing with the new law, that happened by believing the lie that the new law does not threaten equality.
I must admit that I feel frustrated and embarrassed as a Jew that my country just adopted a law making the two million Arab Israelis second-rate nationals. I haven’t written about this before because I couldn’t believe that this would become law here. Of course, I’m very proud of our President who has made fun of this new law as much as he’s allowed.
I’m also proud of the high-raking Druze IDF personnel that has resigned and I really hope that the Druze community (different from Druze MKs who caved in and Druze leaders who’re about to) will not fall for the “special” considerations that have just been offered (to separate them from other Gentile Israelis) which are a total embarrassment – of us. The only honorable way is to wholly reject the nonsense, as this Druze mayor did.
Reportedly, the ‘Druze’ amendment would ensure eligibility for benefits and help achieve social equality of members of minority populations of all faiths and communities who serve in Israel’s security forces. May we therefore assume that Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews will soon equal Israeli Arabs? O sorry, that won’t happen because they sit in the government. Some are more equal than others.
Now I know how USers felt when their democracy had produced a money-grabbing lying abusive belligerent bigoted lazy clown for President.
And this is how one answers those clever people who try to argue that what is wrong is right, that the new law does not create any inequality. Look at the PM’s proposed corrections for the Druse. What is there to right if there were nothing wrong with the law for Gentiles?!
I hope that our High Court of Justice will shoot down the rubbish law.
Lack of Equality is the Problem, Not the Solution
Meanwhile, we need to honor all Arabs. Even if their majority would hate Jews – let’s honor their pure soul. We don’t need to go kamikaze, give up defending ourselves, intermarry ourselves out of existence, bend over backwards. But we do need to show that lack of equality, implicating hatred or at least contempt, is the problem, not the solution.
We don’t need to honor Arab Palestinians because we feel for them. We need to do so, so that we can live with ourselves, elevated among the Nations, as we should, worthy of being their teachers. Of course, we need to respect ourselves, as I recently stressed, but not just ourselves.
A People for 2000 years seen as second-class (and in many counties still) must not do this to others now we finally have some national power. I can’t understand that this shame is put on us under the leadership of a PM who has a deep knowledge of history and love for the Jewish People.
Israel is Different
For the record, I would like to point out that the vast majority of the Israeli population (Jews and Muslims) has roots in Arab countries and culture. Different from the situation in Europe and the US, Whites are in the minority here. That does not erase racism, just like women being in the majority does not undo sexism.
And among Jews, the intermarriage rate between Arab and Western Jews is so high that the two segments cannot be told apart in statistic research. So much for us being racist.
A total lack of making a difference between Jews and Muslims is in Israeli health care, where all doctors and nurses work and patients lie side-by-side, regardless of their roots or religions. Only the cleaners are all Muslims – they’re not part of the bubble.
Also, the IDF tries to be a melting pot for all those who serve, with many rules trying to support minorities to be in the armed forces in equality.
It’s probably no coincidence that especially Druze generals and physicians protest the apartheid legislation.
Last but not least, a sobering thought or two about the un-holiness of law.
The Futility and Immorality of Civil Law
Jewish religious Law agrees that we should obey Civil Law (unless it’s totally immoral, like Nazi law) because, without any government, people would eat each other alive. Generally, some law is better than no law.
(Some argue that in the Jewish State, Jewish Law should govern so that here we should not have Civil Law, but that’s a separate discussion.)
A senior Israeli lawyer who is religious once told me: Whoever looks at all jurisprudence, judicial president-creating decisions by the Israeli Supreme Court? It’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Comes another law or interpretation and the presidents even become irrelevant. But look at Torah Law. The Mishnah of thousands of years ago is still studied and relevant. Because the former is nonsensical and the latter is Truth.
(Sure, it is hard when rabbis were erroneous, like declaring Gentiles (originally: idol worshippers) subhuman or the sexuality of homosexuals an error of G^d. This is hard to emerge from because such mistakes stay relevant until consensus removes them. Don’t hold your breath.)
This all came to mind when I thought about the catastrophe about to happen with Trump proposing and Congress approving a next conservative justice to the US Supreme Court. A disaster for decades that only can be stopped by the Lord Himself – and He tries to stay out of politics.
Hard-won progress in interpreting the supposedly superior US Constitution suddenly will completely disappear. Support for women deciding to keep their own pregnancies or not, will melt away. Gay marriage and their right to protection against discrimination will become obsolete. And much-needed change like a ban on assault rifles in hands of the public or protection for transgenders will stay out of reach. Though, no doubt, state-sponsored slavery will not be reintroduced.
Not because they are good or bad ideas but because the majority of politically approved judges happens to be present-day conservative.
Nothing shows better than this arbitrary fluidity, that State Law is not about Truth or Justice at all but rather is futility, the craze of the times and a dictatorship of the (chance) majority. Moral sensitivity and progress develop within the People, not within the law.
It shames the (rule of) law. Or better: It shows the honor we should (not) feel for it. Civil Law is something to obey but not to glorify. It’s still better than Nazi Law or no law, but for the rest, nothing to be proud of.