We the People?

10th of Av, 5776, Hanoch Ne’eman, Yerushalayim

I had an interesting class with visiting Professor Jeffrey Dunoff from Philadelphia this semester , about issues in International Law. In one of the classes, Prof. Dunoff said “when did I give the government the right to speak for me in this matter? Oh yes, the Constitution says, “We the People.., but wait, I don’t remember anyone asking me my opinion about that…”

Indeed, often governments and elected officials take it upon themselves to say and do things in the country’s name which they have not asked permission from the people to do.

For example, my Israeli government, in the person of the Prime Minister and the Ambassador to the United States, has recently taken actions which recognize the Lesbian and Gay Communities. That is certainly their right to do as private individuals, but I resent them doing so in the name of Israel.

It is fine and proper to endorse and support the full civic rights and protections for all citizens, including homosexuals. However, recognizing them as a community endorses them as a lifestyle, and I do not think that is within the purview of a government official to do. As a comparison, I do not think it would be proper for the Prime Minister to send greetings to the thief community, or the Drug User Community, and tell them that they are fully accepted in Israel, as he did recently with the gay community.

Likewise I think it would be improper for the Israeli Ambassador to America to welcome a delegation of tax-evaders to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, as he recently did with the LGBT community, rainbow flags abreast the Blue and White.

Of course I recognize the desire and need for politicians to seek the favor and votes of various interest groups, but that is something I believe they should do in a private capacity, for example attending the dinners of these groups and telling them how much they love them. But when speaking in an official capacity, they should refrain from endorsing practices which many people find morally improper and do not want endorsed.

Again, protections of individual civil rights yes, group endorsement, no.

A thief is also entitled to full civil rights, but his lifestyle should not be condoned. (Again, if a politician wants to condone it as a private individual, that is his right, but not in the name of the country).

I was also therefore distressed to learn that the Israeli Ministry of Tourism dedicated over ten million shekels to encourage gay tourism to Israel.

I think the whole ministry of tourism is superfluous actually, and do not think tourism is a legitimate government activity, but it especially irks me that they are spending public money to encourage gay tourism.

I hope to focus in future posts on the negative effects of government tourism promotion, including the human rights abuses in Cuba, and Israel’s misguided entries into the Israeli hotel business.





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