Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apartheid in the 48th and 51st states.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. People on both the left and right in this country overuse the Nazis as the prime example of evil government. Sometimes its a comparison to the policies of the National Socialists and sometimes a personal comparison to Hitler. Obama gives good speeches, so he must be Hitler. Obama draws big crowds, so he must be Hitler.

Hey, Obama smokes! Obviously, not Hitler! Hitler hated smoking.

The new immigration policy recently signed into law in Arizona is being compared to the Nazi treatment of the Jews. Someone smeared a swastika on an Arizona state building using re-fried beans. Nice mixing of symbols, but there are other totalitarian regimes that might be a better fit.

The white folks run Arizona today and they consider themselves the true people, but the brown folks have been there for a longer time. The situation bears a closer resemblance to apartheid as practiced in South Africa. Being brown in public is now officially probable cause and being brown without papers is a crime.

I see no way that this ends well.

There is a similar situation in Israel, policies of apartheid being practiced against the Palestinians. The Jews run Israel today and consider themselves to be the true people of the land, but the Palestinians have been there for a longer time. Land has been given to the Palestinians, but the Jews are doing everything they can to steal it back, using methods whites used to pry Texas away from Mexico back in the 19th Century. Jewish settlements on Palestinian land are protected by the Israelis every bit as jealously as they protect the land their flag flies over legitimately. A series of well-maintained roads criss-cross the West Bank, linking the Jewish settlements to each other. It is a crime for Palestinians to drive these roads, even though they are on Palestinian land. When Jimmy Carter wrote about this, it was even a crime for a Jew to drive a car on these roads with a Palestinian passenger. I don't know if that particular law has been rescinded yet.

When Carter wrote about these appallingly racist policies in his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, he was labeled an anti-Semite, though technically, both Jews and Palestinians are Semitic. As we see Obama try to rein in the worst of the oppressive policies of the Israelis, you can be sure he will be derided for it, most often by American Jews who get forums in news outlets left, right and center in this country. On the allegedly left-leaning Huffington Post, for example, the people writing against the tougher policy on Israel's apartheid are Alan Dershowitz, Ed Koch and Chuck Schumer.

To these men, I have this to say. You love Israel with all your hearts. You love it more than you love America and more than you love justice. You are Jews, and so you are automatically Israeli citizens should you decide to move there.

Please do so at your soonest convenience.


ken said...

Don't get stuck on the technicality that both Arabic and Hebrew are semitic languages. The term "anti-semitism" was invented in 19th century Germany as a highfalutin' way to say "Jew hatred".

At the time, Germany was actually quite tolerant of Jews, at least for the era, and quite in contrast to later developments.

namastenancy said...

Krugman wrote an interesting post on the politics of immigration (ours).


Matty Boy said...

Thanks for the correction, Ken, and thanks for the link, Nancy.

namastenancy said...

Matty Boy - you probably know that a lot of Jews are critical of the current Israeli government. Have you ever read the magazine Tikkun? It's progressive and full of debates over every issue from politics from gender to feminism to ecology. I wish my Lebanese relatives were as progressive.

Matty Boy said...

Sure, there is serious debate in Israel about the policies and there are plenty of left-wing American Jews as well. I realize that calling out three men and pointing out that all of them are members of The Tribe makes it look like I'm picking on the Jews in general, but it is not my point. Not all Jews support the policies of the Likud party and those parties even to the right of them. My point is that if someone is to the left of Olympia Snowe in this country and still supports the policies of Israel that have made matters worse, the probability is pretty close to 100% that the left leaning person in question is Jewish.

Margaret Benbow said...

Matty, thank you for a powerful post. You're speaking the truth. So often I think of that saying: "The Palestinians are the last victims of Hitler."