Who are you, Israel?
The Israeli cabinet has canadian pharmacy
/?hpt=T2″>approved a motion requiring new citizens to declare their loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state.” The controversial amendment to the citizenship law has been denounced as discriminatory by some.
[…]Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi said that Israel is “discriminative in its policies and laws against all who are not Zionists.” Zoabi went on to say the law “not only discriminates between Jews and non Jews, it also discriminates between Zionist Jews and non Zionists Jews.”
Another Arab Knesset member Ahmed Tibi, from the Ra’am-Ta’al party, criticized the move as well, saying that “the values of Jewish and Democratic cannot be in the same definition because democracy is the equality of all the citizens.”
On the other hand, some writers see
the law as a modest acknowledgement of that fact that Israel really is a Jewish state, a result of the self-determination of the Jewish people.
The goal of these laws is to maintain these states’ unique national identities. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a nation-state without a single dominant culture.
What else unifies human beings, provides them with identity and purpose, gives them a sense of belonging? How else can they better give expression to universalistic values such as the fight against world poverty if not through the particularistic framework of the nation state?
I think that the idea of a Jewish state is not necessarily anti-democratic, but there surely is some tension with the Western conception of a liberal democracy. A liberal democracy chooses some shared set of civic values as the framework upon which to build a state – the particularistic cultural or religious values (such as Judaism, or Zionism) are not to be enshrined within the
Of course, this is not to say Israel is wrong in this law, only that such a conception of Israel is no longer compatible with the liberal pluralism of the United States and other countries. Israel can be conceived of in a communitarian light, where the unique social and historical factors of the country are the foundations to the moral and political values. And this might be fine – communitarian nations may still be democratic, and if any modern country comes close to the communitarian ideal, Israel must be a prime candidate.
Photo by flickr user maxnathans used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.