Monday, December 11, 2006

Human rights and the failings of the Israeli state (Or, I had a shower with a serial rapist)

Read this long, thoughtful and nuanced piece by Daniel about serial rapist Benny Sela, with whom Daniel went to school. The piece concludes with the argument that so long as Israel is a war state, so long as the war and Occupation continue to take up so much of the budget, it will not fulfill its mission to create a secure and peaceful home for Jews, based on (Jewish) social values.

4 comments:

Daniel said...

Thanks for the listing Bob!

GM said...

Why should Israel be based on specifically Jewish social values, Bob? It is a multi-faith, multi-racial state and always will be unless Lieberman etc get their way and expel all Arabs, which I presume you don't want to see. To have the dominance of one faith written into the very essence and articles of any state is always going to be deeply unjust.

bob said...

GM-
My aspiration for Israel/Palestine is a single, multiracial, multifaith state. In the meantime, yes, I want Israel to be as open and pluralistic as possible.
But I think it is also the case that Zionism sets Israel up to a particular moral standard, (a) because the idea of a national home and a refuge amongst the nations for Jews persecuted elsewhere implies a *particular* duty of care for its Jewish residents, and (b) because the idea of a Jewish state should imply honouring Jewish values in some sense. DZ's point, I think, is that *even* on these, the Zionists' own terms, the Israeli state has failed.

GM said...

But why should this land be a specifically Jewish state? That makes it inherently discriminatory against non-Jews. No state should have a particular duty towards one set of its citizens based on faith or race. Either citizens are equal, with equal rights and responsibilities, or some are second-class, as in Israel now. I agree, obviously, that Israel has failed. On your criteria, the state you envision would continue to fail a vast swathe of its population. Though I have to say, it's heartening to find someone at least arguing for a single-state solution - there aren't many of us. My fear is that if Palestine is made a state alongside Israel, those defending the rights of Palestinians will think 'job done', and the Arab citizens of Israel will be abandoned and ignored.