Monday, May 26, 2008

Beyond chutzpah: Israel as Jewish state for some, but not all, Jews

Israel defines itself as a heaven for all Jews. The Law of Return grants Israeli citizenship to anyone defined as a Jew (i.e., born to a Jewish mother and did not practice another religion, or someone who converted to Judaism).
That is why it seems pretty hypocritical to deny admission to Israel for a Jewish American academic, born to Jewish parent, both of whom were holocaust survivors.
Norman Finkelstein is an academic political scientist, and a well established author. Last Friday he was arrested by the Israeli security service on landing in Ben Gurion Airport. He was interrogated, and when he managed to contact an Israeli lawyer, he was deported from Israel as a security threat.
The true reason is: he is considered 'controversial' by pro-Israel standards. He is an ardent critic of Israel, of its treatment of the Palestinians, and of the use and abuse of the memory of the holocaust to further Israeli political agenda. And with a book entitled: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, no wonder he becomes a threat to Israel's Security.
He also has a long history of antagonism of the poster-child of a 'pro-Israel liberal' like Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz. The latter had Finkelstein in his cross-hair with an unprecedented public campaign against Finkelstein's tenure appointment at DePaul University until DePaul kowtowed and refused to grant tenure position to Finkelstein, who later resigned.

To me it is amusing that Israeli Law of Return grants a share of historic Palestinian land to an Atheist just because his mother was a Jew, or to a Christian American who decided to convert and take advantage of cheap housing in the West Bank, but not to an admitted Jew born to two Jewish Holcaust survivor, basically for saying the same thing that many Israeli citizens critical of the Israeli government feel free to say inside Israel, and on main stream Israeli media.

Some kind of weird democracy out there,. And as Finkelstein would probably say: "That is beyond chutzpah".


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