Monday, June 24, 2013

Single-Nation States and Modern Values


In Mike’s thread The Integration of Arab Israelis I made two comments that some readers might find disturbing. However, Mike’s done a great job in setting up this blog as a forum for discussion of topics that are usually taboo elsewhere, so, rather than leave those comments as they are and move on, I decided to bring my ideas about national politics that inform those comments up for debate.

I wish to begin with a list of terms that feature regularly on discussion of national and often international politics. Those terms are: Hatred, xenophobia, prejudice, bigotry, racism, apartheid and genocide. In the spectrum of political views, supremacists on both Left and Right differ from normal, decent people on both Left and Right as to how they relate to those terms.

Supremacists nurture those feelings for so much as it takes until their total-minded goals are fulfilled. White, black, Hispanic and Islamic supremacists alike have a certain group or number of groups whom they view as devils to be totally stamped out, and in order to convert that belief into the critical mass required of a viable political movement, they have to stoke the flames of hatred against those assigned devils. Gratuitous hatred is their modus operandi: If there is little cause for hatred, inflate it beyond all proportion; if there is no cause at all, invent a pretext from scratch.

I assume we’re all decent people here, no matter our political leaning. Decent people may harbor those feelings listed, but not out of premeditated intent to harbor them; when they do, it usually has to do with some cause, real or perceived, and when that cause is dealt with, those feelings vanish. Decent people believe such emotions are bad and need to be treated before they go out of control. The various decent people differ only in the ways they think this can be done.

One way advocated for dealing with bigotry and related emotions is education, education and more education. Myself, I think education holds good for some cases but not all. For example, I think education is the preferred way for, say, dealing with prejudice toward Jews of Ethiopian extraction in Israel. The reason I think so is because there’s a significant common ground between them and the rest of the Israeli Jewish populace: Belonging to the same nation, the Jewish nation. But I don’t extend that belief to the Arab minority in Israel, because here there’s no common ground that education can build upon. It’s not that I think the hatred of Israeli Jews toward Arabs is a good thing that must be nurtured—that would make me a supremacist, which I’m not—but I think it should be treated differently than the former example of bigotry I’ve given.

I hold that the ill-feeling of the majority population toward a minority of people belonging to another nation on their soil is a result of insecurity, and that its solution is by bringing the nation back to its position of self-security. In nation-states like modern Japan (not interbellum and WWII Japan, which was dominated by supremacism), the listed charged emotions that are so prevalent in, for instance, the nation-states of Western Europe are absent because Japan is homogeneous, not having brought on itself the problems inherent in accommodating substantial national minorities. The Japanese are self-secure in their national space, so xenophobia doesn’t arise in the first place.

My view has been shaped by a long time reading on the situation elsewhere in the world. No matter what reason the masses of immigrants have been invited for in the first place, today a great strain is brought upon the indigenous populations because of the various degrees of Lebanonization this has resulted in: Politics become sectarian, with people voting according to their parochial groupings instead of the issues, and the politicians naturally pander to those sects. In the workplace, the majority, pre-immigration population is frustrated to find employers hire according to checkboxes to be filled (racial quotas, usually), instead of hiring the best person for the job. Add the imperialistic element of Islamic immigration to the mix, where the intention is to colonize and adapt the host society to the immigrants instead of the other way round, and society is bound for the perfect storm.

I believe the various nation-states of the world were better off when they were comprised of a single nation. Note, however, that my belief has nothing to do with race. I’m not saying this to be politically correct; as an Orthodox Jewish believer, a race-agnostic worldview that looks at world history as the history of nations rather than races is obligatory for me. In fact, even the political parties usually associated with a racialist view are not and cannot be predicated wholly on race, because race itself is not enough to make a nation, otherwise Polish immigrants to Britain could be considered British from the get-go; similarly, the many black nations in Africa are different nations despite being of the same race. And the Jewish nation is not defined by race at all, much to the chagrin of anti-Zionists who think the debunked Khazar Hypothesis puts paid to the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel.

I hold that, for example, the hatred the indigenous French harbor toward North African immigrants could be totally defused if the latter were brought back to their countries of origin, thereby making the indigenous French self-secure and therefore having no cause for hatred. But I’m not really saying it for the sake of telling the French what to do—it’s because I wish to pre-empt the accusation that I’m pleading specially for the case of a Jewish nation. No, I believe all real nations have the right to self-security in a nation-state exclusive to them. And, in the Jewish case, I believe that the hatred between Jews and Arabs could be defused if—I know it’s a very big “if,” but that’s reality—the Arabs let go of their supremacism that denies the Jewish nation’s right to a state on their indigenous territory, and if the Jews are guaranteed self-security by having their state exclusively to themselves.

By maintaining the self-security of nation in its state (a view that I call “The State As Its Nation’s Castle”) the ills of bigotry, xenophobia, apartheid and genocide can be prevented from taking hold in the first place. As such, I consider my view far more in line with modern and, dare I say it, progressive values than the naïve utopianism that education is all it takes to bring peace for all human beings. I espouse a vision that could minimize hatred and strife through sensible state-politics.

There are two major objections I can think of:

  1. Nation-states like the United States of America and Switzerland do not fit this model.
  2. Blaming hatred on the insecurity of the majority populace would imply that the pogroms against the Jews in the Diaspora were all justified.

I agree with the first objection, but I argue that its significance is small because such nation-states are anomalies. The proposition nation model where various national groups coalesce on a certain territory to form a nation can work, but only if it is organic, as in the cases of the U.S.A. and Switzerland; most nation-states, including Israel, have the nation coming first and then the territory, and as a consequence, artificially retrofitting the propositional model onto them is courting disaster.

As for the second objection, it ignores the fact that the Jewish nation, like the Druze nation, is exceptional in having a doctrine of being perpetual guests while on other nation’s lands and therefore not threatening the self-security of the indigenous populations. At any rate, the fate of the Jews only proves the necessity of a single-nation state where the nation is self-secure; after all, serious thoughts about the renewal of Jewish nationalism started in the 17th century in both Polish and Yemenite Diasporas following unprecedented catastrophes that made the Jews think that perhaps enough was enough.

I’m bracing for the possibility that this post is going to be controversial. In my defense I’ll say that my ideas aren’t political incorrectness for its own sake, as if I were trying to look like a “rebellious counterculture” or stuff like that. I believe a lot of people in the world are warming up to what is a common-sense vision that is far more consistent with modern values and liberal precepts than the unrealistic and strife-prone politically correct ideas. I hold that single-nation states are the wave of the future, because nations that do not adopt that model will not survive. With the exception of a Druze minority, Israel like any other nation-state had best be exclusive to the Jews, no matter what its borders are going to be, in order to ensure the Jews’ self-security that is the first step in enabling peace with the Arab nation.


  1. The United States and Israel have a similar surface appearance that makes the comparison between them so tempting. And yet, in the past few years I've come to believe that Israel as a nation-state is far better comparable to the European ones.

    In the sense that the American and Jewish nations both have race-agnostic definitions, and consequently are a mix of races, the two cases look the same. But then the Arab nation is comprised of many races too, and it is only because there is no single Arab state that that nation isn't thrown in the comparison.

    Beyond the surface level, American and Jewish nationality is different. The American nation coalesced gradually, with the successive waves of immigrants coming to the United States as a refuge ("huddled masses yearning to be free"), united around a set of ideals. In contrast, the Jewish nation had a definition prior to the acquisition of land even in ancient times. The Jews gathering from all the world to reside in Israel were part of a nation before coming to the land, unlike the Americans. In that, Israel is like the European nation-states.

    Granted, not all Americans are happy with the idea of America as a proposition nation, but there's not much they can do to change the situation. Even if, say, the White Supremacists could fulfill the goal of a white-only America, it would still be a proposition nation, because "White" isn't a nation, it's just a race; the glue uniting the various white people of such an America would still be that of a shared land and ideals as in the current American nation.

    Up till recently I thought proposition nations couldn't work at all, bringing the usual examples of Lebanon and Yugoslavia, while being at a loss to explain why America and Switzerland do work. Upon research, I realized the working examples are proposition nations that emerged organically, while all the failed examples are artificial nations (decolonial creations or mixtures illusorily held together by an iron fist). Having realized this, I am now absolutely convinced that binationalism in the Land of Israel would lead to genocide, and that even confined to its pre-1967 borders Israel would need to be a single-nation state (except for the Druzes, as I said).

    As for the suggestion that the single-nation state may be one of my "reprehensible" (to quote another blog) ideas, that can't be helped; my ideas can't all be acceptable to everyone, and as far as I'm concerned the important thing is that my conscience is at rest because I believe those ideas about state politics are among the best ways to prevent hatred, xenophobia, bigotry, racism, apartheid and genocide. People are welcome to tell me how I'm mistaken in thinking those ideas would actually do the trick, but they can't honestly call me an evil person for them. Evil people are those who think anything good could come from a forced coexistence of Jews and Arabs after about 120 years of hostility (or ten times that if you consider Jewish existence under Islam's apartheid rule).

  2. I know why Switzerland works. It is Sweden's doppleganger. It is the most conservative nation in Europe. Economically though it resembles the Nordic socialist states. But as a very conservative nation the populace generally shares highly homogenous conservative views. It is irrelevant that there are four national languages. It's a single commonly agreed set of values and mores. It also doesn't hurt to have a very high standard of living which is very evenly spread across everyone fairly equitably. In fact Switzerland is very like Luxembourg in that way. Three or 4 different languages, and single culture and history.

  3. I haven't yet read the comments between you and Trudy, but on my initial read of this piece I would say that you are taking an exceedingly controversial view.

    Unless I am mistaking you, and I do not think that I am, you are talking about a policy of expulsion.

    I was on Ted Belman's site earlier today and read a story entitled Poll: Most Israeli Arabs Support Violent Uprising

    In the comments our friend NormanF had this to say:

    "The only way to solve the Arab Question (Israel’s Arab Fifth Column) is to expel the Jew-hating Arabs from Israel! Only this will produce real peace and guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish State.

    The Czechs had to remove the treacherous Sudeten Nazi Germans from their homeland. Its a national tragedy in Israel this cannot even be on the national agenda even though its clear as day the Arabs will never be truly loyal to the country."

    I find this notion exceedingly problematic for both ethical reasons and practical reasons.

    The recommendation is highly problematic from an ethical standpoint because we are talking about taking huge numbers of perfectly innocent people and booting them from their homes. This would be an exceedingly difficult sell within the Jewish community and an impossible sell beyond the Jewish community. The world may have been just fine with Czechs booting out Germans after WWII, but it will not be OK with Jews booting non-Jews out of Israel.

    From a practical level it means rounding up well over a million people and forcibly relocating them outside of Israel's borders. I suppose that it could be done, but the expense - financially and diplomatically - would be enormous.

    If you are honestly talking about transference of the Arab population then I, at least as of this moment, cannot get with it.

    I would, however, not be opposed to a "get tough" policy. I think that the Israeli government should take over the administration of the entirety of the Temple Mount and the Old City. I think that the IDF and Israeli police should use live fire against rock throwers because the long Arab-Muslim tradition of stoning Jews must come to an end. I also sincerely believe that anti-Zionists should be precluded from taking part on any level within the Israeli government.

    But expulsion?

    In my opinion, it clearly goes too far.

    1. "Unless I am mistaking you, and I do not think that I am, you are talking about a policy of expulsion."

      No different from what the world says should be done with the Jews living in Judea and Samaria. The world thinks it's justified in some cases, so who am I to argue? Colonists are to be expelled, the world says—I differ only in my opinion as to who are the colonists here.

      "...taking huge numbers of perfectly innocent people and booting them from their homes."

      The Jews of Judea and Samaria are huge numbers of perfectly innocent people (Pallywood Production libels notwithstanding), yet the world has no problem insisting they be booted from their homes.

      "The world may have been just fine with Czechs booting out Germans after WWII, but it will not be OK with Jews booting non-Jews out of Israel."

      We did not set up a state of our own after nearly 2000 years to be bossed by the world. If the Jews had ever wanted that, Zionism would never have been renewed.

      "If you are honestly talking about transference of the Arab population then I, at least as of this moment, cannot get with it."

      But we've discussed this before, and if I recall correctly you had no problem with the idea of a two-state solution where Arab "Palestine" in the post-1967 territories exchanges its Jewish residents with Arabs relocated from pre-1967 Jewish Israel. It's a population exchange just like between Greece and Turkey in 1923.

      "But expulsion? In my opinion, it clearly goes too far."

      The last time we discussed this, we both reached the conclusion that it was not going to happen any time soon, and I added that I was prepared for the possibility of not in my lifetime even. But you didn't bring up the ethical reasons as you've done now; I have to say I'm amazed by this change.

      Speaking of Jewish ethics specifically, a policy of expulsion would be far less severe than what Joshua did in his day. I'm not calling for that, nor would any scholar of Jewish Law, because the Arabs aren't Canaanites (no matter how much they pretend to be), but the disparity between Jewish ethics in reality and what many people think Jewish ethics are is notable.

      Sometimes I think it would be better to leave it wholly to HaShem to fight the Jewish nation's fight. Normally I'm wary of that stance because one shouldn't rely on miracles, but in times when the ground around us is burning and leadership suffers from a chronic lack of will to do the right thing, I naturally fall back on that time-honored Jewish thinking.

      Yes, sometimes I feel like my ideas about saving or even just improving the state of the Jewish people is nothing but a humanistic delusion (Deuteronomy 8:17).

  4. Zion,

    "Having realized this, I am now absolutely convinced that binationalism in the Land of Israel would lead to genocide..."

    This is only true if the Arab population became a majority within the State of Israel, seized control of the resources of government, and then used those resources to commit genocide against the native Jewish population.

    Any such scenario is highly unlikely anytime in the foreseeable future, don't you think?