Gideon Levy writes: This kind of talk could only take place in darkness; in beer cellars, at violent fringe demonstrations or at the headquarters of outlawed organizations. Only the extreme, fascist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and xenophobic right would dare to breathe a word of it. Only skinheads and their masters would dare to speak of national purity and of defining their country based on ethnicity, religion, race, nationality or heredity.
No one would dare to say France for the French, America is all-American, Germany is a German state or Italy is a Catholic one. Anyone who did so wouldn’t be considered credible. These countries are democracies of all their citizens; their character is determined by the components of the entire population. Living in each are minorities, their numbers growing in this era of globalization and migration. No one speaks of a nation-state, of a state of one religion, of one racial group.
But this kind of talk is fashionable in Israel. It’s legitimate and even Zionist: a Jewish state. Only in Israel are individual rights and the character of the state determined by origin, like having a Jewish great-grandmother. The hell with members of minority groups – most of whom were born here.
This kind of talk has also become a basic condition for the negotiations with the Palestinians. It’s just a cheap excuse, of course – one more obstacle on the road to reaching a peace agreement, heaven forfend. But the disease’s malignant symptoms are deeply encoded in Israel’s DNA.
Israel is returning to the ghetto, building its own neo-ghetto with its own two hands. Welcome to the Israel Ghetto; it built the walls and fences that surround it long ago, and the mental and cultural walls are on the way. What was done to the Jews for generations, the Jews are now doing to themselves: judging people by their ancestors and withdrawing into a ghetto-state whose nature will be determined by its degree of purity. [Continue reading…]