Friday, July 30, 2004

Answering AIPAC

A friend of mine asked me what were the arguments in favour of Israel. "Beats me!" I wanted to say. However, to do a better job at it, I am browsing the AIPAC site. Lets see what they have to say.

They descirbe key points about Israel:

Israel is the only country in the Middle East with true free elections, a free press, freedom of religion, protection for individuals and minorities and other safeguards typical of a free society.
Yes, elections are held in Israel. But only "certified citizens" - i.e. immigrant Jews from other countries and the few Arabs remaining within Israel proper are allowed to vote. Political stiffling of dissent and minorities is not uncommon - see, for example the Azmi Bishara case. The most horrific of this is, of course, the treatment meted out to Palestinian people who reside in the Occupied Territories.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East rated "Free" by Freedom House’s report on democracy and human rights in the Middle East.
Oh sure - Palestine is certainly not free. Iraq is occupied by USA. A few others are occupied through a combination of despotic rulers, foreign (western) interference etc. What does that have to do with anything. Another country that holds elections, though highly controlled is Iran.

Independent Judiciary - Similar to the U.S. and in stark contrast to other Middle East nations, Israel has an independent judicial system, which protects the rights of individuals and operates under the principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

Yes, the judiciary is independent, but the laws themselves are biased and unfair towards the native Palestinian population.

Freedom of Religion - The Declaration of the Independence of the State of Israel guarantees freedom of religion to the entire population. Each religious community is free, by law and in practice, to exercise its faith, to administer its own internal affairs, and to visit its holy sites.

Muslim and Christian holy sites have been vandalized, destroyed and taken over to some extent. Yes, the relative restraint of the Israeli government in contrast to the extremist Jewish view towards an all out genocide or destruction of Al Aqsa, or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is appreciated. However, most Arab, Orthodox and Catholic christians suffer in access to the holy sites, like permits etc., while the Christian Zionists, mainly from USA are welcomed.

Women's Rights - Unlike any other Middle Eastern nation, Israeli women are
guaranteed equal rights and equal pay. Women are at the forefront of many
aspects of Israeli society. Israel has always had at least one woman on
its Supreme Court and Israel is the only country in the Middle East to
elect a woman, Golda Meir, to the position of Prime Minister.
This hardly means anything when Golda Meir herself has justified genocide and expulsions. Pakistan was ruled by a woman, Banazir Bhutto, India by Indira Gandhi, Turkey by Tansu Ciller.

Immigrant Society - Israel, with a current population of only 6.3 million, has taken in over 2.9 million refugees from more than 80 countries since its independence.
Sure, but these immigrants have been settled on land illegally confiscated from its native inhabitants in the settlements, or on villages ethnically cleansed (Deir Yassin).

Israel, like the United States, is a country of immigrants. Over 45% of Israelis today were born outside of Israel.

Just like the US, they sit on land taken illegally, through genocide, and campaings of massacres, murder and rape from its earlier inhabitants. Unlike the US, Israeli immigration is racist (Jews only), and furthers an excluvism in other countries (the doctrine that all Jews, from all countries belong to Israel.

Unlike many countries, Israel not only welcomes these refugees and
immigrants without limitation, it also helps them adjust to Israeli life through
a comprehensive process of “absorption.”

Hardly without limitations - only Jews are allowed. The Palestinian refugees languishing everywhere from the camps in OT, Lebanon, Syria, to the farthest corners like Scandinavia, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Pakistan are not allowed to return. Also, potential immigrants have to prove their ethnic origin to "recognised Jewish communities". Many Jews from small communities in Africa, India etc. have to go through humiliating blood and DNA tests, and dig up old records. Intermarriage among Indian and African Jews with non Jews would therefore render them less Jewish, while "white" Ashkenazi Jews are always welcome.

The Israeli government, assisted by private contributions from world Jewry, provides housing, Hebrew language classes, job training, jobs, and other social services for new immigrants.

At the cost of the natives, and through destroying the relation of Jews with their neighbours in other countries (France, Russia, Morocco) as they are told that they belong to world Jewry rather than their own countries.

Israel was established three years after the Holocaust, at least in part to provide refuge for Jews from all over the world.

It should not be forgotten that Arab countries to0 have provided safe haven to persecuted peoples. The Armenian poulation of Lebanon escaping the Ottoman wars in Armenia, the Chechen population in Turkey and Jordan, escaping Tzarist persecution, and the Jews, escaping the Nazi progroms who were welcomed to live as Jewish Jordanians prior to 1948 by King Hussein. While safety for Jews, just like the Goyim, should be provided, it has to be in cooperation and understanding, rather than through genocide of another population.

The U.S. directly assists Israel in the great humanitarian effort of bringing refugees to Israel. This year, Congress provided $60 million for the resettlement of immigrants inside Israel.

Of course. It has to stop. Not because Jews should not live in safety, but Jews, Arabs or anyone else should not be artificially transplanted, and certainly not at the cost of exiling another population.


Blogger Leila M. said...

v true. This makes me think of one of my friends who was the Torah reader here in my city, who later converted to Islam. He, being Jewish over ten years, commented a lot on what he saw when he visited Israel, as well as the Ashkenazi-Sephardic split, even within the community here in the US.

July 31, 2004 4:33 AM  

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