The Fate of the State of Israel

Sep 6 17:55 2005 Sam Vaknin Print This Article

Zionism started off as a counter-revolution. It presented itself as an alternative to both orthodox religion and to assimilation in the age of European "Enlightenment". But it was soon hijacked by East European Jews who espoused a pernicious type of Stalinism and virulent anti-Arab racism.

The Anti-Israeli:

The State of Israel is likely to end as did the seven previous stabs at Jewish statehood - in total annihilation. And for the same reasons: conflicts between secular and religious Jews and a racist-colonialist pattern of deplorable behavior. The UN has noted this recidivist misconduct in numerous resolutions and when it justly compared Zionism to racism.

The Jewish Response:

Zionism is undoubtedly a typical 19th century national movement,Guest Posting promoting the interests of an ethnically-homogeneous  nation. But it is not and never has been a racist movement. Zionists of all stripes never believed in the inherent inferiority or malevolence or impurity of any group of people (however arbitrarily defined or capriciously delimited) just because of their common origin or habitation. The State of Israel is not exclusionary. There are a million Israelis who are Arabs, both Christians and Muslims.

It is true, though, that Jews have a special standing in Israel. The Law of Return grants them immediate citizenship. Because of obvious conflicts of interest, Arabs cannot serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Consequently, they don't enjoy the special benefits conferred on war veterans and ex-soldiers.

Regrettably, it is also true that Arabs are discriminated against and hated by many Israelis, though rarely as a matter of official policy. These are the bitter fruits of the ongoing conflict. Budget priorities are also heavily skewed in favor of schools and infrastructure in Jewish municipalities. A lot remains to be done.

The Anti-Israeli:

Zionism started off as a counter-revolution. It presented itself as an alternative to both orthodox religion and to assimilation in the age of European "Enlightenment". But it was soon hijacked by East European Jews who espoused a pernicious type of Stalinism and virulent anti-Arab racism.

The Jewish Response:

East European Jews were no doubt more nationalistic and etatist than the West European visionaries who gave birth to Zionism. But, again, they were not racist. On the very contrary. Their socialist roots called for close collaboration and integration of all the ethnicities and nationalities in Israel/Palestine.

The Anti-Israeli:

The "Status Quo" promulgated by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, confined institutionalized religion to matters of civil law and to communal issues. All affairs of state became the exclusive domain of the secular-leftist nomenclature and its attendant bureaucratic apparatus.

All this changed after the Six Days War in 1967 and, even more so, after the Yom Kippur War. Militant Messianic Jews with radical fundamentalist religious ideologies sought to eradicate the distinction between state and synagogue. They propounded a political agenda, thus invading the traditionally secular turf, to the great consternation of their compatriots.

This schism is unlikely to heal and will be further exacerbated by the inevitable need to confront harsh demographic and geopolitical realities. No matter how much occupied territory Israel gives up and how many ersatz Jews it imports from East Europe, the Palestinians are likely to become a majority within the next 50 years.

Israel will sooner or later face the need to choose whether to institute a policy of strict and racist apartheid - or shrink into an indefensible (though majority Jewish) enclave. The fanatics of the religious right are likely to enthusiastically opt for the first alternative. All the rest of the Jews in Israel are bound to recoil. Civil war will then become unavoidable and with it the demise of yet another short-lived Jewish polity.

The Jewish Response:

Israel is, indeed, faced with the unpalatable choice and demographic realities described above. But don't bet on civil war and total annihilation just yet. There are numerous other political solutions - for instance, a confederacy of two national states, or one state with two nations. But, I agree, this is a serious problem further compounded by Palestinian demands for the right to return to their ancestral territories, now firmly within the Jewish State, even in its pre-1967 borders.

With regards to the hijacking of the national agenda by right-wing, religious fundamentalist Jewish militants - as the recent pullout from Gaza and some of the West Bank proves conclusively, Israelis are pragmatists. The influence of Messianic groups on Israeli decision-making is blown out of proportion. They are an increasingly isolated - though vocal and sometimes violent - minority.

The Anti-Israeli:

Israel could, perhaps, have survived, had it not committed a second mortal sin by transforming itself into an outpost and beacon of Western (first British-French, then American) neo-colonialism. As the representative of the oppressors, it was forced to resort to an official policy of unceasing war crimes and repeated grave violations of human and civil rights.

The Jewish Response:

Israel aligned itself with successive colonial powers in the region because it felt it had no choice, surrounded and outnumbered as it was by hostile, trigger-happy, and heavily armed neighbors. Israel did miss, though, quite a few chances to make peace, however intermittent and hesitant, with its erstwhile enemies. It is also true that it committed itself to a policy of settlements and oppression within the occupied territories which inevitably gave rise to grave and repeated violations on international law. Overlording another people had a corrosive corrupting influence on Israeli society.

The Anti-Israeli:

The Arabs, who first welcomed the Jewish settlers and the economic opportunities they represented, turned against the new emigrants when they learned of their agenda of occupation, displacement, and ethnic cleansing. Israel became a pivot of destabilization in the Middle East, embroiled in conflicts and wars too numerous to count. Unscrupulous and corrupt Arab rulers used its existence and the menace it reified as a pretext to avoid democratization, transparency, and accountability.

The Jewish Response:

With the exception of the 1919 Faisal-Weitzman declaration, Arabs never really welcomed the Jews. Attacks on Jewish outposts and settlers started as early as 1921 and never ceased. The wars in 1948 and in 1967 were initiated or provoked by the Arab states. It is true, though, that Israel unwisely leveraged its victories to oppress the Palestinians and for territorial gains, sometimes in cahoots with much despised colonial powers, such as Britain and France in 1956.

The Anti-Israeli:

This volatile mixture of ideological racism, Messianic empire-building, malignant theocracy much resented by the vast majority of secular Jews, and alignment with all entities anti-Arab and anti-Muslim will doom the Jewish country. In the long run, the real inheritors and proprietors of the Middle East are its long-term inhabitants, the Arabs. A strong army is not a guarantee of longevity - see the examples of the USSR and Yugoslavia.

Even now, it is not too late. Israel can transform itself into an important and benevolent regional player by embracing its Arab neighbors and by championing the causes of economic and scientific development, integration, and opposition to outside interference in the region's internal affairs. The Arabs, exhausted by decades of conflict and backwardness, are likely to heave a collective sigh of relief and embrace Israel - reluctantly at first and more warmly as it proves itself a reliable ally and friend.

Israel's demographic problem is more difficult to resolve. It requires Israel to renounce its exclusive racist and theocratic nature. Israel must suppress, by force if need be, the lunatic fringe of militant religious fanatics that has been haunting its politics in the last three decades. And it must extend a welcoming hand to its Arab citizens by legislating and enforcing a set of Civil Rights Laws.

The Jewish Response:

Whether this Jewish state is doomed or not, time will tell. Peace with our Arab neighbors and equal treatment of our Arab citizens should be our two over-riding strategic priorities. The Jewish State cannot continue to live by the sword, lest it perishes by it.

If the will is there it can be done. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

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About Article Author

Sam Vaknin
Sam Vaknin

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

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