Elaine Meinel Supkis
Just this week, I mentioned that Israel can't write a Constitution. Today, the NYT thoughtfully has a Jewish person explain why they just can't seem to be able to do this simple thing, particularily since it means the possibility of civil rights rather than religious privilages, dooms any efforts to imitate America.
By STEVEN V. MAZIE
Published: March 30, 2006
NEARLY six decades after the state of Israel was founded, members of the newly elected Parliament will try to complete the job of drafting a constitution. Their greatest challenge will be to lend coherence to Israel's dual identity as a state that is both Jewish and democratic.
Must I go on? Heh. Sixty years and the greatest legal minds, many of whom have lived in America and Europe and practiced law and understand the entire concept of Constitutions and how they operate and how to write one, can't do this simple thing that took our Founding Fathers barely any time at all, once they threw out the Articles of Confederation?
The old saw goes that for every two Jews there are three opinions. A new 9,000-page constitutional draft ups that ante, offering as many as four alternatives, complete with commentary, for many of its provisions. According to one version of the draft's first clause, "Israel is a Jewish and democratic state." Alternatives go on to identify Israel as "the state of the Jewish people" or "the state wherein the Jewish people are realizing their right to self-determination." Another option avoids the issue entirely, advising against making a statement about the state's character at all.
Instead of stating outright that Israel is a theocracy/tribal state that has nothing but levels of privilages and benefits aimed only at increasing the power and reach of only one group of people nearly all of whom came in less than 50 years ago, Israel simply does things by custom. These various and many laws that are openly discriminatory and harmful to non-Jews can't be challenged in court since there is no laws covering civil rights, none whatsoever. The prison population of the lands Israeli Jews have conquered in the last 30 years have no rights, no voice, absolutely nothing at all. They are non-humans in the codex of laws drawn up by the invading population.
If there is any hope for the constitutional process, lawmakers must break free of these old dogmas and zero-sum strategies, working instead to establish a functional balance of Jewish and democratic values.
This is impossible. Because the Jewish people have unilaterally and over the very strong objections of the residents already in these disputed lands, declared they will create a state that exclusively benefits them, there is no way of "fixing" this by putting some sort of fig leaf on what is a racist and religious bigotted mess. Italian Catholics can't settle in New Jersey and then suddenly have a violent coup and declare the state "Italian homelands" and pass pro-Catholic laws that fund Catholic schools using tax money raised on non-Catholics, nor can they pass laws forbidding Lutherans from buying property in Passaic. In other places, religious bigots have set up shop, dispossessing original residents and despoiling them and favoring one religion over another such as English Protestants did to Ireland, for example, a bitter battle that raged off and on for hundreds of years, ever since Henry VIII and before him, simply an attack of one realm upon another. The Reformation revolution turned what was a standard territorial battle into a very vile religious war.
Only in the last ten years has a truce been called and it hinges upon finally granting equal rights to the Catholics. And the Protestants bitterly resent enfringement of their entitlements which gave them tremendous favors in the job markets, housing markets, shopping markets and education. Many Catholics had to flee to places like America where a Catholic has the same rights as a Protestant. And even here, it has taken 200 years to gain full civil rights for the offspring of former slaves, for Jews themselves, for women, for gays who are still fighting for simple justice!
All parties have turned to the Constitution, to amend it to protect themselves from losing their rights, for a guiding light to show the mercy and greatness of sharing civil rights with all humans no matter what they wear, their skin color, sex or what they do or do not worship. Equal before the law, in business, at home, in school.
This brilliant concept, this is what America's greatness is all about: our Constitution. Yet, instead of treasuring it and holding it up as a model for how we should organize the world as well as our homes, Jewish people have turned their backs on it and instead, chosen the despotic models of the British Empire's abuse of the Irish or Indian or anyone who wasn't part of the Official Church run by the aristocrats of the Royal Family.
My family is here in America precisely because of that. We weren't going to worship James I so he tried to kill us and we came here, out of reach, into the Hudson Valley which was run by the Dutch who didn't care quite so much about our personal religion which is a rather odd, family matter (um, lightning, etc). All our long lives for hundreds of years, we dreaded religious interference as well as snooping. We fought in the American Revolution and the Civil War as well as my grandmother, the Sufferagette, and myself, in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting not just for the right of minorities to vote but for my own freedom, as a female!
Why would anyone reject this amazing and wonderful system we created, I mean not the Constitution but the Amendments? They truly are international and timeless as well as fulfilling and frankly, beautiful to read. Like the 10 Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount, easy to understand and necessary for a full and fruitful life!
So why can't this happen in the Holy Land? Why, when that place seethes with many religions, why should one only take primacy and torment all the others? This is plain wrong on nearly every level.
My family and their contemporaries worked long and hard to draw up a series of rules and laws that opened America's doors to the entire planet. Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, whoever, animists, fire worshippers, witches (hehehehe), atheists, anyone and everyone could enter, there was no test, no questions asked. Unlike the slave state, Israel, you didn't have to pass the Nazi "are you a Jew" test which the Nazis decided, one Jewish grandparent and you were murdered by them. So, with Israel, the same rule applies as to whether or not one may apply for citizenship, namely, at least one grandparent has to have been a certified Jew.
No Muslim may pass into citizenship from the outside thanks to this ridiculous prohibition. No Christians, either, if they don't have magical blood in them.
Until the people who created this unfair and UNAMERICAN state change, I am baffled as to why my country gives this 100% support and adoration. It is unconstitutional and it is destroying our own Constitution as Americans of various tribal affiliations and religions start tearing it up, seeking privilages and favors for themselves at my expense.
The writer if this latest garbage on "democracy in Israel" should be ashamed of himself. He is openly espousing the discredited "seperate but equal" Jim Crow crap that we had to painfully destroy here. It doesn't work, it never works, it is not liberal, it is bad, very, very bad.