Zionism vs the Hearts of Children

From the New York Times, on the deliberations to export the children of foreign workers:

“We all feel and understand the hearts of children,” said the prime minister and leader of Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the start of the cabinet meeting on Sunday. “But on the other hand, there are Zionist considerations and ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel. The problem is that these two components clash.”

Telling, Very telling…

Filed under Zionism

107 Responses to “Zionism vs the Hearts of Children”

  1. Never let a solid ideology get in the way of being a decent person.


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 3rd, 2010 at 12:07 am
  2. Certainly, when difficult national questions arise we must be guided by the hearts of children. We must do things for the children, always for the children….


    Eric · August 3rd, 2010 at 10:11 am
  3. yes, Eric. Always for the children. How f’ing heartless can you be? Are you a parent? If you’re not, simply put yourself into the shoes of your parents. Damn straight always for the children.


    Justin · August 3rd, 2010 at 10:54 am
  4. de·moc·ra·cy [dih-mok-ruh-see]: a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.


    Justin · August 3rd, 2010 at 11:06 am
  5. >>“yes, Eric. Always for the children. How f’ing heartless can you be? Are you a parent? If you’re not, simply put yourself into the shoes of your parents. Damn straight always for the children.”

    Well you’ve figured it out, Justin. People who disagree with you just hate kids. It seems there are really just two primary classes of humans on this planet: There are those who agree with Justin, and there are the indecent.

    But certainly every decent person agrees that difficult and complex issues of sovereignty, culture, national resources, economics and security must be decided in favor of “the children”. Which children? Whose children? It matters not. What’s important is that we be for the children…the children…always for the children…


    Eric · August 3rd, 2010 at 1:22 pm
  6. f’ing heartless indeed… this not the israel that was supposed to be.


    Oren · August 3rd, 2010 at 4:37 pm
  7. So, obviously most of us find Netanyahu’s statement fairly reprehensible. But I do not understand why people (even on this website) aren’t capable of even considering the idea that this sort of thing may be a natural outgrowth of the Zionist enterprise. Isn’t it at least possible that a state whose first concern is to be “Jewish” will have to sacrifice other things in order to make that a reality?

    I suppose you could say that it’s not “Jewish” to expel children from places. But we all know (or, at least most of us do) that when people have said “Jewish state,” they emphatically did not have some sort of nebulous moral sensibility in mind. They were thinking of one of these things:
    1)a place where Jews (who could not escape their Jewishness) could come together
    2)a place marked as Jewish by things like kosher restaurants, etc
    3)some mixture of these, and possibly other stuff that I can’t think of now.

    So while I think that expelling children is bad, and that (contra Eric) how we treat children could be one good bellwether for the health of a society in general, I’m entirely unsurprised by this move. These kids aren’t Jewish. They don’t feel entitled to the land by any measure except the fact that they happen to live there (as opposed to some sort of birthright thing). They don’t have any vested interest in maintaining the Jewish character of the state, however defined. Thus their presence is pretty much useless (and possibly counterproductive) to the maintenance of an explicitly “Jewish” state.

    In fact, I’m not sure that in general, it’s possible to ensure the continued Jewishness of a state democratically. I’m not sure that a Jewish and democratic state is possible. And events like this certainly don’t bolster my confidence in such a possibility.


    miri · August 3rd, 2010 at 8:13 pm
  8. While not all realpolitik decisions can be made while consulting children, how a culture chooses to treat defenseless children certainly says something about its identity. Cultures that dismiss the pain of children as irrelevant to state business, or consistently make “difficult” decisions without humanitarianism being a factor, are not cultures I want to live in. Is how a government views children really irrelevant? Eric, I wonder if you’d be making as much fun if we were talking about Sudanese child soldiers or child prostitutes around the world (and in Israel and here, for that matter).

    Sure, not every decision can be made out of pure idealism. Still, as someone who has a child, and who is concerned about the future, you bet I am watching how governments think about children. That’s not romanticism, it’s enlightened self-interest as well as concern for the planet as a whole.


    Yeilah · August 3rd, 2010 at 10:40 pm
  9. Miri is 100% correct. This is a natural outgrowth of nationalism. So, Eric, rather than resorting to your usual sarcasm why don’t you try and defend the deportation of 400 children in the name of Jewish character…


    Justin · August 3rd, 2010 at 10:46 pm
  10. Yeilah, right on.

    miri, fine points. Yet, I can’t help but disagree that no one had a moral sensibility in mind in constructing the Jewish state. A state built to escape oppression and hatred elsewhere has an implied moral responsibility to do it better than it was done in the distasteful lands where the population came from. And for religious Zionists, there is absolutely a moral sensibility at work, provided by halachah amongst the Orthodox and by something a tad more nebulous, but just as morally oriented amongst liberal religious Jews.

    To excuse this behavior by saying that what we meant by a Jewish state is that we wanted it to be full of Jews and we meant nothing else by it is astounding.


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 4th, 2010 at 9:19 am
  11. David is correct to point out that Zionists did have a type of “moral sensibility” in mind in constructing a Jewish state. However, when they came into conflict with the nationalistic goals of a ‘Jewish state’, those “moral sensibilities” were continually ‘suspended.’ This is why Miri’s points are still on target–if your priority is to establish and to maintain a ‘Jewish state’, then whatever moral sensibilities (such as ‘democracy’) might be present in theory are made irrelevant by the implicitly anti-democratic *structure* of political Zionism.

    So here’s a question for the Jewschool readers: if (strictly hypothetically, of course) it turned out that ‘Jewish state’ and ‘democratic state’ were structurally incompatible, which one would you choose? We can all argue about these or those particular details, but this basic question of priorities ought to be foregrounded as well.

    (If one of the main contributors also wanted to post such a question as a one-line entry on the front page, it would be interesting to see the different responses.)


    ben azzai · August 4th, 2010 at 11:04 am
  12. ‘Jewish State’ is probably a good example of syntactic ambiguity. is the state jewish with regard to its values (tikkun olam, etc), or is it a state full of jews?

    how funny would it be if all along this was all just a huge misunderstanding? my bad!


    Oren · August 4th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
  13. Oren, that’s a great point. For me, a Jewish anything must reflect Jewish values. I don’t see value in being Jewish for the sake of being Jewish. When we can’t keep people involved in the Jewish community, we are upset because people are leaving the Jewish community. But we can’t seem to phrase it in any other way. We can’t tell the people leaving what they’re missing out on.

    ben azzai, I pick democracy. In any true democracy, I am free to be the Jew I want to be and be a part of the Jewish community I want to be a part of. But every other system endangers the freedom, including the quasi-democracy we have now Israel where the law prefers not only Jews over others, but the practices and communities of some increasingly radical Jews over the practices of all the other Jews.

    But I think it is possible. In America we live in both a democracy and a culture that is largely influenced by Christian values. Japan is a democracy greatly influenced by Shinto and Buddhist religious values. There must some path that will allow Israel to be like that. I just don’t know what it is.


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 4th, 2010 at 2:16 pm
  14. US and Japan aren’t great examples. The US is also. Quasi-democracy that prefers the wealthy and white. Japan is only a democracy because we bombed the shit out of them and reconstructed their government and military.

    Only Israelis get to pick what their govt looks like. I just want them to be honest about it. Of they prefer ethnocentric racist policy, admit it. If they prefer liberal democratic values then buck up and demand it of the govt. Same goes for us in the US. We accept te lies that we live in a democracy. The. There are those that try to demand more of our govt and choose to live their private lives according to their own values.

    Governments exist to withhold power from people. We cannot wait on parliamentary procedure to secure our values. We must simply choose to live them. If Americans and Israelis had any backbone we would not put up with this bullshit and fall for empty campaign promises of “hope,” “change” and “security”.

    This is an old story. Find me a government that actually supports its citizens other than perhaps Butan I know of none….


    Justin · August 4th, 2010 at 2:40 pm
  15. Israel might be the only JCC in the whole world that requires new members to be jewish!


    Oren · August 4th, 2010 at 3:45 pm
  16. No matter how Japan got to be the way it is, it’s a thriving democracy now. Just because we bomb the shit out of a place doesn’t mean they’ll turn into a good democracy. Iraq or Afghanistan anyone?


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 4th, 2010 at 5:03 pm
  17. it does matter, in fact, because you cited Japan as a “shinto influenced” democracy, but that is, in fact, a fallacy. It is a forced democracy at the hand of an invading nation. Shintoism is emperor worship mixed with shrine worship, so how is Shintoism and democracy compatible? And had we bombed the shit out of Iraq and Afghanistan to the same degree as we did Japan, we probably could have reconstructed a democracy and military to our liking there, as well…


    Justin · August 4th, 2010 at 7:08 pm
  18. Well, Shinto is many things in many time periods. Today, it’s mostly an aesthetic and ritual tradition that ordinary Japanese use to bless their cars and cell phones. It’s not emperor worship. The emperor is still the head of the Shinto priesthood, yes, but he’s not worshipped per se. QEII is also the head of the Anglican church, but it’s not arguable that Great Britain isn’t a democratic state.

    I suppose we should be real with ourselves though. Cultures and governments don’t always map onto each other perfectly. I should re-phrase my metaphor. The US government presides over a culture that is largely influenced by its Christian majority and Christian history. Since the US government is a democracy, that majority governs. The Japanese government (no matter who is responsible for its current form) is also a democracy, presiding in this case over a culture influenced heavily by Shinto/Buddhism.

    I want Israeli culture to be a Jewish culture, but with room, as there is in Japan and the US, for minority ethnicities and religions. And I’d like for a democratic government to preside over that.


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 4th, 2010 at 7:32 pm
  19. I want Israeli culture to be a Jewish culture, but with room, as there is in Japan and the US, for minority ethnicities and religions. And I’d like for a democratic government to preside over that.

    So obviously, I think this sounds better than the current situation. But, again, I want to emphasize that I do not think there is any democratic way to ensure a “Jewish culture,” however defined. The nature of democracy, as I understand it, is that cultural institutions, languages, and laws are subject to the will of the people. As such, it’s entirely possible that a democratic Israel could end up looking like something fairly unlike Judaism.

    One can only ensure the maintenance of a Jewish culture (i.e. be sure that the citizens won’t at some point vote for some other kind of culture, or language, or law) by non-democratic means. That’s why the state has no vested interest in taking care of non-Jewish citizens/guest workers/children (except, I suppose, when said people might be able to serve in the army). And actually, it seems to me that sociologically speaking, the concern of Netanyahu et al is perfectly rational. Demographic shifts do influence the direction and cultural character of a country.


    miri · August 4th, 2010 at 10:23 pm
  20. I went to Brandeis, which pretty much anyone would argue has a Jewish feel to it. Brandeis currently hovers around 50% Jewish (they can’t legally acquire stats on this, but there are yearly optional demographic polls that include religious affiliation). Even though, over 60 years, the Jewish population at ‘Deis has dropped dramatically, the feel of the University has remained Jewish. My guess is that this is what would (will?) happen with Israel.

    Israel’s history is Jewish. Many many many Jews live there and will continue to live there and move there. Most of the residents speak Hebrew. Jewish holidays are nationally observed. Even if the percentage of Jews goes down and the culture adapts to allow for better integration of minority groups, I’m guessing that Israel will still retain its Jewish character, at least for quite a while. I don’t think this kind of enforcement is necessary. And it is certainly not ethical, or at all in line with MY Judaism.


    Shoshie · August 4th, 2010 at 10:55 pm
  21. >I want Israeli culture to be a Jewish culture, but with room, as >there is in Japan and the US, for minority ethnicities and >religions. And I’d like for a democratic government to preside >over that.

    I’d very much like to see this too. Jewish Israelis can work on “Jewish character” in cultural and societal ways, and also accept the fluid interchange of cultures that occurs in a democracy. Legislating the state’s identity so strongly (though I deeply understand why the state began that way) is now dragging Israel toward an identity as an oppressive quasi-theocracy. This is a style of government with a long history, but not an identity I admire.


    Yeilah · August 4th, 2010 at 11:14 pm
  22. And, regarding the issue of immigration, and the child deportions:

    Nobody in this thread is even addressing all of the problems with immigrant workers, not just in Israel but in the entire Western world. Ralph Nader talks about these issues all of the time regarding America.

    In terms of Israel, what does it mean to have hundreds-of-thousands of foreign workers in the country?:

    1. Increased unemployment for Israelis.
    2. Wages are driven down for labor-intensive jobs.
    3. Israeli money leaves the country.
    4. The burden on the social networks to take care of the workers.
    5. And, yes, the issue in the demographic balance, in a country intended to have an overwhelmingly Jewish population.

    We aren’t talking about political asylum seekers here; we are discussing economic immigrants.

    Of course, nobody wants to see children taken out of the place where they are born and grow up, but by the way, aren’t they leaving with there families for the most part?

    What is the “heartless” Israeli government to do, have an open-door immigration policy to millions of foreign workers?


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 4:17 am
  23. I just want them to be honest about it. Of they prefer ethnocentric racist policy, admit it.

    Ok. I am being honest. I want the state of Israel to be many things, but bottom line is I want it to be a state intended to be a place for Jews to live, an ethnocentric state. There are about 190 nations on this planet, and almost 7 billion people. I think it’s ok if we have one tiny country, with a tiny population, that is basically supposed to be for Jews.

    Granted, we should try to work to make that state a much better place than it is, and in doing so attempt to implement the best of liberal Western democratic principles, socialism, and our Jewish values. And, of course we have to do a better job in upholding the civil rights of those non-Jews who live in Israel. But Israel should be for Jews, I’m not ashamed to say it. Either you should admit as such, or take miri’s anti-Zionist line. All of these other theories are schitzophrenic. What pure liberal Western democracy would have something like the Law of Return?

    And really, is this whole conversation not a bit chavunistic to begin with? When we say “democracy” we really mean the American system of government in 2010. Granted, America is probably the most just, successful society in human history. But, it is not a perfect place. Maybe the situations in North American and in the Middle East are just not so similar?


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 4:24 am
  24. Even though, over 60 years, the Jewish population at ‘Deis has dropped dramatically, the feel of the University has remained Jewish. My guess is that this is what would (will?) happen with Israel.

    I imagine that this is true, at least (as you said, Shoshie), for awhile. But I want to emphasize an important difference between Brandeis and Israel, which is, of course, that Brandeis University is not a democracy. It has no interest in being a democracy. It is governed by the president and admin and some kind of governing board, regents or whomever. So the Jewish flavor of Brandeis is hardly an accident or a manifestation of the will of the people – and given the nature of the institution, there’s no need for it to be.

    But given Israel’s claim to democratic status (spurious though this may be), its obligations seem pretty different. Especially when people’s lives and freedom are at stake.


    miri · August 5th, 2010 at 7:39 am
  25. Especially when people’s lives and freedom are at stake

    miri–ok, I have another point awaiting moderation, in which I agree with you that Israel really isn’t a democracy in the sense of what we know as liberal Western democracies.

    Still, regarding the deportation issue. Is it such a clear violation of Jewish values to deport these children, and families? At first blush it seems so.

    But is it a Jewish value to try to develop a situation in which foreign workers are no longer brought to Israel to work for criminally-low wages, under terrible conditions (especially after their legal status expires?)

    Is it a Jewish value to try to ensure that people who already live in Israel (including Arabs, btw.) are able to find employment, and at a decent, living wage?

    Is it a Jewish value to prevent the deportation of innocent children?

    I don’t have the answers, obviously. But, why is it so cut and dry, on this issue?


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 8:07 am
  26. @J1-
    The difference between America’s situation and Israel’s situation is that most illegal workers in America came to America on their own fruition. Israel had active campaigns in countries like the Philippines and Thailand so they wouldn’t have to employ Arabs.

    Israel created this situation for themselves. Not to mention they are ignoring the opportunity to teach these children Hebrew, assimilate them into Israeli society and create tax paying, army serving, election voting Israeli citizens. No, it’s much easier to deport the children…

    To compare America’s problem with undocumented workers and Israel’s decision to deport 400 children is disingenuous at best and misinformed at worst.


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 9:16 am
  27. Even Ehud Barak thinks this is inhumane!!! www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=183658

    “The State of Israel cannot expel hundreds of children,” Barak said. “It is not Jewish or humane and will scar the entire Israeli society.”


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 11:08 am
  28. @Justin.

    Ok. I’ve tried to enumerate some actual reasons–while acknowledging that I really don’t have all of the answers to these problems.

    Maybe you could actually address some of the points I tried to raise . . . or maybe I’m just being my usual disingenuous self.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 12:22 pm
  29. @J1-

    you’re addressing the problem that contemporary industrialized societies have with foreign workers. those problems are VERY VERY real. What Israel is doing is attempting to deport 400 children, SOME OF WHOM ARE ISRAELI CITIZENS BY THEIR OWN LAWS!!!! Israel can deport all of the illegal immigrants it wants to. No one seems to be arguing that. The concern the world is having is why on earth would they deport 400 children? Those children are NOT foreign laborers. They are children. They are not the same drain on society as adults are. Not to mention they have the chance to assimilate them into society. Oh, wait, they’re not Jewish. And now the real issue rises to the surface.


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
  30. Shoshie, quick story: back one summer when I was working at a water park in israel, i remember yelling at a bunch of arabs in arabic to keep them from sitting on a … not sure what its called in english … (darabzine). anyways, they dismissed me right away and continued to sit on it when yosi, my arab coworker, yelled at them in hebrew to get off of it, which they did right away. it was at this moment I realized that hebrew was here to stay in the middle east…


    Oren · August 5th, 2010 at 2:32 pm
  31. @Justin. You’re right, but it’s all part of the larger issue of foreign workers and immigration. That these children are the offspring of foreign workers should make that clear, no? I’m missing something, you say that Israel can deport all of the illegal immigrants that it wants, but not children? So, should the government simply wait 13 years to deport some of these children?

    In any case, you had challenged Eric to give some reasons for these deportation. I have tried, but not unusually, failed to convince anyone here.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 5:39 pm
  32. by Israel’s own law, children born in the State of Israel are Israeli citizens. I do not know the exact number, but according to almost every report I read on the issue, a certain number of these children fall into that category. The child of a foreign worker is not a foreign worker. I do not condone to act of expelling or deporting foreign workers, legal or illegal. But I do not make the laws in Israel or anywhere else. I think it is ESPECIALLY reprehensible to deport children, ESPECIALLY children who have never known another country and ALL THE MORE SO if that child is ACTUALLY A CITIZEN!!! And even Ehud Barak (no beacon of morality or ethics) thinks it’s gross! I’d still love to hear from Eric on why it’s okay to deport children. It sounds to me like you, J1, don’t necessarily think it is.

    Your reasons for being concerned about foreign workers are valid, but have much more weight in a society like America. America has not imported its foreign workers, it has dealt with a steady influx of legal and illegal workers for decades. Israel, on the other hand, spent years actively attracting foreign labor for the sole reason of not enlisting Arab labor. If that’s not pure racism, I don’t know what is.


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 5:59 pm
  33. My comment above is awaiting approval but, yes, I really don’t have a problem with the state of Israel’s ethnocentric bias. It never has been, and probably never will be, what we consider a pure, liberal, Western democracy. I’ve never lost any sleep over that.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 6:02 pm
  34. And, you’re right, Israel has made enumerable mistakes since 1967, but why can’t the government try to fix things?

    Do you think the settlements were a mistake? They were built with the government’s encouragement. Does that mean the government can’t take an about-face on that issue?


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 6:05 pm
  35. that’s why I love Zionists. they are against racism when it excludes Jews but support it when it excludes non-Jews. brilliant.


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 6:09 pm
  36. Ok. We’ve been over this before. If wanting the state of Israel to be a nation-state intended for Jews is racism . . . then I am a racist.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 6:15 pm
  37. but why on earth is it okay to have a nation-state for Jews at the exclusion of others if the whole purpose, at least as I was taught growing up, was that Jews were excluded. We are clearly not learning from our history if we create a state that excludes others in the name of Jewish continuity. And talk about a great way to spread anti-Semitism in the world. sheesh.


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 6:44 pm
  38. and i’m sorry, do you really not see the insanity of this thought process? thai or filipino worker=okay, until they’re not okay then we deport them. arab worker=okay, but only if we can’t find a thai filipino to do it…


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 6:47 pm
  39. I tried to outline above reasons why the use of foreign workers has been a mistake, for the most part. So, Thai and Filipino worker, “not ok.” Palestinian workers are a lot more “ok,” but that policy too was by and large a mistake. It was the policy of de facto annexation of Gaza and the West Bank, which was a tragic decision.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 6:55 pm
  40. I just want them to be honest about it. Of they prefer ethnocentric racist policy, admit it.

    Ok. I am being honest. I want the state of Israel to be many things, but bottom line is I want it to be a state intended to be a place for Jews to live, an ethnocentric state. There are about 190 nations on this planet, and almost 7 billion people. I think it’s ok if we have one tiny country, with a tiny population, that is basically supposed to be for Jews.

    Granted, we should try to work to make that state a much better place than it is, and in doing so attempt to implement the best of liberal Western democratic principles, socialism, and our Jewish values. And, of course we have to do a better job in upholding the civil rights of those non-Jews who live in Israel. But Israel should be for Jews, I’m not ashamed to say it. Either you should admit as such, or take miri’s anti-Zionist line. All of these other theories are schitzophrenic. What pure liberal Western democracy would have something like the Law of Return?

    And really, is this whole conversation not a bit chavunistic to begin with? When we say “democracy” we really mean the American system of government in 2010. Granted, America is probably the most just, successful society in human history. But, it is not a perfect place. Maybe the situations in North American and in the Middle East are just not so similar?

    This is just my view. I don’t really understand the “Zionism,” of the Jewschool kind. miri’s (and maybe Justin’s ) anti-Zionism makes a lot more sense.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 6:57 pm
  41. I want the state of Israel to be many things, but bottom line is I want it to be a state intended to be a place for Jews to live, an ethnocentric state. There are about 190 nations on this planet, and almost 7 billion people. I think it’s ok if we have one tiny country, with a tiny population, that is basically supposed to be for Jews.

    Granted, we should try to work to make that state a much better place than it is, and in doing so attempt to implement the best of liberal Western democratic principles, socialism, and our Jewish values. And, of course we have to do a better job in upholding the civil rights of those non-Jews who live in Israel. But Israel should be for Jews, I’m not ashamed to say it. Either you should admit as such, or take an anti-Zionist line. All of these other theories are schitzophrenic. What pure liberal Western democracy would have something like the Law of Return?


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 6:59 pm
  42. @Justin. I keep trying to provide a longer answer as to the question of Zionism and ethnic discrimination.

    Bottom line is that the anti-Zionism of miri (and maybe you) is completely valid and makes perfect sense to me . . . but the schitzophrenic “Israel must be a liberal Western democracy and Jewish state” arguments are illogical. It just can’t be both.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 7:02 pm
  43. That doesn’t mean, btw., that I don’t think Israel must do a better job in ensuring the civil rights of its non-Jewish citizens, or in trying to build a much better society, based indeed on many of the best principles of liberal Western democracy, and socialism, and Jewish values.

    But, to me at least, it’s ok to have one tiny nation, out of about 190, with a few million citizens, out of about 7 billion people on this Earth, intended to be for Jews.


    Jonathan1 · August 5th, 2010 at 7:09 pm
  44. it’s Israel who purports to be both, haver.


    Justin · August 5th, 2010 at 7:16 pm
  45. It’s kind of funny that people on this site have a visceral reaction to the idea of a country like Israel dealing with internal contradictions. I guess when the real world meets their intellectual abstractions the real world must give way.

    It’s also very ironic considering the internal contradictions(a.k.a. hypocrisy) in the beliefs of this sites writers.

    I am talking of course about the contradiction between advocating floodgate immigration for the united states and at the same time pretending to care about the plight of the working man or the environment. Or african americans for that matter.

    Netanyahu is orders of magnitude less hypocritical than the liberals here. And he has a valid reason, he is running a country.


    formermuslim · August 5th, 2010 at 7:44 pm
  46. Jonathan1, a quick question–

    If you don’t lose any sleep about Israel not being “what we consider a pure, liberal, Western democracy,” and you think that there’s no problem with a state engaging in the ethnoentric bias necessary to maintain a “Jewish State”, then would it also not bother you if, for instance, the US were to institute similar laws?

    I.e. would it be OK with you for the US to institute laws that treated Jews in the US like Arabs are treated in the Israeli state structure? Or is “ethnocentrism is OK for us, but not for others”?


    ben azzai · August 5th, 2010 at 10:23 pm
  47. I think open borders are the position that a religious person should take.
    One who says, “What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours,” is pious. One who says, “What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours,” is an average person, though some say this is the character of Sodom.
    Rabbi Steven Schwarzschild says:
    “The term benonit connotes not only ‘average’ but also ‘middling’ and ‘mediocre.’…The only pious posture that remains is the radical, ‘unrealistic’ one of ‘what is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours.”
    Rabbi Malvina Reynolds had the same idea:
    Love is something if you give it away,
    Give it away, give it away.
    Love is something if you give it away,
    You end up having more.

    It’s just like a magic penny,
    Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
    Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
    They’ll roll all over the floor.


    Ross · August 5th, 2010 at 10:55 pm
  48. I want the state of Israel to be many things, but bottom line is I want it to be a state intended to be a place for Jews to live, an ethnocentric state. There are about 190 nations on this planet, and almost 7 billion people. I think it’s ok if we have one tiny country, with a tiny population, that is basically supposed to be for Jews.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:12 am
  49. Granted, we should try to work to make that state a much better place than it is, and in doing so attempt to implement the best of liberal Western democratic principles, socialism, and our Jewish values. And, of course we have to do a better job in upholding the civil rights of those non-Jews who live in Israel. But Israel should be for Jews, I’m not ashamed to say it. Either you should admit as such, or say the whole state is a mistake. All of these other theories are illogical. What pure liberal Western democracy would have something like the Law of Return?


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:13 am
  50. No doubt, we should try to work to make that state a much better place than it is, and in doing so attempt to implement the best of liberal Western democratic principles, socialism, and our Jewish values. And, of course we have to do a better job in upholding the civil rights of those citizens who are not Jews and who live in Israel. But either Israel is meant to be a country for Jews, or Zionism is a mistaken philosophy.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:16 am
  51. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Israel currently is anywhere near the exemplary society I wish it were. And of course Israel should try to do a better job in implementing Western democratic principles, and socialist ideals, and being guided by our Jewish sources. And, of course the country needs to do a better job in upholding the human/civil rights of all of its citizens, whatever their ethnicity.

    But, bottom line, either the state of Israel is meant to be for Jews, or Zionism is a mistaken philosophy. There are no other honest answers.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:20 am
  52. ben azzai,

    Ok. I never thought of things that way. I can’t give you a fair answer, because I live in Israel–so that might tell you where I’m coming from.

    Frankly, I probably won’t lose any sleep if that were to happen in the U.S.

    And, I do a agree that Israel needs to do a much better job in ensuring the human/civil rights of its Arab citizens.

    But, you don’t think there is a bit of chauvanism here? We mean America in 2010 when we say “democracy.” No doubt the U.S. is one of the great success stories in human history. But, it is not a perfect place. And the Middle East is not the U.S. They’re just different situations.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:25 am
  53. @Justin.

    Achi, I am giving you the answer you were looking for, unlike everybody else here.

    I am admitting that Israel is a very imperfect society. I am admitting that it could/should be more democratic and socialist. I am admitting that it certainly doesn’t always live up to what we hope for in a Jewish state. I am admitting that we have to do a better job in treating all of our citizens.

    But, bottom line, I am admitting that Israel is not really a pure, liberal Western democracy. And, that’s ok with me.

    And, as in the past, you seem to be conflating my personal opinions with every Israeli government decision. The government made huge mistakes in immigration–so it should try and fix it. The government isn’t telling the truth in saying that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Ok, it’s by far the most free society in the Middle East–but those aren’t the same things.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:30 am
  54. @Justin.

    Achi, I am giving you the answer you were looking for, unlike everybody else here.

    I am admitting that Israel is a very imperfect society. I am admitting that it could/should be more democratic. I am admitting that it certainly doesn’t always live up to what we hope for in a Jewish state. I am admitting that we have to do a better job in treating all of our citizens.

    But, bottom line, I am admitting that Israel is not really a pure, liberal Western democracy. And, that’s ok with me.

    And, as in the past, you seem to be conflating my personal opinions with every Israeli government decision. The government made huge mistakes in immigration–so it should try and fix it. The government isn’t telling the truth in saying that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Ok, it’s by far the most free society in the Middle East–but those aren’t the same things.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 3:31 am
  55. Jonathan1,

    Thanks for your response–if you would really be OK with the US imposing the sorts of legal and cultural exclusions against Jews that the Israeli state imposes against its non-Jewish citizens, then at least you are consistent, so I give you credit for that.

    However, it’s my sense that most Jews in the US would *not* be OK with such structures of discrimination against Jews. And so they need to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they are OK with (or in denial about) the fact that the structure of the present-day ‘Jewish State’ is inherently tied up with such forms of ethnocentric discrimination.

    People can disagree about what is proper or improper, ethically, but it’s important to be honest about what is actually the case, factually.


    ben azzai · August 6th, 2010 at 10:14 am
  56. Ok. So we agree. Most Jews outside of Israel–not really in Israel–are being hypocritical about what exactly they understand Zionism to mean.

    Shabbat Shalom.


    Jonathan1 · August 6th, 2010 at 10:30 am
  57. My concern with allowing ethnocentrism to flourish in Israel is that it would have to be allowed to flourish everywhere. And if it flourished everywhere, we’d either need another Israel, to accommodate the influx of Jewish refugees (possibly from violent persecutions), or we’d just have to wait a while until diaspora Jews caved under the redoubled pressure and fully assimilated into their respective cultures. Of course, without diaspora support, I don’t like to think about where that would leave Israel.


    Goyisher Yid · August 6th, 2010 at 12:36 pm
  58. if you believe israel should remain a state full of jews, then lets rename it judea… like this guy: www.haaretz.com/culture/will-israel-turn-into-the-fascist-state-of-judea-by-2022-1.303585

    prof israel finkelstein has made some interesting archeological discoveries about the kingdom of israel: “The archaeological findings show that Israel … had a diverse demographic composition: foreign residents and workers, Canaanites, Phoenicians; there was an Aramean population in the Jordan Valley, and there were mixed marriages.”

    the point being that the kingdom of israel itself was historically a plural society. chances are that the 12 tribes had invented their common lineage in order to find common ground. similarly, we call george washington our common father here in america. but who knows?

    bottom line is I don’t think we’ll be able to fill our quotas for shining light upon the nations when we’re all locked up in our ghetto.

    shabbat shalom


    Oren · August 6th, 2010 at 3:14 pm
  59. There’s a real disingenuousness that’s infected this entire discussion.

    First off, it’s amusing to watch some commenters proclaim that people who disagree with them “hate children” or are “heartless” or whatever other adjective they choose to connote inhumanity. How convenient: ‘Agree with me, or I’ll label you an indecent bastard.’ I should try that tactic sometime.

    Since this conversation is all about “the children”, why don’t we noodle over ideas to keep “the children” in the country…? I know: we can expel the (visa violating) parents and place their children into Israeli orphanages! OR better yet, farm the children out to Israeli foster families! What a great solution.

    Oh, wait a sec….. you DON’T like that idea? Well, hmmmmmm — looks like we’re faced with a dilemma: Israel has immigration laws, but their enforcement is going to cause pain and inconvenience. Just like….. every nation’s immigration laws.

    Which is the nub of the issue. People like Justin, Yeilah and DamW are against immigration laws as an institution, since their enforcement causes discomfort and pain. But since every nation, almost by definition, has immigration laws, what you’re really against is nationhood.

    Unless, of course, you’re arguing that it’s only Jews who shouldn’t have a nation, or that only the Jewish nation should not have immigration laws….


    Eric · August 6th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
  60. … As for Yeilah’s question:
    “Eric, I wonder if you’d be making as much fun if we were talking about Sudanese child soldiers or child prostitutes around the world (and in Israel and here, for that matter).”

    I’ve only been making fun of the embarrassing and maudlin kitsch of watching people try to reduce a complex discussion of national, cultural, economic and legal questions into a weapy prayer for “the children”.

    As far as granting shelter to persecuted people who manage to reach Israel’s shore, I do indeed believe it should offer such shelter and/or help craft arrangements where those people can be sheltered elsewhere….within reason. (i.e. I don’t think it would be “reasonable” for Israel (or Norway, or France, etc.) to airlift the entire Darfuri population to Israeli soil or extend a public open invitation for mass migration.) There can be a manageable balance.

    But I haven’t heard any claims that the deported workers are going to be persecuted upon return to the Philippines….


    Eric · August 6th, 2010 at 3:45 pm
  61. ….And while we’re on the subject of “the children” and the oh, so unspeakable horrors of deporting or expelling children from their homes, I’d love to raise the topic of another recent mass expulsion of children by military forces.

    How many of the people crying here for “the children” opposed the 2005 expulsion of the Jewish settlers in Gaza, in which thousands and thousands of children were expelled from their homes?

    Were you horrified at the prospect of a “Jewish” state committing such perfidy? Did you tearfully conclude that this wasn’t a Jewish state you could support? Did you announce that any Jewish state that does such things shouldn’t exist? Was the expulsion of children and the destruction of their villages the last moral straw?

    Don’t rush to answer, I can wait.

    This issue has nothing to do with “children” — but it is all about whether the Jewish nation has the prerogative to enforce its laws as every other nation, and to maintain its national interests. Whether you believe it does, or doesn’t, your answer to that question will greatly influence your response to the immigration one.


    Eric · August 6th, 2010 at 3:46 pm
  62. oh, eric. after shabbat I will address each and every one of your obscene claims.

    all i want to say for immediate concern is that most of these children were NOT borne of illegal immigrants. read more on the issue. the children are mainly Israeli citizens.


    Justin · August 6th, 2010 at 3:58 pm
  63. My concern with allowing ethnocentrism to flourish in Israel


    Jonathan1 · August 7th, 2010 at 1:40 pm
  64. GY said:
    My concern with allowing ethnocentrism to flourish in Israel

    oren said:
    if you believe israel should remain a state full of jews, then lets rename it judea

    @ben azzai

    Case in point. They don’t even see the contradiction in what they are saying. The state of Israel has been a discriminatory, ethnocentric state since May 1948.


    Jonathan1 · August 7th, 2010 at 1:44 pm
  65. I mean it’s actually almost comical that only miri, ben azzai, and maybe Justin seem to realize this.


    Jonathan1 · August 7th, 2010 at 1:45 pm
  66. read more on the issue. the children are mainly Israeli citizens.

    @Justin.

    It’s not so relevant to this conversation, but I think you’re getting Israeli and American citizenship laws confused. One born in Israel is not automatically a citizen.


    Jonathan1 · August 7th, 2010 at 1:53 pm
  67. “One born in Israel is not automatically a citizen.”

    The fact that Justin had that one confused indicates that he probably sees everything through the prism of American politics.

    More importantly, it has become obvious that Israel’s immigration policy is considered as some kind of “payment” for the right of American Jews to engage in immigration advocacy. “see, we believe Israel should be overrun with foreigners just like we do with America, we are not hypocrites”

    This hypocrisy avoidance unfortunately has a steep price for Israel.

    By the way. Parents migrate to a foreign country all the time. Often with their assimilated, learned the language, made friends already, children. Let’s not pretend this is about THE CHILDREN!


    formermuslim · August 7th, 2010 at 2:16 pm
  68. >>“after shabbat I will address each and every one of your obscene claims.”

    I look forward to your specification of the “obscenity” in my comments.

    >>“all i want to say for immediate concern is that most of these children were NOT borne of illegal immigrants. read more on the issue. the children are mainly Israeli citizens.”

    The children who are the topic of discussion were born to foreign visitors who overstayed their visas and were therefore violating their visas and the law.

    For immediate concern you should be aware that Israel, along with the vast majority of nations, does not implement jus soli citizenship. That fact alone pretty much dispenses with the legal questions.


    Eric · August 7th, 2010 at 11:19 pm
  69. First off, it’s amusing to watch some commenters proclaim that people who disagree with them “hate children” or are “heartless” or whatever other adjective they choose to connote inhumanity. How convenient: ‘Agree with me, or I’ll label you an indecent bastard.’ I should try that tactic sometime.

    It’s not a matter of agreeing with me. It is completely incomprehensible to me how an individual could be comfortable with the notion of deporting children who have known no other nation. Israel does, in fact, allow for citizenship to be attained by birth under certain circumstances. I will completely acknowledge that I was not clear, and still am not 100% clear, on the exact specifications “in law” which allow one to become a citizen by means of being born in the country, if you have a more precise and full understanding of the laws, if you’ve read them and have an understanding of how they are enforced, please share.

    I never said that you hate children. I did call you heartless and I believe that any person who is comfortable deporting children who have known no other country is heartless. It’s simply beyond me to understand.

    Since this conversation is all about “the children”, why don’t we noodle over ideas to keep “the children” in the country…? I know: we can expel the (visa violating) parents and place their children into Israeli orphanages! OR better yet, farm the children out to Israeli foster families! What a great solution.

    Or we don’t expel their parents. imagine that. We can promote the notion that government policy and behavior can reflect decency and accommodation to human beings willing and wanting to make a significant contribution to society, irrelevant of their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender or any other arbitrary identification. Because the way to live together and love together, is to be open to people and accept all of God’s diversity into our lives. And that a society can burgeon, influenced by Jewish VALUES rather than nationalistic pride. And even if you can’t find it in our tradition that we are to love all children, and not just in our tradition but in every tradition. Children. The people who will grow to inherit whatever world we give them, who will make whatever world they create and give it to their children. In the Jewish tradition which I relate to, it is much more important to live and love together than it is to separate and classify and delineate and segregate. This has been tried before and it never turns out well. And for a people who have had to protect their children from so many things, who hold so dear to memories of children who were born thousands and thousands of years ago.

    Oh, wait a sec….. you DON’T like that idea? Well, hmmmmmm — looks like we’re faced with a dilemma: Israel has immigration laws, but their enforcement is going to cause pain and inconvenience. Just like….. every nation’s immigration laws.

    Israel’s immigration laws, unlike other nations, represent a clear and explicit favoritism based on matters of ethnicity, religion or race. Have we really not learned from our experiences of each generation and the entire corpus of memories we have maintained through every avenue of Jewish expression, have we really not learned that saying “this child is acceptable” and “this child in unacceptable,” have we really not seen what this mentality does to the world? why do we insist, generation after generation, of creating the “other” and posturing ourselves against the world as somehow different. when we’re not. we’re really not.

    Which is the nub of the issue. People like Justin, Yeilah and DamW are against immigration laws as an institution, since their enforcement causes discomfort and pain. But since every nation, almost by definition, has immigration laws, what you’re really against is nationhood.

    yes. yes. now you get it. literally, 100% yes. 1000% yes. (not speaking for Yeilah or DAMW) Since we have nations, and nations convince themselves they want immigration laws, why not make the humane? why not create an immigration policy that actually reflects the purported values and ethics of the nation. Or, like Jonathan1 has stated, are Israel and (God forbid) the Jewish people really, actually okay with the concept of “an ethnocentric state.” I personally think it’s repulsive and has no place in the world. I think Jews should be able to live wherever they want. And I think any and every kind of person who wants to be a productive member of a society should be able to be a productive member of society where they choose to.

    Unless, of course, you’re arguing that it’s only Jews who shouldn’t have a nation, or that only the Jewish nation should not have immigration laws….

    and i love how we always fall back on the same tropes. enough of this nonsense already. as a worldwide community, we have to stop dropping this. If nothing else, just look around the world… do you want to have a country like all other countries? look at what countries do! Why would I want to support a state that reflects things about humanity which I do not relate to? I cannot, by the commandments of our tradition sit by and watch behavior which does not reflect the highest and godly values of what makes being Jewish anything real at all. If you resort Jewishness and Judaism to the blood in one’s veins, the entire human population of earth, all 7,000,000,000 of them, are related back to one common ancestor 60,000 years ago. human beings in our form, we’re only, at most a 200-300,000 years old (and that’s a relatively generous estimate). We are not that different, any human from another. If someone is going to craft a series of immigration laws, and claim to reflect the Jewish tradition, it shouldn’t reflect the type of nationalism, in my opinion, that is reflected in the present reality. A country which deports children is neither Democratic NOR Jewish.

    —Eric · August 6th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    ….And while we’re on the subject of “the children” and the oh, so unspeakable horrors of deporting or expelling children from their homes, I’d love to raise the topic of another recent mass expulsion of children by military forces.

    it was only a matter of time until this was brought up. but i want to take this particular opportunity to stress that expelling or deporting children from their home can have unspeakable, lifelong trauma on an individual. That should never be underestimated or taken lightly. If we focused more of our attention on minimizing trauma in early years of life, the adults of tomorrow may grow up with a much different way of living. I’m sure you’ll scoff at this notion, but just think about it.

    How many of the people crying here for “the children” opposed the 2005 expulsion of the Jewish settlers in Gaza, in which thousands and thousands of children were expelled from their homes?

    I did cry for the children expelled from their homes in Gaza. I also cried for the Palestinian children who lost their lives because of the settlers having been there. I also cry for the children who lose their lives because of Hamas’ governance. I cry for all children, all over the world. But being expelled from a home is completely traumatic and is terrifying, ESPECIALLY how the expulsion from Gaza was handled. But there is a MARKED difference between having to move and still live in similar or even the same community, speak the same language, eat the same food, etc. And the families which were expelled from Gaza were also given incentive to leave their homes. no immigrant being deported, or child being expelled, or Palestinian who has lost their home to demolition, “collateral damage” or commandeering has ever been given any incentive to leave their home other than threat on their very existence. I cannot support and will not support a nation which gives preferential treatment. that is not a world i want to live in.

    Were you horrified at the prospect of a “Jewish” state committing such perfidy? Did you tearfully conclude that this wasn’t a Jewish state you could support? Did you announce that any Jewish state that does such things shouldn’t exist? Was the expulsion of children and the destruction of their villages the last moral straw?

    I was horrified, I was horrified to see both how those being expelled behaved and how those doing the expelling behaved. I did shed tears. I know people who were present, who followed their children from the West Bank to support the right of their fellow Jews to live in the Gaza Strip (why anyone would want to, I have no idea. it’s not that nice there. There are plenty of nice places in the area, Gaza is not one of them.) I have never once stated that Israel shouldn’t exist. I believe that Israel can call itself Jewish and not show preferential treatment.

    Don’t rush to answer, I can wait.

    This issue has nothing to do with “children” — but it is all about whether the Jewish nation has the prerogative to enforce its laws as every other nation, and to maintain its national interests. Whether you believe it does, or doesn’t, your answer to that question will greatly influence your response to the immigration one.

    This DOES have everything to do with children. It has to do with the fact that if you google “deporting children” every hit that is not some crackpot congressperson saying we SHOULD deport children in America, is a hit about the fact that Israel IS deporting children. What kind of country deports children? I am as much against the forced deportation of Afghani children from Europe, or the forced deportation of African children from Spain, as I am of Israel. This has nothing to do with Jewishness other than the fact that Israel claims to be founded on Jewish values. The world already knows the purported claims of the United States to be patently false. I don’t want to support an Israel that also functions under patently false pretenses. If there should be a “Jewish” State it should be Jewish as much as it is “for Jews” and it should be for anybody who wants to live in the Jewish state and be a productive citizen. At least Judaism accords THAT right!

    The reports that I read did not specifically mention that a majority of the children were born to parents who were there on expired visas. Why not extend the visas after they expire if they had a child?

    Israel’s national interests have grown reprehensible. Not because of anything having to do with being Jewish. Because of what it PORTRAYS as bring Jewish and what it does in the name of Jewish people and even Judaism. Protecting being Jewish means nothing if you’re going to behave in ways which do not reflect Jewish values. The fact that people repeatedly say that Israel is just behaving like other countries. Other countries are reprehensible too. Why would I want the one which claims to speak for my identity to be reprehensible with them when that very identity urges me to fight what other countries do to human beings?


    Justin · August 8th, 2010 at 3:39 am
  70. It is completely incomprehensible to me how an individual could be comfortable with the notion of deporting children who have known no other nation.

    Obviously I can’t speak for anybody else here. But this entire thread, and the post, is my constant problem with this forum–and I am a longtime Jewschool fan and Justin fan.

    COA has indeed set it up that anybody who supports deporting these specific children, or the foreign workers in general, is somehow an evil person.

    So, on the one hand, of course I don’t want to see innocent children deported (even though they are going with their families.)

    On the other hand, I don’t love the idea that the state of Israel has established a situation wherein foreign workers are brought to the country to work like dogs, and paid very unfair wages, in sometimes miserable conditions.

    On the other hand, I don’t love the idea that there are so many unemployed Israelis (including Arabs, btw.) who could be working so many of these jobs in construction in agriculture, if they were offered a living wage, and decent conditions.

    On the other hand, I don’t love the idea that the foreign workers’ presence is contributing to a situation where the Israeli population inside of the Green Line is only 70%. (With different policies it could be approaching 90%.) Nobody else here seems to have that concern though.

    So, personally, I wouldn’t want to look in the eyes of these Hebrew speaking children before they are deported. But, I probably support that policy.


    Jonathan1 · August 8th, 2010 at 12:43 pm
  71. I just have one question for COA and Justin, and everybody else:

    Do you believe in the American concept of an accused person having to be found guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, with the right to a public defender at his/her trial? If you do believe in that process, you are a supporting a situation whereby every day real criminals are set free–like sometimes actual murderers walk on technicalities.

    Personally, I support that American policy, even though I wouldn’t want to look into the eyes of parents whose child’s murderer was freed by a slick lawyer. That’s just the kind of moral calculus all of us make in this world–and governments have to do it every day.

    Just like I wouldn’t want to look into the eyes of those 400 children, but I think it’s right to deport them.


    Jonathan1 · August 8th, 2010 at 12:48 pm
  72. I meant “Jewish” population inside of the Green Line, btw. Excuse me.


    Jonathan1 · August 8th, 2010 at 12:49 pm
  73. Justin said:
    I have never once stated that Israel shouldn’t exist. I believe that Israel can call itself Jewish and not show preferential treatment.

    Again, I really think factual honesty and clarity is important for this discussion.

    It may be true that a state could ‘call itself Jewish’ in some sense and not show preferential treatment. For instance, if there was a state that made Jewish holidays state holidays (just as Christmas is a US Federal holiday), and that was all, one could argue that such a state could call itself Jewish and not show preferential treatment.

    However, if a state wants to ‘call itself Jewish’ in the basic sense of what the political Zionist founders of the Israeli state meant by a ‘Jewish state’, then such a state, by its intended nature, cannot avoid a significant level of structural ‘preferential treatment.’

    So while Justin claims not to state that ‘Israel shouldn’t exist,’ it seems to me that in fact he does think that ‘Israel should not exist,’ to the extent that it exists as a ‘Jewish state’ in the basic sense of its founding structure. From his stated principles, it seems that he thinks that said state should cease to exist in its previous and current form, and only has the moral ‘right to exist’ to the extent that it would change its basic structure and cease to operate on the basis of ethnocentrism, exclusion, and non-democratic ‘preferential treatment.’

    Again, we can still argue about right and wrong, but let’s call a spade a spade. And I still maintain that if US Jews really thought about it honestly (and that’s a big ‘if’), they would not accept the principle that ethnocentric exclusion is a legitimate basis on which to operate a state. Perhaps Israeli Jews might be more likely to accept that principle, but few Jews in the US (or any country where Jews are not the majority) could easily say that such a principle would be legitimate if applied against Jews in the American legal structure.


    ben azzai · August 8th, 2010 at 1:32 pm
  74. And I still maintain that if US Jews really thought about it honestly (and that’s a big ‘if’), they would not accept the principle that ethnocentric exclusion is a legitimate basis on which to operate a state.

    @ben azzai

    This is very true, but what difference does it make–really–what U.S. Jews think about Zionism? They live in the U.S., and they don’t really have anything to do with Israel.

    Ok, that’s not 100% true–when an MK tries to pass a law to really improve the lives of 350,000 Israelis, and that proposed law has absolutely NOTHING to do with the day to day lives of American Jews, U.S. Jews do throw a big temper tantrum–maybe that’s just another form of hypocrisy, though?


    Jonathan1 · August 8th, 2010 at 4:28 pm
  75. Jonathan1 said:
    This is very true, but what difference does it make–really–what U.S. Jews think about Zionism?

    Well, it makes a difference insofar as many if not most US Jews have been taught that they should base their Jewish identity largely in connection with the Israeli state. But then they get upset when the thing on which they’re ostensibly supposed to base their identity does things that contravene their other principles such as liberalism, democracy, and non-ethnocentric legal systems. Since this produces an inner conflict, why wouldn’t they get upset?

    I’m not sure if ‘hypocrisy’ is exactly the right word, though. I think that ‘denial’ is perhaps more to the point. American Jews have been assured that the state of Israel is basically compatible with their ‘American-Jewish’ values. This may be false, but there is not honesty or forthrightness about this within the Jewish establishment, or within American culture more broadly. It is not so much a problem with individual American Jews as such, but rather a more systemic-culture one.

    But, it may be that those who want American Jews to go on supporting the Israeli state (both monetarily and otherwise) are probably ‘smart’ to be dishonest about it–if there was more honesty, and the incompatibility between the ‘American-Jewish’ values and the basic structure of political Zionism were made more apparent, then American Jewish support for the Israeli state would evaporate pretty quickly, I would think.

    So whether it is hypocrisy or denial or both, there are probably strong pressures to keep that non-truthfulness in place.


    ben azzai · August 8th, 2010 at 5:53 pm
  76. Eric– not time to comment on other stuff… but I don’t believe I expressed my beliefs about immigration, only about the importance of watching how governments treat children. In fact, I didn’t even express my opinion about this particular case, which I think is complicated because of the issue of the children remaining with their parents. I object very much to your assumptions about what I believe.


    Yeilah · August 8th, 2010 at 8:49 pm
  77. “It is a forced democracy”

    Have you NEVER read the history of early-modern Japan? The Meiji Restoration was marked by a number of Westernizations, chief among them being a democratic body known as the Diet. For a long time, before falling into the trap of being an (actual) empire, Japan had a democratic tradition. History didn’t begin in 1930, you know.


    B.BarNavi · August 8th, 2010 at 9:13 pm
  78. Labor in Israel has come in stages. At first, it was the plucky halutzim and bonim who wanted to bring the image of the Jewish laborer into fruition. Then, when it was clear that they couldn’t build the Jewish state alone, they decided to import Sephardim wholesale. When Sephardim became too uppity, Israel turned to Palestinian (citizen and non) labor. Then when the Palestinians became a liability, Israel decided that SE Asian workers would be much more docile.

    Barring the nth-generation Sabra working low wages for hard labor, Israel has met an end point in preferred laborer demographic. Mass deportation will NOT help this.


    B.BarNavi · August 8th, 2010 at 10:49 pm
  79. @BBN

    When Sephardim became too uppity, Israel turned to Palestinian (citizen and non) labor.

    And what if the government hadn’t gone for annexation after the 1967 War, or what if that War hadn’t occurred? Will never know, but maybe the labor market might have turned out differently.

    Barring the nth-generation Sabra working low wages for hard labor, Israel has met an end point in preferred laborer demographic. Mass deportation will NOT help this.

    If the Palestinians actually has their own place, where they would work, and if the country wouldn’t hire foreign workers, then the wages would rise, and actual Israelis would work these jobs. At least to much more of an extent then exists now. Do we want to have an Israel based on “”socialism,”" or an Israel where we pay somewhat cheaper prices for produce, on the backs of foreign semi- indentured servants?


    Jonathan1 · August 9th, 2010 at 2:28 am
  80. I have a solution!

    Force them to convert. It’s what they do with all of the American Jews anyways, right?


    Balaam's Donkey · August 10th, 2010 at 1:50 pm
  81. I have a solution! Force them to convert.

    It’s what they do with all of the American Jews anyways, right?

    Ironically, American Jews live in America–granted, there’s been a recent influx of American immigration, which will probably start to wither out soon. And, in that immigration, there are people with terrible problems with the Heredi-controlled Rabbinate. It’s truly terrible for those 10-20-30 people–really.

    There are also all sorts of problem for 300-400,000 immigrants from the FSU with the Rabbinate.

    What should happen with those FSU immigrants?

    I have the solution! A politician can propose a bill to ameliorate their problems, and then Jews in North America should throw a fit, to prevent the bill from becoming law, even though that law won’t affect American Jews’ lives one bit!


    Jonathan1 · August 10th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
  82. Jonathan1, well done. When the country we don’t live in is criticized we must rush to its defense because we are Jews and it is our duty to do so. But when something bad happens we should shut up and sit down because it doesn’t effect us. Great. I think that’s a real winner.


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 10th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
  83. And that bill is using Russians (whose problems are bad!) as a pretense to make life hard for others as well in the name of building another insane fortress around the Torah.


    David A.M. Wilensky · August 10th, 2010 at 3:26 pm
  84. DAMW,

    I can only speak for myself–obviously. So, don’t rush to Israel’s defense. I really don’t think it’s your duty as a Jew at all.

    And that bill is using Russians (whose problems are bad!) as a pretense to make life hard for others as well in the name of building another insane fortress around the Torah.

    It’s not such a good bill, agreed.

    But this comment simply isn’t true. I’m sorry. This bill was proposed by Yisrael Beitinu–do you think that political party’s politicians/voters care about building insane fortresses around the Torah?


    Jonathan1 · August 10th, 2010 at 3:49 pm
  85. The Gavison-Medan ideas are example of smart ideas, IMHO.

    www.gavison-medan.org.il/english/events/


    Jonathan1 · August 10th, 2010 at 3:52 pm
  86. Yeilah said: “Eric– not time to comment on other stuff… but I don’t believe I expressed my beliefs about immigration, only about the importance of watching how governments treat children….I object very much to your assumptions about what I believe.”

    I apologize if I read more into your original comment than was warranted — on re-reading I see that you indeed withheld from giving your opinion on the issue.

    In responding to your question regarding “making fun” I clarified (and want to reemphasize) that there’s no fun to be made of a case in which the lives of some families are likely to be very disrupted — the only fun to make is against attempts to reduce the level of the conversation down to talk-show emotionalism.

    And I agree with you that humanitarian considerations are of course a real factor in a situation like this.

    Justin said: “I did call you heartless and I believe that any person who is comfortable deporting children who have known no other country is heartless. It’s simply beyond me to understand.”

    It’s noteworthy that you characterize as “heartless” somebody who believes that this discussion is worthy of more mature dialogue than the tear-jerking melodrama we could find on ‘Inside Edition’. I’m also curious as to when you concluded that I’m “comfortable” deporting children. I never said nor indicated any such thing.

    But I think your assumption is another indication of how black-and-white your ideological world is: if you see more than one side to the argument, you’re heartless.

    “Because the way to live together and love together, is to be open to people and accept all of God’s diversity into our lives. And that a society can burgeon, influenced by Jewish VALUES rather than nationalistic pride.”

    I really wish you’d clarify *which* Jewish values you’re referring to….. because I get the sense that you’re thinking of strictly those Jewish values that reflect leftist values. But there are also many Jewish values that do not reflect leftist values.

    “In the Jewish tradition which I relate to, it is much more important to live and love together than it is to separate and classify and delineate and segregate. This has been tried before and it never turns out well.”

    Tried before like…..in every other nation and society that exists and has ever existed? Every nation, society, club and group distinguishes between people who are “in”, people who are “out” and the various degrees and exceptions in between.

    “If someone is going to craft a series of immigration laws, and claim to reflect the Jewish tradition, it shouldn’t reflect the type of nationalism, in my opinion, that is reflected in the present reality.”

    This “type of nationalism” is the “type” that distinguishes between citizens and non-citizens. In other words, it’s the same “type of nationalism” that exists in every modern nation.

    “Israel’s immigration laws, unlike other nations, represent a clear and explicit favoritism based on matters of ethnicity, religion or race.”

    Israeli immigration law, like every nation’s immigration law, favors persons who are members of the nation. Just as Denmark’s immigration law favors Danes, Nigeria’s immigration law favors Nigerians, America’s immigration law favors Americans and Japan’s immigration law favors Japanese, the Jewish nation’s immigration law favors Jews.

    Shocking, I know.

    The part that really seems to be a shock to you is that being a Jew can be more than just a religious affiliation, but a national one too.

    “A country which deports children is neither Democratic NOR Jewish.”

    I suggest you consult the definitions of both “democracy” and “Jewish”. By your claim above, no nation in the world can be considered “democratic” because every nation’s immigration laws allow for the deportation of minors.

    “I cannot support and will not support a nation which gives preferential treatment. that is not a world i want to live in.”

    Then there is no nation on this planet in which you can live: every nation gives preferential treatment to its own citizens.

    It seems the bottom line, as you asserted in your comment, is that you’re against the very existence of nationhood and immigration laws. Good luck in your quest. But you might consider that nations have existed since eternity because (among other factors) they fulfill actual human needs that anti-nationhood doesn’t.


    Eric · August 10th, 2010 at 7:29 pm
  87. Just as Denmark’s immigration law favors Danes, Nigeria’s immigration law favors Nigerians, America’s immigration law favors Americans and Japan’s immigration law favors Japanese, the Jewish nation’s immigration law favors Jews.

    One of these is not like the others.


    miri · August 10th, 2010 at 10:41 pm
  88. Danes live IN Denmark. They don’t immigrate to Denmark. The same goes for others. Israel has an immigration law which allows any Jew whether or not they’ve ever even been to the country to become immediate citizens AND get money for doing it.

    miri is very right. One of these is really not like the other. Talk about disingenuous.

    The argument that “other countries do it so we can too” is silly. Other countries do all sorts of things, and they are wrong. And as far as the research I’ve done, I can’t find a single other country that claims to be a democracy that also deports children who were born in that country. It’s hard though, because, well, when you google “child deportation” only Israel comes up and a handful of crackpot senators and congressmen in the US and a couple of hits on right-wing elements seeking to deport Afghani children back to Afghanistan. Yeah, Israel stands in good company, huh!


    Justin · August 10th, 2010 at 11:13 pm
  89. nations have existed since eternity

    Oh, really? See here and here for basic works on the origins of nations and nationalism.

    As for Jonathan1′s suggestion that I “set it up that anybody who supports deporting these specific children, or the foreign workers in general, is somehow an evil person,” I would remind you that I didn’t set up this particular contrast, Bibi did. All I did was link to the quote.


    Chorus of Apes · August 11th, 2010 at 1:24 am
  90. As for Jonathan1’s suggestion that I “set it up that anybody who supports deporting these specific children, or the foreign workers in general, is somehow an evil person,” I would remind you that I didn’t set up this particular contrast, Bibi did. All I did was link to the quote

    @COA.

    Ok. I personally support deporting these children (with their families.)

    What do you think of my position?


    Jonathan1 · August 11th, 2010 at 1:57 am
  91. I can tell you what I think of it!


    Justin · August 11th, 2010 at 3:07 am
  92. I know, Justin.

    I’m just one of those unfortunate people who don’t really have any answers in this world, and who don’t have the inherent moral-determining compass that many in this thread have. I hope I’ve always acknowledged that, at least.


    Jonathan1 · August 11th, 2010 at 3:31 am
  93. Truthfully Jonathan, this question of deportation is only emblematic of the deep problems with Zionism. I actually have little patience with folks who are opposed to deporting the kids because they are kids, but are in favor of the discriminatory laws required to make Israel a Jewish state. The state should not be relying on “guest workers.” Rather there should be racially neutral immigration laws.

    So yes, you should find it revolting that they are exporting kids, but not because they are kids. You should find it revolting for the reasons they are doing it, they are non-Jews. Anything short of that position means that Jews have no right to mourn the expulsions from Spain, England, France, Germany, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc… The logic of zionism as spelled out in this policy justifies the historical expulsion of Jews from their home countries, a position I find deeply objectionable, and which I hope you would as well.


    Chorus of Apes · August 11th, 2010 at 11:59 am
  94. Ok. I hear what you are saying.

    I really don’t think they are being deported only because they are non-Jews. They’re also being deported because of all of the other problems the presence of foreign workers cause: driving wages down, increased unemployment, Israeli money leaving the country, the drain on the social services. Plus, the foreign workers themselves are treating terribly, for the most part; why would we want to perpetuate that reality as well?

    But, agreed, I seem to be one of the few people here to say that I have no problem with the state of Israel being intended for Jews. That doesn’t mean that those Israeli citizens and legal residents shouldn’t have civil rights, or that Israel isn’t doing a poor job in ensuring those rights.

    But, I guess there’s just a disagreement here on the justness of nationalism, etc.


    Jonathan1 · August 11th, 2010 at 12:08 pm
  95. And, you know what, I’d much rather have a thriving, vibrant state of Israel, with an overwhelmingly Jewish population, than the right to mourn the expulsions from Spain, England, France, Germany, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.

    What exactly do you enjoy in those mournings?


    Jonathan1 · August 11th, 2010 at 12:10 pm
  96. J1-
    it’s not about “enjoying” mourning. it’s about recognizing injustices in history and contemporary society. it’s about recognizing the ills which nationalism and nationalist ideology have caused in the modern world. it’s about the blatant hypocrisy that Israel was founded because the Jewish people experienced those ills so acutely. And yet, now, as if in some sort of bizarro world, the State of Israel is perpetrating those very ills.

    I don’t think anyone is saying let the workers and their children stay and let the status quo stay the same. Well, maybe Ehud Barak and Elie Wiesel are, but I don’t think anyone HERE is saying that the status quo is a good thing. Why not take this opportunity to significantly adjust the nature of treatment of foreign workers, why not legislate living wage, why not implement socialization programs and expansion of civil rights. The fact is that in a two-tiered society based on ethnicity, religion, or any other superficial segregations, there are no such thing as civil rights for the minority.

    A thriving State of Israel does not need an “overwhelming Jewish population” and an “overwhelming Jewish population” does not necessarily result in a thriving State of Israel. An enforced majority based on ethnic or religious lines will GUARANTEE that your state does NOT thrive, but will descend into the depths of history as EVERY OTHER ethnically based state has ever gone. And it ain’t pretty…


    Justin · August 11th, 2010 at 12:44 pm
  97. A thriving State of Israel does not need an “overwhelming Jewish population” and an “overwhelming Jewish population” does not necessarily result in a thriving State of Israel.

    Agreed. They aren’t interdependent concepts necessarily. But I do want Israel to be both “thriving,” and “overwhelmingly Jewish.” I’m always up front about that.

    If you’re against the concept of Zionism–which you seem to be–fair enough.

    I have more of an issue with those in this forum who advocate for some kind of schitzophrenic Israel.

    Even if we integrate those workers already here, btw., then new foreign workers will come, with all of the same problems–this situation will perpetuate until Israel finally develops an immigration policy. That’s just the reality.


    Jonathan1 · August 11th, 2010 at 3:47 pm
  98. Also, why wouldn’t minorities in an ethnically-based Israel receive civil rights?

    Inside the Green Line today, within 2010 ethnically-based Israel, the Arab minority certainly enjoys many civil rights. That doesn’t mean that the country has to do a much, much, much better job in ensuring that they receive those rights . . . but this still receive rights.


    Jonathan1 · August 11th, 2010 at 3:51 pm
  99. Jonathan1 said:
    Inside the Green Line today, within 2010 ethnically-based Israel, the Arab minority certainly enjoys many civil rights. That doesn’t mean that the country has to do a much, much, much better job in ensuring that they receive those rights . . . but this still receive rights.

    J1, it is true that non-Jews inside the green line enjoy many civil rights in theory. And, as you say, there is a great deficiency in the extent to which they receive those right in practice.

    However, don’t you think it’s possible that the nominal existence of those civil rights comes from the state’s founding government’s desire to be a ‘democratic state’, while the actual and practical lack of civil rights comes from that same group’s desire for the state to be a ‘Jewish state’? And that, in practice, the ‘Jewish’ part seems to be dominant over the ‘democratic’ part? And, furthermore, that there might not be any real practical way of establishing equal civil rights in practice so long as the basic ethnocentric structure of the state remains in place?

    In other words, if the ethnocentric structure inevitably precludes equal civil rights in practice (even if not in theory), would you still say that such an ethnocentric structure can be just? If you had to choose between ‘a Jewish state’ and ‘a state structure that is capable of practically implementing equal civil rights’ would you still choose the former? And, if so, would there be *anything* that could make you think that the idea of an ethnocentric state structure is not just? Or are you committed to a ‘Jewish state’ no matter what–does ‘Jewish state’ trump all other possible concerns or objections?


    ben azzai · August 12th, 2010 at 12:17 pm
  100. Jonathan1 also said:
    And, you know what, I’d much rather have a thriving, vibrant state of Israel, with an overwhelmingly Jewish population, than the right to mourn the expulsions from Spain, England, France, Germany, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.

    This basically seems like you are approving the principle that any state has a right to expel religious/ethnic minorities simply because it wants to have greater religious or ethnic homogeneity. Is this really what you want to be saying? To be sure, there is a certain logic to this principle: the Jewish state has a right to expel non-Jews, and other states have a right to expel Jews. So there is ‘equality’ in this regard.

    But do you really want to say that, for instance, the US has a right to expel all of its African-American citizens? Or that France has a right to expel all of its Protestant citizens? Or that the Netherlands has a right to expel all of its Muslim citizens? How far does this extend? Does Canada have the right to expel all of its blue-eyed citizens? Does England have the right to expel all its Star-Bellied Sneetches?

    And, not to go all Godwin or anything, but you mentioned ‘Germany’ above–it basically sounds like you are saying that the Nazi state had a right to expel (but perhaps not to murder) its non-Aryan citizens?

    My point is not to condemn or criticize you, but simply to draw out the implications of the principle you seem to be expounding. And, frankly, I think that a version of this principle was part of the mix of ethnocentric political Zionism, so it may not simply be a problem with you individually. As Justin pointed out, nationalism (particularly in relation to the idea of the ‘nation-state’) has caused great ills in the past two centuries–so if one wants to embrace ‘Jewish political nationalism,’ it is important, again, to be fully honest about what it is that one is embracing.


    ben azzai · August 12th, 2010 at 12:32 pm
  101. @ben azzai.

    Ok. I hear what you’re saying. First of all, the state was really founded to be a state for Jews–our friend KFJ always likes to point to the Israeli Declaration of Independence to try to shame 2010 Israeli society. But, really all that document was was one piece of paper, written by Ben-Gurion, who then presided over a Knesset which passed one Jew-favored bill after another.

    And, furthermore, that there might not be any real practical way of establishing equal civil rights in practice so long as the basic ethnocentric structure of the state remains in place?

    I concede that there is no way. But, can you concede that people can be granted civil rights in a society that still favors one ethnic group over another? The Israeli minority deserves much better in terms of funding for their communities and schools, employment oppurtunities, etc. Is it not possibly to build a society where our minorities are treated much better, but Israel is still a country for Jews? I do think it’s possible, but obviously we’re not there yet. But you are correct in that the government’s policies will always be slanted in favor of the Jews. So maybe it won’t work.

    Or are you committed to a ‘Jewish state’ no matter what–does ‘Jewish state’ trump all other possible concerns or objections?

    I absolutely am NOT committed to a ‘Jewish state’ no matter what. I AM committed to wanting us to build a state that indeed has an overwhelmingly Jewish population, but also a state build around economic equality and social justice, around the best of our Jewish sources, around many democratic ideals, around treating our minorities much better. I Do think all of that is possible–obviously partition is a key to setting us in a better direction.

    But, like I said, I have no problem with those who think it ISN’T possible, or even worthwhile. Just be upfront about things–the whole world isn’t the U.S., and it doesn’t have to be.


    Jonathan1 · August 12th, 2010 at 12:36 pm
  102. This basically seems like you are approving the principle that any state has a right to expel religious/ethnic minorities simply because it wants to have greater religious or ethnic homogeneity.

    No. Put it in the context of what that part of the discussion was. No doubt the expulsion of foreign workers has to do with their non-Jewish ethnicity. BUT, it also has to do with ending a situation where Israel brings in foreign workers, and uses them as indentured-servants, especially after their visas expire. It has to do with ending a situation where wages are driven way down and unemployment way up–for those people who have lived in Israel for decades sometimes. It has to do with the burden on the social services to help take care of the workers and their families. That’s the reason I support the difficult decision to deport the 400 children–with their families: because I do think deportations, as part of a larger immigration policies, will make for a more vibrant Israel. And, I concede that I wouldn’t want to look into those children’s eyes, just like I wouldn’t want to look into the eyes of a man whose wife’s murderer was set free on a legal technicality, even though I think the American system of justice makes for a more vibrant U.S.

    So, yes, I’d trade the right to mourn a bunch of expulsions for a better society today.


    Jonathan1 · August 12th, 2010 at 12:48 pm
  103. Jonathan1 said:
    But, can you concede that people can be granted civil rights in a society that still favors one ethnic group over another?

    To answer your question, certainly, I can concede that, in such a society, people be granted civil rights ‘on paper.’ And, those civil rights can also be implemented in practice *to a degree*. So, I’m not denying that non-Jews in the Israeli state have a certain degree of actual civil rights (although less than the Jews). And, there are probably ways in which it would be practically feasible for certain of those civil rights to be implemented to a slightly greater degree. But, I do think that the basic underlying structure of the state means that the fight for increased implementation of civil rights will always be fighting against the declared structure of the state. And this puts a practical limit on how much the civil rights can be implemented. (You can compare this to the US for instance: there are significant ways in which minority groups in the US lack civil rights–but at least there is no formal declaration of ethnocentric favoring of the ‘majority,’ would make it qualitatively more difficult to affect the inequalities.)

    However, you didn’t fully answer my question about whether there would be anything that would make you call the justness of a ‘Jewish state’ into question. If, for instance, the ‘Jewish state’ decided to expel all of its non-Jewish citizens for the sake of maintaining its ‘demographics,’ would such an action make you say, “Hmmm, maybe this notion of an ethnocentric Jewish state is not such a good idea?” Or would you still support the legitimacy of such a ‘Jewish state’?

    And you also didn’t fully state your position on whether a state has the right to expel ethnic/religious minorities for the sake of homogeneity. For instance, many of the founders of the Israeli state seemed relatively able to admit that the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948 (or, what is essentially the same in functional terms, the refusal to allow them to return to their homes) was necessary for the sake of achieving/maintaining of ‘Jewish state.’ While their are many details of history that may be unclear, if you *had to choose* between “expelling Palestinians and having a Jewish state” or “not expelling Palestinians and not having a Jewish state,” which would you choose? And, if you would affirm the legitimacy of the former, then it seems like you’d be affirming the more general principle of expulsion-for-the-sake-of-homogeneity.


    ben azzai · August 12th, 2010 at 1:20 pm
  104. However, you didn’t fully answer my question about whether there would be anything that would make you call the justness of a ‘Jewish state’ into question.

    Ok, to answer your question, yes, enumerable things would. As I tried to say, I want/hope the state of Israel will become many things, in the context of being an overwhelmingly Jewish state. But, there are plenty of things which would make me say that maybe it’s not worth it–I’m surprised you haven’t brought up the most obvious example: the situation in the territories since 1967.

    I always try to put my cards on the table, so in terms of demographics, I do think the state of the Jews needs to redraw its borders, as part of a partition with the Palestinians, and in the process disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in areas hugging the Green Line and in Jerusalem, and who today have Israeli legal status. To me, that’s just common sense.

    But, no, I would not accept a situation in which Israel were to attempt to expel all of its non-Jewish citizens.

    I make the distinction between a proposal to expel Arabs in 2010 and the 1948-49 exodus for two reasons:

    (1) That mass expulsion/fleeing (it was both) happened during an existential war thrust upon a fledgling nation, which was basically abandoned by the Western world, and was fighting a civil war and also a war against five invading armies–and in the process lost 1% of its entire population. There is just a difference between the state of affairs during wartime and in peacetime.

    That hundreds-of-thousands of human beings lost their homes does not mean–to me–that that war/movement was not just . . . in the same way that the bombing of Dresden did not make the Allied campaign in WWII unjust.

    (2) And, the real reason that I don’t lose any sleep over the Arab exodus of ’48-’49 is this: we are living in 2010. I don’t have a time machine. What happened 6 decades ago is over. Some people don’t buy German beer because of the Holocaust. Ok, they have their principles, but Hienien tastes pretty good to me, and whether or not I drink from that bottle is not going to close down the gas chambers. Why should’t we try to build our country because tragedies happened during its just creation?

    I need to take care of some business for the next few weeks, but I’ll be happy to read anything you might say in response–if you’re so inclined.


    Jonathan1 · August 12th, 2010 at 3:56 pm
  105. Jonathan1,

    Thanks for your response. It’s think it’s great that this thread has given rise to sustained back-and-forth dialogue.

    Your account of the events of 1948 is somewhat different from the account that I’d give–but, it isn’t always easy to sort out the details of the historical past, so I won’t focus on that. I think a more significant point is the decision not to allow refugees to return to their home–a decision which was based not on ‘wartime panic,’ but on the (honest) recognition that a state that wants to be a ‘Jewish state’ can’t very well allow such a significant portion of its population to be non-Jews. So in the early years of the state, the government ‘justified’ stealing people’s land, razing their houses and villages, etc. These actions may be problematic from an ethical point of view, but they fit in quite well with the ideological desire for a ‘Jewish state’.

    And, this is where I see a major failing in your point #2: A major difference between Germany today and Germany during the Holocaust is that the German state today is no longer based on the principles of National Socialism. That ideology has been explicitly rejected by present-day Germany. So, I agree with you that it doesn’t make much sense to refuse to buy German beer because of the Holocaust.

    But, if you look at the ideological principles that played a major role in expulsions of non-Jews during 1948, and then to razing of non-Jewish villages in the subsequent years and the stealing of private property by the state in the absence of the expelled non-Jewish owners–those same ideological principles are *still actively shaping* the structure of the Israeli state, and are linked to the maintaining of the Occupation, as well as (coming back full circle to the original topic of this thread) to the desire to deport the children of foreign workers. Those principles have *not* been rejected by later Israeli Jewish society.

    So, when you say “What happened 6 decades ago is over,” I would say that, ideologically speaking, what happened 6 decades ago is by no means ‘over.’ And this is something that, in my opinion, we need to face up to. While ‘Jewish state’ may sound nice, it may be that the combination of those two words is an implicit recipe for violence.


    ben azzai · August 12th, 2010 at 6:37 pm
  106. @ben azzai,

    Here is from last August. I think I had to go away on some business back then. So, let me take some time to think about a response to your last point.


    Jonathan1 · May 7th, 2011 at 1:47 pm
  107. @ben azzai
    @Justin
    @anybody else

    Nehemia Shtrasler chips in to this discussion:
    www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-whole-country-is-eilat-1.362921


    Jonathan1 · May 21st, 2011 at 2:40 pm

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik