Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Multiculturalism and Citizenship

Paul Eidelberg

Machiavelli attributes the greatness of the Roman Republic not only to the excellence of its government, but also to its liberal admission of foreigners to citizenship.

But this policy can endanger a state. Many eastern or oriental people, who never knew republican life and did not care for it, became Roman citizens, and this contributed to Rome’s decline.

This sort of thing is happening in the United States. Liberal immigration laws have enabled millions of Mexicans and Muslims to become American citizens. Many if not most of these citizens, especially Muslims, do not readily assimilate. This prompted the eminent political scientist Samuel Huntington to write a book entitled Who are We?—The Challenges to American National Identity.

The fault is not only liberal immigration laws, such as those that have spawned Eurabia. The decline of American national identity should also be attributed to the multiculturalism or cultural relativism that dominates American universities. This multiculturalism influences the media, the courts and of course politicians. It erodes the moral and intellectual substance of American citizenship, the people’s love of country, their patriotism.

Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—have been tainted by multiculturalism. Their weak sense of Jewish national identity underlies the government’s policy of “land for peace.” This policy encourages Arab terrorism and the Arabs’ persistent goal of wiping Israel off the map.

Lacking in Israel is not the power but the will to put an end to Arab terrorism. This lack of will is a consequence of the corrosive influence of the cultural relativism that permeates Israel’s liberal, secular universities.

Of course, Israel’s system of multiparty cabinet government is also at fault. An executive branch consisting of five or more rival parties can hardly exercise political decisiveness and stamina, compared to a unitary executive or presidential form of government. However, apart from the dire need of constitutional reform, Israel needs to reform its educational institutions, including the curriculum of its Command and Staff College. These educational institutions produce spiritually vacuous and intellectually inferior politicians and generals.

Lack of political will or determination has been conspicuous in Israel at least since December 1987, that is, since the first intifada broke out, when Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir headed a (rotational) government of national unity with Labor leader Shimon Peres waiting in the wings.

Israel has thus had more than twenty years of feeble government. Three prime ministers—Rabin, Sharon, and Barak—were generals who initiated or implemented the policy of “territory for peace,” a policy that has resulted in 10,000 Jewish casualties since 1993!

Did it require a college education to know that the idea of peace with the PLO, the world’s leading terrorist organization, is symptomatic of either idiocy or insanity? Nevertheless, academics either participated in or supported the Israel-PLO Agreement. Most prominent was the late Hebrew University Professor Yehoshafat Harkabi. Harkabi, a self-professed cultural relativist, served as head of the Command and Staff College. Known as the mentor of Shimon Peres, he advocated a Palestinian state. (So did Hebrew University Professor Shlomo Avineri, who once served as Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)

Let me ask an embarrassing question: Can a cultural relativist—can a multiculturalist or cosmopolitan—have a passionate love of the Jewish people and of the heritage that distinguishes them as Jews? Harkabi dedicated his first book to Jewish and Arabs alike! Shimon Peres, who advocates withdrawal from the Golan Heights, sees nothing wrong with the Jews there living under Syrian rule!

Do these political and intellectual elites have any idea of what preserves a nation and what destroys a nation? Have they never studied history, or Machiavelli Discourses concerning Rome—better yet, Aristotle’s Politics, or the fate of Athens.

I would sooner leave foreign policy in the hands of a person randomly chosen from a telephone directory. In fact, prior to the June 1992 election that brought Rabin to power and which thus led to the disastrous Israel-PLO Agreement, an opinion poll indicated that most Jews opposed negotiation with the PLO, let alone a Palestinian state.

By the way, Rabin was Israel’s first native-born prime minister. Every Israeli should have felt ashamed when Rabin shook the bloodstained hands of Yasser Arafat. Jewish national honor died on that fateful day. But Benjamin Netanyahu also shook Arafat’s hands and is now anxious to hobnob with Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas.

How can Jewish politicians love the Jewish people when they consort with Jew-haters and Jew-killers? Hoe many Jewish politicians exhibit, in word and deed, Jewish pride and a passionate love of the Jewish people?

But can this be expected of Israeli citizens if they are not Jews?

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