Monday, February 4, 2008

Technically I'm not supposed to think about this stuff, but...

I've been thinking about Israel a lot lately.

I used to think that while the Palestinians shouldn't be bombing Israel, it was wrong of the UN to give Palestine to the Jews in the first place, because someone already lived there, and that it was also wrong of the Israeli law to treat the Arabs differently than they treated Jews.

I still think that Israel needs to provide non-Jews with more rights and equality. I abhor a religious state, and while Israel is not at the level of the surrounding nations, not by a long shot, they clearly value the Jewish religion above all else. I would feel differently if, say, the Law of Return applied only to ethnic Jews, as in, people who are actually of Jewish ancestry by blood, instead of this business of "if your mother was a Jew or you converted to Judaism," which is a religious definition, not an ethnic one. I understand that Jews are persecuted worldwide and I understand the value of a homeland. I want Tibet to be returned to the Tibetans, too. But a Jewish state should be a state of ethnic Jews, not a state of Jewish religion. A blonde, white, Caucasian Jewish convert with the last name Smith is not really going to be persecuted on the same level as a dark-haired, olive skinned ethnic Jew with the last name Goldstein. What's more, the Law of Return completely ignores ethnic Jews who are not practicing, or whose mothers were not Jewish.

They also have a tendency to deny residency and immigration rights to Israeli Arabs under the pretext of preventing terrorism, and they tend to place predominantly Jewish towns before Arab towns. Not to mention the whole Dome of the Rock issue. There's a lot of racism and religious persecution, which happens every time a bunch of people who were once a persecuted minority become the majority. So I still think their laws need to change, same as I feel for most countries.

However, I've been looking at their history, and I've changed my mind about whether they should have been given the nation. Was there racism involved? Yeah, I mean, Britain didn't give up their colony in Palestine for years when the native Arabs wanted it, and then as soon as there was a Jewish majority, they gave it up. I have no doubt but that there was prejudice involved on the part of the UN. That said, even though Jews had not particular right to the land simply because their ancestors lived there, there WAS a Jewish majority when Israel was founded. They got their autonomy fairly. The expansion of the state to gain control of water sources was also reasonable. Doing it to gain Jerusalem for religious reasons or to get more land, not so much.

At this point I've basically decided that I don't support either side, but if I had to choose, I'd support Israel. They have less to do before I would consider them to be a reasonable and just nation; Palestine is basically under Shari'ah law. I think they should pull back, stop occupying surrounding territories and focus on defensive methods, and make their nation more secular. I also think that Egypt and Jordan need to open their borders to Palestinian immigration, since many Palestinians are actually Jordians and Egyptians who came to Israel when the Israelis began to develop the land and provide jobs.

But I don't think it's that easy. I think the entire region is very complicated, and both sides are at fault. And that the next time a nuclear weapon is used in war, it's gonna be on Israel.

35 comments:

Lexcen said...

If you research the history you will learn that the British did everything bar cut off their right arm to stop the Jews from settling in Israel. If you read the United Nations history you will find that if it wasn't for the American vote, there would never have been an Israel. It is a complicated issue that does tend to trigger emotional responses rather than rational thinking.

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