Saturday, November 21, 2009

The situation, in a nutshell



Anna Baltzer, author, and Haithem El-Zabri, founder of the Palestine Online Store. Austin, TX, November 2008. [Photographer unknown]

From Mondo.

10 Comments:

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Is he from Palestine or are his parents or grandparents from Palestine? If he's from Palestine himself he's either over sixty or he's from the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza.

 
At 10:16 PM, Blogger Gert said...

If he could show the original title deeds to the land from which he or his direct ancestors where expelled, he would still not be allowed back. Anna would not be required to produces any such thing. Her Jewishness is enough.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

My point is that, though he may be Palestinian, he isn't "from Palestine". After digging some more I found that he was born in the States, so he isn't from Palestine, just like a second-generation Italian-American isn't from Italy.

The Law of Return is an immigration policy, pure and simple. Yes, it is discriminatory, but most countries' immigration policies are and prefer certain groups over others.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Gert said...

To compare Israel's exclusionist principle with the immigration policies of most Western countries is folly. We've already had this discussion. I won't repeat myself until I'm blue in the face.

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Your comment section seems to be down, so I'll comment on your last post of the same subject, over here:

This post is disingenuous. What would you have written if the person standing next to Baltzer had been a non-American Palestinian holding the title deeds to property in the West Bank from whence he had been expelled? There are hundreds of thousands of such people. The photo is illustrative, metaphorical, if you will. Whether or not it's not literally true doesn't change its message. Literalism provides no answers.

"The Law of Return for Jews is an internal matter. It is an immigration policy. Most countries, if not all, have discriminatory immigration policies, and each country may choose which groups to prefer and confer the political right of immigration upon."

Again you're simply being dishonest here by creating equivalence where there is none.

Europe's 'discriminatory immigration policies' are far, far less exclusionary than Israel's. They do not focus on one specific 'ethnicity' favoured specifically over another. At most they are designed to control population growth. Israel's stated policy is to take in another 10 million or so Jews world-wide, while completely stopping any 'immigration' of Palestinians. Israel's policy, in contrast, is to control the demographic make-up of the country.

This is also reflected by the fact that in a country like Britain, the next prime minister (David Miliband) may well come from one of the smallest ethnic groups in the country. And there is nothing (nor should there be anything) to stop that from happening. By contrast again, Israel will do anything it can to stop Palestinians from gaining political power (please don't conflate the right to vote with actual power).

This is an old and tired argument you're making. It would be far more honest of you to simply accept Zionist Jewish exceptionalism, without somehow trying to morally justify it with analogies that don't fly.

To paraphrase commenter Mooser over at JSF: 'One day I'm gonna put batteries in my torchlight, don a empty barrel for clothes and go look for honest Zionists...'

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

I've been having internet connection problems for two days now, so sorry about taking so long to answer.

This post is disingenuous. What would you have written if the person standing next to Baltzer had been a non-American Palestinian holding the title deeds to property in the West Bank from whence he had been expelled? There are hundreds of thousands of such people. The photo is illustrative, metaphorical, if you will. Whether or not it's not literally true doesn't change its message. Literalism provides no answers.

Well, nowadays most Palestinians outside of Israel and the Palestinian territories weren't born here, aren't "from Palestine", so I think it isn't so far-fetched to take him as a representative example, although I wouldn't let his Palestine-born parents return to Israel proper, either. I'd compensate them for their lost property. Palestinians from beyond the green line, on the other hand, I have no problem with them returning to the West Bank or Gaza.

Europe's 'discriminatory immigration policies' are far, far less exclusionary than Israel's. They do not focus on one specific 'ethnicity' favoured specifically over another. At most they are designed to control population growth. Israel's stated policy is to take in another 10 million or so Jews world-wide, while completely stopping any 'immigration' of Palestinians. Israel's policy, in contrast, is to control the demographic make-up of the country.

Several European countries definitely prefer one ethnic group over all others in their immigration policies. Specifically, they prefer members of the majority ethnic group in that country - foreign-born ethnic Irishmen in Ireland, foreign-born ethnic Finns in Finland etc. Israel is the same. It's true that we hope not to become a minority, in part through Jewish immigration, and I see no problem with that, especially in light of the fact we're in a conflict with the Palestinians. By the way, even if Jewish immigration stopped right now, we'd still stay a majority for decades (in Israel itself - not in the entire area from the Jordan to the sea). I also don't see 10 million Jews coming to Israel now. Most of the Jews outside of Israel nowadays are happy where they are. The era of mass "Aliyah" is over.

This is also reflected by the fact that in a country like Britain, the next prime minister (David Miliband) may well come from one of the smallest ethnic groups in the country. And there is nothing (nor should there be anything) to stop that from happening. By contrast again, Israel will do anything it can to stop Palestinians from gaining political power (please don't conflate the right to vote with actual power).

I thought David Cameron will be your next PM, not Miliband (not because of anti-Semitism, but because of anti-Labourism). But anyway, I digress.

In Israel, it's true that the Jewish majority tries not to give Arabs political power, but the Palestinians themselves also share the blame for their situation. They barely vote, so they always have around 10 seats in the Knesset. If they'd vote in greater numbers they could reach 24 seats, and then the Jewish parties would not be able to ignore them.

There's also a big difference between British Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel. British Jews aren't part of a group in conflict with the UK, and that's a big part of the reason the majority of Jews wouldn't vote for an Arab as prime minister. In the UK, would a Catholic from Northern Ireland be elected British PM?

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Well, we've already had that discussion, we didn't agree back then and won't now.

Just a couple of points. If I wanted to go and live in Ireland (Republic or Ulster) I could pack my bags tonight and arrive in the morning, no questions asked because both countries are in the Green Zone. For citizenship I'd have to apply but I'd almost certainly be granted it.

Some immigration policies of Europe are racist and designed to keep 'the wrong kind of people' out, that is true. But at its worst it's not comparable to Israel which actively encourages one group and completely blocks out another.

Your emphasis on the conflict being a cause is far too strong: in times of peace Israel will pursue the same policies because they're designed to maintain the Jewish majority, not deal with the conflict.

Regarding elections, not remotely being in a position to attain power is a strong disincentive for Arabs to vote.

I've been told that it's prohibited for Jewish parties to enter into coalition Governments with Arab parties. Is that true?

Whether Cameron becomes PM or not depends of course on the next general elections. Even if the Cons lose (still entirely possible), as it stands today, Brown would still be PM because he's still leader of the party. But there is much rumour that tips Miliband as the next leader of New Labour. If that happens his ascension to PM is almost a dead cert. So maybe now, if not, soon. He has time on his side.

N.Ireland is a bad example. I don't think an MP from N.Ireland could represent anything but his N.Ireland constituency but I'm not entirely sure (will try and look up). A better example is Brown, a Scot and thus from a small minority (less than 15 %). Whether he's Anglican or Catholic I don't even know... Agnostic when he's not in church, I'm guessing ;-)

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

But at its worst it's not comparable to Israel which actively encourages one group and completely blocks out another.

Actually, Israel encourages one group's immigration and blocks all others, not just Palestinians.

Regarding elections, not remotely being in a position to attain power is a strong disincentive for Arabs to vote.

There's something to that, but again, Arabs could potentially gain power through numbers - in the Knesset. A huge bloc cannot be ignored, especially in situations where neither the Jewish right-wing bloc nor the Jewish left-wing bloc have a clear-cut parliamentary majority.

I've been told that it's prohibited for Jewish parties to enter into coalition Governments with Arab parties. Is that true?

Absolutely not. Legally and theoretically, every party in the Knesset may enter into coalition governments with any other party. The reality is, though, that it's hard to see Arab parties and the Likud, Kadima or Labor agreeing on the same policies, especially regarding the conflict. Some Arab parties wouldn't even want to join a Zionist government.

N.Ireland is a bad example. I don't think an MP from N.Ireland could represent anything but his N.Ireland constituency but I'm not entirely sure (will try and look up).

As far as I know, all MPs are eligible to be PM. If you didn't mean that in a legal sense, but rather de facto, then it's actually an excellent analogy to the situation in Israel.

A better example is Brown, a Scot and thus from a small minority (less than 15 %). Whether he's Anglican or Catholic I don't even know... Agnostic when he's not in church, I'm guessing ;-)

I learned something new. I had no idea Scots were just 15% of the British population. But there is one thing I do know - Brown's neither an Anglican or a Catholic, and maybe not even secretly Agnostic - he's Presbytarian. His father was a minister. I remember that about him when he became PM.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

I remember that about him when he became PM.

Woops, that should have been "I remember reading that about him when he became PM".

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Re. N.Ireland:

Gerry Adams, Catholic Republican and leader of Sinn Fein, for instance is an elected member of the Westminster parliament, although he continues to refuse to sit there. In principle there's nothing to stop him from going National, in reality Sinn Fein concerns only with matters of N.Ireland.

A better analogy is that of a colonial power that refused to relinquish part of it colonial territory and insisted on partitioning when Ireland demanded independence from Britain. here the British descendants of Protestant settlers refuse to leave and want to stay British.

Re. Scots and Scotland, for 2008 Wiki reports 51.44 million English, 5.17 million Scotsmen (8.7 %) and Welshmen at 2.99 million (5.0 %).

 

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