Tuesday, December 7, 2010

settlements will continue, the truth is now clear

In the news, the Obama administration admits defeat in its attempt to get Israel to stop building settlements.

It should be noted that at no time was the possibility of withholding the huge annual payment of over $3 billion to Israel from the United States even mentioned. If there was any doubt anywhere about the strength of the Israel lobby in the United States, it should now be gone. The President of the world's only superpower has no power whatsoever over a tiny country of 7 million on the other side of the world as it proceeds in a project that is as alien to the principles of human rights, liberty and justice supposedly valued by America is can be.

This is certainly a wake up call for all Americans, because it shows that the United States is bound to a rogue state that feels free to do as it wishes regardless not only of world opinion but of the policy of its one and only supporter.

Israel continues to move to more extreme positions that contradict the separation of religion and state in the U.S. There's no better example than the effort of a group of rabbis to deny housing to non-Jews by calling for property owners to refuse to rent to them in the Israeli city of Safed, claiming this is called for in the Torah. With this, the support for Israel by world Jewry will be further reduced, further clarifying the distinction between Judaism and Zionism.

At the same time, the blindness of the Israeli government to what it is doing to the Palestinians in the occupied territories is shown in Benjamin Netanyahu's condemnation of the rabbis' effort. Netanyahu claims the refusal to rent to non-Jews is unbecoming of a democracy, even as his government continues to support the settlers who take land from the Palestinians with no regard to the right of the owners to defend themselves in law. The Palestinians are under the complete control of Israel, that daily exerts its power to do with them as it pleases. Yet, refusing to rent to non-Jews is an affront to democracy!

Israel fails to recognize that it has no future on its present course. Either the Palestinians get a state of their own, now very unlikely, or Israel becomes a true democracy with equal rights for both Jews and Palestinians. There is a feeling among Palestinians that the best thing to do now is nothing and let the settlements continue until the Palestinians are thoroughly distributed within "greater Israel". Their plight as non-entities will be so egregious that Israel will sink to the bottom of nations (not much further to go), justly reviled and isolated, unable even to keep the support of the United States, whose citizens will be repulsed by blatant apartheid.

The rabbis intent on discrimination are paving the way. Expect much more such arrogance to come.

1 comment:

  1. The no rent to arabs ruling by some municipal rabbis (paid by the State) meets both your short and long term perdictions. From the Haaretz piece:

    --"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."--

    so your short term perdiction of apartheid full. But then the piece also reports

    --dozens of people gathered in front of Independence Hall in Tel Aviv for a spontaneous demonstration against the rabbis' letter forbidding the sale or rental of properties to Arabs or other non-Jews.

    A number of cultural figures were present at the demonstration, including Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz. Horowitz said, "These people receive a salary from the state and break the law. As a Jew and an Israeli, I am embarrassed that these men are municipal rabbis."

    Horowitz continued, "There is no connection between what they preach, and Judaism. In the Declaration of Independence [of the State of Israel] it states that everyone has equal rights. We see a wave of fascism and racism that is trying to cut off sectors of Israeli society."--

    suggesting a long term process for equal protection in a greater Israel.

    I too wonder if this is not the only possible way out now. But, if so, it will not be without much personal cost.