Take for instance the ‘analysis’ performed by Simon Reynolds and published by Mondoweiss, the Palestinian organisation Badil and a plethora of other anti-Israel outfits. Entitled ‘Israel’s Identity Crisis: The practical difficulties of a Jewish and democratic state’, Reynolds’ piece asserts that, by defining itself as ‘Jewish’, Israel simply cannot be democratic. Moreover, claims Reynolds, Israel's definition as ‘Jewish’ is the root cause of her committing 'the crime of apartheid'. Reynolds concludes that
“the two components of Israel’s self-applied split personality [i.e., 'Jewish' and 'democratic'] – though both are essential to the state’s diplomatic legitimacy and economic survival – are impossible to reconcile with one another.”
|The Jewish Star of David adorns the national flag. Discrimination?|
Assuming that Reynolds speaks out of genuine belief, rather than anti-Jewish prejudice, this should equally apply to any state claiming both a particular ethnic character and a democratic regime. The problem is that Reynolds does not even attempt to seek evidence for his assertion in the real world, but in an imaginary world of abstract theoretical constructs. Israel, he claims, “has effectively established a de facto global Jewish nationality”. That ‘nationality’ is in his a priori view irredeemably at odds with the concept of ‘Israeli citizenship’ and inevitably leads to the status of ‘Jewish nationals’ being advanced at the expense of non-Jewish Israeli citizens.
|The Swiss flag sports a cross (as do the flags of fully |
one third of EU member states). Circa 16% of
Swiss citizens are not Christians.
But let’s climb down from the ivory tower of anti-Israel ‘intellectual pursuit’ and glance at the real world surrounding us.
|Not just Turkish Jews, but also Christian |
descendants of Istanbul's original Greek population
may find it difficult to identify with the Islamic
crescent adorning Turkey's national flag.
Practically every modern state has ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural minorities. Just as there are ethnic Swedes in Finland, there are also around half a million ethnic Finns in Sweden. Slovakia (the ‘Slovak state’) includes among its citizenry some 10% ethnic Magyars, the same ethnicity that constitutes the bulk of citizenry in nearby Hungary. (‘Hungary’ and ‘Hungarian’ are also exonyms; those people call themselves ‘Magyars’ and their country ‘Magyarorszag’).
|The Constitution of EU member Malta proclaims |
in Article 2: "The religion of Malta is the Roman
Catholic Apostolic Religion.
“We, the Slovak nation, mindful of the political and cultural heritage of our forebears, and of the centuries of experience from the struggle for national existence and our own statehood, in the sense of the spiritual heritage of Cyril and Methodius and the historical legacy of the Great Moravian Empire, proceeding from the natural right of nations to self-determination, together with members of national minorities and ethnic groups living on the territory of the Slovak Republic, in the interest of lasting peaceful cooperation with other democratic states, seeking the application of the democratic form of government and the guarantees of a free life and the development of spiritual culture and economic prosperity, that is, we, citizens of the Slovak Republic, adopt through our representatives the following Constitution”.
Furthermore, it is clear from the Preamble that “the natural right of nations to self-determination” accrues in Slovakia to ‘the Slovak nation’, rather than to “members of national minorities and ethnic groups living on the territory of the Slovak Republic”. The latter are, however, entitled to Slovak citizenship, as well as “guarantees of a free life and the development of spiritual culture and economic prosperity”. In other words, it is ‘the Slovak nation’ which holds the ‘national rights’ in the country (which is presumably also why the state is called ‘Slovakia’, rather than 'Hungary-2' or ‘Slovungary’), even while ethnic minorities are entitled to equal civil, cultural, religious, political and economic rights. This determination is almost a carbon copy of that made by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which recognised ‘Palestine’ as the “Jewish national home”, while calling for respect of the “civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”. This is also the view of Zionism – and always has been.
If that view amounts to Apartheid, it is rather odd that the European Union bureaucrats and politicians failed to raise any objections towards Slovakia’s accession to the Union. After all, the thorough audit of a country’s legislative framework is an essential component of the accession process.
Now, Simon Reynolds does not have to agree with all this. He can opine that endowing a state with particular ethnic character is fundamentally wrong. But, if so, he needs to urgently petition Finland and Slovakia and warn them that they risk committing ‘the crime of Apartheid’. Otherwise, if he persists in singling out Israel, he may himself stand accused of crass discrimination and persecution.