Friday, February 01, 2008

Identity Politics, U.S. Democrats, Gaza and Israel


Identity politics are terrible. Just ask Barack Obama. He wants to be thought of as the best person to be President of the United States. For political purposes, some have manipulated voter perception of his identity so that he widely seen as the BLACK man candidate running against the white WOMAN candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Identity politics won’t tell us who might make a better President, but this form of segregating people by “groups” is potent in electoral politics.

Identity politics are at work in Gaza. Arabs who live or lived within an arbitrary area drawn by the British after World War I are defined as Palestinians. Arabs who live outside this area are identified with other marks and labels.

It is a dubious way to segregate people.

The people who now live in Gaza are living in an overly crowded corner of the world. They need either to be absorbed as equals into the vast lands of existing Muslim/Arabs States, or they need to be allocated an ample amount of the planet so that they can govern themselves in a self-sufficient contiguous State.

Even those who blame Israel for the Gazans spilling into Egypt should see the larger point. There isn’t enough room within Israel and the territories for two or three SUCCESSFUL fully independent States.

But there is PLENTY of room in the region. Saudi Arabia itself is roughly EIGHTY times larger that Israel and the territories.

But just like some American politicians, the international community plays the identity politics game when it suits it. World leaders don’t want to interfere with the recognized borders of the surrounding States, even though those borders are the invention of last century’s mostly European powers.

Today’s international community continues its harmful attempt to impose a two-state solution in this tiny geography. People who need help are being hurt. They have been told how they must identify themselves to the point where most, at least on some level, now do. This is shameful.

It is time to either unwind the identity politics created in the area over the last century, or accept the new identity by allocating to this group of people enough land to be independently successful.

If part of Egypt’s vast desert is expropriated for a larger home for Palestinians, or Gazans, or Arabs that wish to self-govern—by whatever future self-chosen subgroup name—then the international community should help make that peacefully happen. It should drop the identity game and accept the reality that the people currently living within Gaza are not different than people living right next door to Gaza on the other side of the wall, in present day Egypt.

And as for Israel—the sole Jewish majority State, a State that fosters the liberty and freedom of Jews—the world and all of humanity will greatly benefit by Israel becoming large enough to be independently viable.

Undoubtedly, afforded the opportunity to independently prosper, Israeli Jews will play a big part in fulfilling the global need for post-oil energy and an improved environment. Current Israel, even while being propped up by outside States, and being forced to squander resources fighting for its very survival, has already made undeniably huge contributions in the arts, medicine, science and technology.

There are nearly 200 United Nations member States. The international community should rally so that no Arab, however defined by sub-group, suffers abuse by fellow human beings or our international institutions, and that Jews, whose self-identity has not wavered for centuries, are in charge of one State large enough to thrive in our global village.

--David Naggar