July 26, 2007

If there's such a thing as racism then zionism is it

I think that's what this member of the Israeli parliament, Yitzhak Bam, is saying in Ha'aretz.
This week, in an attempt to rescue some of the honor of hundreds of thousands of our forefathers who collected their pennies and dreamed of redeeming the land, the Knesset had its say by a significant majority. With sweeping support it passed, at a preliminary reading, the amendment to the Israel Lands Administration Law, which will enable the ILA to administer the lands of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) according to the fund's goals, and to lease them for Jewish settlement only. The response among the non-Jewish MKs was bitter, and Meretz voiced criticism as well. The word "racism" sneaked in once again, the same old ugly and immoral accusation.

This may be the place to cite what one of our public leaders once said about the JNF's lands: "The lands of the JNF, which were purchased with the money of the Jewish people, are devoted to Jewish settlement, just as the Islamic Waqf is devoted to providing the social needs of the Muslim community." These words were said by Yaakov Hazan, the outstanding, historic leader of Mapam, the left wing of the Zionist labor movement.

The amendment to the law only fulfills Hazan's words. The amendment makes it possible to devote JNF lands to the purpose for which Jews throughout the Diaspora collected their meager funds in the "blue box" - Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel. Anyone who claims that this is racism apparently believes that Zionism is racism, or simply does not understand the legal situation and the reason for the legislation.
Well fancy anyone believing that zionism is racism. So when did this Bam chappie arrive on our planet? But starting with sheer ignorance of racism he ends on a positively Orwellian note:
According to the fundamentals of justice and equality, the State of Israel must act for the benefit of all its citizens. The JNF is not obligated to work for non-Jewish settlement. If that is racism, all of Zionism is racism. And its supporters are racists, including Yaakov Hazan and his party, Mapam.
Have I read that correctly? Is he saying that according to principles of equality, the JNF's land can be out of bounds to Arabs in Israel? Or is he saying that the State of Israel has to run according to principles of equality, acting for the benefit of all of its citizens but the JNF is not the State and so it does not?


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