Monday, October 11, 2010

Avigdor Lieberman is a douchebag ...

There has been a lot of shrill discussion, as there usually is, in Israel's media lately about the proposed amendment to Israel's citizenship law. The amendment would require individuals seeking Israeli citizenship to pledge loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state." This amendment has been labeled as racist and fascist and all sorts of other "ists" by individuals within and outside of Israel.

When I stop to think of it, this amendment really doesn't seem that controversial to me. Israel has long defined itself as a Jewish and democratic state, so asking prospective citizens to swear allegiance to Israel as such should be obvious, right?

Well not necessarily. This bill seems largely superfluous and unnecessary. The amendment will apply almost exclusively to non-Jews who are seeking to immigrate, and won't apply to Jews making aliyah according to the law of return. Why shouldn't Jews also be required to take this oath? I'm not alone in feeling lukewarm about this amendment. Even members of the conservative Likud party are uncertain about its effect.
"This is the Jewish people' state. We've inscribed that in our Basic Laws. Do we really have to keep repeating it? It creates detrimental tensions," he said.
The second ramification Meridor warns of is the possible harm to Israel's international image: "We are in the midst of fighting a de-legitimization campaign against Israel, which is a huge danger. This fight has to be managed carefully and this is not helping us. No other nation mandates such a thing, why give anyone another thing to use against us?

I think the real reason this bill is seen as controversial is because of its source: Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party. Lieberman, and his party, have the uncanny ability to make even reasonable ideas sound racist and fascist. I personally believe this is related to Lieberman's embarrassing, amateurish, stupid, and thuggish performance as Foreign Minister. The man seems hell bent on making Israel seem as uncivilized and boorish as possible and Prime Minister Netanyahu has inexplicably given him the perfect office to do so.

At any rate, I believe a reasonable compromise will be reached. It will happen because most Israelis and most of their leaders are reasonable people. They are proud to live in a Jewish state, while recognizing the need to be sensitive to the minority population that lives amongst us. As for Lieberman, I pray every day that someone in this country comes to their senses and fires his stupid ass.

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