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No Bibi, Palestinians succeed despite Israel — not because of it

By urging Israel’s Palestinians to take a more active role in civil society, Netanyahu erases an entire history that existed in this land before Zionism.

It is not entirely clear what drove Prime Minister Netanyahu to use this moment and release a video directed at Israel’s Arab citizens. It clocks in at just over three minutes, and I must admit that I couldn’t get through the whole thing. Maybe if it were broadcasted on FaceTime. Maybe.

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    But the minute and a half that I did watch were enough to see the depth of the man’s cynicism and deceptiveness, and even that no longer surprises anybody.

    Netanyahu patronizingly “praises” Israel’s Arab public for their accomplishments: how lovely! You have members of Knesset, judges, doctors, pharmacists, scientists, and renowned authors! In doing so, Netanyahu is actually praising the state for doing going above and beyond to allow Arab citizens to have access to these pleasures.

    Netanyahu is using jargon usually deployed by “enlightened” leaders when speaking to immigrant communities: look at how wonderfully you have been absorbed into society, you’re nearly one of us. Of course this kind of rhetoric is imbued with condescension, but there is one important point we must not forget: Palestinian citizens of Israel are not immigrants — they are an indigenous population whose existence was destroyed by Zionism. Now the State of Israel can bask in the crumbs it gives them after all the destruction.

    City centers full of judges, doctors, scientists, authors, and everything else you give the Zionist state credit for — they all existed here, Mr. Prime Minister. They existed and flourished before they were made to fight for their existence and the crumbs the state has been so kind as to throw their way over the years. These are the same people you seem so proud of.

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      1. I never appreciated quite how wonderful life was under the heel of the Ottoman Empire, or the more enlightened 30 years of the Brisish mandate. Clearly times of wealth and abundane in which every resident had the chance to live out their dreams no matter what their family background and circumstances.

        Thank you so much for enlightening us, Orly.

        Could this be the reason why the Arabs of the region never sought to set up an independent state of their own?

        Equally before the Pahlavi family took over the Iranian state, it must have been a time of wealth, abundance, freedom and equality for all, regardless or race, religion and class. All restored now in the Islamic Republic.

        Reply to Comment
      2. Average American

        This is like North Korea where after getting their teeth fixed by a dentist, they turn to a picture of Kim Jung-un and give thanks to HIM for fixing their teeth. Now Netanyahu and Zionism can further bless the world by building the Third Temple, a nice home for the Anti-Christ.

        Reply to Comment
      3. i_like_ike52

        Although it enrages the “progressives” here to think so, Israeli Arabs have a much better standard of living and more freedoms than their brothers who have the “privilege” of living under those various Arab regimes (possibly excluding the rich petrodollar states, but they aren’t democracies, either). YES, I know many (not all) Israeli Arabs will say “I would rather be a poor free man (“free”? like in Syria or Iraq or Libya or Egypt?) than an rich slave”. Nice rhetoric, but I don’t see Israeli Arabs fleeing Israel to live in those countries.
        Yes, many Arabs feel it is a humiliation to live as a minority, no matter how objectively well off their are, but they will get used to it, and this will be accelerated as they watch their brother Arabs/Muslims butcher each other like they are doing in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, etc, or living under a military dictatorship like Egypt. All they have to do is open their eyes for a change.

        Reply to Comment
      4. Blake

        The typical hasbara ‘historian’

        Palestinian identity, and nationalism by extension, was affected by political and economic factors and emerged in response to three revolts against foreign forces: the 1834 revolt against Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt; the 1936-39 revolt against British policies on Jewish immigration; and the 1987 intifada against Israeli occupation and settlement policies.

        Britain reneged twice on promises of independence. First promise came in 1915 (McMahon) and the second in 1939 (white paper).

        Reply to Comment
      5. Isaac

        Let’s not forget why Israel has really succeeded financially: It’s a European population that was supported intensively during the Cold War, period. The legacy of how that population got there is complicated, but the result of the migration was displacement of indigenous people.

        Without digging into the noise of who’s and what’s, Israel’s greatest failure is that it cannot undo the stain of conquest. This isn’t unique, just recent and ugly. For westerners who are trying to turn the tide of human civilization toward multiculturalism and social justice, there will never be a clean outcome for Israel – conquest and colonization are arcane.

        On the other hand, most Israelis were born after the colonization. The are victims of history, too. They have been dealt a bad hand in a way, and the cluster human instinct is defensive.

        So, if you’re into BDS, Israel bashing, Palestine bashing or whatever, your expression comes from a place of privilege. I certainly don’t know the recipe for bringing multiculturalism and social justice to this conflict, but it’s self-evident that blaming and posturing won’t work.

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      6. Ben

        Isaac: Just do the right thing and the feelings will follow, and cultural matters will sort themselves out over time among the younger generations. Just get out of the territories and East Jerusalem and make a fair peace at long last along the lines of the API. But no multicultural matters will sort themselves out while you are savagely oppressing the other side and letting that fester on purpose and treating them in ways you would never ever allow Jews anywhere to be treated. The narcissistic self absorption of the Israelis is beyond belief.

        Reply to Comment