Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ethno-sectarian separation: a bad model

This appeared January 21 in the mass-circulation Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth, and in English on the YNetNews site. It is by a member of the public-relations group for the right-wing party Beiteinu, Arik Sinai by name, and it explains to readers why the party condemns the recent High Court decision permitting two Arab parties to contest the coming national elections. In a nutshell, his argument is that the Israeli state should differentiate between those Arabs that can show what he calls absolute loyalty to the state, and those who cannot. Only those who show absolute loyalty should be granted full citizenship; others should be denied either some or all citizenship rights. He writes:
The military campaign in the Gaza Strip helped us better understand the reality we’re living within. The emerging trends of disloyalty among growing sectors of Israel’s Arab community are indeed frightening, and we must not repress them. The opposite is true. We should do everything in order to change them. A democracy must stand up for itself, and in this context the High Court’s ruling in respect to the Arab parties is a mistake we shall be paying a price for.
Some Arabs, for instance, showed solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza during the recent war:
Every day we witness the growing radicalization of Arab community leaders wishing to undermine the pillars of the State of Israel, where they live and are granted rights. During a time of war against a cruel terror organization, whose declared objective is the State of Israel’s extermination, many citizens displayed blatant solidarity with the enemy. We are talking about acts bordering on offering assistance to the enemy during wartime, and as of now nothing has been done to address a problem that threatens to bring us down from within.
On the other hand there are Arabs that are absolutely loyal to the state.

So his argument is that there should be a mechanism to punish the disloyal and reward the loyal.
Today, more than ever, we must not ignore this severe problem. The State of Israel must reinforce those who wish to see coexistence, yet at the same time adopt an iron fist against those who call for its physical and spiritual destruction....

Our supreme goal is to change this direction immediately. Those who are interested in coexistence must feel safe and be granted full rights, while those who do not sympathize with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state apparently do not belong with us here as citizens of the State. ...

When we see rallies of solidarity with Hamas during war, when we hear mayors and Knesset members who are paid by the State congratulating Palestinian martyrs, and when we see Palestinian flags proudly hoisted in central Tel Aviv, we know the time has come to act. The time has come to convey a clear message to the next government: Without loyalty, one shall not be granted citizenship.
It is another stage in the development of a racist state in a multi-ethnic environment. Wars without, now perhaps loyalty oaths within. I think this is additionally worth paying attention to because of the possibility that Iraq could end up with some kind of ethnic and/or sectarian division after all is said and done. I don't think anyone knows how serious this possibility is currently--or who besides the big Kurdish parties and perhaps the SupremeCouncil favors it--but really I think one of the lessons of Israel and Palestine should be: It just doesn't work.

4 Comments:

Blogger Helena Cobban said...

Um, doesn't the precedent of present citizens of a state having their citizenship status suddenly taken away or degraded ring any bells for anyone?

6:40 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Helena is being coy with us. She is probably referring to this

7:05 PM  
Blogger John Robertson said...

This is even more frightening in the context of the Haaretz report yesterday about the IDF's rabbis' racist exhortations to troops about to go into Gaza - which evidently included reassurances to the effect that all the Arabs in the region were relatively recent arrivals. Talk about yet another pretext for expelling Arabs from Israel . . .

11:29 AM  
Blogger badger said...

Yes, absolutely incredible, as you have said.

The link is here.

John Robertson comments on it here

1:26 PM  

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