Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Here is the real road to peace

From Ha'aretz:

Author questioned for allegedly smuggling Palestinians into Israel for a day of fun

. . . Avoiding the security forces at West Bank checkpoints, they took the women out to eat in a restaurant in Jaffa, swimming in the Mediterranean, and took them home via Jerusalem where they could see the Old City walls from afar. . . Most of the Palestinians had never seen the sea or visited certain holy places. None of them had permits to enter Israel. . .

They had grown up less than an hour away, but they had never seen the sea.

The outrage of Zionism is that it proposes that a Jew who cannot trace a single ancestor to anywhere near Palestine should have a greater right - a "birthright" - to live and travel in that land than an Arab whose family has lived and worked there for generations. That is why those of us who have no other ill-feeling towards Jews or Judaism find the Zionist project to be so morally nauseating.

Peace will not come from the hollow theatrics on now display in Washington and New York. Peace will come when ordinary people resolve, as Ilana Hammerman did, to disregard the racist laws that maintain the status quo. Ordinary people have to act first, and only then will the leaders be dragged, kicking and screaming.

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Timmyson said...

Jews have a right to live and travel in that land because the government believes they are not going to blow up a pizzaria.

That in itself is a racist assumption, but Israel has struggled to come up with *any* screening criterion that will allow greater freedom while preventing bombs.

Peace will come when those who govern and elect their governors are no longer terrified of the next attack. Given how irrational people are about conceptualizing relative risk, that will probably be never, but the only hope is that educated people who the frightened people trust encourage them to take the risk of being vulnerable. That's why Washington and New York are important.

The Proud Islamist said...

Well, in a moral sense, that's not what gives Jews the "right" to live and travel in that land. I've never blown anything up, but I don't have a "right" to live and travel in any country except for Canada - I have to apply for a visa and I have to present documentation, and I can be deported back to Canada for whatever reason the other government deems valid.

If Israel had a policy like every other country, whereby foreigners all had to go through the same process in order to gain entry, then it wouldn't be so morally outrageous. If Jewish diaspora were treated the same way as Palestinian diaspora, then we could say that what happened in 1948 is history and it's neither right nor wise to try to reverse it, so long as everyone today gets a modicum of equitable treatment.

That's not what's happening. Israel pretty clearly wants to be a "Jewish state" and that necessitates a racist immigration policy far more than the security concerns do.

At any rate, tens of thousands of Palestinians have work permits to earn a living in Israel, and tens of thousands more do it illegally (a lot of settlement construction is, ironically done with Palestinian labour, because there are no other jobs), so it isn't as if the security concern is actually such a major consideration.