The process of demonizing the State of Israel took a step up this week when the publisher of Ha’aretz, Amos Schocken, published an article that made grave allegations against the State of Israel. According to Schocken, the citizenship law, which prevents residents of the territories from obtaining Israeli citizenship by means of marriage, “turns Israel into an apartheid state.” Schocken also issues a call in favor of “marriage between young Israelis, Jews and Arabs, and young citizens of the neighboring countries.”
This position, in the opinion of Ma’ariv’s editorial board, is a dangerous position that undermines the State of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, and it does nothing to promote peace with the Arab world.
These statements are particularly grave since the issue currently is being debated by the High Court of Justice in the wake of petitions that were filed by various bodies against the citizenship law.
Therefore, we devote the op-ed page to this subject.
An Insult to One’s Intelligence
by Amnon Danker (op-ed)
[The author is the editor in chief of Ma’ariv].
Sometimes, when Amos Schocken is criticized, people say that his father, Gershom Schocken, the legendary publisher and editor of Ha’aretz, would turn in his grave if he only knew what his son was doing. Not in this case. Gershom Schocken wrote at the end of the 1970s an article in which he preached for assimilation by means of mixed marriages between us and the Arabs. It was no coincidence that the Walla website’s editors gave Schocken’s article the headline “Fatma with her beloved Danny.” And even though Schocken gave his article a different headline when it was run by Ha’aretz, he continued for all intents and purposes to promote his father’s vision.
Aside from mixed marriages, which he says “should not be eschewed” or, actually, “what greater peace can there be between the peoples than what is likely to ensue from that “marriage between young Israelis, Jews and Arabs, and young people from the neighboring countries and from Palestine?” Schocken’s vision includes Palestinians, Egyptians and Jordanians living in Israel, and Jewish Israelis living in Arab countries and in the territories of Palestine. A new Middle East. Anyone who knows how and likes to read texts carefully and psychologically can easily identify that this subject of intermarriage, which ostensibly is not presented prominently, is the true, hidden motive behind the article that Schocken published on Friday in the op-ed page of his newspaper, which was once a sanctuary for intelligence and nowadays is an insult to intelligence.
Why an insult? Because it simply is inconceivable that an article that was authored by the publisher of a newspaper geared for the Israeli elites should be an aggregate of unconnected and inexplicable arguments set out in an illogical order. I, as editor, would have returned the article to the author for rewriting even, and perhaps mainly, were he my publisher. For instance, Schocken writes that the fact that Israel does not permit Palestinian partners of Israeli citizens to reside in Israel is a sign that Israel does not want peace. There would have been a point (a foul smelling one, but a point nonetheless) to this argument had it been made after Israel and the Palestinian state had already signed a peace agreement that included an end of conflict clause. But in a situation of war or, at best, of a rickety and broken-down cease-fire, in a situation in which Israeli society is being torn by the argument over the evacuation of territories and settlements, is that truly the greatest obstacle to peace and the sign and signal that Israel does not want reconciliation?
How can one possibly write something like that and ignore the insistent Palestinian demand for the right of return and the deeply-rooted Palestinian belief that the Palestinian womb ultimately will flood the Jewish majority? And how can one suggest that in order supposedly to preserve the Jewish majority, that the masses of Arabs that Schocken has generously invited to come here and to settle in our midst should receive residents’ rights and not citizenship rights, without taking into account that their children who will be born here most certainly will be entitled to citizenship? And even if they and their children are not entitled to citizenship-when they are the majority in this land, whose will it be? Will it belong to the minority of citizens or to the majority of its residents?
Schocken is aware of laws in properly run democratic states, such as Holland and Denmark, which have come to their senses and have placed obstacles before unchecked immigration by Moslems under the guise of family unification and marriage. But what they are permitted to do we are forbidden because, in his opinion, we have the special mission that they do not share: we need to persuade the Arabs that we truly want peace; hence, the conclusion drawn is that we need to open up our doors to anyone who wants to come in and to say: come, settle in our midst.
Perhaps the opposite is true? Perhaps Denmark and Holland are not facing the danger of an Arab desire to annihilate them and to destroy them, to come and to inherit them? Perhaps they are taking far graver steps in a situation that is far less grave that ours? Schocken speaks of a vision of a united Europe in which a German can live in France and vote in the elections in Germany, and seeks to apply it without modification to the Middle East. As if there is no difference in the circumstances between Europe and our region, there was no war, no terrorism, not hatred, no lust for occupation and annihilation, no fundamentalist religious battle, no extermination plots.
All that is an insult to one’s intelligence. But there is an even greater insult. In the course of a week on which Holocaust Memorial Day is marked, in a reality in which the Jewish people in the world is shrinking at a frightening pace because of intermarriage and alienation from religion, the publisher of a newspaper that presumes to be the newspaper of the Israeli intelligentsia advocates assimilation and views it as the greatest peace possible.
And the more dangerous insult is what those among us who share Schocken’s desire for peace at the price of painful concessions should feel: it now becomes apparent to them that they have made a pact with the devil, and that their partner is actually plotting, exactly like the worst of our enemies, under the guise of peace, to bring about the end of the State of Israel’s existence as the Jewish state.
Abhorrence for Zionism
Ma’ariv (p. B7) by Gadi Taub (op-ed)
Lurking behind Schocken’s criticism of Israel’s laws about marriage, citizenship and immigration is a liberal and democratic vision that is slowly gaining popularity among the educated Israeli elite: the vision of a “state of all its citizens.” This vision can be called, if one wants to cast it in as positive a light as possible, an attempt to draw an operative conclusion-an opposite conclusion to the one that was drawn by Zionism-from the failure of the emancipation [in Europe]. The Zionists’ conclusion was that since the nations in Europe did not accept Jews as equal individuals, the Jews needed to establish a nationality of their own and a state of their own. The proponents of a state of all its citizens drew the opposite conclusion: instead of establishing a Jewish state, nationalities should be abolished everywhere. The correct answer, in their view, is not a Jewish state but the European Union.
Regretfully, the abolition of nationalities in Europe then did not depend on us. But here-according to the logic of the proponents of a state of all its citizens-is second opportunity, and this time it does depend on us. We can apply it with respect to the Israeli Arabs, and even Palestine. If Israel doesn’t want to fail in its treatment of the Arabs the way the emancipation failed with the treatment of the Jews, what we really need is a turbo-speed emancipation: we need to give up on Israel’s national character and to allow for a state of all its citizens that does not distinguish between one person and another on the basis of their nationality. Hence, it follows no discrimination should be permitted between Israeli Arabs and the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Taking the next logical step, we reach what Schocken has proposed: there is no need to pass laws that will prevent Palestinians from immigrating into Israel. Actually, if there if there is no problem, then Israelis should immigrate to Arab countries, espouse the proponents of this theory. The entire region will become one large state of all its citizens.
But there is a problem with that vision. The vision that urges Israelis to concede their nationality is counting, once again, on the disappearance of nationalist emotions among others as well.
Easily-chillingly easily, I would say-this vision is prepared to assume that if only Israel were to concede its nationality, all discrimination would disappear from the region. It is prepared to assume that the Arab states, including Palestine, would happily concede their national character and anti-Semitism as well. To wit, it assumes as self-evident that the Arab countries, including the future state of Palestine, are more democratic that we are, more strict about securing human rights than we are, and that they have succeeded in annihilating anti-Semitism more successfully that the European Union. That assumption is nothing short of flabbergasting.
And because it is so very flabbergasting, it is difficult to cast the idea of a state of all its citizens in a positive light. The impression received is that this is less about a democratic and liberal vision and more about feelings of abhorrence for Zionism so profound that racism against Jews is no longer an issue. But anyone who really does not want to discriminate between the members of different nationalities, anyone who genuinely is disturbed by the B’Tselem and Amnesty International reports about the violation of human rights in Israel ought not discriminate when he reads the Amnesty International reports about the violation of human rights in the Palestinian Authority and in Arab countries. Because what is really infuriating about this vision is that what starts out as goodwill to solve the problem of discrimination against the Israeli Arabs continues without heed to become a plan to place Jews at the mercy of unbridled anti-Semitism. That is a rather odd doctrine if it is geared to promote the human rights of every human being as such.