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January 29, 2016 5:00 am

The Fatal Flaw in Post-Zionist Logic

avatar by Martin Sherman

Email a copy of "The Fatal Flaw in Post-Zionist Logic" to a friend
Celebrating the Jewish state with Israeli flags. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrating the Jewish state with Israeli flags. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In my understanding, the concept “Post Zionism” is–at the ideological level–a demand for democratization of the state – i. e. a call for a liberal democratic state in the Western mode. — Prof. Uri Ram (from The Anti Zionist Congress” Israel Radio April 27, 2008.)

This quote from one of the leaders of the post-Zionist school in Israeli academia clearly reflects the moral hypocrisy, the intellectual shallowness and pompous -– and grossly misplaced — self-righteousness that characterize the adherents of this sadly self-contradictory philosophy.

After all, it takes little  analytical skill to identify the glaring flaw in the logic of post-Zionist positions which — allegedly, in the name of enlightened liberal values — calls for the conversion of Israel from a “Jewish state” to  a “state-of-all-its-citizens.”  It requires no extraordinary intellect to grasp the fact that should such a change indeed take place, the resulting realities would, in fact, be the exact antithesis of the values invoked for making it.  All that is needed for that is a smidgeon of common sense and iota of intellectual integrity.

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An inexorable chain of events

Yet, as  growing realization of the infeasibility/impracticability of the two-state paradigm begins to dawn (see, for example, editorial “The Fading Two-State Solution,” NYT, January. 22, 2016), a critical analysis of the post-Zionist vision of a one-state-for all- its citizens, widely perceived as the default alternative, is both appropriate and imperative.

Indeed, the chain of events, which such any move in such a direction would inevitably trigger, is plainly predictable.

The first link in this inexorable chain is a simple but far-reaching truth: If Israel is indeed defined as a “Jewish state,” there is a valid rationale, and a viable justification, for the existence of an entire range of elements that characterize the conduct of national and public life in the country, such as: the Star of David on the Flag; the “Menorah” candelabrum as the state emblem; the words of the national anthem referring to the “yearning of the Jewish soul”; the structure of  the annual calendar in which the holidays (and holy days) are determined  in accordance with Jewish heritage and Zionist history; the status of Hebrew as the dominant vehicle of communication in business, academia, the judicial process and in the conduct of official ceremonies. The same is true for a considerable body of “Judeo-centric legislation such as the Law of Return, granting any Jew immediate citizenship on immigrating to Israel.

Only the ultra-pious?

By contrast however, should Israel be re-defined as a “state of all its citizens, there would be no valid rationale, or viable justification, for any of these features!

As an inevitable consequence, there will neither be rhyme nor reason why any Jew (apart perhaps from those ultra-devout few who regard living in the Holy Land a religious command) would choose to live his/her life in a “non-Jewish” or “un-Jewish” Israel, rather than in any other “state-of-all-its-citizens” where the rigors of daily life are less demanding and less stressful — such as, say,  Holland or New Zealand.

No Jew (apart from the handful of ultra-pious souls who believe in the divine sanctity of the Land of  Israel) would insist on living his/her life in a country, where  instead of the blue Star of David, the national flag displays stripes – whether vertical or horizontal – of different colors even if these include nostalgic tinges of blue and white.

The inevitable result would almost certainly be, not only a dramatic increase in the number of Jews who leave the country (and who, of course, will no longer be called “yordim” but merely “emigrants”), but also an almost complete cessation of the number of Jews arriving here  (who of course no longer will be called “olim” but merely “immigrants”).

If Israel became a “state-of-all-its-citizens”

After all, if Israel in not a Jewish state, there will be absolutely no motivation for — nor reason — why-highly educated, highly skilled and highly trained Jews from across the developed world should aspire to make their homes here — not scientists, not doctors, not engineers not entrepreneurs, not academics.

There would be no mass “aliyah” from lands where Jews were oppressed and sought safe haven in the Jewish state.  Obviously the extraordinary phenomenon of the huge inflow of Jewry from the former USSR – with its huge contribution to every aspect of life in the country would be inconceivable — if Israel became just another “state-of-all-its-citizens” on the fringes of a desert at the gateway to the Levant.

Moreover, if Israel became a state of all its citizens, there would be little grounds for preventing the massive influx of migrants from neighboring lands, pouring into the country – whether to fulfill the “right of return” or merely seeking to earn a better living – since, initially, the chances of finding a more lucrative livelihood would still be higher here rather than there.

Inevitably, these processes will bring about a continual erosion of the Jewish population within the “state-of-all-its-citizens.” And as the composition of the population in the land becomes similar to that in the other states of the region, there is no reason to suppose that the realities that prevail in it, will not also become similar to those prevailing in those states – including the level of economic development, the standard of living and style of life, the status of women, the nature of the regime and the liberties it allows those living under it.

If Israel is not Zionist…

It is difficult to imagine that even the post-Zionists, with their bias and selective view of the world, are unaware of the fact that in the entire Arab world –- from Casablanca to Kuwait — there is no semblance of any “liberal democratic state in the Western mode,” for which they allegedly yearn with such passion. But even if there was once such an unfounded hope, the horrors of the post-Spring turmoil surely must have extinguished any illusions in this regard.

Indeed, in view of the stark contrast between their declared objectives and the nature of the realities, that they endeavor to achieve that objective, is likely to create; in light of the clear contradiction between their purported aspirations and the consequences likely to result from the pursuit of those aspirations, it is difficult to determine whether the post-Zionists’ motivations are nefarious or simply naïve ; whether they are mean-spirited or only feeble-minded; whether they are malevolent or merely moronic…

However, whatever the explanation may be, all those genuinely desirous of a “liberal democratic state in the Western mode,” in this neck of the woods, must recognize a basic inescapable truth: If Israel is not Zionist, it will not be Jewish; if it is not Jewish it will not be democratic.

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  • Mike P.

    A non-Jewish democracy in Israel would not only mean the end of Jewish immigration, but would mean very much Arab and Muslim immigration, resulting a very non-democratic state with no respect for human rights and with much intimidation and violence, primarily toward Jews, women, gays, Christians, Bahais, Ethiopians, other Africans, and Druze.

    Post-Zionists are living in denial of reality and are fake humanitarians, more interested in their own narcissism than in reality and in humane outcomes.

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    The collective political rights to self-determination in Palestine were recognized in 1920 as belonging to the Jewish People.
    This is what the US said on January 21, 1919: “It is recommended that the Jews be invited to return to Palestine and settle there, being assured by the Conference of all proper assistance in so doing that may be consistent with the protection of the personal (especially the religious) and the property rights of the non-Jewish population, and being further assured that it will be the policy of the League of Nations to recognise Palestine as a Jewish state as soon as it is a Jewish state in fact.
    It is right that Palestine should become a Jewish state, if the Jews, being given the full opportunity, make it such. It was the cradle and home of their vital race, which has made large spiritual contributions to mankind, and is the only land in which they can hope to find a home of their own; they being in this last respect unique among significant peoples.
    At present, however, the Jews form barely a sixth of the total population of 700,000 in Palestine, and whether they are to form a majority, or even a plurality, of the population in the future state remains uncertain. Palestine, in short, is far from being a Jewish country now. England, as mandatory, can be relied on to give the Jews the privileged position they should have without sacrificing the rights of non-Jews.”
    Individual political rights were saved for the non-Jews; the Jewish People got the collective political rights — the right to set up a government and administer it after these rights placed in trust had vested.

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