Who Made Netanyahu the King of the Jews?

In the spirit of Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Bibi: “I’m am your king!” Me: “I didn’t vote for you!” My latest in the National. Extract:

(Israel’s) demand for recognition of “Jews as a people, indigenous to the region and endowed with the right to self-government” is problematic, not only for Palestinians, but also for many Jews. Israeli Jews may have constituted themselves as a nation with the right to security and self-determination, but the majority of the world’s Jews have not claimed a right to self-determination as Jews. On the contrary, we’re very happy that anti-Semitism in the West has been marginalised to the point that we can freely integrate ourselves into the democratic societies in which we’ve chosen to live.

Growing up as a Jewish anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, I was often told by white racists to “go back to Israel”. The idea that Jews don’t belong among non-Jews is the traditional language of anti-Semitism – and also of the modern ideology of Zionism that emerged in the late 19th century. Zionism’s founder, Theodore Herzl, believed that anti-Semitism of the sort I encountered was inevitable and even “natural” whenever Jews lived among gentiles. He effectively concurred with the anti-Semites’ remedy: that I should “go back to Israel”.

Apartheid, by the way, denied black people the rights of citizenship on the basis that their “national homelands” were in Bantustans such as Transkei and Kwazulu – bogus “states” in which they supposedly would exercise their right to self-determination.

Jews have certainly suffered for the right to live in security and safety, but the majority have chosen to exercise that right not in a separate Jewish nation state, but instead as Americans, Argentines, British or French…

Read the rest here

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