Stewart Mills (NSW) responds to Loewenstein’s “Western politicians prefer to ignore Israel’s inherent racism” SMH 28Oct10 November 1, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald: “Western politicians prefer to ignore Israel’s inherent racism” by Antony Loewenstein - 28 October 2010

Antony Loewenstein correctly identifies the incompatibility of forcing prospective Israeli citizens to swear an oath of allegiance to a Jewish State  (“Western Politician’s prefer to ignore Israel’s inherent racism” October 28).  Israel is a state of its citizens and not a state of Jews.  A fifth of Israelis are not Jewish; but Palestinian in ethnicity. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2003 stated that “excessive emphasis upon the State as a ‘Jewish State’ encourages discrimination and accords a second-class status to its non-Jewish citizens”.

As a Christian I would be repulsed for any move for prospective Australians to swear allegiance to Australia as a Christian State. Mr Rubenstein, then attempts to defend the indefensible. He says Israel has since 1948 guaranteed to protect minorities.  Where was the protection for the Bedouin, Mr Rubenstein? From 1948-1966 the Bedouin were prohibited from leaving their closed zone in the north of the Negev (the Siyag – an area about the third the size of Sydney); unless given exceptional permission by the military commander or deputy. Those tribes who had been evicted and transferred to the Siyag had their land confiscated and transferred to the Israel Development Authority.  This was legalized firstly, by Israel, using a series of ‘abandoned area’ laws (in the early years) and then subsequently planning’ laws to acquire the 95% of land now controlled by the State of Israel.

Such evictions occur to this day. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions reports that in 2007, 759 demolitions took place in Israel, the vast majority against Bedouin owned structures in the Negev, and 4,122 demolition orders were issued.   The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, in its Alternative Report to the Economic and Social Council –in October this year—warned that according to public announcements demolitions and forced evictions of Bedouin will triple in the Negev.  Swearing an allegiance to a Jewish State is a sure way for Israel to perpetuate the power imbalance between Jewish-Israelis and Palestinian-Israelis; and a guarantee that peace between Israelis and Palestinians remains a distant dream.

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