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What is wrong with Israel?

July 22, 2011

You don’t need to go very far or analyze obscure and subtly-worded Israeli discriminatory laws to see what is wrong with Israel. In fact, you may even subscribe to the notion that Israel’s problems are a result of a “temporary” occupation (44 years and counting), which will end at some point and then Israel’s problems will be over. This is false.

Let’s just look at the first verse of Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva (“The Hope”), for a clue:

As long as in the heart within
A Jewish soul still yearns
And onwards, towards the ends of the East

So there it is, in plain sight for all to see: 20% of Israel’s citizens, who do not subscribe to the Jewish religion, are required to salute the Jewish flag and sing the Jewish anthem about a “Jewish soul” to the tune of a European folk song. Of course, neither are those 20% blessed with a “Jewish soul” (as a side note, the “Jewish soul” expression stems from an arrogant Talmudic concept that Jews have a soul, while gentiles don’t, or at best have a lower-level soul), nor have they ever had to yearn or look to the east because they were the natives of that land, having lived there for countless generations. Yet under proposed new laws, the Jewish State will require them to swear an oath of loyalty, while the Jewish government legislates more laws that discriminate and target their basic rights.

The national anthem is of course only an anecdote – it allows a glimpse into the exclusive nature of the Jewish State and its founding principles. You can see the tenets of Zionism and the Jewish state in all Israeli government policies, from education in kindergarten to military and to demographic and discriminatory policies. When Netanyahu uses the term “we”, he does not claim to represent all Israelis but rather the Jews, both in Israel and abroad for the Jewish State claims to be the national home of an extra-territorial nebulous entity known as “the Jewish people”, rather than  all its citizens as is the case with the modern state.

I am here in the unenviable position of having to tell my fellow Jews that a “Jewish state” on a land inhabited by others was never a viable ideology, certainly not one that conforms with modern western and universal values. It is a colonial project, nothing more, nothing less. This colonization may have had some “attenuating circumstances” initially but in essence a Jewish state is no different from an Aryan state, an Islamic state, a White state or a Christian state. All of these will inevitably pursue exclusive and discriminatory policies and in the case of Israel, it also takes the form of ethnic cleansing – sometimes through war and sometimes through repressive and administrative means. But the goal is always the same: as much land with as few non-Jews as possible.

And while I am at it, I will give you another piece of unsavory news: Jews have no more “right to the land” in Palestine than Boers have a “right to the land” in South Africa. “Rights to the land” from 2000 years ago based on “national  claim” by immigrants is a problematic concept (to say the least) and if you believe in such ideology, you must also be sympathetic to the 1930’s German attempt to “reclaim” property and land from Jews to Aryans based on a national claim. At least in their case, there was no question of who was there first. Both concepts are indefensible.

So there you have it: the Zionist ideology, which created a “Jewish state” and “lebensraum” (and continues to do so) for Jews on a land populated by non-Jews is the source of Israel’s problems. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the contravention of Geneva Convention refugee rights, Israel’s discriminatory laws, the “demographic problem”, the occupation, colonization and apartheid policy in the occupied territories are just symptoms of the main illness, which is the exclusive Jewish state and the Zionist ideology. To most Jews, having been indoctrinated from childhood with Zionism, such statements will inevitably fall on deaf ears and many will interpret it as an assault on their very being. For anyone else in the West and elsewhere (with the exception of religious fundamentalists) it will make perfect sense: what you yourself hate, don’t do to others.

The solution is simple: abandon Zionist ideology, make Israel a state of all its citizens, separate religion and state and create a new Israeli identity, independent on race, religion or “nationality”. This is the lesson that has been learned in the West after rivers of blood were shed.  Once more Israelis realize this inherent flaw in their system, when the world at large disapproves of a “Jewish state” and denounces Zionism, a future Israeli leader will emerge who will be able to perform the long overdue and inevitable surgery for long term stability and integration in the Middle East. At its current state, Israel is no different from the Crusader State and will follow the same inevitable path.

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