Multiculturalism has failed

Had Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly called out at a press conference that multiculturalism in Israel,  “has failed totally," committing Israel to a dominant Jewish culture and opposing a multicultural one. The ocean would have erupted and a tsunami would be on its way.

Had this assertion been made by PM Netanyahu, Israel would be preparing for complete diplomatic annihilation. With those statements, Israel’s relevance as a political entity, would come to a complete and abrupt end. The political storm would come from all corners of the globe washing away any remnants of Israeli legitimacy. Israel would finally stood alone in a morally and democratically vague corner.

If these statements would have  been made in Israel, there surely would be an end to any political relevance for the state. Not only would the Arab states play their broken record of criticism against Israel, but Europe would have a field day, and even the the United States under the leadership of President Barack Hussein Obama would no longer be able to tolerant Israel’s seemingly overt ethnocentrism. Zionism would unequivocally be translated as racism, Israeli apartheid firmly established in the eyes of the world, and the previously flawed debate would finally be vindicated.

In reality, these statements were made, but not in Israel. They were made by the leaders of a country with a terrible historical record of racism, which manifested itself into the most destructive genocide in history: Germany.

On October 16th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated at a meeting with young members of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party that, in fact, German Multikulti (multiculturalism) “has failed totally.”

In addition, the chairman of a sister party to the CDU, Horst Seehofer, said that the two parties are “committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one.” It was also Chancellor Merkel that stated that the flood of immigrants into Germany was holding back the nation’s economy.

Despite the liberal image that Europe portrays, they have been intent on retaining an “authentic” form of national identity. Multiculturalism, as politically sensitive as it sounds, was a way to protect a specific ethnic identity of the state. Germany, their European neighbors and Israel are not alone in their desire to protect national identity. This is a universal trait held by most nations. Douglas Feith, former US under secretary of defense and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, pointed out in his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Can Israel be Jewish and Democratic?”, that many European countries have a strong ethnic identity written into their national infrastructure and symbols. Several nations have Christian crosses in their flags, while “Ireland has a law that allows applicants of “Irish descent or Irish associations” to be exempted from ordinary naturalization rules. Poland, Croatia and Japan have similar laws of return favoring members of their own respective ethnic majorities. Many other examples exist.” Although ethno-nationalism is exclusive in its nature, it is universal in its practice.

There are two lessons to be learned here. First, there is a limit to the liberalism that most countries in this world will tolerate. Europe is a perfect example of a group of nations that do not practice what they preach. Ethno-nationalism is as important to European nations as it is to anyone else, possibly even more. The other point is that Israel again is under a microscope in which other nations do not have to contend. After the loyalty oath in Israel was proposed, there was a strong chorus from many around the world arguing that this move is racist and discriminatory. No such chorus accompanied Chancellor Merkel’s statements. And one would think that comments of that nature coming from Germany would sound alarms around the world, but they didn’t. The level of hypocrisy here, in which Israel is held up to higher standards than the European countries hold themselves, is not new, and it should not be tolerated. Israel can and should hold her head high every time Israel is defined as the home of the Jewish Nation.


Being Proud of our Jewish identity

Although politically incorrect, being Jewish requires us to be separate and distinct.

Many Jewish organizations are involved in efforts to strengthen the Jewish identity of individual Jews throughout the world. Some tackle the problem from a religious perspective, some try from a nationalistic or Zionist perspective, while others from a cultural perspective. Yet as the definition of what constitutes Jewish identity is open to multiple interpretations, not surprisingly the methods employed by all the Jewish organizations are as varied as the Jewish people themselves.

 The concept of being a chosen nation, an idea that entails a certain degree of being distinct and separate, is a very difficult pill for many Jews to swallow as it flies in the face of Western, humanistic, liberal multicultural thinking. Moreover, since it’s politically correct to espouse the view that everyone is the same and therefore there should be no divisions or barriers amongst peoples, such notions as being chosen and distinct are easily vilified and called "racist" or "fascist."

 The same difficult question can be asked regarding support for Israel, itself a key ingredient of Jewish identity. How can an organization that identifies with a liberal, Western concept of equality convince a Jew, either in the Diaspora or in Israel, of the importance of supporting a country that affords a special status to Jews only? Assuming that unequal rights between people in the same country are antithetical to everything the organization holds dear, isn't there a contradiction here?

Being Jewish and maintaining a strong Jewish identity involves a certain degree of being separate and distinct. Hence, by focusing on the concept of our chosen status for a unique mission, regardless of how difficult this may sound to Western ears, is by far the best vitamin for strengthening one’s Jewish identity.

Even the original covenant with Abraham, the event that signified the birth of our chosen status, clearly stipulates that we will be given the Land of Israel and that the nations of the world will be blessed through us. Thus, the ultimate point of Jewish chosenness is to bring goodness to humanity.