Benny Gantz, the man directly responsible for the Gaza Massacre of 2014, spoke yesterday (Monday) at the AIPAC yearly conference in Washington. He referenced his participation in the mission for the evacuation of the Jews of Ethiopia. So far, so good.
But when Gantz, who is running for the prime ministership of Israel with the Blue and White party, decided to share that moment with his Israeli supporters, he let slip an inconvenient truth.
“If there is one Jew in danger, anywhere in the world, then our mission is unfinished; today I am telling you the mission is unfinished!” Gantz tweeted in Hebrew.
אם יש יהודי אחד בסכנה; בכל מקום בעולם,
הרי שמשימתנו עדיין לא תמה.
היום אני אומר לכם, שהמשימה עדיין לא תמה! pic.twitter.com/dIKPw3l2uK
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) March 26, 2019
Let’s unpack that for a moment.
Datum: Most Jews do not live in Israel.
Datum: Most Jews do not hold Israeli citizenship.
Datum: Gantz (and most Israelis) believe it is the duty of Israel to engage anyone, anywhere, in order to save Jews.
Conclusion: Israel does not recognize the sovereignty of other nations; or, at least, sees that sovereignty as imperfect, as it considers its right to violate it in the case of Jews.
Conclusion: Israel risks Jews not living there by perpetually raising the specter of Jews holding “dual nationality.”
What is Gantz saying? He is saying Jews everywhere belong to a single nation, and that it is the duty of the State of the Jews to save them, wherever they are and whatever the danger.
He is not speaking of the duty of Israel of saving its own citizens, but rather the obligation to violate the sovereignty of any other country in its crusade to save Jews. He explicitly says that Israel owes loyalty to those non-citizens – and implicitly, that they owe loyalty to it.
Most Israelis won’t even see the problem. They are raised thinking of non-Israeli Jews as Jews who have not yet become Israelis. And the law is on their side: All you have to do, if you’re a Jew, to get an Israeli citizenship, is land in Ben Gurion Airport. (Big caveat: the rabbinate of Israel will decide if you’re a Jew or not. Gruesome details here.)
But it ought to trouble Jews living outside Israel to have a rogue state claim semi-sovereignty over them. It’s a very short walk from here to getting diaspora Jews suspected of dual loyalty to their foreign would-be protector. And the practice by Israeli intelligence agencies of using Jews as agents doesn’t help dispel those suspicions.
Gantz runs as a moderate right-winger, Netanyahu without the corruption and the alliance with the Kahanists; his number 2, Yair Lapid, will basically say the same thing regarding Israel and the diaspora Jews; and so have many prime ministers.
Basically, Israel is not a nation in the modern sense. It is an ethno-state. It has explicitly rejected the notion of there being an Israeli nation, and you can’t demand to be recognized in your ID as an Israeli. The government denies you that right: you can’t be an Israeli, only a member of a specific millet (see the link above.) The government will recognize you an as Assyrian, or as a Samaritan; yet it will go to court, and win, denying you the right to be recognized as an Israeli.
Keep that in mind the next time AIPAC or some other hasbarist tries to pull the old con, claiming Israel “shares Western values.” It never did, and indeed, as long as it sees itself as a Jewish country, it cannot.