The Old Inquistion and Our New One - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Joel Gayman
    • 20.10.10 | 23:23 (IST)

    Please, Mssrs. Lieberman and Netanyahu, show me one historical example where religious, racial or national loyalty oaths imposed by force have factually created greater loyalty rather than just the opposite? The Spanish Inquisition did not succeed in creating genuine, devoted Catholics of us Jews. Nor will we succeed in developing more "trustworthy" Israeli citizens out of Palestinian Muslims or Christians by compelling them to swear allegiance to the "Jewish democratic" character of their birthright home or forcing them to rubber-stamp their clearly inferior form of "Jewish citizenship." Such colossally benighted efforts will merely spawn more bitterness, enmity and an even stronger desire for Palestinian religious and national revenge. Usurping people's land and minimal power over their daily lives (no matter how desperate or factually motivated our justification) is difficult enough to make emends for. Usurping people's very communal and inner psychological identity begets a form of hatred that may never be appeased by via any mundane means. And we -- far more than anyone -- SHOULD know this! Is such cruel psychic and spiritual usurpation really our best hope of insuring Israel's long-term security in the greater Muslim world, or of cementing our daily more-and-more tenuous bonds with the wider Christian and secular democratic West? Any half-way intelligent and thoughtful observer knows that the current campaign to impose "pro-Jewish" loyal oaths on Israel's ethnic and religious minorities, as well as the Netanyahu government's renewed demands that Palestinians formally attest to Israel's exclusive Jewish status, are nothing but red herrings fabricated by the Israel right to prevent a territorial compromise at almost any cost by unnecessarily and fruitlessly antagonizing Palestinian national sentiment and solidarity. Neither realistically will root out an iota of "Israeli-Arab subversion," nor concretely make Israel much the safer. The Spanish Inquisition did not greatly enhance Jewish loyalty to Christianity. It merely legitimized the construction of a new class of suspect Jewish "religious subversives" whose property, thus, could "justly" be expropriated. It succeeded in unleashing a sea of homeless, bitter Jewish refugees who nurse the memory of their oppression to this day. And it engendered a population of clandestine Jewish Marranos who stubbornly clung to their beloved religion despite the potential mortal cost -- all carved from a Spanish Jewish population who formerly were relatively accommodated to continued, semi-benign Catholic or Moorish-Muslim rule. Our new "Jewish loyalty" Inquisition, just like the ancient Spanish one, will most likely serve to designate a new population of "Palestinian subversives" to likewise be brutally expelled and made homeless, and incite many more generations of wholly avoidable Arab-Jewish bloodshed. The Israeli political and religious right, along with we more moderate Jews both within Israel and abroad, are, however, entirely justified to be skeptical of peace treaties. MERE OATHS -- no matter how august or eloquent their words -- do not make peace. The only means to peace is its courageous, difficult and unrelenting daily practice! And our people's history has given us no time left to tarry!

    from the article: Lieberman is Kahane. And even the right senses it
    First published 10:54 20.10.10 | Last updated 10:54 20.10.10
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