Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Article deconstruction: the Law of Return and Israel's aggressive tourism push

Recently, Israel's image has been tarnished and various ministries in Israel have been working long hours attempting to revive the appeal of Israel through culture. This is all being done without changing Israel's infamous policies of course. This article in Ha'aretz talks about North American jews taking advantage of the racist Law of Return and immigrating to Israel. I'm in the apartheid week spirit, and I'm getting tired of Israel's new efforts to promote tourism and immigration. I've only kept parts of it that are essential to this deconstruction, the whole article can be read here. My comments are in italic and red.

By Beth Schwartzapfel, The Forward

When Nisan and Gilan Gertz stepped off the plane at Ben-Gurion International Airport with their children last August, they were seven of almost 4,000 North Americans to make aliyah in 2009 - the largest number to do so in a single year since 1983.

- The Gertz family will land in Israel but never see it in its entirety (i.e. skipping the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or turning a blind eye if occupation ever shows up to greet them).

There were a lot of reasons that the Gertzes chose to move their new home in Beit Shemesh, some 25 miles west of Jerusalem, from their home in Passaic, N.J. There was "inspiration and spirituality," as Nisan describes it. "For the first time in 2,000 years, we can live in a sovereign nation that's Jewish."

- Occupation and injustice inspired you? Yes Mr and Mrs Gertz, a sovereign Jewish nation, where anyone who isn't Jewish is treated like a second class citizen. Yes, a sovereign Jewish state, built on hate and racism. Yes, the quality of supreme and independent authority over occupied territories, stolen land and a constant disregard for international law.

Four of the Gertzes' five children - the oldest is 15, the youngest is 3 - were enrolled at Jewish day schools, which together cost the family upward of $50,000 per year in tuition. "All of our money was being dumped into the increasing cost of education and the increasing cost of health care," said Nisan, who is an architect specializing in the development of hospitals while his wife is a clinical social worker. "I describe it as being on a treadmill." The summer home they'd always wanted, the yearly vacations to nice places, all seemed less and less attainable as tuition bills mounted. "We were running and running and running, and never going anywhere."

- I'm so sorry to hear that your American dream didn't work out. Maybe you should protest all those taxes you're paying that are funding the killing of Palestinians and you'll be able to hit up the Bahamas once a year. But I understand why you're moving, I mean since the money is already going there, might as well follow it, right? And of course Israel's going to welcome you with open arms...ever wonder why they are so kind? You guys really are perfect for Israel, let me explain: as an architect you can design the settlements that will enclose the Palestinians, you can also add a little spunk to that eyesore called the security fence apartheid wall, and as a social worker, you can help Israelis cope from the trauma they encounter and help Jewish girls avoid dating Arab boys because it's wrong.

Then there are the actual cash incentives Israel offers to ease the way for those immigrating under the country's Law of Return, which offers automatic citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent.

- Oh how I love the ever so racist "Law of Return", a law that allows Jews, who have no connection to Israel or that region, to return to a homeland that "belongs to them" whereas Palestinians who are classified as "absentees" "present absentees" and "refugees" and who actually physically lived there but were forced out, are not allowed to return to their homeland, or even visit.

The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption provides about $4,000 per adult and about $2,000 per child to these immigrants, paid out over seven months. Immigrants are also entitled to free education up to the master's degree level and are customarily granted a 70 percent to 90 percent reduction on their property taxes. Plus, they receive discounts and tax waivers on Israeli-made appliances.

- So you don't have to worry, your kids will get respectable professions, the bad ones are saved for those hungry Palestinians, but, right after your children complete that military service and kill lots of innocent people. Discounts on Israel made products? BDS times are hard it seems.

If that is not enough, additional financial help is available from Nefesh B'Nefesh, a relatively new nongovernmental organization that facilitates immigration for American Jews. About 70 percent of the immigrants apply for this. Cash handouts alone are not likely to cause American families to pick up and move to Israel, of course. But the number of North Americans immigrating to Israel has been, on the whole, rising in recent years. And the last time there was an uptick as high as this year's - 17 percent - was in 2003, one year after Nefesh was established in Israel with private funding and a mission "to revitalize Aliyah and to substantially increase the number of future olim," or Jewish immigrants.

- Hurry olims, those Palestinians are giving birth at a quick rate, and we can't hold them off much longer! I mean we've tried with massacre after massacre, but it doesn't seem to be working! They are like rabbits! Get on those flights, hurry, here's money!!

Yours truly,

The Israeli Government

Since that time, Nefesh has been aggressively promoting aliyah throughout the United States and Canada, trying "to increase the perception that aliyah is normative behavior - something that regular people do," Oberman said.

- Yes by putting together campaigns like this one, that promote Israel's culture without changing Israel's policies. I think too many cash incentives have been given away because it seems that Israel forgot to invest in a credible advertising agency to produce a decent spot for this.

"Life in America for Jews is safe and good," said Mark Robbins, 42, a Conservative rabbi who made aliyah in August with his wife and two young children. Unlike the majority of olim, who come to Israel fleeing oppression and political instability elsewhere in the world, for Americans, Robbins said, "in order to make the move, you've really go to be pulled. [But] there needs to be some kind of push, too."

- Yep, Israel is great when it comes out to help the oppressed and a place for asylum. Their human rights record is squeaky clean.

"The push for me came, truthfully, from the incredible cost of raising Jewish kids in the States," Robbins said.

- Really, raising Jewish kids in the US is expensive? All the taxes you're paying is going back into Israel to turn your children into Zionists. Birth Right is free, half the Jewish organizations will take you on "free trips to Israel" and fly you to Israel yearly for free, I don't see what's so costly...Maybe it's because the internet is making it harder and harder for Jewish children to grow up believing that Israel is actually a great place dripping with morals, and they might be mixing with Arabs, or maybe it's because Israel's image has been tarnished and they are desperately trying to change it.

The economy is "not the reason, but it's a reason American Jews are making aliyah," said Michael Jankelowitz, the foreign press spokesman for the Jewish Agency. "They have Israel in their hearts. That's coupled with an economic crisis." The economy was an issue even for those without children - and the rates of aliyah among this group seem to be rising. According to Nefesh, almost half of olim in 2008 and 2009 were between the ages of 18 and 35.

- Well Israel is a "democracy" and it offers all the fantastic things from the Western world so why wouldn't 18 to 35 year olds move there? Also, if there's so much money being thrown my way, and I'm around that age, including free education, of course I'm going to move.

Freelance music producer and marketer Yoni Leviatan of Miami was among them. "I was always a Zionist," said Leviatan, 31. "I always used to say, I'll be buried in Israel. But I always thought it would be later in life... If I was making a lot of money and I was secure, I don't know if it would have entered my mind to leave."

- Hey Yoni, have you heard of Thomas Hobbes? He describes your last name as "monster" and as a Zionist who seems okay with what saintly Israel is doing, that describes you perfectly home boy. You want to be buried in Israel? Alongside the mass graves of many innocent people and Israel's never ending list of secrets?

Now that he's there, Leviatan has been impressed by the country's cutting-edge technology sector, both for the jobs it creates - he got a job as a Web marketer at the music technology company Waves - and for the quality of life it facilitates. From little things, like the ability to feed a parking meter remotely by using a cell phone, to big things like advancements in medicine, Israel is "not the Third World country that we used to think it was," he said. "Technology has made the Israeli system very efficient, with all medical records kept electronically and standardized for everyone."

- Don't forget how great Israel's engineers are: the amazing Jewish only roads, that magnificent fence wall, settlements, bulldozers, F-16 fighter planes, the rapidity of bulldozing homes, how easily villages are evacuated, and how well secrets are kept. No you're right, Israel is nowhere near a Third World country. It's the only democracy in the Middle East as they say! But it's probably because you've never seen Israel's wilder sister: the one that Israel and the evil Western powers help build ghettos in and implement leaders of their choosing to make the Arabs look more barbaric to the West. She's really close by the way, since Israel is the size of New Jersey.

Indeed, one of the recurring themes during the Forward's conversations with more than half a dozen olim was how much easier than expected the process was - and how easy it is to access the comforts of home in their adopted country. One of Nefesh's goals, according to Oberman, is to smooth the daunting transition and "implement numerous shortcuts in the bureaucratic process."

- It's so easy to access the little things from North America in Israel because Israel is trying to be Western and is flooded with North American Zionists, not actual people born in the region. In fact, it seems that half the people in Israel have no connection to the land according to that number above. If Israel really is your "home" like you say, you wouldn't try and change it now would you? You'd embrace its ways. You're moving to a new place, not an extension of America. If you wanted an extension of America, the closest you'll get is Canada. If it's the Israel you returned to, you wouldn't try and make it North America would you? You left North America to go to North America? Is that what you're trying to tell me? Israel is like North America because it's a democracy? If you want the "little things" from North America in Israel then shouldn't you be complaining about the lack of justice and freedom? If Israel is a democracy, then they wouldn't have a thing called "Law of Return" and treat even their own (Falasha) as second class citizens. So in reality, Israel's disregard and racist policies are no different than the ones they condemn right? Do you think the Jews that lived in Palestine 2,000 years ago put up a wall so they don't have to see non-Jews?

"My parents' generation, they moved here and had to move to an absorption center. It took them three months to get a telephone," said David Adest, 32, a Staten Island stock trader who made aliyah with his wife and three young children. "I got here and had my iPhone on within a few hours."

- That's great David. The Palestinians next door still can't make a proper phone calls, there's a wall that intercepts the connection, and you keep infiltrating their service with your i-douche. Or blowing up their homes so there are no more phones.

That is not the only difference between Adest and immigrants from his parents' generation. The largest number of Americans ever to move to Israel in a single year was 8,122, in 1971 - part of the extended afterglow of Israel's victory in the 1967 Six Day War. "There was a euphoria in the [Jewish] world after the Six Day War," Jankelowitz said, "that Israel, instead of being annihilated, survived." Moving to Israel back then was a political statement as much as a personal choice.

- Yep, that's Israel, like Beyoncé, a survivor, she's not gon' give up. She occupied and built settlements so you can swim and enjoy life while others suffer, just like in America. So you can live like its America, but its warmer and more historical here. What more can one ask for?

Now, he said, "These people are coming because they're looking for a Jewish way of life. I don't think there is a political statement being made."

- Hmm, occupation? Murder? Humiliation? Denial? I don't think that describes a Jewish way of life, that's a Zionist way of life.

Asked about Nefesh's role in helping immigrants move to the Israeli-occupied West Bank - a move with inevitable political implications, Renana Levine, Nefesh's public relations and communications manager, said, "Olim make their own choices about where to live in Israel, and in fact less than 3 percent move to areas over the Green Line," which marks the boundary between Israel and the territories it acquired in the Six Day War.

- The other 97% aren't ballsy enough to move to the settlements then? It's okay, they are living on stolen land and ethnically cleansed villages, it's basically the same thing as passing the green line (since Israel hasn't really established its borders, what is the green line?), it just doesn't have the word "occupied" beside it so it seems alright.

Nisan recently took a trip to Tel Aviv's Palmach Museum, which celebrates the underground military organization that helped settle Israel. "There's a certain aspect to the romance of settling the land that has to do with living in a hut and working in the dirt with your bare hands," he said. "I have a respect for them, but I'm a spoiled American! I'm not upset that I don?t have to do that."

- There's a certain aspect to the romance of settling the land that has to do with living in a hut and working in the dirt with your bare hands." Habibi, there's no romance in the way Israel was created. Unless romance means massacres, blood shed, occupation, denial of human rights...then you have a woman's heart beating fast with fear. And those hands you speak of? Oh yes... pioneers. See, Zionists are too afraid to use their hands to do the killing so they use American made weaponry for it.
Wait! He continues,
"I have a respect for them, but I'm a spoiled American! I'm not upset that I don't have to do that." It's great to know you respect baby and women killers. Spoiled American, you gave them the money to do it and built the weapons yourself, geez you're so silly! I mean I wouldn't be upset if I had to skip the murder part too, but don't worry, your opportunity is coming: there's a mandatory IDF service, but with all the money Israel's throwing at you, your greedy self will gladly help your "country" "defend" itself, n'est ce pas?

1 comment:

  1. WOW.
    You are amazing. i want everyone to read this article!

    xo lamb ice.