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December 1, 2014 8:20 am

Why is a Guardian Columnist Holding Jews to Higher Standards

avatar by Adam Levick

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The Guardian newspaper's London offices. Photo: Derek Harper.

“Of all people,” opined Giles Fraser in his November 28 Guardian column about the new Jewish nation-state law, “Jews know what it is to live in somebody else’s country, without rights, subject to their laws, subject to their prejudices,” before citing the following verse from the Hebrew Bible (Numbers 15:15):

“The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord. The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.”

The point of citing scripture for Fraser is quite simple:

“the Bible insists that both Jews and non-Jews are to be subject to the same laws, the latter having the same legal protections as the former.”

Fraser argues that this “passage clearly demonstrates that the latest move [the proposed Jewish state law] by the Israeli prime minister…is a direct contradiction of the Hebrew Bible, both in word and in spirit,” before adding:

For the new nationality bill that he and others are currently fighting to get through the Knesset is designed to deny national rights to non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

Of course the key word in that sentence is “national rights.”

As we’ve noted previously, the proposed legislation is “designed to re-emphasise Israel’s fundamental Jewish and Zionist identity,” based on Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which defines Israel as “the Jewish state.” However, what Fraser fails to explain is that “equal individual rights for all citizens” would continue be protected under the new law.

The proposed legislation, initiated to fight back against efforts to undermine the Jewish people’s inalienable right to national self-determination in its historic homeland, would include the following principles:

  • The State of Israel is a democratic country, founded on the principles of liberty, justice, and peace, and a country that upholds the individual rights of all its citizens in accordance with the law.
  • The State will act to allow all its inhabitants, without regard to religion, race, or nationality, to act to preserve their culture, heritage, language, and identity.

As even Haaretz columnist Anshel Pfeffer (a critic of the proposed law) acknowledged recently, “this law will not strip [non-Jewish citizens] of whatever privileges they already enjoy”.

However, the broader point that critics of the proposal to enshrine Israel as the Jewish state miss – and one that we examined in a previous post – is that Israel is not at all unique in these respects. Within the democratic West, there are many nations that maintain codified systems of preference for those claiming a particular religious, ethnic, or linguistic connection with the state.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t note that, though he was raised by a Jewish father and a Christian mother, Fraser later separated completely from his paternal religious tradition by becoming an Anglican priest. Of course, the Anglican Church is the official Church of England.

The King or Queen, as “the head of the Established Church,” MUST be Anglican and can never convert to another religion. Additionally, in the Coronation Oath, he or she pledges to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion as established by law and to be the “Defender” of the Protestant-Christian Faith. Despite the fact that Christianity is so privileged over all other religions, all citizens are guaranteed equal civil and political rights under the law.

“Of all people,” Anglicans like Fraser should understand that the Jewish state’s firm desire to maintain a state with a uniquely Jewish character does not in any way undermine the fundamental rights of non-Jews, nor is it at odds with the bible’s insistence that Jews and non-Jews must be equal under the law.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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    Nothing strange about this anti Semite’s “opinion”
    According to Jew haters (why do they hate Jews? ANSWER. JEALOUSY OF WHAT JEWS HAVE ACHIEVED)) Israel has no right to be a Jewish state?
    The Jews accepted the division, but the Arabs warned of bloodshed which they have kept up over the years.

    But the Muslims have every right to have Islamic states, where Christians and other minorities are 2nd class citizens.
    Christians massacred, churches destroyed. Israel is the only ME country where Christians have more than doubled. Where every church and mosque is protected.
    Any Jew living in an Islamic state has no rights what-so ever
    Saudi Arabia is the biggest violator of Human rights. No churches or Synagogues are allowed to be built. But then, lets not forget that no Jew may enter Saudi Arabia.
    No Christian may bring a bible into that country.
    But they have huge deposits of oil, so they can be anti anything that is not Islamic.

    Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, have no Jews.

    They are all afraid of Jews because they know that Jews are successful wherever they are.
    That the Jews have given the world so much in medicine, technology agriculture etc.
    In a short space of time, Israel has built the greatest country with the best economy in the entire Middle East.

    Israel has the highest standard of education.
    And the Muslims and Christians living in Israel have the highest standard of education in the entire ME.

    So, according to the Guardian, lets not upset the Muslims by being friends with Jews.

    Why can a Jew never be a member of the Royal family? THT IS DISCRIMINATION BY THE LAWS OF BRITAIN

    • Ron Blower

      I’d like to point out, even though late to the party, that hatred of those who follow “The One True G-d” are going to receive the hatred of the World because of their Spiritual Nature.

      They’re born to it, kRIS: its as “natural”, to them, as breathing.

  • steven L

    The answer is simple: They (Guardian, NYT, BBC, LAT, LE Monde, .). on one hand hate the genocidal fanatic Muslims but hate the Jews/Israel even more. They want a 2nd holocaust or a submitted Jewish people that can be abused, victimized, whenever ….
    Fraser wants to deny Jews their country. He is therefore an antisemite.

    • waksbojm hans

      J’approuve entièrement cette analyse.

  • judithg

    laugh at loud. what comic relief this is. brown stains on their underwear all over the world at the official declaration of the Jewish nation state of Israel. the Jew haters are overcome with their own blabstering. hilarious.

  • Julian Clovelley

    When Giles Fraser speaks we hear the voice of an assimilated Jew – in terms of genealogical heritage he is as much a person of Jewish blood – just as much of the seed of Abraham – as any Jew in Israel – and probably more so than some who adopting such label, sought escape from Eastern Europe during the years of the Soviet Empire. My wife’s family has similar heritage – in fact there are more distant relatives in her family still practising, and indeed they contain senior members of the Australian Jewish community

    Adam – “We” are the real Diaspora, for the word itself means dispersal, a scattering – it comes from the Greek word “diaspeirein” – which means “to disperse”

    Over the centuries it has come to refer to the largely mythological account of the scattering of the Jews of Judea following the War against Rome, and later during the Arab incursions. But as I suspect you well know, the story of that Exile is in fact historically dubious, and during the Islamic incursions many simply converted. Ben Gurion saw these latter as the likely ancestors of many Palestinians. Exile of a whole nation never happened in the Roman Empire – any exile would have been limited in nature – and much of it would have been to the many Jewish communities already established for well over a century, in other Roman Provinces, and beyond

    The real Diaspora is not what has been adopted by Zionism, and promoted as a myth of origins, of land rights and of Judaic interpretation. The real Diaspora is the vast dispersal of Hebrew ancestry and seed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa and Asia – and from there through the Age of European Empires to North and South American continents – to Oceania, and through much of the rest of the world. The world became more “Jewish” through “assimilation” The Judaists less “Jewish” through massive conversion

    So when Giles speaks, you are hearing part of your own voice. You hear it from everyone. The only real difference is that not all of us are adherents to a religion that contains within it, when interpreted in a Zionist manner, the claim that we are unique. We know that no-one is, except in the sense of real time individuality whatever common genetic heritage

    The passage Giles quotes is thus part of all our heritage – not only spiritually, but also physically – Genealogically, no less. Giles own segment of the real Diaspora is calling you to your own Torah, because for many in the world it is our Bible too – and for most of us it is part of our heritage, spiritual and family

    Christianity – as believed to have been shaped by the Paulists in the Turkish Province of the Roman Empire, summarised the Torah quote as “There is neither Gentile nor Jew” – that was said some two thousand years ago, possibly by the Jew Paul of Tarsus himself. In that the Torah’s words truly belong to us all. Even those of us who become secular, from whatever religion, retain the concept of social equality. Indeed the secular are generally far more multicultural – far more in accord with the Torah’s commands, and its Christian summary, than the religious

    It is Zionism, Adam, you and your comrades, who have moved away from such Biblical commands – not Giles, and not we of the real Diaspora of dispersed and scattered Jewish blood. It is a part of the Seed or Abraham that is calling you to order – the dispersed of your own tradition telling you that the Torah was right – we are all a part of one another – the same before that which we hold to be sacred

    Genuine Judaic tradition, not the Zionist fraud – demands an inclusive approach to the Middle East train wreck. It demands the recognition of common heritage and common rights. It demands that the path of reconciliation be followed at all times whatever the reverses. It classifies those exclusive Jewish Settlements on Palestinian land as a sin, and demands joint policing rather than Occupation.

    That isn’t what you want – is it Adam? – But Giles is right – in your agenda you are abusing genuine Jewish tradition. You have your own priories in the reverse order to that ordained. The Torah and the Judaic heritage is being misused and mis-applied to place the Zionist agenda at the forefront. And that is what the wiser leaders of a century and more ago recognised when confronted with the infant Zionist movement. Many even saw within it the destruction of their culture. Maybe their predictions and fears are being realised.

    Many years ago I went to the Bible and checked there the forms of the Ten Commandments – one version really struck me – as if I had never read the passage before – I discovered there was a “preamble” and that the first commandment in fact read in full ” I am the L-rd thy G-d, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    This was a Deity that rejected the concept of bondage – and of slavery. The preamble makes it clear that this is not just some nationalist propaganda sheet – it is a call to freedom to liberty and to the equality of peoples. And remember it is in my family’s blood too – that call.

    I may never have understood other aspects of the traditions of Judaism and Christianity, and I rejected others. But like Giles, I did get that one solid, and remain convinced that a monocultural Jewish State is an offence to the First Commandment itself, when that Commandment is read in full, with its preamble

    And my own heritage cries out to Bibi’s Zionist dominated policy – “Sir, this cannot be. It is not the path that will bring peace to people that I love – and of itself, I believe it is wrong”

    I believe there is another path Adam – but it is a hard one. I also believe that in the end there is no alternative. I believe there is a need to research and construct a genuine history of the Middle East, one that clears away the fog of conflicting mythologies and of competing religion. It starts when the faculties of Jewish history currently involved in Zionist fabrication – and of world history, recombine. It comes when you set up historical and archeological research fellowships, including people from all cultural origins – and when you parallel this work with a multitude of bodies promoting reconciliation and social equality

    Give the world recordings of orchestras in which Jews and Muslims, Druze and Christians play alongside each other together creating one sound from individual voices – and let such ventures, in all areas of art and culture – without words – demonstrate who we really are.

    • shloime

      couldn’t you just summarize your crock in 500 words or less? preferably a lot less…

    • william guyatt

      Your last paragraph needs to be read and acted upon by people of good faith. Than k-you. b

      • Lynne T

        No. Julian is far too in love with himself and just cannot get over the fact that nobody would pay him to count paper clips.

  • aall55

    Attempting to stroke the guilt feeling no longer plays .