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  • How the Joint List has already made history in Israel

    No matter what happens on election day, or what kind of coalition is formed afterwards, the Joint List's very existence has already changed the face of Israeli history. The fact that the Joint List is likely to be the third largest slate in the next Knesset means they cannot be ignored. All the Israeli papers, analysts and news broadcasters are suddenly forced to relate to "the Arabs" — the 20 percent of the population that are normally out of sight and mind when Israelis goes to the polls. It was both groundbreaking and satisfying to see Joint List chair Ayman…

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  • Netanyahu on how his old U.S. high school ‘changed’

    More evidence that his racism doesn’t stop at Arabs. I’ve never written about a particular comment Bibi Netanyahu made when I interviewed him in the summer of 1993, because as objective evidence of anti-black racism, it’s not exactly slam-dunk. But this weekend Netanyahu accused Israel’s friendliest, most unthreatening Arab public figure, broadcaster-turned-candidate Zohair Bahloul, of “praising Hezbollah” in a court testimony. What Bahloul actually said was the exact opposite. For Netanyahu this was a personal low in terms of anti-Arab racism, which takes some effort. And recently I saw a Washington Post account of the blatant anti-Hispanic racism Netanyahu showed…

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  • Israel’s Propaganda Minister: Arabs are a deplorable nation

    Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, said the Arabs are a “deplorable nation.” His spokesman: He meant every one of them Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, told a crowd in a public diplomacy event in Or Yehuda that “as long as the Arab nation continues to be a deplorable nation, which continues investing in infrastructure for terrorism, education to hate, and welfare for the families of shaheeds (martyrs), there will be no peace.” It can be seen in his Facebook page, here (Hebrew). The Hebrew epithet used by Edelstein to describe Arabs - נפסד - is rather difficult…

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  • Look, "who started" is not what 1948 is all about

    "The Arabs started the war" has been a long-standing Israeli argument against the commemoration and amendment of the wrongs of the Nakba. But the truth is that the Nakba is what happened during and after the war - not how it began. Shlomo Avineri has an op-ed in Haaretz this weekend, rather misleadingly proclaiming that "The truth should be taught about 1948." The gist can be summed up in two words, "they started," but for fairness' sake, here are the arguments Avineri presents in support of this contention: On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. That is truth, not narrative. On…

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  • Airport security and Arab citizens: change in sight?

    This week, Israel’s Supreme Court chipped away at one of the most egregious Israeli practices: the infamous security examinations of Palestinian/Arab citizens at Israeli airports. The Court, responding to a 2007 petition by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel against the Israel Airports Authority, the General Security Services and the Ministry of Transportation, directed the three bodies to justify why they discriminate against an ethnic group, instead of conducting their security examinations based on uniform criteria for all citizens. The airport experience is one of the most naked examples of brutal inequality in Israel. Its logic, as well as…

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  • At a rally for Egypt in Tel Aviv, some express racist ideas

    In a region saturated by journalists vying for the best story and often missing the most powerful ones, new media platforms have opened a space for the stories that fall through the cracks of mainstream reporting outlets. These platforms allow bold journalists to get to the heart of a society and investigate sentiments on the streets as opposed to accepting the prepackaged image which the state apparatus portrays. In Israel, these platforms shed light on many of  the preconceived notions that a majority of Israelis harbour about the Arab world. David Sheen, a journalist living in Tel Aviv, recently attended…

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  • Busloads of prejudice: Revealing encounters on Israeli roads

    I’m traveling all over the country these days for a project, and I mean all over. I’m visiting every town large enough to possess a central bus terminal. The article deals with these terminals and their general state of neglect. I vowed to visit them all. Yes, these places are in suffering from disrepair, but something else that becomes apparent to a traveler in Israel today is the state of disrepair of the nation’s psyche. To put it bluntly, you cannot even fathom how much racism and ethnic prejudice I encounter every day. I wouldn’t have imagined if someone told…

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