Grotesque (Updated)

By Jeffrey Goldberg

If this sort of discourse isn't condemned by the Netanyahu government -- and if the policies this sort of discourse is meant to bring about are enacted -- Israel will lose, apart from its soul, the support of the majority of American Jews:

"We don't need to help Arabs set down roots in Israel," Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of the Beit El settlement, said on Tuesday. Aviner explained that he supported the move for two reasons: one, a Jew looking for an apartment should get preference over a gentile; and two, to keep the growing Arab population from settling too deeply.

"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."

He added that he did not see the move as racist so much as segregationist. "The world is so big and the State of Israel is small, that God intended it for the people of Israel and the whole world covets it.

Can you imagine a day when American Jews look at Israel's political and religious leadership in much the same way that most Iranian-Americans view Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? It's not inconceivable.

UPDATE: Good news; a forthright condemnation by Bibi: "How would we feel if someone said not to sell apartments to Jews? We would protest, and we do protest when it is said among our neighbors. It is forbidden that such things are said about Jews or Arabs."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/grotesque-updated/67614/