Saturday, June 17, 2017

Apples and Apples?

I wrote a post the other day in which I offered several examples of what seem to me to be inconsistencies in the thinking of people on the left. I suggested that it's inconsistent of people who think that we should pay more in taxes, be willing to sacrifice jobs to reduce our carbon output, and prohibit private gun ownership to be taking tax deductions, jetting around the globe in private jets, and owning guns of their own.

Well, I came across another example of this sort of inconsistency among liberals written by a young philosopher and law student named C'Zar Bernstein. Bernstein writes about Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and begins with this:
Over the last few decades, hundreds of thousands of people from one country have illegally moved themselves into another country’s territory. They have settled the land, using its resources, creating cultural and ethnic enclaves, and changing (probably irrevocably) the demographics of the land into which they’ve migrated.

What’s more, many of them regularly point out that the land they’ve settled was once theirs and had been illegitimately taken from members of their nation in the past. On one side, these settlers’ supporters don’t see anything wrong with what they’ve done. On the other side, opponents call them “illegal” and demand their deportation. Every U.S. president in the last few decades has tried and failed to resolve this conflict.

I’m thinking, of course, of Mexicans.
He has a point. Many of the folks who condemn Israelis for moving into Palestinian land are equally ardent about opening American borders for any Mexican and Central American immigrants who wish to settle here. It seems hard to reconcile the two positions.

Bernstein anticipates the objection that he's comparing apples and oranges:
Leftists are almost invariably opposed to Jewish “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, including East Jerusalem, where there have been Jews from time immemorial. They declare that Jewish settlements are both immoral and illegal. (Note leftists use the word “illegal” rather than “undocumented.”)

They demand that these Jews be deported back to Israel proper. They worry that Jews living in Judea and Samaria are a demographic threat to the Arabs. In summary, leftists are virulently against (allegedly) illegal Jewish immigration into lands once occupied and controlled by their ancestors and support their forced expulsion back to the country from which they emigrated.

Does that sound familiar? It should, for that position is indistinguishable from one of President Trump’s positions on illegal Mexican immigration. And what’s the leftist response to the president’s previous proposal of deportation? Racism! Bigotry!

If so, leftists also deserve these indictments, for they support the mass expulsion of (allegedly) illegal Jewish immigrants. If the fact that someone is here illegally isn’t, by itself, sufficient to morally justify his expulsion from this country, then the mere fact that Jewish settlers are illegal isn’t, by itself, sufficient to morally justify their expulsion. And if Jews can be permissibly expelled only because their presence in Judea and Samaria is illegal, then illegal aliens can be permissibly expelled only because their presence in the United States is illegal.

The Left is happy to see millions of illegal alien “settlers” set up their cultural enclaves with relative impunity. Illegals are fine so long as their descendants will vote for the Democrat Party, but if they’re Jews who want to live in their historic homeland and near their holiest sites, then the land must be cleansed of their presence, with force if necessary. This is rank hypocrisy.
There is one important dissimilarity, though, between the two situations:
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not claiming that opposing illegal Mexican immigration is analogous to opposing Jewish settlements. On the contrary, the latter is much more morally objectionable. The so-called settlements in Judea and Samaria are not illegal, whereas Mexican illegal immigrants are here illegally.

The piece of international law the Left cites in defense of their position is from Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to which ‘[t]he Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’

The implicit premise connecting this text to the conclusion that the settlements are illegal must be that the state of Israel (i.e. “the Occupying Power”) has transferred hundreds of thousands of Jews into Judea and Samaria, a proposition that is manifestly false. Jews have, like many Mexicans, transferred themselves. If self-transfer is the same as state-transfer, then Trump was right after all about Mexico sending many of its criminals to the United States!
So, if Bernstein's analogy is tight, and it seems so to me, those who oppose Israeli settlements and demand that the Israelis leave Judea and Samaria should also be demanding that illegal immigrants leave this country. Yet, so far from making the same demand they make of the Israelis, some anti-settlement people support sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants in the U.S. even while dumping Israeli stocks from their investment portfolios because some Israelis have essentially chosen to do pretty much what some Mexicans and others have done in the U.S.

A view of life and the world that doesn't require one to be logically consistent can be pretty attractive to people, I guess.