For several nights this week Chris Matthews was thrilled by the repeal of Don’t ask/don’t tell, and he many times repeated the idea that Catholics and Jews had “assimilated” into American society when they had served in World War II and the rest of society saw what they were willing to do for their fellow citizens. Now gays too will be fully assimilated, he said.
And every time he said it I reflected that Palestinians are not drafted into the Israeli army. They can serve, I am told; and the Druze are drafted. But by and large, young men and women from the 20 percent Palestinian Israeli population do not serve and aren’t wanted either. This is rationalized because they wouldn’t want to serve in forces fighting other Arabic-speaking people– slaughtering children in Gaza. And on Israel’s part, they would be regarded as a potential fifth column.
But why constitute a society in such a way that you can’t trust such a sizeable minority in the army? How can such a society last? This is further support for the argument Fawaz Gerges put forward in the Nation earlier this year– Hamas is coming to tolerate Israel’s presence because Saladin also tolerated the presence of a Crusader state along the coast. Yes and how long did that last?