Thursday, August 25, 2022

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Rest Of Mideast Kind Of Jealous Ben-Gvir Wants To Send Only Palestinians To Europe


Itamar ben-GvirAmman, August 25 - A controversial, discriminatory proposal by a far-right Israeli lawmaker piqued interest in the wider region this week, and caused many to wonder why only disloyal Arabs living under Israeli rule would get deported to an area with one of the highest standards of living in the world, while the rest of the Middle East's population remains under oppressive control of corrupt dictatorships.

Otzma Yehudit Party Chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir continued his career of provocative, ultranationalist rhetoric in the leadup to November parliamentary elections, with a repeated promise to voters last week that he will make the party's joining any government conditional on passage of a law mandating expulsion to Europe of any non-Jews in Israel and the territories it controls who act against the principle of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. Ben-Gvir's proposal makes no such demand regarding Jewish Israelis who engage in anti-Arab violence, prompting familiar accusations of racism against him. In the wider region, however, the response has featured a more circumspect, even envious, tone, with many in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere wondering why they must suffer where they are simply because Israel lacks the means and authority to deport them to Europe.

"Palestinians get all the luck," lamented a Damascus resident. "Not only do millions of them get refugee status in perpetuity - which refugees from no other conflict ever got - they have an easy one-way ticket to Europe. My family has to risk lives and give up everything we own just to arrange for smugglers to try to get us to Europe, and even then it's hazardous and success isn't guaranteed. It just isn't fair."

The nuances of Ben-Gvir's attitude and its subtle departure from that of his late mentor, Rabbi Meir Kahane - who advocated wholesale removal of hostile Arabs, and not merely of those who engaged in violence or worked against Israel's Jewish character - make little difference to the envious Arabs of surrounding states and territories, observers note. "The way Zionism is depicted in general Arab media leaves no room for such distinctions," explained Tarin Fethr, an analyst with Al Jazeera. "In the crudely-crafted Arab narrative of the last century, all Zionists want to dispossess and probably exterminate Arabs. It's the specifics of the current brouhaha that intrigue most of us. We'd kill - I mean, I guess many of us do kill - to get moved to Europe for doing things we'd want to do anyway. Goddamn Palestinians. Not only do they get the most international aid per capita; now they get to ditch this godforsaken desert while we wallow in the same political and social pit as ever."



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