Monday, November 17, 2014

Shlomo Sand: The 'New Jews'

Essential reading from Shlomo Sand's whistle-blowing must-read, How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014):

"According to the spirit of its laws, the State of Israel belongs more to non-Israelis than it does to its citizens who live there. It claims to be the national inheritance more of the world's 'new Jews' (for instance, Paul Wolfowitz, former president of the World Bank; Michael Levy, the well-known British philanthropist and peer in the House of Lords; Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund; Vladimir Gusinsky, the Russian media oligarch who lives in Spain) than of the 20% of its citizens identified as Arabs, whose parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born within its territory. Various nabobs of Jewish origin from around the world thus feel the right to intervene in Israeli life; through massive investment in the media and the political apparatus, they increasingly seek to influence its leaders and its orientation.

"Intellectuals who know well that the state of the Jews is their own also figure among the ranks of the 'new Jews'. Bernard-Henri Levi, Alan Dershowitz, Alexandre Adler, Howard Jacobson, David Horowitz, Henryk M. Broder and numerous other champions of Zionism, active in various fields of the mass media, are quite clear about their political preferences. Contrary to what Moscow meant for Communists abroad in former times, or Beijing for the Maoists of the 1960s, Jerusalem really is their property. They have no need to know the history or the geography of the place, nor are they obligated to learn its languages (Hebrew or Arabic), to work there or pay taxes, or - thank heaven! - to serve in its army. It is enough to make a short visit to Israel, readily obtain an identity card, and acquire a secondary residence there before returning immediately to their national culture and their mother tongue, while remaining in perpetuity a co-proprietor of the Jewish state - and all this simply for having been lucky enough to be born of a Jewish mother.

"The Arab inhabitants of Israel, on the other hand, if they marry a Palestinian of the opposite sex in the occupied territories, do not have the right to bring their spouses to live in Israel, for fear that they will become citizens and thereby increase the number of non-Jews in the Promised Land.

"That last assertion, in fact, requires a certain amplification. If an immigrant identified as Jewish arrives from Russia or the United States along with his non-Jewish wife, the latter will have the right to citizenship. However, even if the spouse and her children are never considered Jews, the fact that they are not Arab will prevail over the fact of not being Jewish. 'White' immigrants from Europe or America, even if not Jewish, have always enjoyed somewhat tolerant treatment. To diminish the demographic weight of the Arabs, it is judged better to weaken the Jewish state through non-Jewish dilution, so long as the newcomers are white Europeans." (pp 84-85)

Next post: Shlomo Sand: To be a Jew in Israel

No comments: