Sunday, October 24, 2010

They Love Us for Our Freedoms?

A Tea Party acolyte sings the praises of Israel:
Hucke is a Christian who has spent years evangelizing at shopping malls, and by her lights, our once-godly nation has become so decayed -- so crime-ridden and secular -- that it's time to draw lines. She supports racial profiling, for instance. "We've got Mexican people streaming across the border, and we can't profile that?" she says. "And who's flying airplanes into buildings? Muslims! You know how they treat Muslims over in Israel? They stop and search them. Because they're the ones who are doing it."

Israel, of course, does profile rather aggressively (though I don't think profiling exhausts Israel's treatment of Muslims). Nonetheless, this is hardly the type of praise I think Israel wants, nor is it the reason most American Jews support Israel. Jews want to see a "light unto nations"; (certain branches of) Christians apparently are just marveling at Israel's fine-tuning of a security state.

I accept that Israel faces grave security challenges that it needs to react to. But one of the things I admire about it is the degree to which it has preserved a commitment to human rights in the face of that struggle. Israel's engagement in profiling may be necessary, but it is hardly the element of its society that I'd want to see sung from the rooftops.


joe said...

Is it your position that aggressive racial profiling can be necessary? Because in the past you seem to have been comfortable drawing a bright line rule against it in spite of general approval of race conscious policies.

I have no argument to make on this point. It just seems like a striking contradiction. Make of it what you will.

David Schraub said...

Not really -- that post was pretty keyed into specific contexts of the American racial and criminal contexts. On face it wasn't making observations about any/all potential system of racial (or religious, in this case) profiling.

I'm deeply uncomfortable with this sort of profiling (in Israel -- as I think this post makes clear -- or elsewhere), but that post was not a call for a "bright line rule against it". My bigger problem with Israel's system of profiling is that (I suspect -- I actually don't know) it doesn't sufficiently profile folks who fit the profile of a right-wing settler nationalist. It's only concerned with certain types of crime and criminal activity (and certain types of victims), and the distributional consequences of that determination are difficult to justify.

joe said...

We'll make a consequentialist out of you yet!

N. Friedman said...


How is it racism to target those who have a known history of hijacking and blowing up planes, most especially planes from Israel? And, how is it anything but inefficient and stupid to worry about settlers potentially hijacking planes or blowing them up? I think your analysis - even though you refuse to employ a bright line boundary - is simply wrong headed.

Your perspective elevates race into a property right that is to be balanced against the most fundamental human right of all - to survive. I cannot imagine how targeting those likely to blow up or hijack planes is anything but reasonable self-defense, about which one need not be remotely apologetic or subject to PC type race analysis. And, to suggest that it might somehow be better also to target those who have no inclination to so act is, as I see it, not reasonable, not liberal and not wise.