Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Memo to Eli Yishai: Never pick a fight

...with defenceless women or small children: you can't come out of it looking good.

To be fair to MK and Interior Minister Yishai - and I never thought I'd find myself typing these words - the argument about the deportation of the children of foreign workers born in Israel is merely following the absurdity that passes for immigration policy in this country to its (il)logical conclusion.

Yishai says that it is necessary to deport the children because their continued presence "is liable to damage the state's Jewish identity, constitute a demographic threat and increase the danger of assimilation."

What on earth is the guy afraid of?

More to the point, I love the way he bandies about words like "Jewish Identity" whilst carefully avoiding the need to append any sort of actual definition to the phrase. He ought to try that sometime and see how far it gets him.

As it happens, I've always associated the phrase "Jewish Identity" with notions of charity, justice, Tikkun Olam and stuff. I'm a bit naive like that. This is not suggesting that the State of Israel should become overly charitable - or frierim, as some people may see it - and fling their borders open to the dispossessed whether they may be in the world. But it is about equity, fairness, an desire to actually engage with the complexities of a mess that was, not incidentally, created by previous Israeli governments.

Rather than - to appropriate a favourite quote - sticking one's head in the sand and exposing one's thinking parts.

(side issue - in other parts of the world, the argument against allowing children in similar circumstances to remain in their country of birth - if not nationality - normally revolves around the notion - spurious or not - that they are, or will be, a burden on the state. This isn't even part of the argument here. I hate to use words like this, but I think Yishai is a bigot. And the real problem is that he doesn't even realise it.)

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