Friday, October 22, 2010

October 27: Loyalty Oath Just Isn't Jewish

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his cabinet and many members of the Knesset have short memories.

In various forms, they're supporting a measure that would require people new to Israel to take a loyalty oath. The argument is that other countries, including the United States, require loyalty oaths from new citizens.

But the equation changes in Israel for several reasons, including the Arabs who live there, Jews who currently have an automatic right of return and people from other countries - both Jews and non-Jews - who have gone there seeking a better life and have been a viable source of labor.

It changes for one more reason: What the Jewish people are supposed to represent.

Loyalty oaths represent a number of sad moments in Jewish history, including forced actions by the Nazis and the high number of Jewish-Americans in show business who lost their jobs and their livelihoods because they were targeted by McCarthyism during the 1950s.

Again, Israel's leaders seem to have forgotten that - and that measures similar to those they're proposing helped generate the conditions that led to the call for a Jewish state in the first place.

The proposal for a loyalty oath by many of the leaders of the Jewish state just isn't in keeping with how a Jew is supposed to act.

The Anti-Defamation League and _____________ are absolutely right to criticize the move by Israel's government to make citizens sign a loyalty oath. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his cabinet and many members of the Knesset evidently have short memories - about what the Jewish people went through in the Holocaust, about what Jewish Americans went through during the McCarthy era, and about what Jewish American support means to Israel.

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