PALESTINIAN citizens of Israel are to be required to affirm allegiance to an oxymoron, for such is a state that claims to be simultaneously Jewish and democratic (''Law seeks pledge to Jewish state'', The Age, 8/10).One would expect some responses from readers who think differently but none were published in the Age today. If you believe that none were submitted to the Age or that none were worthy of publication in an arena where free speech supposedly flourishes then you might possible be almost as ignorant as Mr. Wolfe.
To appreciate the absurdity of this latest oppressive imposition on Palestinians in Israel, one only has to contemplate, for instance, Tibetans having to affirm allegiance to a ''Chinese and democratic'' state; Christians, Jews or Bahais in Iran being obliged to affirm allegiance to a ''Muslim democracy'', or Tutsis in Rwanda to submit to a ''Hutu democracy''. Apartheid South Africa, after all, was a democracy for white people.
For Palestinian citizens of Israel, to affirm allegiance to a Jewish democracy would be to affirm their own non-existence as a distinct people within a multicultural modern nation-state. But Israel is not a multicultural state, any more than it is modern or democratic.
Personally, I don't believe the recent legislation was necessary but Wolfe has totally misinterpreted the an amendment to Israel's citizenship law. The oath doesn't require a new Israeli citizen to be Jewish, but to acknowledge the essentially Jewish nature of the country. According to the Washington Times:
This measure shouldn't be controversial. Israel is the most diverse country in the Middle East, in which people of many nationalities and religions live, work and worship. The citizenship oath only makes explicit that Jewish national identity is fundamental to the Israeli state.
Article 4 of the Palestinian Basic Law proclaims, "Islam is the official religion in Palestine" and "the principles of Islamic Sharia shall be the main source of legislation." The Hamas slogan is "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the ! Koran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief." That's hardly a declaration of inclusiveness.
Naturally, neither Wolff nor the Age are likely to ever bring to the attention of their readers the implications of what Article 4 means - or the fact that those are the supposed good guys of Palestinian politics. As for the bad guys, according to one supposed journalist at the Age, the Hamas Covenant and its call to genocide should be dismissed because, like Mein Kampf, nobody takes it seriously.