October 11, 2010, - 2:48 pm
Many readers have asked for my thoughts on the loyalty oath bill, which passed Israel’s Cabinet. It requires Israel’s new citizens to pledge loyalty to a Jewish and democratic state. Outrage over and commentary about it are much ado about nothing.
I don’t object to the oath, I just think it’s stupid, half-assed, and a symbolic move meant to assuage right-of-center Israeli Jews on more important issues on which the Israeli administration the wrong substantive position, like building homes on the so-called “West Bank,” including suburban Jerusalem (supporting a year-long freeze and leaning toward another one). The oath won’t accomplish a thing, other than more bad publicity on the world stage with little to show for it. I liken it to the many times that Israel went into Gaza, etc., and didn’t really mean it or finish the job. (Everybody else was gushing over it, but I knew better, and I was right because they left with HAMAS further empowered and more lost Israeli lives, plus Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit still in captivity.) It’s just costly window dressing. Useless.
America has a loyalty oath, too. It’s called the Pledge of Allegiance. And for new citizens, there is a different oath–to the U.S. Constitution. But, like most Muslim citizens who take the oath here, the ones who take it in Israel will lie and won’t mean it. So, why require it? It’s irrelevant and useless, and the whole point of it provokes unnecessarily without achieving anything. Few Muslims in Israel apply for citizenship. As for those few Muslims, and some Christian Arabs (who mostly identify as Palestinians), who do become Israeli citizens, it’s not like they won’t lie. They hate Israel and Israelis. They’ll say whatever they have to say to get what they want. The oath means nothing.
What the oath is really about is something more nefarious on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s part: a meaningless oath in exchange for a further moratorium on building Israeli so-called “settlements.” For about the last year, Jews were not allowed to build new homes and other buildings and infrastructure on their own land in much of suburban Jerusalem and the rest of the so-called “West Bank.” What didn’t stop during this time was Palestinian building–most of it Muslim. Now that this building freeze has ended, the Palestinians are insisting on it to continue the BS peace talks. It’s ridiculous. Imagine if we told Black people they were not allowed to build in land they owned in Detroit, while for the next year White people rushed to build everything under the sun.
So, now, because Netanyahu–under extreme U.S. pressure from the Obama administration–is considering continuing the moratorium against building, he and his minions have proposed this red herring loyalty oath as a sop, instead. Who needs it?
What Israelis–including Jewish Israelis–need is not mere empty lip service to their country. They need brave leaders who will allow them the basic rights of utilizing their property as they see fit and living wherever they want. That’s the only thing terrorists, er . . . Palestinians understand.
And the only thing they respect.
The oath is a joke with bad PR consequences. Nothing more.
Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Binyamin Netanyahu, building, freeze, housing, Israel, Jewish state, loyalty oath, moratorium, Obama, Palestinians, settlements, West Bank