Friday, September 11, 2009

Keeping Israel On The Defensive As Long As Possible With Lie After Lie

This article was originally posted on GM's Place and is reposted here with the permission of the author.
Keeping Israel On The Defensive As Long As Possible With Lie After Lie

Alex Grobman

Opponents of Israel repeatedly accuse her of being an occupier, disenfranchising the Arabs and humiliating them in order to keep the government on the defensive. The objective of these alleged human rights violations is to pressure the international community to establish a separate Palestinian state according to Bar-Ilan professor Ron Schleifer.

One the most pernicious of these recurring lies is that Israel is an apartheid state.

The dispute between Israel and the Arabs is not racial. Zionism is not a racial or a discriminatory movement any more than any other national liberation movement in Europe in the 19th century or in Africa and Asia in the 20th century. Jews do not constitute a separate race, even though Nazi pseudoscience branded them as such. Arabs are not a separate race and are not different than Jews. Zionism is less discriminatory and racist than most other movements, because it is defined in religious terms—not ethnic ones. Rabbinical law proscribes that the mother determines the religion of the child regardless of the race or religion of the father.

Practically every member-state of the United Nations practices some form of discrimination against those not in the dominant group—whether according to race, language, culture, religion, sex or origin. Citizenship in Arab countries is determined by native parentage. Immigrants from one Arab state to another find it is nearly impossible to become naturalized citizens, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Kuwait. Those Arab countries allowing foreign Arabs to be naturalized reject Arabs from Israel.

Jordanian law prohibits Jews from living in Jordan. In 1954, Jordan passed a law conferring citizenship to all former residents of Palestine—except Jewish ones. Civil Law No. 6 that governed the West Bank under Jordanian occupation, stated: “Any man will be a Jordan subject if he is not Jewish.”

Phyllis Chesler, a psychotherapist, observed that Jews in Israel are “black, brown, olive, yellow and white. Thus, Israel has not constructed an apartheid state based on racial differences or concepts of racial purity and impurity. Their policies are a direct result of security concerns and have everything to do with reality of terrorism and nothing to do with race.”

Significantly, Arabs living in Israel are guaranteed equality. Israel’s Proclamation of Independence declares that the state “will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; … and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” Under apartheid South Africa, blacks were not citizens of the country and were not permitted to vote.

Although the infant state was embroiled in a war for its own survival, its leaders called “upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions, provisional or permanent.”

The country’s steadfast determination to remain an explicitly Jewish state “does not make it any more racist than countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Mauritania, which constitutionally call themselves Islamic States,” the London Observer noted.

Aharon Barak, former chief justice of Israel’s Supreme Court, explains Zionism was not based on discrimination against non-Jews, but on their integration into the Jewish national home. Zionism was the response to European antisemitism. Certainly the values of Israel as a democratic state stand opposed to discrimination and demand equality. A democratic state is obliged to honor the basic rights of every individual in the state to equality and to protect them. Equality is a complex right. Treating individuals differently does not always imply discrimination. Nor does treating individuals in an identical manner automatically imply equality.

Equality is not absolute and may be infringed upon. But that is only in the context of a law that maintains the value of public safety, which is a valid purpose and does not exceed that which is necessary for the survival of the State of Israel.

Israel was created in 1948 in one-sixth of the area allotted by the Balfour Declaration. The Allies had gained a vast area from the Turks during the war, and the British took one percent of the land the Great Powers acquired from the Turks to establish a Jewish Homeland. In appreciation for having liberated the Arabs from the “tyranny of a bestial conqueror,” and providing them with independent states, Lord Balfour hoped they would begrudge the Jews “that small notch in what are now Arab territories being given to the people who for all these hundreds of years have been separated from it.” The Arabs found even this small accommodation to the Jews unacceptable.

For Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, “The real opponents of Zionism can never be placated by any diplomatic formula: their objection to the Jews is that the Jews exist, and in this particular case, they exist in Palestine.”

Dr. Alex Grobman is a Hebrew University trained historian. He is the author of a number of books, including Nations United: How The U.N. Undermines Israel and The West, Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? and a forthcoming book on Israel's moral and legal right to exist as a Jewish State. He is a former director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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