"March on Lebanon and also on Gaza with ploughs and
Destroy them to the last inhabitant. . . .
Save your people and make bombs,
and rain them on villages and towns and houses till they collapse.
Kill them, shed their blood, terrify their lives, lest they try again
To destroy us. . . . Whoever scorns a day of bloodshed,
He should be scorned. Save your people, and make war."
--Ilan Shenfeld; Israeli poet, Ynet, July 30, 2006
Ideas have consequences, and the effects of a racist
ideology are suffering and destruction. The growing similarity between the
debris-strewn Levant and the Gaza Strip are not accidental; they are the
predictable results of a worldview which places the value of one people above
another. In Israel, there is a two-tiered system of justice; one for Jews and
another for non-Jews; full-citizenship for Israeli-Jews and �Jim Crow� for
Is that acceptable?
Property rights, marriage, citizenship and nearly every
other area of legal protection are corrupted by the effects of
We believe that there are no �second class� citizens, that
every man deserves equal protection under the law. That is the fundamental
principle of democracy.
Israel calls itself a democracy, but its prevailing ethos of
Zionism precludes an evenhanded application of the law. This explains why
Zionism was denounced in United Nations Resolution 3379 (vote 72 to 35) in 1975
which stated: �Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.�
The resolution has since been repealed due to the persistent
efforts of the US, but the effects are not so easily erased.
There cannot be a second set of laws for minorities; that is
racism pure and simple.
The abhorrent treatment of Palestinians is the most striking
example of Israeli chauvinism, but the current aggression in Lebanon is equally
revealing. The massive ethnic cleansing of 750,000 mostly poor Shia Muslims in
the south of Lebanon carries the same racist overtones as Israel�s conduct in
the occupied territories.
When the heart of government is poisoned by prejudice, it
expresses itself in erratic convulsions of violence. So it is with Israel.
Zionism is not simply repressive for its victims in the territories, but also,
for those who stand in the way of its territorial ambitions. Currently, Lebanon
is in the crosshairs, but next year it will be Syria or Iran. Racism is a
disease which radiates outwards always seeking new objects of abuse. It allows
governments to rationalize their perverse addiction to power by demonizing the
imaginary enemies of the state.
The term �Zionism� confuses many Americans and obscures the
Are we against discrimination and bigotry in all its forms
or are we not?
Are we against territorial expansion that violates
internationally accepted borders or are we not?
If we are, (and the vast majority of Jews are as well) then
we are anti-Zionist. This means that we are committed to universally accepted
standards of human rights and national sovereignty.
How can we watch the relentless humiliation of the
Palestinians day after day and fail to identify the root cause? This is not a
relationship between equals, but the cruel and disdainful behavior of people
who believe they are inherently superior to their victims.
Jews would never treat other Jews in the manner they have
treated the Palestinians.
Occupation breeds contempt; it is a spawning ground for
How could Israel plunge 1 million Palestinians into
darkness, cut off medical and food supplies, block all financial aid, and kill
nearly 200 people in their scattershot military operations if they had the
slightest regard for them as human beings.
Bigotry strips men of their dignity and humanity; leaving
them at the mercy of the wealthy and powerful.
Isn�t that what we�re seeing in Palestine?
The Palestinians have become prisoners of a twisted dogma
that is as real as the walls and checkpoints that encircle their Bantustans.
The West Bank and Gaza have become a farrago of gulags
stitched together by �Jewish-only� roads where generation after generation
languishes in unemployable misery.
These are the inescapable effects of endemic racism.
In America, the same cancer has infected all parts of the
body politic creating a vast network of Muslim-only concentration camps at
Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Force Base, and countless other spots
across the globe. The "war on terror" has become the flimsy curtain
that barely conceals the monster of xenophobia and racial hatred.
The real measure of a nation�s commitment to principle is
seen in the way it treats the most vulnerable people. What does this say about
Israel, where fully one-half of the population is locked behind a monolithic
wall which protects the racial purity of the powerful?
Those who live beyond the wall are not people at all, but a
�demographic threat� posing a numeric challenge to the untainted pedigree of
Even the biological exigencies of procreation are seen as a
threat to the Jewish state.
How much crazier can it get?
What used to be disparaged as �apartheid� is now revered as
�democracy,� a bizarre Orwellian interpretation of discriminatory practices
which justify the ongoing subjugation of 4 million people.
When prejudice is enshrined in the law, the results are
invariably disastrous. The same rule applies to Israel as it did to South
Africa and the United States.
The world provided a loophole for Israel because of the
genocidal persecution the Jews faced during WW2. But, how has that worked out?
Sixty years of nonstop conflict with no hope of peace in the near future and
the looming prospect of a region-wide conflagration.
Is that a sign of success?
Perhaps, there�s a better way. Israel should consider the
same path that every other democratic, pluralistic society has taken; tear down
the walls, amend the laws so that everyone�s rights are respected equally, and
move towards an integrated, multi-ethnic society.
As a practical matter, the model of the Jewish state has
failed. It has become a paranoid, war-mongering menace to itself and its
neighbors. Israel�s abortive offensive in Lebanon only accentuates this point.
Israelis are less safe today than at anytime in their
history; their dogma-driven aggression has brought the entire Middle East to
the brink of Armageddon.
The expansionist adventurism of their prime minister, and
the ideologues that surround him, is placing Israel at greater and greater risk
all the time. Non-state actors, guerilla militias and resistance movements are
proliferating at a rate that was unimaginable just six years ago. Their means
of lashing out grows more sophisticated and lethal all the time. Neither Israel
nor the US is prepared for the generational war they are inciting by their
Nations, like people, can change their behavior if they see
it is in their own best interests. No one wants their children to grow up in
fear of random violence. There�s a path away from the two-tiered, discriminating
legal system to equal protection, due process, and social justice. But the
walls will have to come down, the dialogue will have to begin, the grievances
will have to be addressed, and the state will have to de-militarize. Israel�s
200 nuclear missile-arsenal and high-tech war machine haven�t produced a day of
peace since the inception of the state.
It�s time to abandon the demographic warfare, the
discriminatory laws, and the expansionistic dream of Greater Israel. The road
to peace and security must be built on a foundation of evenhandedness and fair
play. There has to one law for everyone, Christian, Muslim, and Jew.
Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: email@example.com.