The Druzes are a national-religious sect found within the borders of Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
Like the Jews, they are both a nation and a religion that the nation is coupled to. Unlike the Jews, there is no joining their nation by conversion. A central tenet of Druze belief is reincarnation: Druzes believe the soul of every deceased Druze is reincarnated in a newborn Druze.
Throughout the years, the Druzes have had periods of independence followed by life under Islamic rulers. As an offshoot of Islam, the Druze faith like Baha’ism and Ahmadiyyah is considered heresy by the mainstream Sunni and Shi’a authorities.
In the course of their history, the Druzes have stuck to two political doctrines that have kept their cohesion while minimizing friction with the surrounding society:
- A Druze must be loyal to fellow Druzes.
- A Druze must be loyal to the state in which he or she resides.
The similarity to the Jews can again not go unnoticed.
The Druzes are an exception. The Jews too are an exception. Nations with a doctrine of accepting all the laws and rules of the host state are exceptions to the rule. In most cases, a guest nation will not for long be at peace with the host state unless it is assimilated to it; national pride will give rise to demands made of the host state, with the resultant civil strife. Only a tyrannical hand could keep the lid on such strife, as was the case for Yugoslavia before its break-up and Iraq before Saddam was ousted from power.
The Jews in the Diaspora were conspiratorially accused of plotting against their host states despite the doctrine against doing so. They were also accused of drinking the blood of children despite the Torah’s prohibitions against both cannibalism and the drinking of blood.
The Jews were tossed from host state to host state. Sometimes they were tossed out of the world.
The host nations were under no obligation to like their Jewish guests, but without a state of their own the Jews could only wander from state to state.
The Jews prayed for the end of statelessness and the return to their one and only homeland: The Land of Israel, also called Palestine. In the 19th century, with the pressure of pogroms increasing and the possibilities opened by new means of communications and transport, Jews finally set out to realize their dream.
We, like the Druzes, are exceptions. As the nations of the world can see, whether the white nations of Europe or the black ones of Africa, most nations do not take well to having other nations inside them. Especially not those whose religion commands them to impose their laws on the host nation.
What the other nations do in their own states is their business only, but the Jews cannot acquiesce to an assault on their national rights.
The Jews can complain at the hard-heartedness of the world closing its gates to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, but the actions of Britain then were of a totally different nature: Britain had no right to close the gates of Mandate Palestine before Jewish refugees.
Why is that different? Because Palestine is the Jewish nation’s land. It is ours to do in it as we wish, just as Hellas is the Greek nation’s land to do in it as they wish, and the Netherlands is the Dutch nation’s.
The Arab nation has over twenty states to do as they wish in them. Although most of those states are well outside the indigenous Arab territory of the Arabian Peninsula, we are not going to call for them all to “go back home” the way Helen Thomas demanded of the Jews in their own homeland.
But as the German nation was not entitled to pieces of Poland and France, belonging to other nations, so the Arab nation has no right to the land of the indigenous Palestinian nation—the Jewish nation.
As the Jews have no intention of going back to their previous statelessness, peace in the Middle East is contingent upon the recognition of the Jews’ national rights.
The Jewish nation, like every other nation, has the right to its protective space within the bounds of its indigenous territory of Palestine. Anything less and it is as if we had never returned from the Diaspora.
The histories of even the exceptions, the Druze nation and the Jewish nation, show that is the best for all parties involved to have states of their own. The nations that once tossed us to and fro have no right to complain, or obstruct things, when we Jews decide we have finally had enough and go forth to renew our political sovereignty on our one and only homeland.
The Jews are here in Palestine by right, and setting up their state on the Land of Israel has been their right from day one. The world does not owe the Jewish people a thing, and the Jewish people does not owe the world a thing.
Islamic and Arab and Persian nations pick and choose who among them they persecute. The Alawites are a tolerated offshoot of Shiia Islam.ReplyDelete
"The Alawites are a tolerated offshoot of Shiia Islam."Delete
If Al Qaeda takes control of Syria (thanks in no small part to the help of that blithering fool John McCain), that situation will most assuredly change.
Syria, like Lebanon, is a cautionary example to the Jewish state as to why compromising on demographic safety could cost a nation very dearly. The only way to make such cobbled-up states hold is through the force of a tyrant's iron fist; once removed, all hell breaks loose.
That speaks to a different point. There is no Lebanon or Syria or Jordan or Saudi Arabia or UAE. Or Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Benin.....for that matter. They were created by the vague wavings of a pointer in the cartography rooms of the French and British foreign service.ReplyDelete
The point being, and you're right, you get two basic options in that part of the world: totalitarianism and civil war. Pick one. The Maghreb is deceptive that way. It looks pacific and calm but that's because Libya and Algeria are essentially depopulated countries. 99% of the country has no one in it. Tunisia and Morocco are stable because they have hundreds of years of independent or semi independent monarchies and an awful lot of European cross fertilization of cultures. Also they a close to being 'primate cities'. Those are countries where most people live in one city - like Montevideo Uruguay. The urban area(s) in Tunisia and Morocco are in many ways a single urban sprawl where everyone in the whole country lives. This has allowed them to ignore the reality of having to form a country larger than a city state. And that is why there's no history of nations which are not city states in the Arab world. There's a few empires here and there and weak confederacies but there's no track record for nations. Not even, surprisingly in Egypt. They view themselves as a great nation but they're a river. 90%+ of all Egyptians live just a few miles from the Nile just like they did 5,000 years ago. The kingdom was the river - not an homogenization of different peoples into an organized whole. Heck even Egypt was the rump substate property of invaders from the Hittites to the Assyrians to the Persians to the Greeks to the Romans to the Turks to the French to the British. The Egyptian 'nation', before 1922, hadn't existed since before 1000BCE.
The idea that Arab history is congenial to concept of a state, is I think wishful thinking. This is largely I believe the appeal of political Islam - to jump over the difficulties of trying to run a country which they clearly are very bad it, and landing square on the "Ummah" or world-nation of Islam. As an organizing principle it has it's appeal. As a a practical matter not very much. The reality on the ground is still the tribe, clan, language, splinter group, sect and so on. They can all brand themselves members of the world Ummah Islam but they still slaughter one other to the last one standing.
Back in the 80's The Economist called it 'Lebanonization' where a country falls apart from the inside out and stops resembling a single coherent political entity. They were I suppose afraid to call it 'destruction' which is what it is - a country reverting to its component pieces each one different and hating the others. This is likely what Syrian winds up as - a non country we still call Syria but in practical terms, much like Afghanistan where the power coalesces around tribal warlords each in their little dirty corner. If there is a national government in Syria it will be a kind of shell corporation for funneling foreign aid to various factions and substates. And in a few years they move apart start issuing their own passports and declare themselves The Free Democratic Islamic People's Republic of Alawiteistan, the Socialist Islamic State of Druze, Salafitania, the Muslim Confederacy of Swarthy Dudes Called Hezbollah....and so on. Some of them will get partial recognition from a few countries including Russia and Iran. The rest no one cares about. And they settle into a querulous low intensity squabble with occasional atrocities punctuated by grandiose statements of world domination.
Trudy, we might summarize this by saying that Israel is a flower in the desert, and that the other nations blaming Israel for the whole mess in the Middle East is like the idea that uprooting that one flower would make the desert bloom.Delete
It's a stupid world the one we live in. Life's a beeyotch.
I think this essay is disconnected, and the gist and best part starts with this paragraph:ReplyDelete
"The Jews can complain at the hard-heartedness of the world closing its gates to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, but the actions of Britain then were of a totally different nature: Britain had no right to close the gates of Mandate Palestine before Jewish refugees."
Not every nation or people deserve a state, however, but when indigenous people are able to create a nation-state, according to the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, that is the ultimate expression and exercise self-determination, and entitled to recognition and protection by the international community.
I wouldn't say it's disconnected, it just looks like it because I deliberately started with the Druzes as a lead into the topic. I conceived of this piece as a response to the argument by the troll on a previous post here that my ideas about a nation-protecting state would be grounds for persecuting the Jews living outside Israel.
(Most of my posts are responses to some anti-Zionist argument. That's the reason why I read sites like Mound o' Scheiss. Not because I enjoy reading them, surely.)
I just read the text of the Montevideo Convention, and I'm not sure it's adequate. Article 9 especially ("Nationals and foreigners are under the same protection of the law and the national authorities and the foreigners may not claim rights other or more extensive than those of the nationals") seems to give a wide opening for a nation-state to be colonized by a flood of immigrants, which defeats the whole purpose of having a state. My view on the duty of the state is that it should protect the resident nation from demographic encroachment the same way an operating system allocates each running application a memory space that no other application can intrude into. I haven't found this idea or anything similar in the text of the Montevideo Convention.
Protecting from demographic encroachment is a prerogative of the state itself, but I think you run amok when each nation is entitled to a state, even within a state. They only have the right to self-determination, which can be provided by autonomy within the state. But it must be authentic.Delete
As for the lead in, that seems a different matter, at least to me. While each people have unique qualities, I don't believe that Druze and Jews are much different than many others when it comes to allegiance to the nation and the state.
Let's say my point about every nation having a right to a state is a theoretical one that I make, in order to reply to those who think my arguments self-servingly apply only to the Jewish state. Something on the order of, "I really don't care what other nations do, but since you're asking, then no, I wouldn't mind if other states introduced the same protections for their member nations as those I suggest for the Jewish state."Delete
Autonomy within the state is problematic because at some point the lesser nation comes to feel it's not enough. And then all the talk of "Bantustans" is bandied about, and you know the rest. Whatever borders the Jewish state finally declares for itself, I'm certain that the only way such troubles can be avoided is by having the Arabs outside them. That's why the only viable two-state solution, for example, would be one that involves a population exchange between the Jews of Judea and Samaria and the Arabs of pre-1967 Israel. The Germans of the Sudetenland had autonomy and looked how it worked out in the end. I don't want past mistakes repeated.
The Druzes and the Jews may not be the only examples, but I'm pretty sure an explicit doctrine of loyalty to the host state is rare among nations. So, in most cases, the situation is that first-generation immigrants pose few problems but the second or third generation, if unassimilated, demand the host state make changes to accommodate them. Jews never did that despite having lived centuries on some of their host states.
The law on self-determination and secession is discussed here:Delete
In sum, the right exists only for indigenous in former colonies (like Jews under the Ottomans) or when there is forcible oppression of a minority.
The matter is complicated by the difference between external and internal self-determination.
In most pluralistic, free societies, most peoples of different groups engage in the doctrine of loyalty, with notable exceptions.
(Edit: I see now, it's a PDF file. I've saved it for later reading.)
"In sum, the right exists only for indigenous in former colonies (like Jews under the Ottomans) or when there is forcible oppression of a minority."
Not that I have a dog in that fight, but if I were an indigenous European I'd call it unfair bias and, can we say it, racism. It summarizes quite well the problem I have with documents of international law: Although touted as the height of modernity, they tend to be products of their time, meaning about 50 years ago, hence unsuited to the reality of today.
I prefer the simple principle expressed as, "The state is to its resident nation as a house is to the family inhabiting it." The principle is that a nation should feel secure within its state. That also decreases—Progressives take note—the real incidents of racism and xenophobia. A nation secure in its protective space does not harbor those feelings so much as a nation encroached upon by immigration.
"In most pluralistic, free societies, most peoples of different groups engage in the doctrine of loyalty, with notable exceptions."
Far be it from me to say Hindus and Sikhs in Britain, for example, are the same as the Muslims. Even so, it does not speak well for democracy that unrestricted immigration was decided upon without consulting the indigenous populace first. The result has been policies of affirmative action that have given rise to much anger among the original inhabitants.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the best society is one where people get jobs on merit. Multiculturalism has put pressure on employers to hire people in order to get certain checkboxes filled, without regard to their suitability to the job. In that alone, it has done damage to the nation-state.
And all that's the more luxurious case of talking about economic effects. In the case of Israel, security is what's at stake, not merely the economy. After over 120 years that the Arabs have attempted to prevent the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in Palestine, I think it's not too early to say the two nations had better not be enmeshed within each other. Both nations must be put away, as far as possible, from a situation where their blood is liable to be shed.
I have to say that the Druze I know personally believe themselves to be 100% Israeli through and through.ReplyDelete
My experience is the same. There are the Druze writers who sometimes write in publications (and occasionally they are featured as guest writers in Israel's newspapers) about Israel's "imperial, colonial attitude toward minorities," but those writers are invariably members of the Academic Far Left—their ideas are at odds with the Druze mainstream and in accord with the fashionable and obligatory Marxist post-colonial discourse of today's universities.Delete