Captain Black from Catch-22 is back, but this time he’s Israel’s Foreign Affairs Minister. Although Avigdor Lieberman only rose to the rank of corporal in the Israeli Defense Forces, he can stand in for Captain Black any day. His campaign to force immigrants to Israel who happen not to be Jewish to pledge full support for “Jewish and democratic” Israel is right out of Captain Black’s “Great Loyalty Oath Crusade” in Joseph Heller’s peerless 1961 novel. The Moldovan-born immigrant Lieberman’s curriculum vitae, which includes a conviction for beating up a twelve-year-old child in 2001 and police allegations of money laundering, would impress the Mafia. It certainly impressed the Israeli cabinet, which yielded to his Captain Black-like ploy of equating opposition to his amendment with denying that Israel is Jewish and democratic. Recall Black’s smear of Major Major as a communist: “You never heard him denying it until we began accusing him, did you?” Well, didya, punk?
Corporal Lieberman forced the amendment through a cabinet desperate for votes from the extreme right, but will it pass in the Knesset? As part of a government bill, it should. So a problem that did not exist will be solved.
Here is the non-problem: According to some reports, many of the people who happen not to be Jewish become citizens of the Jewish State each year by lying and saying they are Jewish, which appears to be the case with many Russians. Also, a few non-Jewish immigrants are Palestinians from the occupied territories who somehow, despite the walls around Gaza and the West Bank, met and married Palestinians from Israel. No one has accused non-Jewish immigrants of attacking the state, fomenting violence, or being bad citizens. Yet they, unlike Jewish immigrants, must put hands on hearts and intone, “I swear that I will be a loyal citizen to the state of Israel, as a Jewish and democratic state, and will uphold its laws.”
Read the rest of this article on Taki’s Magazine.