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The Forum > Article Comments > And the State, is it loyal? > Comments

And the State, is it loyal? : Comments

By Neve Gordon, published 26/8/2010

The demand of a loyalty oath in Israel has ominous similarities to the demands made by Mussolini's Italy.

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The author writes: ďA state that is loyal to its citizens does not discriminate between Jews and Arabs, does not expropriate land from Muslims and Christians, does not humiliate and trample on the lower classes, and does not brutally oppress the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories."

That above is a democratic ideal that embodies the separation of religion and state. A state cannot be Jewish, Christian, Muslim or embrace any other religion and also be democratic. Israel can be either a Jewish state or a democratic state. It cannot be both. A democratic state does not discriminate among its citizens on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

A democratic country also has a public school system which encourages children of different religions and ethnicities to be together, learn about each other and respect each other. When they grow up they will be better able to live together peacefully.

That also applies to Australia. The National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) which has loosed fundamentalist beasts of pray on public school children along with government subsidy of religious schools must be terminated for Australia to become democratic.

One can applaud an Israeli for recognising the need for an end to discrimination in his country. It is right that Israelis should try to turn their country into a democracy.

It is also right that Australians should try to make their country a democracy. It was disheartening that both Labor and the Coalition in the recent election supported the NSCP.

One encouraging feature of the last election was the Greens vote. The Greens supported ending the NSCP and replacing the chaplains with trained counsellors.

The chaplains support an irrational fundamentalism and are neither equipped to deal with minor mental problems nor to recognize major problems sufficiently to refer the troubled to appropriate treatment.

Support rationality and mental health by getting rid of the NSCP.
Posted by david f, Thursday, 26 August 2010 12:15:50 PM
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Gordon's opening gambit is prejudiced nonsense, omitting the USA practise of reciting the Oath of Allegiance. Swearing loyalty to one's country is not a sinister act, the more so when 20% of Israel's citizens are loyal to the PA, its enemy.

Gordon follows his sophistry regarding loyalty with the usual anti-Israel libel. When Gordon describes the loyalty declaration as proto-fascist, he adopts an anti-Zionist, ultra-left posture.

Israel is guilty of racism, apartheid, discrimination only through the inversion of reality in the post-Zionist agitprop that becomes antisemitism. If Gordon is so unhappy, he can alway emigrate.

Gordon seeths about NGO and Im Tirzu as though only the seditious left has a right to free speech and academic freedom. He cannot abide the fact that his extermist views were rejected with contempt by almost all Jewish Israelis.

If Israelis choose to be a Jewish state, that is their democratic right and it is not for anyone who demands that we respect Hamas' electoral victory to criticise Israel. But Israel is democratic via its elections, its press and speech which Gordon exercises without fear.

Israel needs to be a Jewish state for two reasons. To ensure that it is not swamped by mohammedans bent on its destruction and to ensure that there is a corner of the earth where Jews in distress eg Russians, Ethiopians and now French, can find refuge.
Posted by paul2, Saturday, 28 August 2010 12:29:05 PM
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Dear paul2,

I am a Jew and a citizen of Australia. If Australia became a Christian state and wanted me to take a loyalty oath I would refuse. It would be an unreasonable demand for a Christian state to demand a loyalty oath from a Jew. By the same token it is an unreasonable demand for a Jewish state to demand a loyalty oath from a non-Jew.

That is it in a nutshell.
Posted by david f, Saturday, 28 August 2010 2:51:54 PM
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Dear paul2,

FYI. In the United States everyone does not have to take the Pledge of Allegiance. Jehovah's Witnesses have challengd taking the Pledge as a violation of their conscience. The court has upheld that challenge. By a court decision nobody in the United States who objects has to take the pledge.

You malign the non-Jewish citizens of Israel when you characterised them as enemies of the state. Loyalty oaths are pernicious devices. A dishonest enemy will take an oath. The only people such an oath will catch are those who have honest qualms of conscience about taking them and are too honest to lie.

Loyalty oaths were used in the United States during the McCarthy period. They caught no genuine enemies. They are a device of a totalitarian state - not a democratic one.
Posted by david f, Saturday, 28 August 2010 4:33:04 PM
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