Discussion in 'The Sanctum Santorum' started by Dan Lawrence, Jan 5, 2012.
Potato famines, however, are quintessentially Irish.
One day the Irish will drown South America in blood for the pain they caused them.
Or beat them at football. Same thing, really.
That's right, European oppressors. We Latinos know where potatoes come from and we're proud of it. Same with tomatoes. Brown power.
And sausage is traced back to the Greeks, but I'm not gonna take that away from Flowers. Rape, however, is an entirely Nordic invention, as everyone knows.
Israeli campaign videos, translated.
Likud-Beitenu - almost entirely in English, Netanyahu defending Israel before Congress and the UN
Labor - Shelly Yacimovich is a feminist, see.
Hatnuah/Tzipi Livini - Likud-Beitenu promised to defeat Hamas and failed. It's time to negotiate.
Habayit Hayehudi - As a soldier, I saw myself in war how weak our leaders are. I won't be.
Otzma Y'Israel - as befits a Kahanist party, an outright racist ad. Both leaders spend the entire ad speaking in Arabic lecturing on how the listener is in a Jewish state and should pay taxes and "obey traffic laws".
Balad (Hanin Zoabi's Arab party) - going for absurdity with a cartoon Lieberman singing the national anthem as a gross parody of Arabic pop. This ad was banned for "insulting the national anthem".
Shas (ultra-Orthodox party) - Russians are being faxed instant fake conversions from the government. Another flat racist appeal that was pulled after 2 days.
That all sounds astonishingly unhealthy for what I considered a broadly functional democracy.
Yeah, Israel is like a chick that was so hot in high school, and then you see her at the ten year reunion with a neck tattoo. I could describe the frail arms, the bloated middle, the strangely authoritarian and racist political views considering her past and current situations, the fact that while she has more teeth than the guys around her she doesn't have quite as many as she thinks she does, the way she drunkenly boasts of her independence while surviving off charity from men who used to use her for sex and just feel bad now. Like I said, I could go into detail, but I think all of that is implied by the neck tattoo.
You have to learn to be an alchemist and turn your pain into gold* before it turns your heart into shit.
*Happiness Pie. Because we were talking about Canadians.
There's a big difference between granting citizenship to everyone who can prove they have an ancestor who was once a citizen of a country, and giving citizenship ONLY to one particular race, whether or not they have ancestors who were citizens of that country. But on its own, Israel's interpretation of who gets preferential citizenship is not that big a deal. The real problem is that the counter to preferential citizenship for Jews, is the refusal to allow, on the basis of race, other people and their ancestors from becoming citizens, even if they and their ancestors have lived on the land for centuries.
In addition, spouses of the wrong race aren't allowed to become citizens, whereas Jewish people obviously don't have that problem. I don't agree that Israel is apartheid, but the whole citizenship law in Israel is fucked up and blatantly racist. Claiming it is basically the same as the citizenship laws of Germany is just wrong.
I didn't? Thread title notwithstanding let's try not to blatantly misrepresent one another's arguments.
There's a reasonable treatment of the Law of Return on wikipedia, with pros and cons, however the whole "controversial subject on wikipedia" drama has played out, and it seems to contradict what you're saying about spouses, for starters.
Given the complex religious/ethnic/cultural questions of Jewishness, it's not surprising that the law of return has run into some strange issues and been a source of controversy. Just making it out to be immigration-policy-of-formal-racism - I'd think the White Australia policy would be the go-to analogy for that argument - is at the very least historically inexact, and imo unconvincing.
The present Israeli cabinet has racists in it enacting racist policy and there's racism in Israel's history (as there is racism in the history of other countries and national movements involved in this discussion.) That doesn't justify an anachronistic and leading interpretation of the Law of Return, where it came from, what it was for, etc.
I thought Israeli citizenship rules were more religious or ethno-cultural than racial. I thought if you convert to judaism you're able to get citizenship. Also, I'm not an expert, but I thought that there were a whole bunch of different ethnicities within the Jewish community, some of which are of different "races".
So what exactly did you mean by referencing a list of countries, like Germany, who give preferential treatment to former citizens and their ancestors, and saying "Israel's scarcely alone in having diaspora-oriented citizenship rules". I don't mind if that's not what you are saying, but it seems to me that was a reasonable interpretation of what you wrote.
The law of return allows anyone Jewish to become a citizen of Israel, along with their spouses, even if they are not Jewish. These people don't have to have been citizens of Israel, or ancestors of former citizens. They just have to be Jewish (and not Arabs). The spouses of Arab-Israelis, on the other hand, are not given citizenship, even if they were born in the land Israel now occupies, if they don't happen to be Jewish.
I'm not sure which part of that article contradicts what I said (perhaps you'd like to quote it?) but the Supreme Court in Israel recently upheld that exact law, so maybe what you are reading is a misinterpretation, or something added to wiki by a pro-Israeli contributor.
Now you can argue the laws are necessary to protect Israel from civil war, societal disintegration, or losing its status as a homeland for Jews, and the Supreme Court did just that saying "Human rights are not a prescription for national suicide." But you can't argue it isn't racist.
You could argue that "Jewish" isn't a racial category, and therefore giving preferential to Jewish people isn't racist. There are Jews of Slavic descent, Semitic descent (including Arab descent), African descent, etc. Giving preference to Jews may be chauvinist or nationalistic, but it doesn't seem racist to me.
Palestinian activists have pitched tents near a part of the occupied West Bank known as E1, which protestors also call as Bab al-Shams. Six weeks ago, Israel announced it will build thousands of settlement homes in the area. To stop the construction, hundreds of activists have gathered day and night despite the cold weather
Except the clause immediately before the one you quoted was "The list is padded by countries with strict/short-descent provisions." Italy's is a lot more expansive, for a counterexample, which is part of why I picked it out as one Flowers might want to object to.
Which, to the extent that it differs from spousal naturalization for non-Arab Israelis, is one of several ways Arab-Israelis are legally discriminated against, something which I doubt anyone in-thread agrees with or sees as acceptable. But saying "the law intended to invite the Jewish diaspora to Israel is unfair because it doesn't allow another type of naturalization that should be allowed" is a strained criticism; yes, this is an open door when a different door is (I suspect, not having read up on it) unfairly closed. That's grounds for criticizing Israel's citizenship and immigration policy; the diaspora in-gathering facet of Israel's citizenship and immigration policy is a bit unusual (if not unique) but not directly tied to that problem.
If the unjustly shut door of Arab-Israeli spousal naturalization* is in some way obscured or allowed to continue as it is because other spousal naturalization (for Jewish Israeli citizens) is usually covered by the open door (to Jewish people) of the law of return, that would be about the only way I could see tying the two aspects of immigration policy together as a single unjust practice. Even in that case - and I'm not clear if that's the argument being made? - correcting it wouldn't require an end to the law of return.
EDIT: Forgot to add the footnote for the asterisk. "*Which I assume it is per your post"
Yes, there are a not insignificant number of Ethiopian Jews who immigrate to Israel. It's pretty much whoever would fall under the Nuremberg Laws (and their spouse/children/grandchildren) except for those who voluntarily change their religion, e.g. Messianic Jews. But arguing whether Jews are a "race" is a red herring one way or the other when it is definitely an ethnoreligious classification. So, yeah, maybe "chauvinistic" is a better word to use, but it's kinda splitting hairs and it doesn't take away from the fact that Israel is importing their own sort of artificial ethno-theocratic nationalism.
However, to their credit, they are willing to accept same-sex legal spouses of qualified Jews.
The interesting thing about this protest is that the Palestinians are using tactics identical to the wildcat settlers who create outposts illegal under even Israeli law (usually because they're built on land owned by Palestinians) and then tie up the courts to keep the IDF from evicting them.
Of course, Israel isn't going to be quite as understanding of the rule of law in this case. The area has already been declared a closed military zone and no supplies are being allowed into the area.
And Israel just booted them, ignoring their high court ruling.
Wow. That's pretty infuriating. What rat fuckers.
Jews are an ethnoreligious group, so they are both. Turn your argument around and you can say that laws discriminating against Jews aren't racist. But even if you accept Jews aren't a racial group, it is still racist to discriminate against others on the basis of their race. And Arab-Israelis, whether they are Christian or Muslim, are subject to laws in Israel which discriminate against them, therefore those laws are racist.
The argument being made is that Israel has a policy of "Jews first" which is fundamentally racist, as it discriminates against a specific race, i.e. Arabs. The Law of Return, the forbidding of citizenship for Arab-Israelis spouses, the annexation of the West Bank without the concomitant absorption of its people. These policies and laws are all part of the same goal: to avoid losing the demographic war. They are designed to keep Israel Jewish and keep the Arab population down. It's fundamentally racist.
You can argue that there's a good reason for it. You can argue that Jewish people will be in danger if the Arab population gets too big or that Israel will not be Jewish anymore if the Arab population becomes too influential. You can't argue that these laws aren't racist.
As I understand it, Arabs aren't a "race" either. Race is a particular construct that relates to a person's physiological characteristics, and not to their culture, language, or religion. Apartheid South Africa was a truly racist state, in that the rights of the citizen were based on such things as the quality of their hair (the "pencil test").
The reason I think the difference is important is that certain kinds of ethnocultural discrimination are widely viewed as acceptable in many countries. For example, in my country, Canada, aboriginal groups are entitled to certain rights that are based on their culture and history. I don't think that is racist. Nor do I think it is racist that French language is given particular protection in the constitution, though that too is a form of cultural favoritism.
So long story short, I do think there is a difference between racist policies, which are practically never acceptable, and policies which distinguish between cultural groups, which sometimes are.
Sure, there's also affirmative action practices which can give people a leg up in employment and education based on the race or gender of a previously socially oppressed class of people. But there's a big gaping difference between cultural preservation or trying to correct a lack of parity brought on by discrimination, and actively practicing exclusion by continually importing your own ethnic majority. It just kinda smacks of racial purity initiatives and I struggle not to comment on the irony.
I appreciate the original motivations behind the Law of Return. I just think that even if it had been historically used in good faith (and I don't often find anything about the creation or maintenance of the State being good faith practice) it's well past its sell-by date now, much less as it's often seemingly used now as a tool for majority oppression.
What in the past has ever made you think that Israel has any intention of obeying its own laws, when it comes to the treatment of Settlers or Palestinians? What possible precedent could make you think that the supreme court ruling was worth more to the army than the paper it was printed on? You're right about one thing, though - they certainly are rat fuckers.
For some reason I kinda feel the need to balance all of our hostility by saying how much I adore the Israelis I've been fortunate enough to personally know well. They're all awesome and most of them survived indoctrination during their stint in the IDF (which, in all fairness, happens just as easily in the US military) with a healthy world view mostly intact regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, which is a little surprising considering some of the stories I've heard about the IDF. One friend in particular is perhaps one of the most loving and inclusive people I have ever known, and it's a little jarring to imagine her having ever carried a gun, much less firing upon another human being. Listening to some of the things she was instructed to do during her conscription just makes me queasy.
I'm not saying that what Israel does is good or right. I'm just saying that it is not racism, or at least not racism as that word is generally understood. The reason I think it is important to differentiate between racism and ethnocultural discrimination is that racism is practically never acceptable, while ethnocultural discrimination is acceptable in some cases (though not in others). We recognize national identity as a legitimate interest that a government or society can promote, while the same is not true of race.
Unless one contends that Zionism and the idea of a Jewish nation-state are automatically racism because... I dunno, of whatever post-national militancy, then it's possible to judge different policies aiming at a the maintenance of a Jewish nation state separately. Easing immigration the process for the diaspora? Pretty unobjectionable. Discriminating against the spouses of Arab-Israelis (in conjunction with the other discrimination Arab-Israelis face)? Not so much.
Let's turn it around.
Imagine that Israel was an Palestinian state with 80% Arabs to 20% Jews. Imagine it was a country where only Arabs were paid to emigrate to the country from all over the world even if they'd never lived in Palestine, bringing their wives whatever they came from even they weren't Arabs. Imagine a country like that where the Jewish minority were not given this opportunity, and worse were not allowed to have their Jewish spouses become citizens, even if those spouses and their ancestors had lived on the land for generations.
Would that be a racist law, or would that be just "ethnocultural discrimination"?
I think we're kinda hung up on "racism" being, like most "isms", a buzzword that we're trained to have a certain sensitive response to.
I am giving no fucks about what you want to call it. If you really want to get down to it, a lot of Jews I know are horribly sensitive to the whole "Jew is not a race" thing and perceive that as "racism". If you don't want to call an ethnoreligious group a "race", that's fine, because the whole idea of "race" is bad anthropology anyway and mostly a social construct when we're often actually talking about ethnicity.
It's discriminatory and it's bad and the Knesset should feel bad. Okay?
I think it depends. "Racism" is a social institution where people are given more or less rights and privileges, officially or unofficially, based on physiological criteria. If your hypothetical Arab nation was expelling jewish people based on their stereotypical physiology, that would be racist. If they were being expelled for cultural reasons, that would not be racism, though it would be ethnic cleansing. The point being that racism has a particular meaning that carries with it specific normative baggage. You may as well use the term correctly, if you are going to use it.
As far as I know, to the extent that Israel discriminates against Arabs, that discrimination is not based on any supposedly "Arabic" physiological differences. It is not therefore racism, although it may be just as bad.
This is semantic hair-splitting.
Jewish Arabs in Israel (Mizrahim) are a group that faces frequent discrimination.
Non-Jewish Arabs in Israel are a group with less rights than the majority and near-constant discrimination.
Palestinians in the occupied territories are a group with literally zero civil rights and constant harassment designed to drive them into exile.
The fact that many Israelis happen to be Arab in ethnic origin does not make this somehow any more acceptable.
I don't think it is hair-splitting or semantics. For example, take something like Birthright Israel, which Flowers brought up last page. If "Jewishness" is fundamentally racial, then Birthright Israel is racist and shouldn't be countenanced. If Jewishness is ethnocultural or national, then Birthright Israel is not racist and is probably unobjectionable. Racism is different than other kinds of discrimination and has a particular meaning and history, and don't see any reason to conflate racism with other forms of discrimination. It is perfectly possible (and accurate) to say that Israel is a radically nationalist and often discriminatory state, but the form that discrimination takes is not primarily racial.
Saying Israel's discrimination problems in general don't amount to racism does imo amount to hair-splitting, going by people like Eli "White Man's Country" Yishai. But I don't think Zionism or the law of return are racist.
You are conflating two terms (racial and racist). Birthright Israel is not racist in that it does not spend its time espousing racial superiority or the suppression of other ethnic groups; it's a group that seeks to bring Jewish visitors to Israel, which in and of itself is about as objectionable as Catholic Charities or the Red Crescent.
As for what being Jewish actually is, that's a subject of no little controversy in Israel, where the people in charge of deciding such things limit it to ultra-Orthodox Jews (thus making most Jews in the US, I dunno, Anglicans or something) and Russian Jews who emigrated en masse after the Soviet collapse and are largely secular are frequently deemed less Jewish. But regardless, in the main Jewish identity is racial in nature and few conversions are accepted (especially by the rabbis currently in charge of determining such in Israel).
Israeli society is wackily racist (see: the comments by public figures in the wake of illegal immigration by Eritreans and Sudanese; at one point a right-wing Knesset member brought a bunch of homeless Sudanese to a Tel Aviv swimming pool frequented by rich left-leaning Israelis to point out they hated black people as much as he did) if irregularly so (an earlier migration by Jewish Ethiopians was largely accepted despite their African racial heritage) but that is, if anything a side effect of the corrosive nature of the Israeli/Arab relationship over the past 50 years making discrimination and hatred in general a status quo.
By the way, that's a bad thing.
You don't get a pass on holding a boot on someone's throat because they happen to be distantly related to you. Israel's conduct towards Palestinians and Israeli Arabs is discriminatory, of a sort that would have been very familiar to any civil rights agitator in the American South, and the fact that there doesn't happen to be a black/white divide between Jews and Arabs makes it no less abhorrent.
I'm sure you're right; I don't know anything about Israeli culture. Israel could well have a totally racist culture.
I never suggested it was any less abhorrent. Ethnic cleansing can be just as horrible as any racist atrocity; so can violence between religious sects or language groups. The reason I object to the term "racism" being applied to some of Israel's policies is that I support those policies in other contexts. I don't think discrimination between ethnic groups is necessarily wrong in the same way I think that practically all racial discrimination is necessarily wrong.
This is pretty much the definition of ontological hair-splitting, especially given your own admission that you actually have no opinion or idea of the subject under discussion but just object to a given trigger phrase.
I do have an interest and an opinion on the issue of ethnic conflicts, multiculturalism, and the law of peoples. I just don't know as much about Israel as you. Again, I don't think it is hair-splitting or just a "trigger phrase", because I think there is a meaningful difference between racial discrimination and discriminating between cultural groups. So I do believe that (for example) it is acceptable for France to promote French culture and nationhood. I do not think it would be acceptable for France to promote the "French race". It would still be unacceptable (though not per se racist) for France to strip rights from everyone who was not culturally French.
To answer your earlier question:
It is VERY difficult to convert to Judaism in a manner that the religious authorities (which are political in nature) find appropriate; it is a years-long process which many Israelis themselves who qualify for citizenship never bother to go through, despite undergoing military service. Many Israelis have to fly to Cyprus next door just to get a civil marriage since the concept literally does not exist in Israel (though they recognize 'foreign' marriages, thus the Cypriot loophole) and the religious authorities, whom are the only figures qualified to marry Jews in Israel, are very picky about what they consider Jewish.
To a dizzying degree, most of whom spend their time looking down their nose at each other in living proof that tribalism is fairly silly.
Given that I don't happen to believe that discrimination and oppression is acceptable regardless of the excuse used, we're going to have to disagree on whether establishing whether one ratfucker (Avigdor Lieberman) is particularly more vile than another ratfucker (Marine Le Pen) because it would imply far more study of ratfucking than someone not sexually attracted to rats would care to undergo.
I'm not sure I follow. You said that you didn't find "Birthright Israel" objectionable. But Birthright Israel discriminates (or "distinguishes", if you prefer) on the basis of culture. This is what I mean when I say that some kinds of ethnocultural discrimination are legitimate. The other examples I gave above were special protections given to Aboriginals and French communities in the Canadian constitution. From my point of view these kinds of discriminations -- which provide certain cultural groups benefits not conveyed on other cultural groups -- are not racist and can be legitimate.
Obviously many of the laws Israel has passed are unjust and disadvantage Palestinians unfairly, but not all laws which distinguish among ethnic groups are of that nature. By contrast, I find it difficult to think of cases where a country could legitimately pass a law that would privilege one racial group at the expense of another, with the sole exception (perhaps) being affirmative action programs.
My reason to insist on this distinction is that those laws which discriminate between ethnic groups that I favour (e.g. special rights for aboriginal groups) are often described as a racist by people who oppose them. Therefore I think it is important to retain the difference between racial discrimination on one hand and cultural discrimination on the other.
If that's what we've been talking about, it's not been said loudly enough because I sure as fuck haven't picked up on it.
The only problems that I have with Zionism is in the way it was historically implemented and the way it is currently used as a trap word to evoke a sympathetic response whenever Israel decides to start tearing down settlements. I should be able to raise a stink about the latter and not have to worry about straw men, but that's expecting a lot.
Separate names with a comma.