by Chris Moore, LibertarianToday.com
Columnist Ilana Mercer recently used her forum in World Net Daily ("The Nature of the Jewish State") to take issue with points in an article I wrote for LibertarianToday.com entitled "Washington: Segregationist Israel--Good! Segregationist Trent Lott--Bad!"
My column revolved around the shameful hypocrisy the Washington establishment practices on matters of race vis-a-vis Israel and the United States, using the Trent Lott saga (in which he lost his Senate leadership position for publicly inferring praise for segregation) to illuminate the double standard.
My purpose was neither to defend nor condemn Lott, but to illustrate that if the Democrats or Republicans possessed an iota of integrity, they would hold Israel (to whom they mechanically vote billions of dollars a year in financial and military aid) to something at least approaching U.S. standards for racial and civil rights. Instead, while skewering Trent Lott as a racist for a slip of the tongue, they coyly look the other way as Israel openly and maliciously violates the civil and human rights of those it governs based on their race--and uses U.S. taxpayer money to do so.
Mercer objected to several assertions in the article, but as is typical of those in denial about the extent of Israel’s apartheid system, did so in an intellectually dishonest and disingenuous way:
"I’ll try and interpret this blognoscente’s outrageous canard as charitably as possible," she writes of my claim that Israel discriminates against non-Jews. "Since he would be lying if he did, he can’t possibly mean that Israel’s Arab citizens are robbed of their rights..."
Ilana, that is exactly what I meant, and I wasn’t lying.
What I wrote was: "...all manner of basic rights in Israel are granted according to race: citizenship, the right to buy and own property, the right to participate in government service. If a person born in Israel is not of Jewish bloodline, he is not entitled to any of these; in fact, he is often legally barred from all of them. However, if he is of Jewish blood, even if he was born, say, in America, his is automatically entitled to them all...."
Mercer amazingly chose to interpret the paragraph as applying only to prospective immigrants to Israel rather than those citizens already living there (which makes it easier to ignore the factual foundations of the charge, I suppose) and prattled on about how Israel is entitled to restrict its immigration list to Jews. Nonetheless, I stand by my original charge: Israel discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens and routinely denies them entitlements that are automatically granted to Jews.
Fact: Israelis are required by the government to carry identity cards which record whether or not they are Jewish. The Israel Land Administration (ILA) is responsible for managing and leasing over 90% of the land in Israel. Those who are not registered as Jews are automatically disqualified from utilizing much of the land under ILA control. Registered Jews face no such restrictions barring them from available ILA property.
Can you imagine the uproar in this country if, for example, the federal government registered whites with special identity cards that gave them privileges over African-Americans or other minorities with regard to where they could rent or own? Unthinkable. Yet Congress, including Democrats who rely heavily on the African-American vote, endorses such a concept when it writes Israel its annual blank check.
Mercer writes that "The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army (a bonus, wouldn’t you think?)."
What she doesn’t say is that, being the garrison state that Israel is, the army is the gateway to broader government service, and those that haven’t served in the army (or were never allowed to) are banned from many government jobs, and sometimes restricted from certain private sector jobs as well. In a socialist country like Israel, such an arrangement severely restricts a person’s job prospects. Limit army admittance to Jews, limit most government jobs to army veterans, limit most government jobs to Jews. Clever trick.
What might a corollary in America look like? How about this: limit college admission to whites, limit government service to college graduates, limit government jobs to whites. Of course, our enlightened leaders in Washington would never dream of backing such an immoral scheme, or would they? After all, they endorse this insidious form of racism in principle by subsidizing it in Israel.
Speaking of the "racist" charge, Mercer says that "for their purposes, anti-Israel libertarians appear to have adopted leftist human-rights nomenclature..." She also maintains that "As it’s understood in the U.S., racism is more often concerned with discrimination based on distinct physical characteristics. It’s thus important to understand that Jews are not a race. There are white, brown and black Jews in Israel..."
In other words, Mercer is suggesting that libertarians who charge racism are betraying their beliefs by adopting left-wing rhetorical and political tactics, and that it is impossible for government favoritism of Jews to be considered racial favoritism because Judaism is not a race, it’s really just a religion.
As to the first claim, my response is that because libertarians rarely brandish the "racist" charge, when they are forced to, you can bet it’s probably true. And yes, the left does throw the epithet around routinely, but strangely you never hear it from mainstream leftist Democrats with regard to Israel--more evidence of its veracity. (And evidence that Democrats have gotten away with the political equivalent of murder for far too long now--taking credit for championing the rights of racial minorities in America while simultaneously supporting an apartheid state in Israel.)
As to the notion that Judaism has no racial element and is only a religion, tell that to the Israeli government, which awards Jewish citizenship (and its accompanying privileges) according to whether or not an applicant’s parent is of Jewish blood--even to enthusiastic atheists!
Sadly, Mercer’s misleading and outright fictitious claims about the state of civil rights in Israel for non-Jews are par for the course among its supporters, both Jew and gentile alike. They portray Israel as having a U.S. style "democracy," which succeeds only in diminishing both the word and the United States in the eyes of the rest of the world. After all, if their claims were true, what would that say about how American-style democracy treats its racial minorities? Those of us who live here know that our minorities are treated better than nearly anyplace else on earth, but does the Arab world know that? Not if it is forming its opinions based on how Arabs are treated in Israel--or worse yet, how they are treated in the occupied territories. In that light, it’s not so hard to understand why Iraqis are so tenaciously opposed to American occupation. They likely believe that the U.S. will treat them the same way that the Israelis treat the Palestinians under their control.
And in the occupied territories, which the Israeli government is in de-facto control, the state of civil rights is much worse for Arabs than in Israel. Palestinian political activists are regularly abducted and tortured by the Israeli government; suspected "militants" are routinely assassinated on the streets by the Israeli army (often resulting in the death and maiming of innocent bystanders); even Palestinian children are sadistically beaten for throwing stones. Naturally, the Palestinians respond the only way they can short of rolling over and being crushed by a government indifferent to the lives non-Jews: with terror bombings. But even those hardly scratch what is estimated to be the fourth or fifth most powerful army in the world. The bombs end up hitting the Israeli public, though, which on cue demands Arab blood in retaliation.
Ignoring the fact that most libertarians oppose all foreign aid because it implicates America in the actions of its recipients, which often leads to blowback (Sept. 11 being one shocking example) Mercer is a strange libertarian to be puzzled as to why real libertarians object to American financing of the authoritarian hell that Israel and the occupied territories have become. Not only should Israel be seen as a cautionary warning of how easily socialism can be used to enforce ethnic tribalism, but also as a portent of the kinds of problems that befall a "democracy" that adopts an official state religion: a shattered economy, racial and religious violence, bombings, perpetual warfare.
With Israel, we see the lengths to which such a state will go to control and manipulate its constituents/adherents. And how it will use advanced and sophisticated Soviet-like propaganda campaigns to convince them that in addition to their lives, the survival of their very religion is at stake.
The widespread notion among Zionists that today’s Israel, a military powerhouse with perhaps hundreds of nuclear weapons, is in an existential fight for its life ("In Israel...retaining a Jewish majority is a matter of greater urgency. It’s a matter of life and death really..." writes Mercer) is a prime example. As any cultist knows, the fastest way to separate a person from his or her individuality and make them subservient to a group is first to isolate them (hence Israel’s new "security fence") and then convince them that "outsiders" are out to get them. If that means deliberately provoking the stateless, army-less Palestinians into desperate suicide bombings, so be it.
No informed person believes that the Middle East is a walk in the park or that Arabs haven’t historically been just as ruthless toward the Jews as Jews are toward the Palestinians today, and just as vulnerable to being manipulated by their leaders. And while it’s true that Israel treats its Arab citizens (excluding the Palestinians in the occupied territories) better than most Muslim countries treat their minority citizens, it’s also true that the Jewish state should be held to a much higher standard. Why? Because no Muslim state has been provided all the money and military hardware it can hold--and the tacit permission to use both for purposes of persecution--as both the Democrats and Republicans have provided for Israel.
Unfortunately, not only has U.S. aid to Israel been abused, but this abuse has given fanatics a legitimate opening through which to illegitimately attack America. Our blind spot for Israel has become an Achilles heel, and turned us into a target for Muslim rage. Right now, most Americans are unaware of what the Israeli government is really doing with their tax dollars. But that will change as more American casualties return from the sand traps of Iraq--good American boys betrayed by Congress and sent into harms way by a clique of neocon ideologues bent on protecting the Jim Crow laws of a small, high maintenance Middle Eastern nation.
Chris Moore is editor of LibertarianToday.com