Sunday, October 10, 2010

A shande for Israel

Just as BushCo was a source of international embarrassment for the Americans who neither supported them nor believed in their policies, Bibi Netanyahu and the Israeli right-wing is a continued source of shame for the vast majority of Jews worldwide.

The distinction between Israel and Jews is not one non-Jews make. Much of the vitriol spewed against Israel and her policies come in the form of complaints/comments about "The Jews" and "Jewish people". When people (usually Jews themselves) try to point out the difference and that the statements about the evil Jews are misdirected anti-Semitic ones, we are accused of using the bigotry card when the attack is allegedly targeted at Israel or are told that, since "Jews support Israel's right to exist" we are one and the same. Seriously, nasty comments about the Jewish cabal not only show up in comments to online postings relating to Jews, they show up in comments to reports on Park51 right alongside the anti-Muslim cracks. Note to those who say they're only bashing Israel: use the word Israel (heck, or even refer to the Israelis who support their government) don't use the word Jews/Jewish or anything else that expands your criticism well beyond your supposed target.

Despite the fact the insistance in coupling all Jews to the actions and policies of the Israeli government is far from accurate, it continues to be an uphill battle to correct the perception and that grand-supreme asshat that is Bibi Netanyahu, along with the Israeli right-wing, is doing everything they can do to make sure that misperception continues. Case in point, the loyalty oath the Israeli cabinet approved. As a Jew, I am utterly disgusted by this oath as much as I am disgusted by Israel's refusal to stop the settlements. I would find this type of oath offensive if enacted by any other government but, again, as a Jew I find its approval in Israel even more repugnant as I know the world generally sees it as a Jewish thing and conveniently ignores Jews like me, who support Israel's right to exist with safe borders (as we do with any other country) but do not support the destructive policies of the Netanyahu government.

J Street opposes the proposal Israel’s Government is considering to amend the oath that non-Jewish applicants must take to acquire Israeli citizenship.

The oath, which currently asks new citizens to pledge loyalty to the state of Israel and its laws, would now include the phrase “as a Jewish, democratic state.” Israel’s laws and its Declaration of Independence speak for themselves in affirming Israel’s Jewish and democratic nature. Adding the new language serves no purpose other than furthering the political agenda of some factions in the present governing coalition.

Further, the new language will put Israel at odds not only with other democracies, but with its stated commitment to full equality for its Arab, Druze, Muslim, Christian and other non-Jewish citizens. We are unaware of another democracy in the world that requires an oath of loyalty to the religious identity of the state. Certainly none discriminates in this manner in the conditions for citizenship on the basis of religion.

We share the concerns expressed by such leading Israelis as Deputy Prime Minister and Likud Party member Dan Meridor who said “the proposal would harm relations with Israel’s Arabs and damage the country’s international reputation,” and Minister for Minority Affairs Avishai Braverman who said “this is an outrageous, irresponsible move that pours oil on the fire of Israel’s de-legitimization around the world.” As renowned Israeli political observer Nahum Barnea put it this morning, “With this bill, Israel is buying an exit ticket from the family of nations and an entry ticket into the family of Kahane. This is an anti-Zionist bill.”
tags: Israel; Netanyahu; Middle East; Jews

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