Should the Italian PM support the Democrats?

I don’t care for the Israeli government. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t care for Palestine government either. I have a particular distaste for Israeli politics in my heart though.

Israel has some points to its favor; it is one of the few countries in the near east with a relatively liberal domestic policy towards its citizens. Its economic freedom is also relatively high. The country gets bonus points for its law of return which has granted an easy pathway to citizenship.

The country is far from perfect though. Its liberal domestic policy does not extend to its non-citizens. Defenders of Israels are correct to point out that Arabs are free to become citizens, but it cannot be overlooked that a considerable number of resident Arabs/Palestinians are non-citizens. Nor can it be overlooked that its military and religious institutions play a strong role in civic life.

Israel is by most accounts a ‘middle’ country. It has liberal market-based institutions, but it still has plenty of areas for reform. Non-citizens must be recognized to have the same human rights as citizens. Military conscription must be ended. The state must cut ties with religious figures and be truly secular.

One of my biggest concerns over Israel though is that it continually attempts to treat American Jews as de facto Israeli citizens. I was reminded of this while reading the Washington Post and seeing that one of its articles was about the Israeli prime minister favoring the Republican Party. The author seems to believe that the Israeli PM should support the Democrats, whom American Jews overwhelming support.

This is of course silly. Should the Italian PM support the Democrats? American Catholics are Democrats after all. The Italian PM however acts in the interests of his state, not Catholics. Roman Catholics may have a special connection to the Vatican and Italy, but this connection is religious not civic. Alternatively, does Saudi Arabia have any reason to support Muslims in American politics? Again no – the Saudi King is a temporal power not a religious one.

Israel contains several religious sites of importance to Jews, Christians, and Muslims but that’s it. The Israeli government has no mandate from heaven to rule over the world’s Jews. It is unclear as such why the interests of American Jews or the Israeli should be treated as interchangeable. American Jews may be Jews, but they are foremost Americans. Likewise American Catholics or American Muslims are Americans first.

The United States is a country that thrives on diversity and tolerance. One can be a Mormon, Muslim, or Atheist and still be an American. One can style themselves a “Russian-American” and still be an American. The United States however needs a unifying force for this system to work. Some believe that this unifying force should be a common language or religion, but I disagree.  Liberty, not the English language or Christianity, is what defines an American. 

I urge as such for American Jews to reject any temptation to consider themselves de facto Israeli citizens. American Jews owe no fealty to the Israeli government and it in turn owes American Jews no fealty. If one wishes to be an Israeli by all means migrate there. Similarly if there is anyone out there who wishes to become an American I more than welcome you to come. Open borders and all that jazz.

15 thoughts on “Should the Italian PM support the Democrats?

  1. With the defacto head of the Democratic party in the US showing blatant rudeness toward the current Israeli leader, and involving his Political sway in the Israeli elections, this may be cause and effect.

  2. I don’t see anything wrong with Netanyahu and his party courting American factions. Check it out.

    There is a nationalist view of politics and an internationalist view of politics.

    If you take the nationalist view then Israelis and American Jews, as factions, shouldn’t be involved with each other, but if you take the internationalist view then these factions should be involved with each other (it doesn’t matter how, as long as they are involved with each other somehow).

    If you are an internationalist, why shouldn’t these factions be able to clash and cooperate? I like to think of the Likud-GOP alliance as coalition-building on an international level. Nationalists are forced to rely upon nationalism when it comes to these types of coalitions: Instead of decrying the fact that Likud and the GOP are building a powerful consensus about this or that, nationalists decry the fact that Israelis and Americans (or Russians or Brazilians or Saudis or…) are cooperating with other at all.

    It seems to me that you, Michelangelo, naturally (if tentatively), gravitate towards an internationalist view, but there is a strong nationalist underpinning in American non-interventionist foreign policy circles that wrongly claims the mantle of libertarianism (which is, after all, an internationalist creed) and I think too many libertarians mistakenly gravitate towards those circles for their foreign policy fix simply because they claim the libertarian mantra.

    A libertarian, I would think, should be able to recognize that international cooperation and conflict at the “political party” level is healthier than having no contact at all, which is simply nationalism and exactly what non-interventionists advocate. Does this make sense?

    Personally, I think the US is not doing enough to court Jews in other parts of the world (especially Europe). The Israelis are pushing hard to recruit Europe’s Jews in light of the recent wave of anti-Semitism, and I think the US should be competing with Israel in this regard.

    • I agree with you. I have no problem with American Jews and the Israeli state cooperating to meet mutual goals. My concern is when the Israeli state attempts to treat American Jews as their de facto citizens (or in this case the reverse). There are several American Jews who despise Israel, and it find it unfair as such to treat the Israeli government as having authority over the world’s Jews. The Israeli government has, at best, authority to represent its citizens.

      This recent incident between the current Israeli government and GOP shows that the interests of American Jews are not always mutually inclusive. There are times when Israeli’s will favor policies that are against the interests of American Jews, and for that reason American Jews should retain their independence from Tel Aviv. American Jews should not feel as if they are committing treason by continuing to favor the Democrats.

      Likewise the Vatican and American Catholics have several areas of mutual interest where I see no wrong in them cooperating with one another. I would however be extremely disturbed if the Vatican began acting as if it had temporal authority over the world’s Catholics.

    • I see you, Michelangelo.

      I guess I just don’t see the problem with states like the Vatican or Israel attempting to act as temporal authorities over certain religious groups. Isn’t this just another manifestation of competition in governance?

    • I am okay with the Vatican acting as an authority on moral/religious affairs, but I’d be very concerned if it attempted to gain temporal power for itself. It is best for everyone if church and state remain separate.

      If senior Rabbis wished to offer religious guidance to world Jews, this too would not be wrong. The Israeli government is not however a religious authority; it is a secular government that attempts to cloak itself behind religion.

      Or do you mean competition between temporal powers? I.e. US vs Israel?

    • Ah gotcha.

      I’m a secularist myself, and I have no love for theocracy, but I am hesitant to think of secular government as better than religious government on principle alone. Most of the dictatorships in North Africa and the Levant, for example, are secularist. Bashar al-Assad and Saddam Hussein built most of their (very broad and very popular) base of support on secularism, and look how those regimes turned out.

      It is true that the Israelis are cloaking some of their policies in religious garb, but I say “so what?”. If you and I can see through the facade, then there is a good chance that actual non-Israeli Jews being courted by the Israeli state can see through it too.

      Suppose the Vatican started acting as if it had temporal authority over the world’s Catholics. I think that citizens in North America and Europe would roll their eyes for the most part, but what about citizens in Latin America and Africa? Wouldn’t the competition from Rome force these secular governments to reform or, conversely, manifest their true authoritarian tendencies by squashing Vatican-fueled dissent?

  3. Ok I’ll make it civil. Johnbarleycorn12 manages to tell 2 lies in one sentence. 1) “… the defacto head of the Democratic party in the US showing blatant rudeness toward the current Israeli leader…”. This is a blatant lie. Mr. Barleycorn will never be able to back it up because it never happened. 2) “…involving his Political sway in the Israeli elections…” This second lie is of Joseph Goebbels magnitude. The intervention in the upcoming Israeli elections is being engineered by the Israeli Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Not the President. josephgoebbels12 won’t be back with evidence because there is none. I do believe that 2 lies in one sentence exceeds your favorite fibber by a lot.

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