Israel’s Construction Minister Uri Ariel is proposing expanding West Bank settlements to house Jewish immigrants from France (Times of Israel). There is some opposition and the proposal is scheduled to be reviewed next week (JPost), which quotes Ariel:
“Israel is the home of world Jewry. At this time when anti-Semitism is once more breaking out, we must act to allow for the smooth absorption of new immigrants,” Ariel said.“There is no doubt that the Jews of France, who already deeply identify with the Zionist settlement enterprise in the West Bank, will want to settle one of the Judea and Samaria communities once they arrive in Israel,” Ariel said.
In the background, there is a lot of discussion over the calls from French Jews to immigrate to Israel:Haaretz: Why Israeli call for French Aaliyah is so Offensive
NY Times: Do France’s Jews have a Future?
To quote the Op-Ed in Haaretz:
The old anti-Semitism that led up to the destruction of a third of all global Jewry was based on the rejection of the concept of the European Jew. Jews were never accepted as equal citizens, be they German Jews, Austrian Jews, Polish Jews or French Jews. When the fascists rose to power, they picked on the eternal otherness of the Jew to demonstrate that these were a people apart, different and despised. The alienation and dehumanization of the Jew was a direct rejection of the Jewish place in the nation state….
Unlike the anti-Semitism of old, the solution is not an abandonment of one’s home. The state is not rejecting Jews; in fact, it is trying to protect them, at least in the case of France. The fact that thousands of police are deployed to protect Jewish schools doesn’t detract from the terrifying reality in the aftermath of the attacks. There are deep systemic problems that need both physical and educational solutions if multiculturalism and pluralism are to win out. But we should not kid ourselves that the violence against Jews today is the same as it was in the 1930s.
This new reality explains why Israeli politicians’ call for French aliyah is so hurtful to France and its Jews. The correct response to the attacks came from President Reuven Rivlin, who should have been the dignitary representing Israel at the Paris unity march instead of politicians jockeying for votes. Rivlin stated that aliyah should be “born out of a positive Jewish identity, out of Zionism, and not because of anti-Semitism.”
For a bit of historical perspective, there’s a piece from March 9, 1960 in the NY Times: American Settlers in Israel Balk at inviting more from the US
The draft resolution that caused the protest called upon “American and Canadian Jews to come and settle in Israel and join the ranks of those who preceded them in building up the country.”Such resolutions are normally adopted automatically in Israel.
“How can we invite people?” exclaimed Arthur Ross, a textile merchant formerly of Brooklyn. “We have no jobs or houses to offer them!”
Ariel Markus, formerly of New York commented that immigrants might suffer a little, “but it won’t hurt them.”
and on October 24, 1949 in the NY Times again: Israel, Charging Iraqi Persecutions, Urges U. S. and Britain to Intervene
Israel has made urgent appeals to the United States and Britain for their immediate intervention against “persecution” of Jews in Iraq, it was announced here tonight. The Government said that anti-Jewish acts in Iraq were “liable to rekindle the flames of conflict in the Middle East.”…
Reports of a pogrom in Iraq, which the Israeli Government said it has confirmed, coincide with a reported offer by Iraq to exchange 100,000 Iraqi Jews for a similar number of Palestinian refugees.
most of the rest of the article discusses the arrest of Iraqi Jews on unknown charges and their detention in “Abu Grib” prison (the more things change, the more they stay the same). Both are worth a read if you have access to the Times archives.Meanwhile, there’s another debate brewing about Defending France and Free Speech (Bloomberg piece on prosecutions of “support for terrorism”:
In schools last week, there were about 100 incidents where (mostly Muslim) students refused to take part in a minute of silence to honor the magazine’s dead. Forty of these cases were referred to the police for potential prosecution, according to Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, because the words spoken amounted to “glorifying terrorism.”
The NY Times writes in French Rein in Speech Backing Acts of Terror.:
But French law does prohibit speech that might invoke or support violence….
The accused did not have to threaten actual violence to run afoul of the law. According to Mr. Cabut, who brought the case in Bourgoin-Jalieu, the man shouted, “They killed Charlie and I had a good laugh. In the past they killed Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Merah and many brothers. If I didn’t have a father or mother, I would train in Syria.”
If you’re going to prosecute “speech that might invoke or support violence”, every person carrying a “support our troops” bumper-sticker is liable for prosecution, as is anyone supporting the police shooting suspects. And what do you do about a six-year old threatening to beat another six-year old up in the playground? Perhaps statements supporting violence by the state are “protected speech”?This is why regulating speech is fraught with so many issues and the rushed prosecutions in France are likely a mistake.
A few other tangents below the fold:
Ilene Prusher wrote a very nuanced piece in Haaretz: Why did Hamas condemn the Charlie Hebdo attacks?
To date, Hamas has so far limited itself to national aspirations only. It may think global, but it acts local. It hasn’t carried out known acts of terrorism beyond Israel, and has not participated, at least from any discernable account, in the global jihadist ideology that calls for the reestablishment of the caliphate.In fact, Palestinians who find themselves unsatisfied with Hamas’ “limited” nationalist goals have sometimes left the movement for Islamic groups with a more global focus, such as Hizb Ut-Tahrir, founded by a Palestinian from a village near Haifa. And, of course, some Palestinians and even Israeli-Arabs have joined radical jihadist groups with an even more violent outlook, including the Islamic State and al Qaeda in Iraq.
“Hamas condemns the desperate attempts of Prime Minister Netanyahu to link our movement on the one side, and terrorism throughout the world on the other side… These miserable attempts are doomed to fail,” Hamas said in a statement. In the Hamas release, provided in French to Agence-France Press, the group said that it “condemns the attack against Charlie Hebdo magazine and insists on the fact that differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder.”
Hamas has been lobbying for more international legitimacy as a way to get funds to the Gaza Strip, and is worried about the slow progress on this front. There have been reports surfacing in the past week that Hamas leader Khaled Mashal was asked to leave Qatar and is seeking a new base. Hamas denies those reports. But it is clear that Qatar, once seen as a moderate country, was beginning to take on the taint of an extremist Gulf outpost because of its backing of Hamas, and seems keen to back down from that image. All of this adds up to a Hamas in which political expediency is much more attractive just now than jihadist ideology in Europe.
I’m wondering whether the columnist’s analysis above would count as “supporting terrorism” under the French law?At the always perceptive 972mag: U.S. Consulate desegregates security staff, Israeli guards quit in protest
A number of Israeli guards working for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem quit in protest of a decision to arm and train Palestinian guards employed by the Consulate recently, according to Ynet.Unnamed “sources,” presumably the disgruntled Israeli guards themselves, accused the Consulate’s chief security officer of “raising an armed militia of Palestinians,” according to the report.
Israel demands that armed non-American guards be IDF combat veterans, according to the report.
The American consulate, like a host of other countries’ consulates in Jerusalem, primarily serves the Palestinian territories and its officials regularly travel to Palestinian areas in the West Bank.
perhaps this has something to do with this incident: Israeli settlers stone two cars belonging to US consulate staffLastly, Yassi Sarid in Haaretz asks: Israel, Do you remember what you did last summer?. He’s wondering why all discussion of the destruction wreaked on Gaza has disappeared from the public sphere in Israel.