Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support -- click here to help us keep going

Analysis News

Court okays Citizenship Law, legalizing discrimination of Arabs

According to the 2003 law, Arab citizens of Israel who marry Palestinians will have to emigrate in order to live with their spouses.

Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi famously said that “Israel is indeed a Jewish-democratic state: it is democratic for Jews and Jewish for all the rest.”

This rings truer than ever after Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected yesterday (again) the petitions against the Citizenship Law, one of the first measures to make racial discrimination against the Arab minority not just common practice, but part of Israel’s legal codex.

The High Court rejected the petitions against the Citizenship Law in a split, 6-5 decision. The incoming head of the High Court, Justice Asher Grunis, wrote in the decision that “human rights shouldn’t be a recipe for national suicide.” You can read the full verdict here [Hebrew, PDF]. Justice Edmond Levy, a religious and somewhat conservative judge, harshly criticized Grunis for his language, claiming he misled the public as to the nature of the citizenship law.

The Citizenship Law, which technically is a temporary order, came into effect in 2003. It determines that Palestinian non-citizens who marry Israeli citizens will not be eligible for Israeli residency or citizenship. The couple will only be able to unite outside the borders of Israel.

The practical meaning of the law is that Arab citizens of Israel who marry Palestinian non-citizens – something that happens quite often, since these are members of the same nation, and sometimes of the same communities – won’t be able to live with their wives or husbands. If they want to unite, they will have to leave the country. By doing so, the law achieves two (racist) objectives against members of the Arab minority: (a) it prevents non-Jews from entering the country and applying for permanent residency or citizenship and (b) it makes it harder for Israeli Arab citizens to build families in their own community or in their own country, thus encouraging them to leave Israel. Arab Palestinians comprise roughly 20 percent of Israel’s population.

It is important to note that it is not the right of the non-citizen wife or husband that is being violated (since the state has no legal obligation towards them), but that of the citizen, who should enjoy the possibility to form a family and live with his loved one in his own community.

When the citizenship law came into effect, during the second Intifada, a security pretext was used to justify it, claiming that Palestinian terrorists could use marriage to become Israeli citizens. Yet this argument doesn’t hold: even without the law, the security establishment can veto any demand for citizenship or residency. It’s clear – and the public debate around the law doesn’t even try to conceal this fact – that “demographic” issues were the real motive for the legislation, and more specifically, the desire to limit, and ultimately even reduce, the number of non-Jewish citizens in the state.

Until the citizenship order, the only major piece of Israeli legislation that made a clear distinction between Arabs and Jews was the Law of Return, which makes it possible for Jews to immigrate to Israel and become citizens instantly, while non-Jews aren’t allowed to do so, even if their families originally hailed from this land. The 2003 law marks perhaps a new era, in which discrimination against the Arab minority is not only a common practice – for example, in the prevention of Palestinians from buying or building on state land, through the use of state agencies such as the JNF – but an explicit part of the body of laws that apply to the citizens of the state.

The new Nakba Law, which allows the state to penalize institutions that commemorate the Palestinian national disaster of 1948, is further evidence of this fact. The High Court also rejected petitions against the Nakab bill, just last week.

Read also:
High Court ruling on ‘Nakba Law’ reveals its waning power
2012: The year democracy ends

 

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • COMMENTS

    1. This law is a disgrace to the State, its lawmakers and the judges who shamelessly sow panic, perpetuate fears of national destruction and weave screaming discrimination into the fabric of the law. The Court’s decision is deplorable, both for the direct impact on citizens, the precedent it sets, and the symbolism for Israeli society.

      Reply to Comment
    2. louis frankenthler

      Today I recall the “tears of mourning” in North Korea and I think that I shed real tears of mourning over the shameful ruling by our ‘leftists’ Supreme Court approving the racist and disgusting BAN on Palestinian family reunification. I mourn democracy in serious decline in Israel if not a victim of the ongoing legislative hit and run with the Knesset and Bibi fighting over the steering wheel … I recall a wise politicians words yesterday when he said (and it rhymes in Hebrew) Israel indeed is drying up but in Knows no shame… ישרארך מתיבשת אך לא מתבישת

      Reply to Comment
    3. Henry Weinstein

      Meanwhile the Knesset is preparing legislation banning the use of the term “Nazi”.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Palestinian

      Thats not racial discrimination ,we arent a race.But what should we expect from such a state,that was established over a genocide and myths.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Sinjim

      Well, I for one think it’s great that the Jewish and Democratic State uses liberal Zionist rhetoric to justify this racism. How many times have we heard “human rights shouldn’t be a recipe for national suicide” as an excuse for the plight of Palestinians? Now this racist notion that the presence of a group of human beings is as damaging as self-killing has become a legal principle utilized by the Jewish and Democratic High Court. Liberal Zionists can hold their heads high today.
      .
      And for those who think that they can limit this treatment to just the aravim meluchlachim, I encourage you to read this story: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-to-deport-japanese-researcher-over-fear-he-will-settle-down-after-studies-1.406752. If you accept racism against one group of people, you accept against all other groups of people. This ruling, handed down by bigots and cowards, will have repercussions beyond just the arbushim.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Aaron

      I don’t understand this law even on its own terms. Would there really be enough of these marriages to be demographically significant? That seems hard to believe. Or is it just a symbolic gesture towards the “Jewish demographic state”? Can anyone explain this on its *own* terms?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Other commentators have already clearly presented this is racism. But I suggest that racism is a manifestation, not an a priori behavior. The foundation of this is pure elitism, which treats all others as less, as inferior, as not deserving. And that needs to be seen as an integral part of Zionism. As long as Zionism exists, this elitism will remain; and over time lead to further and further exclusionary practices. And in time those exclusionary practices will make it impossible for the most corrupt of western government officials to continue to support Israel. And from then one its life as a Jewish state will be seriously limited. Plus the environment at home will become so oppressive that most rational and human Jews will leave.

      And once again history will show that nothing that is built on a faulty foundation can last.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Danny

      This law, and ruling, is racism in its purest form; the Israeli high court has now stated unequivocally that Arabs are, and will remain, 2nd class citizens in the Jewish state of Israel. Add to this the quiet transfer of West Bank Palestinians from area C (good morning EU!), and what we’ve got here is insurmountable evidence of state policy of methodical disenfranchisement of Palestinians from their native lands. If this isn’t just cause to boycott Israel back to the stone age, I don’t know what is.

      Reply to Comment
    9. bosko

      To the eternal chorus who allege apartheid in Israel. You want to see real apartheid? See this little video. It outlines how various Arab countries who expelled their Jewish population have been treating Palestinian refugees for the last 63 years:
      .
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TlrYVB8XzQQ
      .
      Why? Because they want the Palestinians to be the cannon fodder to carry on their hateful fight against the existence of the Jewish state.
      .
      As for Israel, it has the right to invoke security measures to ensure that it does not get flooded by enemies. And for those who choose to dispute that right, they are just hypocrites who ignore history. Here, read what countries like Britain, USA, Canada and Australia did to their own citizens and refugees who came from enemy countries in WW2 when it was a matter of THEIR survival:
      .
      “Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called “War Relocation Camps,” in the wake of Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.[1][2]”
      .
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American_internment
      .
      “The World War II experience of thousands of German Americans, to most, is an unknown. During World War II, the U.S. government and many Americans viewed German Americans and others of “enemy ancestry” as potentially dangerous, particularly immigrants. The government used many interrelated, constitutionally questionable methods to control persons of German ancestry, including internment, individual and group exclusion from military zones, internee exchanges, deportation, repatriation, “alien enemy” registration, travel restrictions and property confiscation.”
      .
      http://www.foitimes.com/internment/
      .
      If it was good enough for the great western democracies to invoke security measures during THEIR war of survival, then it is good enough for Israel too!!!

      Reply to Comment
    10. Bosko

      Henry Weinstein:
      “Meanwhile the Knesset is preparing legislation banning the use of the term “Nazi”
      .
      Comparing the Knesset to Nazism is disgusting. This law has nothing to do with Nazism. Had the high court rejected this law, the predictable outcome would be every Israeli Arab of marriagable age would have been pressured to marry a Palestinian Arab from the West Bank or elsewhere.
      .
      There are 1.2 million Israeli Arabs. Say 20% of them are of marriagable age over the next 5 years, and Israel would acquire 240,000 new Arab citizens. And it would go on like that for ever. It would be a defacto acceptance of the so called right of return and a demographic time bomb sowing future internal strife in Israel. The high court did exactly the right thing.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Henry Weinstein

      Palestinian,
      In the 1930s German Jews too were saying “we arent a race” – and many Jews were married with Christians. But Nazi didn’t care: their racial discriminations were based on blood & Jewish ancestry. Their racism was the ideology – reverse to the Orthodox Jews’ fear of assimilation – that justified ethnic discriminations against German Jews with the Nuremberg Laws.
      .
      According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination. See what happened in Rwanda if you don’t believe me.
      > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism
      .
      When you say that Israel “was established over a genocide and myths”, I disagree with you, Palestinian (meaning your pen name, I guess you live in the diaspora): Israel was established by the Zionist movement and by the war of 1948. What happened is that the genocide of the European Jews – who weren’t Zionists – gave a moral and political justification to the creation of Israel, beyond the Zionist project & ideology.
      .
      When you mention “myths”, I hope and believe you mean the way the genocide is used by the present state of Israel to justify its policy. For if you deny the Shoah, you are a negationist – and far worse for me, born 1959 in France.

      Reply to Comment
    12. DHMCarver

      Bosko, how would you react to a law passed in a nation that said if a citizen married someone who was Jewish, that person could no longer live in the state? Israel is at a crossroads — is it going to be a democratic state, or a Jewish state? I think we know which you would prefer — and where the present Israeli leadership is taking the nation.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Bosko

      The person who marries CAN continue living in Israel. It is just their new spouse who hasn’t got an automatic right to live in Israel.
      .
      Understand this: Israel is at war with it’s neighbours and has been for 63 years. It’s security concerns outweigh all other considerations.
      .
      In an earlier post in which I got the message:
      .
      “Your comment is awaiting initial confirmation”
      .
      I outlined how the great western democracies treated their ‘enemy aliens’ as they called them during WW2. If they had the right to put their security considerations ahead of all other issues, then so has Israel!!!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Henry Weinstein

      Bosko,I repeat:
      .
      Factually, whatever I think or you think
      “Meanwhile the Knesset is preparing legislation banning the use
      of the term “Nazi”.”
      .
      Before to accuse me with your “comparing the Knesset to Nazism is disgusting”, pay attention to my words, not to your prejudices & mental self-censoring.
      .
      I’m not here to play a part, Bosko.
      It goes far beyond that, even if those who don’t have a clue about what happened to my people think my word is disguting.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Henry Weinstein

      Errata:
      disgusting, not disguting.
      .
      I don’t play with words, I come from here, Kaddish for my people.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Bosko

      Henry Weinstein:
      ” I come from here, Kaddish for my people”
      .
      Very appropriate. If the critics of Israel, such as many on this site, would have their way, you would have to say kaddish over all the Jews of Israel, before long. And not much later, for the rest of us too!!!

      Reply to Comment
    17. At what point does it get so bad inside Israel that you decide to emigrate. This is not just creeping fascism anymore, it is up and galloping.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Bosko, I find it absolutely astonishing that you are able to justify every racist law that Israel comes out with by citing persecution of Jews and the need to protect Jews.
      .
      It is Palestinians who are being persecuted by this law, and no one is being protected by it. You also honestly seem to believe that it’s inconceivable for Palestinians to want to marry for love, that they are all passive victims of unknown duplicitous schemers (who, exactly?) who want to ‘pressure’ them into marriage in order to flood the country.
      .
      The country that you don’t even live in, but that apparently you need to keep yourself safe from all the stormtroopers who are pounding the Australian streets and threatening to strip you of your rights.
      .
      It’s not your rights that are in danger here. You could marry whomever you like and obtain citizenship for your spouse. Yet you sit there from a distance of thousands of miles and try to justify this appalling law that has real effects on real people by talking about yourself. It’s not about you. Now you’re even giving statistics about Palestinian Israelis ‘of marriageable age’ as though they’re fast-breeding rats with no other purpose in life than to destroy your supposed safety. God forbid that they should just be humans loving other humans – fellow Israeli citizens, Diaspora Palestinians, French Canadians, pygmies from the Congolese forests, who cares? I am as anti-Zionist as they come, and I didn’t let political strategy dictate whom I loved, because that isn’t how love works. It’s exactly the same for Palestinian Israelis. I don’t know quite where you got your expertise on them and their sinister psyche, but as someone who lives in Palestine and is surrounded by the crafty devils on all sides, I don’t recognise the picture you paint. Some days they almost seem human. Occasionally I’m even seized by the wild idea that they’re actually a bit like me, which in turn gives birth to the radical notion that if this is true, maybe they deserve the same rights (!).
      .
      You should try looking at them as people like yourself, instead of talking about them as a 20% statistic and trying to fathom out equations that will predict their breeding trends, as though you are a member of some pseudo-scientific population and eugenics faculty. To help you with that, try thinking how you would feel if your ability to live with someone you love was restricted on the basis of your partner’s ethnicity or nationality. How you would feel if people talked about Jewish marriages in the same calculated statistical way you have just used here. This has happened to Jews before, and if this continues, I shouldn’t be surprised if it happens again – in Israel. Once the government starts meddling in people’s personal lives like this, it’s unlikely to restrict itself to people of just one ethnicity. Racism is a cancer that spreads.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “Bosko, I find it absolutely astonishing that you are able to justify every racist law that Israel comes out with by citing persecution of Jews and the need to protect Jews”
      .
      Not the persecution of Jews. The need to protect Jews. And not all Jews, I am talking about the Jews of Israel only. They have the right to protect themselves the same as anyone else.
      .
      The rest of us, who are not in Israel, are beyond protection. If you guys decide to turn on us again, we cannot defend ourselves. And those who think otherwise are just kidding themselves.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Bosko

      Vicky:
      ” You also honestly seem to believe that it’s inconceivable for Palestinians to want to marry for love”
      .
      I said no such thing. What I said was that given the possibility, Palestinians of marriagable age would be put under pressure by those who create dogma in Palestinian society, that it is their “patriotic duty” to marry a non Israeli Palestinian, in order to boost the Arab population of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “The country that you don’t even live in, but that apparently you need to keep yourself safe from all the stormtroopers who are pounding the Australian streets and threatening to strip you of your rights”
      .
      I have as much right to have an opinion as you do. You don’t live in Israel either yet you are not short of an opinion about what Israel should or should not do.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “God forbid that they should just be humans loving other humans”
      .
      Yep, they are humans allright Vicky. Hasn’t anyone told you that humans are multi talented? They are capable of the greatest acts of love and nobility but also of the greates acts of hate and evil.
      .
      Only less than a decade ago, those Palestinian Arabs that you are talking about encouraged hundreds of their youngsters to strap bombs to their bodies and blow up thousands of innocent Israelis randomly. And they did it. They had so much hatered towards Israeli Jews. But now you expect those Jews to welcome such a people amongst them? Are you kidding me? Why don’t you invite a million Talliban to settle in Washington instead? Let’s see how your fellow Americans would react to that?

      Reply to Comment
    23. I live under Israel’s occupation, with people who suffer from its policies. Separating Palestinian life from Israeli life is like unscrambling eggs. Even if it were possible to separate the two, I travel regularly on the Israeli side of the Green Line (it’s a couple of hundred yards away from me, just on the other side of Machsom 300). Unlike the people in whose house I live, I can cross that line easily, and I spend significant time on the other side.
      .
      When I talk about laws such as this one, I have names and faces in mind – real people who are being affected by the law (which is really only a formalisation of what already exists). You talk about ‘Arabs’ as an abstract. You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to dehumanise this community for the sake of that opinion. And what you wrote is dehumanising.
      .
      “What I said was that given the possibility, Palestinians of marriagable age would be put under pressure by those who create dogma in Palestinian society, that it is their “patriotic duty” to marry a non Israeli Palestinian, in order to boost the Arab population of Israel.”
      .
      I’ve never come across that sentiment anywhere, or these murky characters who ‘create dogma’. I have come across several people whose family life has been severely disrupted by rules on permits and residency. Israel even interferes with whom West Bank Palestinians can live with, did you know that? A Diaspora or Gaza Palestinian can’t come to live in the West Bank with a spouse, and even spouses from overseas such as my Dutch colleague get tough treatment. He has a Palestinian wife from Bethlehem, but Israel won’t grant him residency rights. He has to keep applying for his tourist visa to be renewed. Sometimes it isn’t and he has to leave the country, remain in Holland for a while (sometimes weeks, sometimes months, once for a full year) and then re-enter. Whenever he uses the airport, he has to phone ahead to warn them that he is coming, because he is a high security risk. For being married to a Palestinian. He’s not allowed to sit in the airport unsupervised. He has to be met at the entrance. He is taken to wait for his flight in a room by himself, always supervised by the border police. For being married to a Palestinian.
      .
      This is the reality. There are no sinister cabals of Palestinians ‘creating dogma’ about who can marry whom, but there are many Israeli politicians and bureaucrats implementing policies like this. Some things are just indefensible and it’s sick to try and defend them. The formalisation of discrimination in the citizenship law is all of a piece with this.
      .
      Of course I’m not short of an opinion on what Israel should and shouldn’t do when I see things like this happening in front of my own eyes. Things must look more palatable from where you are. You don’t have to see a ten-year-old crying because her dad is being sent away again and there is no guarantee that he’ll be allowed back. Once she dropped a sweet wrapper in the checkpoint and a soldier shouted at her for it. She became paranoid that her dad would be kicked out forever because she had been ‘bad’. This is wicked, and it shouldn’t be happening. The citizenship law is just one of many cruel ways in which Palestinian relationships are harmfully affected by the state, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with your safety.

      Reply to Comment
    24. …and all this was happening for nearly three decades before the suicide bombing began in 1993, so don’t try to claim that it’s a response to that.
      .
      “Only less than a decade ago, those Palestinian Arabs that you are talking about encouraged hundreds of their youngsters to strap bombs to their bodies and blow up thousands of innocent Israelis randomly. And they did it. They had so much hatered towards Israeli Jews. But now you expect those Jews to welcome such a people amongst them…”
      .
      Did they? Khadijah? Rania? Reem? Na’ima? Omar? Rashid? Sara? Muhammad? Abu Hassan? News to me. All these people, their families, their friends – they were all encouraging people to take part in killing? To you they are all the same – you describe them as one people. ‘Such a people’. And as I pointed out, they were being oppressed and hurt long before 1993. You can’t use the suicide bombing campaign to retroactively justify the implementation of martial law and all its attendant cruelties.
      .
      “Why don’t you invite a million Talliban to settle in Washington instead? Let’s see how your fellow Americans would react to that?”
      .
      I’m not American and the comparison is fallacious anyway. But thank you for directly equating Taliban with WB Palestinians who want to live with Palestinian-Israeli spouses. It’s a vicious comparison, but at least it’s an honest expression of how you see the people with whom I share my home – such a people. Honesty is best when it’s paired with compassion, and perhaps a little bit of logic as well, but if you can’t have the last two things it’s better than nothing.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “This is the reality. There are no sinister cabals of Palestinians ‘creating dogma’ about who can marry whom, but there are many Israeli politicians and bureaucrats implementing policies like this. Some things are just indefensible and it’s sick to try and defend them. The formalisation of discrimination in the citizenship law is all of a piece with this”
      .
      The reality is that the majority of Palestiniann voters voted for Hamas in 2006 and that gives a very specific message about how most Palestinians feel about Israeli citizens. Go look up Hamas’s charter Vicky.
      .
      Sure there are Palestinians who are not fans of Hamas but they too hate Israel and therefore all Israelis who want to see Israel survive. And yes, there are a minority of decent Palestinians who would be willing to live in peace side by side with Jewish neighbors. I feel sorry for those good people but I feel even sorrier for Jews who would suffer the consequences of what those who love Hamas would do to them if given the chance. And people like you want to give them that chance.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “…and all this was happening for nearly three decades before the suicide bombing began in 1993, so don’t try to claim that it’s a response to that.”
      .
      And so were other forms of terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews since the 1920s. So don’t try to pretend that Israel just chooses to be evil towards Palestinians without any provocations. Go read up on the Munich massacre, the murder if Israeli children in Maalot, the hijacking of airplanes and ships the murder of a wheel chair bound American Jew Klinghoffer, on the hijacked Achila Lauro.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “To you they are all the same”
      .
      To them WE are all the same. I’ll tell you how I feel Vicky: I hate war. But so long as human beings choose war in order to try to get their way, the innocent get caught up in the consequences of war.
      .
      I’ll tell you what Vicky, go and convince your Palestinians to compromise and make peace. Then maybe after a reasonably long time, after the bad blood between Palestinian Arabs and Jews, will diminish somewhat, then maybe Israel could consider some reasonable concessions. But it has to be give and take from both sides because so long as the Palestinian Arabs refuse to recognize how they too contributed to the mess that the Middle East is in, there won’t be peace. So long as they pretend to be only victims but not victimizes too, there will be conflict and things won’t improve for anyone.

      Reply to Comment
    28. I wonder what the 5 dissenting Justices said. This was a close case, more than can be said for Plessey v Ferguson (1896) in the US, legalizing American Jim Crow, decided 8-1. Only the first Justice Harlen dissented. He wrote a long opinion as to why–which, ultimately, became US law.
      .
      The High Court will be in internal rancor for some time, but this means naught to those told they may not make families in their homeland. Love does exist, and it helps people get by, and it has this day been quashed. May the Boskos not silence the Vickys.
      .
      I have no doubt that this decision countravenes the Declaration. I have faith if doubt that someday this decision will fall. But for now the path I advocate lies defeated.
      .
      Because citizenship and residence may be denied as appllied, the law is solely racist in intent, as Noam notes. One’s race decides the matter, not one’s situation. Bosko’s reasoning, above, is not dissimilar than that found both in the US and Europe in the inter war period and before. That reasoning leades to perpetual race contest; Israel will be ever in internal conflict. If that is where Torah leads (if), I will have none of it.
      .
      Thank you 972, and thank you Vicky (do not end your personal blog!). Anti-depressent, anyone?

      Reply to Comment
    29. Bosko

      Vicky:
      “I am not American …”
      .
      You are not Israeli either. So I who have relatives and friends in Israel, have as much right to have opinions about what Israel should or should not do, as you do. And not just you but every man and his dog who is not Israeli and who visits this site with their plethora of opinions.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Richard Witty

      Rights that are only based on ethnicity are both wrong and damaging to Israel.

      They do not relate to security, but to prejudice.

      Security concerns can be addressed substantively by direct security criteria, not by associative (racism) or even by correlative.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Sinjim

      There are moments when I want to sympathize with Bosko. I really want to because I see his humanity in his comments, as hard as that is to believe. But then he goes and spouts racist crap in comment after comment, and my response is to just say “screw that.”
      .
      I take a little bit of comfort in the irony that as he makes his case for discrimination against Palestinians, he is also justifying anti-Semitism (for example, defending the WWII-era immigration policies of Western democracies, which among other things refused to grant refuge to fleeing Jews fleeing one of the worst instances of genocide in human history).
      .
      Vicky, who has my deepest gratitude for her compassion, is right to say that racism is a cancer that spreads.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Bosko

      Greg:
      “May the Boskos not silence the Vickys”
      .
      Read my earlier post about how the western democracies, including America, treated their own citizens who were of German, Italian, Japanese origin, during WW2. Why did they do that? Was it because they were racists? Of course not. They did that because they had security concerns. Yet this Israeli law, as sinister as it is, it still not as harsh than rounding up citizens and putting them into internment camps for security reasons.
      .
      And another thing. I said to you individually, as opposed to some others who post here, that you seem to be a well meaning fellow. But I must admit, I get tired of people who constantly moralise and express righteous indignation against Israel but never try to tell the Palestinian Arabs to get THEIR act together and make a serious (as opposed to pretend) attempt to make peace through compromise and not just by demanding …

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      Sinjim:
      “I take a little bit of comfort in the irony that as he makes his case for discrimination against Palestinians”
      .
      I did not make a case for discrimination. I made a case for refusing enemy citizens settle in Israel for security reasons. I’ll say it as many times as I you guys will make me say it. Israel is not unique in acting this way. The whole human race acts this way. No one allows enemy citizens to settle in their country for fear of subversion from within.
      .
      If Israel is racist because of this, then so is everyone else in the world.
      .
      “he is also justifying anti-Semitism (for example, defending the WWII-era immigration policies of Western democracies, which among other things refused to grant refuge to fleeing Jews fleeing one of the worst instances of genocide in human history)”
      .
      You mean that was antisemitism? If it was, then you just reinforced Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish majority state. To ensure that there is one place on this earth where Jews can defend themselves against antisemitism.
      .
      On the other hand if it wasn’t antisemitism, just security concerns, then you see? Israel is not alone in acting that way.
      .
      Heads you lose, tails I win Sinjim. You don’t have to answer, don’t worry, I won’t be offended. I know I am in a hostile site. I also know that I am on your personal hate list because I say what I think, I am not condascending and I am not a hypocrite. I did not come here to make friends. But hopefully I can make some of you think a bit instead of adhering to ideology …

      Reply to Comment
    34. Bosko

      Richard Witty
      “Rights that are only based on ethnicity are both wrong and damaging to Israel.
      They do not relate to security, but to prejudice.
      Security concerns can be addressed substantively by direct security criteria, not by associative (racism) or even by correlative”
      .
      This is just an assertion. At least until such time as you explain how the potential security concerns that I outlined above can at least be minimized even if not eliminated entirely. Assertions are easy, Richard. Justifying them may be a bit harder.

      Reply to Comment
    35. directrob

      If it were all about security people would not be allowed annual temporary permits.
      .
      Somehow the Israeli High Court has taken up the task to defend Israel by legal means. In doing so it made itself a very poor excuse for a court indeed.

      Reply to Comment
    36. AYLA

      @Sinjim–to your first comment: YES.
      *
      @Bosko–I, too, find you occasionally sympathetic, if verbose, myopic, and reactive. Occasionally. Now is not one of those times. Getting into it with you is not worth it, but kudos to those who bother.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Bosko

      Ayla
      I’ll give you a rare response.
      .
      1) I am not looking to be sympathetic. Least of all to you.
      .
      2) the feeling is not mutual. Even occasionally.
      .
      3) next time please don’t bother. You had it right the first time. We are better off not talking to each other.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Bosko

      Directrob:
      “If it were all about security people would not be allowed annual temporary permits”
      .
      Yep, that makes sense. To take a small risk means you can take a bigger risk, right Rob?
      .
      That’s exactly what one expects from people who post here. People who constantly urge only Israel to make gestures of good will “for the sake of peace”, never the Palestinians. The logic being: hey guys, you already released so many terrorists, why not release some more? Or you already got out of Gaza in exchange for nothing (except “a few” rockets) why not take some more risks? Maybe this time it will be different. And we always wake up to the same reality. The next reality will be Egypt to which Israel gave up the Sinai for the sake of peace. And now the Muslim Brotherhood will offer anything but peace. You guys never learn do you? Just as well that people on my side of politics DO!

      Reply to Comment
    39. Carl

      Bosko: “you already got out of Gaza in exchange for nothing, except ‘a few’ rockets”. I think you might have accidentally got that right. It was called Cast Lead but don’t worry yourself, the IDF quickly replenished their stocks.
      .
      “No one allows enemy citizens to settle in their country for fear of subversion from within”. Now my country did some fairly obscene things in Northern Ireland but I don’t recall us banning Irish Catholics from moving to the UK mainland. You’ll find a fair few Basques in Barcelona too. And anyhow, if they’re enemy citizens, where are they citizens of? The State of Palestine? The State of Judea and Samaria? No it couldn’t be a war with the citizens of Judea and Samaria could it – that’s few years away at least. No, that can’t happen either because as you say, Israel guarantees the safety of all Israeli Jews. Well, I suppose you’d exclude left wing Jews from that. And we’d have to add Jews who are the wrong flavour of religiously observant too. Maybe you can clear up which Israeli Jews deserve protection and which don’t.
      .
      And a tip – if something is ‘bad’, finding an even worse instance doesn’t stop the thing being ‘bad’. So irrespective of the appalling acts we Europeans carried out through the last century, it doesn’t justify others doing some less bad things. If someone’s a big racist, finding an even bigger racist doesn’t make it OK.

      Reply to Comment
    40. directrob

      Bosko, this is not about “arabs” or “jews” wanting to live in Israel with their “palestinian” partners. This is about individual people wanting to have a normal family. It is te right thing to do to let those people live together. Compared to cost of the damage this is doing to Israels reputation abroad the increased risk for Israel is minute.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Richard Witty

      “Rights that are only based on ethnicity are both wrong and damaging to Israel.
      They do not relate to security, but to prejudice.
      Security concerns can be addressed substantively by direct security criteria, not by associative (racism) or even by correlative”
      .
      This is just an assertion. At least until such time as you explain how the potential security concerns that I outlined above can at least be minimized even if not eliminated entirely. Assertions are easy, Richard. Justifying them may be a bit harder.”

      Its far more than an “assertion”, as they underpin the rule of law, that actions are what one is accountable for, not identity, not being.

      So, similarly, unless actions that are demonstrable to the point of clarity before a regulatory body that is subject to appeal before courts, are the criteria, then the statute conflicts with law, and for the Israeli supreme court to rule in favor of the statute only, is a fundamental compromise.

      Security based criteria can include a review of the applicant’s criminal record, job, published writings even (if he/she advocates for the violent overthrow of the government), but not his/her ethnicity.

      The application of ethnic screens are unnecessary, and harmful to Israel’s dual nature. Without the democratic most prominently in “Jewish #and# democratic”, Israel isn’t Israel, but something else.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Richard Witty

      And that is good for Israel for the criteria to be action rather than ethnicity or identity.

      An Arab that contributes to the society of Israel, even if primarily to the Arab community, is contributing to the community of Israel.

      They should be welcomed, invited, celebrated, if they desire to contribute to the community, and not by some very selective criteria that I or you could not likely fulfill.

      Reply to Comment
    43. “I’ll tell you what Vicky, go and convince your Palestinians to compromise and make peace.”
      .
      I’m still at the fairly basic stage of teaching them to sit on command and not to chew the table legs. When that has happened, I’ll give it a go, but you must understand that it is quite challenging for me to train my dogs, not possessing the telepathic insight into their minds and motivations that you seem to have.
      .
      Seriously, they aren’t ‘my’ Palestinians. I don’t own the people I live with, I just live with them. I try my best to share their lives, which contain hardship and injustice that I pray that you will never have to know, and I can’t share in them fully – I’m insulated from the worst things by the colour of my passport. Living in a position of privilege, and seeing them endure the most terrible things on a daily basis, I have absolutely no right to tell them how they ought to react to occupation. I have a particular interest in people who have been severely traumatised (torture victims, etc., especially children). My first duty to these people is to support them in the reclamation of their dignity, which for a start means adequate water to wash in, the right to live together as families, the ability to open the front door without finding the street bristling with soldiers with guns trained on them (that happened to us last Thursday), the right to a decent education, and everything else the occupation prevents them from having. Peace is based on these things, and their absence is fodder for militancy. Israeli security wasn’t enhanced when the schools (including the kindergartens) were closed down during the First Intifada, and being caught in the street with textbooks became reason for arrest. Nor is security enhanced when schools are bulldozed in the South Hebron hills today. You hurt and humiliate people enough, and eventually some will bite.
      .
      The wonder is that there isn’t actually more reactive violence than there has already been. Roughly eight hundred Israelis died in suicide bombings, averaging a total of 47.2 per year during the span of attacks. If the majority of Palestinians (or even a sizeable minority) supported that kind of response to occupation, the death toll would be far higher than that, and it would still be climbing – it’s easy enough for a person who is willing to take a risk to evade checkpoints. Illegal workers do it. Israelis wanting to visit Area A do it. Few things could be easier. The overall Israeli civilian death toll (including settlers) is six times lower than that of Palestinians. That only includes conflict-related deaths (shootings, bombings, etc). It doesn’t include the people who die because they can’t access adequate medical treatment, such as my boss’s uncle. Factor in those deaths and the toll is phenomenal. Looking at this, it becomes extremely difficult to present Palestinian violence as the principal obstacle to peace. The difference between two forms of violence is that one is reactive and sporadic, and the other systemic and ingrained.
      .
      Such violence is also dehumanising for the oppressor. It is extremely disturbing that teenagers are taken from their schools and sent to inflict misery on behalf of their government, raised to see refusal as an ultimate taboo. I feel a sense of responsibility towards them also, because they are victims of state-sanctioned violence in their way. As with Palestinians, the compassion I try to give to them is not conditional on what they have done, but on what they need. A soldier who has been abusive possibly requires even more kindness than one who hasn’t. At the centre we operate from the basic principle that violence is the result of unhealed wounds, and this is the attitude that we try to take to the people we meet. This means cultivating a fundamental respect for each person as a fellow human. It does not mean exonerating occupation by trying to justify its laws. Nor does it mean falsely trying to present this as a conflict between two equal sides (the famed ‘Ahmad, put down your slingshot; Avi, put down your F16′ mentality).
      .
      It does mean relinquishing attitudes such as the one you expressed to Ayla. (“We are better off not talking to each other.”) It also means challenging people when they start to talk about ‘Arabs’ and ‘Jews’ in the demeaning way that you are talking about them now. And yes, it’s demeaning to Jews as well – this notion that their survival is predicated on other people’s suffering. Speak for yourself, and not for those Jews who surrender almost all their free time to helping Palestinians farm their lands in the face of settler violence, and doing other things to alleviate their suffering.
      .
      But none of this is even about the occupation or the Intifadas or the non-violent resistance movement or anything else. It’s about a law affecting Israeli citizens in a deeply personal way. I have noticed that whenever the discussion on Israel’s injustice gets personal, you retreat to abstract territory, occasionally dropping a platitude such as, “Of course Israel isn’t perfect,” as you did with the post on child arrests. You are happy to talk about ‘Arabs’ and ‘Jews’, but not individual people – unless you first get to insulate your prejudices by categorising them as ‘a minority of decent Palestinians’ and thereby negating the force of what they have to say. Your exact words, which put me in mind of that infamous WWII-era saying, which was also used to justify so much: “Every German has his one good Jew.”

      Reply to Comment
    44. Bosko

      Carl:
      “And a tip – if something is ‘bad’, finding an even worse instance doesn’t stop the thing being ‘bad’. So irrespective of the appalling acts we Europeans carried out through the last century, it doesn’t justify others doing some less bad things. If someone’s a big racist, finding an even bigger racist doesn’t make it OK.”
      .
      You are right on that score. Nevertheless I find it curious how posters like you on sites like these have mo inhibition about calling EVERYTHING that Israel does or does not do racist. Yet I posted the following item in my first post onthis thread:
      .
      “To the eternal chorus who allege apartheid in Israel. You want to see real apartheid? See this little video. It outlines how various Arab countries who expelled their Jewish population have been treating Palestinian refugees for the last 63 years:
      .
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TlrYVB8XzQQ
      .
      Why? Because they want the Palestinians to be the cannon fodder to carry on their hateful fight against the existence of the Jewish state”
      .
      And what do you know? I haven’t heard a single peep out of you lot here about it. Not here, not in the newspapers in western countries, not on TV, not on other left wing blogs. Not in any place where you righteous lot seem to profess so much care for Palestinians.
      .
      So why do you think that is Carl? I have this theory. It goes something like this: if it isn’t Israel, it isn’t newsworthy. Arab apartheid against Palestinians is not newsworthy for you guys. Only when Israel is involved do you somehow find your voices. And that’s an understatement …
      .
      I actually think that smacks of racism too. Whether you want to or not, you convey the message that somehow Arab Apartheid and racism is acceptable. Otherwise, you would be yelling about it as loudly as you yell against Israel, non stop …

      Reply to Comment
    45. Bosko

      Vicky:
      ” You hurt and humiliate people enough, and eventually some will bite”
      .
      That’s a nice sound bite. Unfortunately it is based on a false premise. It ignores history. In the 1920s there was no occupation. There were no humiliations of Palestinian Arabs by Palestinian Jews. Yet your Palestinian Arabs for whom you express such love and care, massacred 67 Jews in Hebron, just for being Jews. Those particular Jews were not even Zionists. And worse followed in subsequent years. So explain that Vicky …
      .
      My theory is that things are the other way around from what you lot try to portray. It is the Jewish people who were persecuted, humiliated and attacked and now they have bitten back.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Carl

      Bosko: “Whether you want to or not [Carl], you convey the message that somehow Arab Apartheid and racism is acceptable”.
      .
      No, that’s just something deeply offensive you’ve made up, but don’t let that stop you. I didn’t know I hated Israel either, but thanks for clearing that up; I seem to have been a little confused over that one don’t I.
      .
      Actually, I’m going to never reply to you again as you already know all of my thoughts and opinions so you can just post them up yourself. Good luck to you on that one.

      Reply to Comment
    47. Bosko

      Richard Witty
      “Its far more than an “assertion”, as they underpin the rule of law”
      .
      But the laws of war are different than the laws of peace Richard. As I demonstrated earlier, the great western democracies behaved differently during their war of survival. So why do you expect Israel to be better than them? Personally, I have had enough of this “light unto the nations”, “chosen people” nonsense. I just want Israel to behave the same way as the rest of humanity behaves under similar circumstances.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Bosko

      Carl
      “Actually, I’m going to never reply to you again as you already know all of my thoughts and opinions so you can just post them up yourself. Good luck to you on that one”
      .
      Touched some raw nerves have I Carl? Please yourself. Let me assure you, I won’t be devastated.

      Reply to Comment
    49. Sixty-seven Jews were murdered in the Hebron massacre.
      .
      Four hundred and thirty-five were saved by their Palestinian neighbours, who hid them in their houses. I think that rather goes to prove my point.
      .
      Prior to 1948, such events were rare and spatially limited; they didn’t sweep the country, and they came in response to the growth and spread of Zionism, which local people perceived as yet another colonialist threat. Does that legitimise the killings? No, and there were quite clearly many Palestinian residents of Hebron who saw them as wrong – over four hundred people is not an easy number to hide. A lot of Palestinian families had to be involved in that rescue attempt to make it possible.
      .
      Secondly, in this post you are making another fallacious comparison. Even if we assume that that the Hebron massacre was motivated by pure anti-Semitism, it doesn’t logically follow that any Palestinian who resists occupation and other injustices must be motivated by the same thing. Nor does this give credence to the idea that occupation related injustices are essential to security – the bulldozing of schools, denial of passage to hospitals, restriction on water (both as a routine policy and as a punishment – IDF sometimes close off Dheisheh’s water supply in response to stone-throwing), refusal to allow Palestinian citizens of Israel to marry and live in their hometowns with whomever they wish. I could go on.
      .
      As for your comment on the treatment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere – “And what do you know? I haven’t heard a single peep out of you lot here about it.” – you are forgetting the discussion we had on this very topic. You clearly have heard a peep from people here about it. I told you that it is an important subject, and I offered to direct you to some relevant resources and organisations if you wanted to find out more. You didn’t take me up on that offer, which led me to conclude that you have no genuine interest in the situation of Palestinian refugees in the Arab world. If you did you would know extremely well that the Palestinian peace and justice movement has been hugely critical of foreign nations’ treatment of refugees and there is a lot of important work ongoing in this area. You only seem to ‘care’ about these refugees in so far as you can use their plight to justify Israeli policy.
      .
      “Yet your Palestinian Arabs for whom you express such love and care…”
      .
      I have made clear my objection to having the people I live with described as ‘my’ Palestinians. Your persistence in doing so is…petty, to say the least. Until you are able to talk about them in a more respectful way I can have nothing further to say here.
      .
      At least you got one thing right: I do love them. Such a terrible thing to do. Which brings us back to the subject of this post: people are being penalised because they have the audacity to love the wrong people, and this is what you are defending.

      Reply to Comment
    50. Richard Witty

      Israel needn’t be at war. It can make peace, if it tries seriously. If it doesn’t try, then it can flip to the other side of the continental divide.

      Both the reconciliation/peace side and the war side are slippery slopes, in that they snowball downhill, adding momentum.

      Anyone, whether left or right, that has given up on mutual humanization, has chosen the slippery slope to warring, the multiplication of animosities rather than the deterrence of them, or the reconciliation of them.

      It takes courage to reconcile with a willing former enemy. It doesn’t take much courage to reject reconciling, especially from many thousands of miles away.

      There is legitimate defense that Israel must undertake, but preemptive ethnically based is not it. It does nothing that it is proposed.

      I DO believe in the “light unto the nations” obligation. For Israel/Jewish community and for myself personally.

      When I ask myself “what am I here for, what does my living all mean?” I note that my life is very short, that it includes my enjoyment of life, what I pass on in close relationships, and what I pass on more broadly.

      I’m going to die anyway (not soon, hopefully), so making someone else’s life miserable for my life extension or slightly more comfort, doesn’t seem like what I’m here for.

      Reply to Comment
    51. Click here to load previous comments

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    Name (Required)
    Mail (Required)
    Website
    Free text

© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel