Benjamin Netanyahu wants to redefine Israel as “the nation-state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people” Here. What an interesting notion: anyone living in Israel who is not Jewish would be considered a minority. Netanyahu mentioned Arabs in this reassurance, but his new law would affect many other non-Israelis living there as well.
Imagine becoming an official minority because you did not share the religion of founders. The U.S. might follow Israel’s example and declare itself a nation-state of Christians only, but promising to protect the rights of its minority citizens who are not Christian. Suddenly one’s neighbor might become a “minority citizen” by law.
The idea of minority citizen is one which the U.S. has striven and still strives to rid itself of. It is repulsive to me, because as a child I raised by parents born of two immigrants and though they had work here and though my father became an educated man and did well , we lived as children as outsiders. My parents grew up in tenements: their parents world was circumscribed by non-acceptance. Those barriers took three generations to fall, but in the U.S. there are still minorities whose rights are supposedly protected but who suffer simply because they are minorities.
I hope that the final vote will deny Netanyahu this bizarre notion that Democracy and citizenship can be separated in the modern world. Tzipi Livni said she could only support legislation where “Jewish and democratic would have the same weight, not more Jewish than democratic, nor more democratic than Jewish” HERE. Let’s hope that her point of view prevails in an already troubled Middle East.
A provision passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in November of 2014 and included in a bill about to be brought to the Senate Floor so offended Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, that he asked Diane Feinstein to remove it. The provision would have required the President of the U.S. to issue a yearly report to the public about the deaths of “combatants” and “non-combatants” as a result of drone attacks. Evidently Clapper thought the President did not have the means to appropriately disclose information to the public without interfering with Clapper’s needs. He suggested to Feinstein that
“To be meaningful to the public, any report including the information described above would require context and be drafted carefully so as to protect against the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods or other classified information. … We are confident we can find a reporting structure that provides the American people additional information to inform their understanding of important government operations to protect our nation, while preserving the ability to continue those operations,” HERE
Pardon me for thinking that the President’s staff could prepare a report to the people of the U.S. that had context, was carefully drafted, and did not in any way interfere with or reveal information vital to the security of the country. (I say this despite the fact that I am not overly fond of President Obama’s record so far.)
Perhaps James Clapper is so worried about what the citizens of this country might learn that he has to continually dissemble and manipulate the information we are given about what is being done in our names. Perhaps he is simply so full of his own authority that he can not concede that he lives in a democracy or at least the remnants of one. Fortunately for him he has Diane Feinstein to cater to his need to protect his secrets
whatever they may be.
When our resident Bomber-in-chief told us that he ordered the drone strike that killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, he opened a unexpected constitutional door, something I’m sure he never intended.
Despite the government’s claim that the papers relating to the strike could not be released, and despite the fact that a circuit court judge had upheld that argument, government officials talked about the strike (including our “I’m really good at killing people” president my post HERE).
Luckily for us, a panel of judges ruled that after government officials had talked about the strike, there could no longer be any objection about releasing information requested by the ACLU and 2 reporters for the New York Times.
Whatever documents pertain to the decision for the drone strike must now be released. Citizens of the U.S. will now have a chance to understand what drives the choice to kill another U.S. citizen without trial in open court. Whether this will simply be a precedent for democracy or a lesson for the government to keep its secrets secret remains to be seen.
full story HERE at the New York Times