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Under Oath

Israel’s controversial new oath of allegiance reflects the reality of sectarian politics in the Middle East

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Benjamin Netanyahu at his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. (Gali Tibbon-Pool/Getty Images)
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‘Declaration of Loyalty’

Your weekly dose of Israelispeak

Sunday the Israeli cabinet approved a proposal to require an oath of allegiance be administered to naturalized citizens of Israel, swearing to abide by the Jewish and democratic nature of the state. The response has been blind outrage inside Israel and abroad.

“The State of Israel has reached the height of fascism,” says Haneen Zoubi, a member of the Knesset representing Balad, an Arab Israeli party. The oath’s author, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, charges that it is precisely those like Zoubi who make the oath necessary. Zoubi was aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish-sponsored boat that attempted to run the naval blockade of Gaza. The ship violated international law by refusing to respect a blockade and then attacked an Israeli boarding party, which would make Zoubi, were she a citizen of, say, the United States while it was at war, subject to a number of charges, including conspiracy and treason, and liable to execution by the state. And she’s not alone: Some of her fellow Knesset members from Arab Israeli political parties have become notorious in recent years for actions that no Western government would tolerate from its citizens—let alone from legislators who are privy to government decisions and counsels. Ahmed Tibi, an Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, served as a close political adviser to Yasser Arafat as the Palestinian leader planned to undermine the Oslo Accords and murder hundreds of Israelis in the second Intifada. Tibi’s colleague, Azmi Bishara, resigned from the Knesset and fled to Syria in 2007 to avoid facing charges of espionage and treason for giving Hezbollah detailed information about optimal rocket targets inside Israel during the Second Lebanon War.

The idea that mandating an oath of allegiance for new citizens is a sign of Israeli fascism is part of the delegitimization campaign against Israel. It fits so well with media blather about the decline of Israeli democracy—and the nightmarish scariness of Israel’s foreign minister—that critics have conveniently ignored the fact that such oaths are normal fare in every major Western democracy. The U.S. oath of allegiance for new citizens, for example, requires new Americans to “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”; promise to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”; promise to “bear arms” and “perform noncombatant” service at the direction of the U.S. government; and swear that one takes the oath “freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion” in the name of God Almighty himself, all of which makes swearing an oath of allegiance to the democratic Jewish State of Israel seem like pretty weak stuff.

The fact that Jews who become new citizens under the Law of Return are exempt from taking the oath is wrongly cited as proof of the inherent racism of the proposed new law. Countries that allow individuals not born in the country to establish citizenship on the basis of blood and cultural ties—a doctrine known as jus sanguinis, or “right of blood”—commonly have a different citizenship procedure for those citizens than for other immigrants. Most European countries—and many other countries—rely on jus sanguinis as the foundation for citizenship. In Bulgaria, persons of very distant Bulgarian origin can become citizens immediately upon arrival in the country without any waiting period and without giving up their current citizenship. The same is true in Croatia. China has a similar policy. And that only takes us through the Cs.

But the furor over the oath is more than just an index of the increasing tension between Israel and its Arab citizens, and of a combination of rancid anti-Israeli sentiment and sheer ignorance that makes news coverage of the Middle East so difficult to read. Because this is the Middle East, the uproar over the oath of allegiance also reveals the true dynamics that are shaping the region.

Many observers have noted that the oath coincides with Israeli demands that their Palestinian interlocutors acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state. This is broadly correct: Israeli leadership expects that negotiations entered into with the Palestinian Authority will lead to a final settlement, that at the end of the process, there will be a Palestinian Arab state and a Jewish one, and there will be no interminable haggling over the question of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.

And the reason Jerusalem wants Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad to acknowledge the Jews’ right to a homeland is not merely a feel-good exercise in Middle East tolerance and coexistence, or to salve the national insecurities of the Jews. Rather, the Israeli demand is a referendum on Palestinian sovereignty: If PA officials can’t declare that Israel is a Jewish state without the very legitimate fear of assassination from rivals like Hamas, or state actors like Iran and Syria, then they are incapable of exercising the monopoly on legitimate violence that is the fundamental requirement of nation-building. Jerusalem is highlighting the fact that without the authority to make such a statement, the Palestinian leadership cannot build a Palestinian state; therefore, any treaty the PA signs with Israel is worthless.

It is clear that this logic is lost on Washington. After all, dreamers are not susceptible to disenchantment with the dream worlds that they themselves have built. Even before President Barack Obama came to office, the Americans were pumping so much cash, arms, prestige, and hope into the Palestinian Authority that they convinced themselves that Palestinian institutions would one day lead to a state. U.S.-built Palestinian institutions, like the economy, security forces, and the prime minister, are therefore premised on a questionable assumption: that what the Palestinian people really want is a functioning state side-by-side with Israel.

Statehood represents only one form of political organization; and as the E.U.’s bureaucratic elite will attest, the nation-state is not necessarily the best or even most progressive form of mass politics. But Washington does believe in old-fashioned nation-states, and it is U.S. money and power that gets to call the shots in the Middle East—until the region itself votes otherwise. Yet post-Saddam Iraq is clearly not going to be a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. Rather, the wars in Iraq have revealed the sectarian nature of the region, where the designation “Arab” is meant to disguise that there is no unified Arab nation, but rather Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, Maronites, Alawites, Kurds, Greek Orthodox, as well as Jews. Often these sects are at war with each other in various levels of intensity within what are now state borders, like Iraq or Lebanon. The French and British are blamed for the way they drew the post-World War I borders, but these accusations ignore the fact that all borders in the Middle East have always been random and malleable, depending on factors like conquest and population transfers, some voluntary and others not. For all the Middle East rhetoric about land as a birthright, the people of the region know when it’s time to go—because the land will no longer support them or some greater power is threatening to wipe them out.

Right now it is Middle East Christians who are leaving Iraq and Lebanon, but they won’t be the last. Consider the Druze, a sect that started in Egypt in the 11th century and moved to the Levant—Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon, where their population is largest. Lebanon’s Druze chieftain Walid Jumblatt believes that the sect’s time there is running out; Lebanon will be left to the Sunnis and Shiites to fight over, and eventually they will draw their own borders. The same will happen in Iraq, and perhaps much sooner, as the country is partitioned, while the Kurds will go their own way as soon as they believe they can weather likely wars with the Turks and Persians. Someday Alawi rule in Syria will come to an end, and if they’re lucky this minority sect considered heretical by the Sunnis will break away in time to the Mediterranean coast, where they’ve carved out an escape hatch state for themselves. The East Bankers of Jordan know that the West Bankers, the Palestinians, will outnumber them someday and Jordan will become either part or the whole of Palestine. In other words, Israel’s foreign minister is the one man in the Middle East who is publicly discussing an issue that everyone else in the region is also confronting in the wake of the Iraqi war—internal sectarian conflict where one side threatens to topple the political order. For example, despite the rhetoric of resistance, Hezbollah’s war with Israel on behalf of Iran and Syria that threatens to destroy the Lebanese state is no less treason than Azmi Bishara’s selling information to Damascus. The Arab regimes, regardless of their public criticism of the oath and Lieberman, are watching closely, because Israel’s treatment of the issue may well shape how they deal with their own sectarian issues—or at least we can hope they learn from Jerusalem rather than Saddam, who laid waste to Iraqi Shia and Kurds.

The choice the Israelis face is maybe not so tough, after all. And even if it is tough, so what? What Frenchman thinks that it is inherently part of his national identity to be fearful of war with Germany? And yet for reasons of geography, ethnicity, and history, it has been so. It would be nice if Palestinians wanted to make peace with Israel on terms that allowed for Israel’s secure existence as a Jewish state, but the recent historical record and regional dynamics offer little assurance that such a blessed day is coming anytime soon. If Zionism must not allow for transferring Arabs or ruling over them, then is it about Jews picking up and leaving when a Jewish state in the Middle East doesn’t look exactly like local democracy in Vermont? Based on the historical evidence, the Jews of Israel will continue to try their hardest to appease U.S. policymakers—hopefully led by those, like Avigdor Lieberman, who understand what it takes to maintain their national existence in the region where they have made their home.

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Michael Steinlauf says:

What a disappointment! “A new read on Jewish life” valorizing Avigdor Lieberman. If indeed it is only fascists like Lieberman who “understand what it takes to maintain [Israeli] national existence,” then Israel is doomed.

Neil Silberman says:

Embarrassing apologetics that focuses on case-by-case legal rationalization and ignores the grim context. Will Lee Smith now explain why uprooting of olive trees, selective demolition of houses, and settler violence are additional necesary props to Israeli national existence. What kind of national existence are you maintaining? You and Lee Smith should be ashamed of yourselves!

I pray that the govt. of Israel,will be firm and not change,an already weak law.This law of allegiance MUST be put in place, & obeyed, absolutely without exception and whomever will not make the pledge ,obviously has evil intentions,and cannot remain as citizens,or inhabitants of Israel.You cannot have TRAITORS living among you.
Please be strong and do not allow any country ,including the United States of America,Europe etc,make you feel that you need to accept their views,be guided by Ha Shem only.

Susan H says:

I am proud to be able to pledge allegience to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands–one nation, under G-d, with liberty and justice for all.

As an American, it makes total sense to me for Israeli citizens of all religions and ethnic origins to be expected to pledge genuine loyalty to the Jewish state.

Individuals who are hostile to the Jewish state rather than loyal, and who seek to destroy it, do not deserve to enjoy the priveleges of full membership this democratic, creative, and vibrant nation.

Would you allow a person who wants to destroy you to live in your home?

All healthy organisms, even at the basic cellular level, need to have the ability to distinguish between healthy and toxic entrants into their space. Israel needs the same.

To Mr. Silberman: When terrorists kill motorists while hiding behind and then disappearing and melding into olive groves, then certainly they should be uprooted. Don’t you think that new security precautions are in effect around the area where those 4 motorists were murdered- their car disabled and then the victims (including a pregnant woman) repeatedly shot at point-blank range? If there were olive groves (or any other landmark ) that aided in there dastardly act, I certainly hope that they were taken down. OF course, those landowners would have full ability to protest whatever decision was made in that context.
I don’t know who the “you” is that Silberman refers to in his last sentence, but I think that he ought to carefully re-read Lee Smith’s very convincing piece.

Dorothy Wachsstock says:

Israel allowed Arabs to become Israeli citizens without an oath to the country they ran to in order to escape what they were running from. It is time for the Israeli Arabs to take an oath to the Jewish State or leave if they are not happy.

I remember Israeli Arabs standing on roof tops applauding as the Scud missiles hit into Israel during the Persian Gulf War. It is now time to make up their minds. Either become an Israeli citizen and help protect it or go to Iran who hates Israel or go to Gaza…see how they are treated there and try and complain about anything. They have it too good in Israel where they can complain without being killed or mutiliated.

To become an American Citizen one must take an oath of loyalty so why is there so much angst when a democratic country asks the same?

If the people who live in Israel do not want to take an oath to the Jewish state than leave.

The racists are the tolerant people who hate Israel and most either are the Arabs who favor Hamas or the liberals who live in safe places where they do not expect a nuclear attack from Iran or a suicide bomber in their children’s schools.

It is a shame that some of the resitance come from liberal Jews. Soon they will say it is not necessary to become an American citizen to take an oath..just show up and get everything American citizens receive. That has already happened in the United States for illegal immigrants.

To every American critic of Israeli “loyalty oath” who claims that this new law will make country fascist I want to ask this question: “Are you living in fascist country now?” USA has the law which states that every new immigrant must take a “loyalty oath” in order to obtain American citizenship. Why American law does not bother you but bothers the one in Israel?
To Neil Silberman: You are complaining that Israel selectively demolishes houses. What are you suggesting – to demolish them randomly?
When Israel does something for the security reasons – it makes certain self-righteous Americans mad. But when their country violates its own constitution for the same reason – it does not bother them at all. Look at the security checks in all airports. They are set in direct violation of the fourth amendment. Why you don’t protest security checks on your own soil but protest the ones in Israel? Why such selectivity?

I want to add to Lee Smith’s article in regard to the Law of Return and policy of “jus sanguinis”. Lee mentioned Bulgaria and Croatia. But in Germany also was (and probably still is) the law very similar to the Israeli Law of Return which allows ethnic Germans (“folksdeutche”) to obtain German citizenship automatically. Many thousands of “folksdeutche” whose ancestors left Germany 3 or 4 hundered years ago used this law to become German citizens. But for some reason not “progressive society”, not “self-righteous intelectuals” not even BBC had ever criticized this “apartheid” German law. All their efforts are concentrated on Israel. Why, do you think, such selectivity?

David Star says:

Lee Smith very accuratly describes the situation here in Israel. Because Israeli Arabs use their democratic right to vote, the Knesset includes a number of disloyal and treasonous members. The vast majority of Our Arab citizens have no sense of loyalty to the nation that has provided them with every benefit imaginable. If you don’t believe that, visit any hospital or health clinic in the country. Jew, Muslim, Christian or whatever, you take a number and wait your turn.

As to Abbas’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State and the hypocrites of Europe joining in – one never hears mention of Article 4 of the PLO charter which states that Palestine is a Muslim nation and that Sharia is the law of the land.

I pledged allegiance to the flag of the US from childhood on, despite the many incidents of anti-semitic abuse my family and I suffered from 1900 when my father arrived through the 30s of my childhood and into the 40s. Despite that I enlisted in the US Navy and took an oath to defend my country which I continue to love with all my heart.

As an Israeli citizen, I expect all my fellow citizens to be loyal to the truly democratic Jewish state which I and my 10 soldier grandsons love or face the consequences.

I believe Muslims in Israel should have the EXACT SAME rights as Jews have in Saudi Arabia. There should be complete parallel between Makkah and Jerusalem: as many Muslims may live in Jerusalem and they may build as many mosques; as there are Jews and synagogues in Makkah and Medinah.

Reciprocity Now!

Ira M. Salwen says:

Whether Israel has the right to do this, whether other countries do it – these aren’t the issues. Obviously, Israel has an image problem. This just contributes further “fuel to the fire”. Does anybody think that an Arab who wants to work for the destruction of Israel will be prevented from doing so because of this oath? It will have no practical effect, other than to give Israel-haters around the world (and in the comments section of articles like this) something else to complain about.

David Star says:

I really didn’t want to write again but Ira Salwen’s message restores my faith in the unchanging character of some of the Jewish people.

How well I remember the words of 75 years ago, and see that they still live-

PS: I really don’t give a damn!

As the Bar Mitzva boy (13th comment) I am surprised that no one has noticed the major inaccuracy in the opening sentence. “The Knesset” has NOT “voted to require an oath of allegiance”. The PM’s Cabinet did. It is still to come before the Knesset. I stopped reading the article at that point.

Randall Mecham says:

Allegiance between citizens and their nation works both ways,
or it will not work at all. In May 1948 the pledge was made that “THE STATE OF ISRAEL … will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture”. Until the State does all it can to fulfill that pledge to ALL Israelis – Jewish or otherwise – allegiance from those discriminated against by the State cannot be expected no matter what oaths are demanded of them. We Jews, of all peoples, should know this. To ignore this is not only folly or, worse, hypocrisy – we know that it can be fatal.

I dunno…I understand why Israel is doing it- but the timing seems out of place. And what happens if the Arabs dont pledge? Really what will Israel do?
Anyways, Lee I like your work.keep it up.

Thanks for fixing (even if a silent correction). Did someone fact check the rest which I won’t read until Thursday?

Sorry, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

The oath was gesture politics to send 2 signals: first and foremost to the Palestinians and the American mediators that the issue of recognition of “The Jewish State” is not negotiating rhetoric, but a showstopper issue; and, second, to the Israeli Arab community that they can no longer play both ends of the stick — when there are 2 states, they become either minority citizens of Israel (with full civil rights) or citizens of Palestinian, but not both.

The tactic was, no doubt, “bull in a china shop” but sometimes that is what is needed in a negotiation, especially given that the “nice guy” approach has not worked between Barak and Arafat in 2000 or between Olmert/Livni and Abbas in 200x.

The underlying issue of “The Jewish State” is similarly straightforward. UN Resolution 181 in Nov 1947 explicitly called for the partition of Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states. 63 years later the Palestinians and the Arab world continue to reject this principle which is as crux a final issue as ensuring the eventual Palestinian state has contiguous land mass and a viable geographical linkage to Gaza.

Why? It is standard operating procedure for negotiators to bank wins and then go back for more. If Israel were to agree to an agreement with the Palestinians without this issue being explicitly addressed, the Palestinians will simply come back as members of the UN (and signators of the ICC) demanding the “right of return” which would then set in motion the undoing of Israel as the Jewish Homeland.

Therefore, the final status agreement must include recognition of Israel as The Jewish State and the renouncing any further claims or “right of return” to the Jewish state beyond whatever is negotiated in the (final) agreement with the Palestinians. That agreement will then be ratified by the UN in the resolution formally replacing UN Resolution 181 and recognizing The Palestinian State.

The problem with the original piece and too many of the comments already submitted miss an important point. Sure, new citizens ought to pledge themselves to defend their adopted country everywhere. But when immigrants to the US. for example, do that they are not pledging allegiance to a Christian nation. Why not as democracies do, ask for loyalty to the state? It is possible, as in the western parliamentary systems, to maintain in Istael a Jewish nation with a population containing non-Jews if we are not speaking of Judaism, but the tent of Jewish values and history, under which all can gather.

Chuck Haberl says:

This law should go ahead. It will stop the argument about Jews around the world having split loyalty as all Israeli citizens would have to surrender “dual-nationality”.

Gerald – I think you would be surprised at the oath many Western democracies require of new citizens. For example, the UK: requires “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.”

Chuck – Aren’t we clever. Try:

So, the US requires new citizens to swear allegience in the name of God Almighty?” Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t that discriminate against athiests? I guess we also live in a “fascist” state.

J. Armour says:

since fewer people of non-Christian origin are Americans than non-Jews (read: Arabs)are Israelis, I propose that, following Israel’s lead, Rep.
Darrell Issa (R- CA) introduce a Congressional resolution amending the Pledge of Allegiance to read “one nation, under Jesus Christ, with liberty..”
For the benefit of Rabbi Yehuda Levin- Pat Buchanan;s BFF! – there will be an option to add “one GOYISHE nation…”

— J. Armour, Rockville, MD

One problem here is that a lot of people including Jews (what can you expect then from gentiles?) equate the notion of “Jew” with the notion of “Judaism”. Majority of Jews (particularly in Israel) do not practice Judaism and not everybody who practices it is a Jew. Christian values are not universal and therefore should not be used indiscriminately in determining the identity of other people. Jewish state is not a Judaic state. Any comparison of Jewish state to the Christian state is erroneous and faulty, they are based on Christian ideology rather than facts.

@Gene: You obviously don’t know anything about the Fourth Amendment if you think that security checkpoints are in violation, so stop. And you obviously know very little about American culture if you believe that liberal Americans don’t protest possible violations of constitutional rights. Look at all the controversy over the recent Arizona law…or do you not even know what I’m talking about? I don’t think that “I know you are but what am I?” is really a valid argument here.

Mel,if you are planning to use insults as your arguments then I don’t see the reason to discuss with you anything. Besides, this article is about Israeli law and not about USA constitution. Please choose another venue to defend your ideology.

Nimrod Tal says:

If Zoabi and Tibi dont like the bill, it must be good. Zoabi and Tibi, while Israeli citizens, dont consider themselves Israelis. They see themselves as Palestinians safeguarding abandoned property, that will be reclaimed when the palestinians destroy Israel. I think that the oath should also be taken by ALL members of the Knesset. If they refuse, then bar them from the Knesset

William says:

Not a fascist idea so much as a pinhead idea. A rule that affects few and changes virtually nothing, but gives our enemies talk-points with which to further smear us. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

John Doe says:

I am so grateful for the presence of Lee Smith here. His hate-mongering will only convince fence-sitting Jews to wash their hands of Zionist racism and militarism.

Just a Thought says:

Lee Smith and Ittai are spot on.

The oath is a justified shot across the bow of those Israeli Arabs who have come to abuse the freedoms and privileges offred by th e Jewish state by carrying water for the state’s mortal enemies.

By the way, this article lists dozens of states who formally privilege their core ethnicity in matters of immigration and citizenship:

Martin K says:

So, what happens to those who feel unable to pledge allegiance to the *Jewish* cause? What is the definition of the “Jewish state”, and how does it apply to non-jewish citizens of Israel? And, how on earth can the talkbackers here describe the MKs representing the arab Israeli minority be called treasonous? If so, then the whole Tea party movement is treasonous as well.

There are two big problems with this oath, one formal and one contextual: the formal is that it defines the state of Israel as a ethnic/religious state, making non-jews in the jewish state second class citizens, guests in the Jewish Homeland. The contextual is that this is just a part of a mass of legislation intended to force loyalty. Theres a loyalty amendment for film-makers coming, a move to kick out arab MKs and remove their privileges, there is a increasing crackdown on leftist NGOs and academics, there is thew East Jerusalem building and the settlers continued violence without any repercussions. This makes the oath part of a package, the whole of wich is edging dangerously close to the old idea of the volks-stat, wich lies at the core of fascism. Lee Smith obviously has no problem with this.

Its sad to see that Tablet has accepted the role of yet another Hasbara talking-points output. Lieberman must be proud of you.

Martin K, seems that your views come from the same baggage of leftist ignorance. First of all the oath does not define Israel as a Jewish state (UN did it in 1947), it just demands from the new immigrant to reaffirm UN definition. Second, it does not affect non-Jewish citizens in Israel, it affects only those who want to become citizens. Little knowledge does not hurt, I presume. Besides, what is wrong in defining the state as an ethic/religious state? Almost every European state is defined this way. Ireland, for example. Does it make all non-Irish/non-catholics second class citizens in Ireland?

Martin K, let’s look at 2 Western European examples:


This weekend “Germany’s attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend, calling on the country’s immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values. […] “We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here,” said the chancellor.

The UK

Newly naturalised citizens must swear or affirm: “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.” Followed by the weaker language pledge “I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.”

As you know, the UK is both democratic (represented by Parliament and its laws) and a Christian (CoE) Monarchy (that is above the law of the Parliament and hence anti-democratic) and yet primacy (“true allegiance”) is given to the anti-democratic and established-religion monarch.

It is hard to read all those typically fascists agressive tones many readers use to denote anybody who leans away from the crude nationalism many of them exhibit. So many smack of pride in not being somebody with “too soft values”, but rather being somebody willing to do the “dirty work” of being hard when need be. The same people seem also good in constructing quasi-historic “legal” arguments for things like lee smith’s “jus sanguinis”- the law of blood (!).
– No thank you- my grand parents were gassed because of the German Nuernberg laws that spoke of bloodlines. Any country maintaining such laws acts on a foundation deligitimized in world War 2- and rather then cite them as examples for the oath’s legitimacy we should point to such things as a country’s shame! Jews citing the German “Volksdeutsche ” logic to legitimize their own right -wing policy for the Jewish state? One’s stomach can only turn!
Why does our new line in Israeli/ Jewish patriotism need to strike fascist tones? And how come the utterers of this dangerous nonsense don’t see how they sound?
– Ok, faced with the impossibility of being victims and settlers at the same time, there is a bit of a problem in only relying on the logic of justice and human rights which was for so long (and so long ago) the language of the state. The only thing that works now is to adress the other side as “traitors” or “weaklings”- Clearly activating group loyalty gets any opposition to shut up.
– But please at least get your facts right: uprooting olive groves has had, in the most cases aside from the last terrorist attack, had nothing to do with security needs. It was mostly executed as a revenge action by hooligan settler youth or as planned actions to free territory. It is a special act of hypocrisy by the settlers who, in the name of settling the land and fulfilling mitzvoth, uproot the oldest trees in the land instead of planting them.

Jason Galbraith says:

My immediate reaction to this piece was, “Who the ____ is Lee Smith anyway?”,_Politics,_and_the_Clash_of_Arab_Civilizations provides some insight into his thinking.

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Under Oath

Israel’s controversial new oath of allegiance reflects the reality of sectarian politics in the Middle East

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