The state of Israel has apparently approved the largest “settlement” construction in Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. the West Bank) in 25 years. Of course, leftists continue to express outrage over Jewish communities’ existence in Judea and Samaria. The European Union went so far as to assert that “Israel’s continued policy of settlement expansion is illegal under international law.”
The so-called settlements aren’t illegal, but that view exposes leftist hypocrisy that reeks of anti-Semitism. Let’s begin with a description of the problem.
Over the last few decades, hundreds of thousands of people from one country have illegally moved themselves into another country’s territory. They have settled the land, using its resources, creating cultural and ethnic enclaves, and changing (probably irrevocably) the demographics of the land into which they’ve migrated.
What’s more, many of them regularly point out that the land they’ve settled was once theirs and had been illegitimately taken from members of their nation in the past. On one side, these settlers’ supporters don’t see anything wrong with what they’ve done. On the other side, opponents call them “illegal” and demand their deportation. Every U.S. president in the last few decades has tried and failed to resolve this conflict.
I’m thinking, of course, of Mexicans.
Yes, the Comparison Is Apt
If the point isn’t already clear, allow me to elaborate: Leftists are almost invariably opposed to Jewish “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, including East Jerusalem, where there have been Jews from time immemorial. They declare that Jewish settlements are both immoral and illegal. (Note leftists use the word “illegal” rather than “undocumented.”)
They demand that these Jews be deported back to Israel proper. They worry that Jews living in Judea and Samaria are a demographic threat to the Arabs. In summary, leftists are virulently against (allegedly) illegal Jewish immigration into lands once occupied and controlled by their ancestors and support their forced expulsion back to the country from which they emigrated.
Does that sound familiar? It should, for that position is indistinguishable from one of President Trump’s positions on illegal Mexican immigration. And what’s the leftist response to the president’s previous proposal of deportation? Racism! Bigotry!
If so, leftists also deserve these indictments, for they support the mass expulsion of (allegedly) illegal Jewish immigrants. If the fact that someone is here illegally isn’t, by itself, sufficient to morally justify his expulsion from this country, then the mere fact that Jewish settlers are illegal isn’t, by itself, sufficient to morally justify their expulsion. And if Jews can be permissibly expelled only because their presence in Judea and Samaria is illegal, then illegal aliens can be permissibly expelled only because their presence in the United States is illegal.
If the leftist wishes to have consistent beliefs, he must accept these propositions. He can’t have his cake and eat it too.
Alas, the Left’s position is inconsistent. The Left is happy to see millions of illegal alien “settlers” set up their cultural enclaves with relative impunity. Illegals are fine so long as their descendants will vote for the Democrat Party, but if they’re Jews who want to live in their historic homeland and near their holiest sites, then the land must be cleansed of their presence, with force if necessary. This is rank hypocrisy.
The Difference Is That the Jews Are Legal
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not claiming that opposing illegal Mexican immigration is analogous to opposing Jewish settlements. On the contrary, the latter is much more morally objectionable. The so-called settlements in Judea and Samaria are not illegal, whereas Mexican illegal immigrants are here illegally.
The piece of international law the Left cites in defense of their position is from Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to which ‘[t]he Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’
The implicit premise connecting this text to the conclusion that the settlements are illegal must be that the state of Israel (i.e. “the Occupying Power”) has transferred hundreds of thousands of Jews into Judea and Samaria, a proposition that is manifestly false. Jews have, like many Mexicans, transferred themselves. If self-transfer is the same as state-transfer, then Trump was right after all about Mexico sending many of its criminals to the United States!
Also, don’t let’s forget about racism and anti-Semitism. Even supposing that opposing illegal immigration is bigoted (it isn’t), moral opposition to the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria is much more bigoted. (Opposition on the grounds that settlements are unwise is another matter.)
The idea that Judea and Samaria should be Judenrein, which is precisely what President Obama failed to oppose when he abstained from United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 and what leftists have consistently supported over the last few decades, is flagrantly anti-Semitic. Or, if it were neither anti-Semitic nor wrong, then it would be permissible for Israel to expropriate the property of and expel Israeli Arabs, for that’s precisely what liquidating Jewish settlements would amount to. (Many of the settlements are on land sold to Jews by Arabs, a practice the Palestinian Authority has outlawed on pain of death.) Of course, both would be impermissible instances of ethnic cleansing.
Now imagine what would happen if Benjamin Netanyahu were to publicly express support for making Israel free of Arabs. He’d be crucified. Yet most react to the same policy against Jews in Judea and Samaria with relative equanimity. President Trump ought to change the United States’ longstanding policy and support Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.