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The new normal in Israel

Violence, racism, fear and no political horizon: that is what Israel’s leadership has to offer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene of a mass shooting in central Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff St., January 2, 2016. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene of a mass shooting in central Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff St., January 2, 2016. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Two Arab residents of Israel were taken off an Aegean Airlines flight to Tel Aviv Monday night after several Jewish Israeli passengers demanded they be removed, simply for being Arab. The Jewish Israeli passengers refused to take their seats — thereby preventing the flight from departing — until the two Arab men deplaned, Israel Radio reported.

After a couple of hours, in an effort to de-escalate, the airline ended up offering the two Arab men a different flight and a free night at a hotel if they agreed to stay behind, according to the report. The pair arrived back in Israel today.

There was no mention in the report of any other Israeli passengers trying to step in and oppose the move, or get off the plane in protest or solidarity.

The Israel Radio report did note that the Israeli Embassy in Athens was notified of what happened, but that it chose not to make any statement or take any action because the matter had been “resolved.”

That silence in the face of such a clear wrong, both by the other passengers and the embassy, speaks volumes.

Welcome to the “new normal” in Israel 2016. Similar such incidents happen all the time. There were the Israeli hotels that warned Jewish guests about Arab citizens who would also be staying there.

There was that time in 2013 when the “Superland” amusement park was caught segregating Jewish and Arab student groups in order to “avoid confrontations.”

So should it really come as a surprise that the Education Ministry has banned a book that discusses a romance between an Arab and a Jew from its curriculum ? (Or is it actually because it portrays IDF soldiers in a bad light, as Education Minister Naftali Bennett has now said?)

These acts are not an aberration from the norm. They are the new normal.

The fact that police automatically raided and ransacked the dorms and apartments of Arab citizens in search of the suspect in Friday’s Tel Aviv shooting attack appears to be a matter of policy. The only probable cause was having the wrong ethnicity — which is precisely what happened on the Greek airplane.

These are not a few random incidents by a few crazy citizens or a few radical Knesset members. This is the new normal.

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Saturday gave a short speech at the scene of the Tel Aviv shooting attack that many commentators have described as incendiary and racist: the prime minister essentially blamed the entire Arab citizen population for the acts of one individual person. It was basically a sequel to his Election Day warning this past March that “the Arabs are going to the polls in droves.”

But it is also important to pause on something else Netanyahu said over the weekend: “Whoever wants to be Israeli must be Israeli all the way.”

What on earth is being “Israeli all the way?”

I can tell you what it is not. It is not being a combat soldier who feels the need to talk about the things he or she was ordered to do in the occupied territories. It is not working for a non-profit organization whose primary funding comes from European governments. It is not a Jewish citizen in a romantic relationship with a Palestinian. It is not someone who refuses to buy settlement products, someone who goes out to protest military operations, or somebody who actively opposes the systematic control and oppression of millions of Palestinians.

With no end to the violence in sight — against both Palestinians as well as against Israeli citizens and security forces — and no political resolution on the horizon, all Israeli leaders have left to do, it seems, is fan the flames of fear, trauma and mayhem. As long as violence and fear envelop the country like a fog, the public remains distracted from the leadership’s total incompetence at providing a viable future for anyone living here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Wayne

      An incident is “the new normal”?

      Yawn …..

      Kuwait Airline refuses to carry Israelis

      “The airline has this week pulled its connection between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow after U.S. authorities threatened legal action over alleged discrimination. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in September warned the Kuwaiti carrier that it had “unlawfully discriminated” against a passenger using an Israeli passport by refusing to sell him a ticket. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/17/aviation/kuwait-airways-flight-israeli-passengers/

      Is that the new or the old normal? No outrage here?

      Big YAWN………

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        You are correct to observe that the Israeli government and some of the most backward regimes on the planet share some common thinking.

        Reply to Comment
        • Wayne

          Yawn ….

          Lots of retarded anti-Semites around here.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Wily Wayne’s wacky weapon: “The Yawn.” In addition to the “retarded” and “anti-Semites” cards. Brilliant.

            Wayne, the distinction you don’t make is telling. These were a mob of Israelis citizens racially discriminating against their fellow citizens on that plane. For no other good reason than to express venom. And because they could. To dominate. Not the set policy of a (as Bruce accurately points out, backwards) foreign government discriminating on the basis of who holds what passport. (Now it is true that Israeli passports refuse to acknowledge an inclusive Israeli nationality and insist on dividing Israelis by ethnicity but that’s a separate issue.) If you don’t think that’s a difference with a distinction then a lot of other things are going to be lost on you too. The random Israelis gathered on that plane show that Netanyahu knows, when he exploits an incident like the Tel Aviv shooting to incite and to sow division and hatred, that he has a ready public waiting to lap that incitement up. This is the state of affairs.

            Reply to Comment
          • Wayne

            YAWN …..

            I am aware that “Ben” and “Bruce Gould” are the same person. Islamist thugs use Jewish names to attack Israel online. Nothing new there. Not worried about the slavery, apartheid, mass killings, genocide, oppression of women, etc. going on in your Muslim countries? Drawn in your anti-Semitism and hate for all I care.

            Reply to Comment
    2. carmen

      Israelis demand Greek airline remove Arabs from flight

      Aegean Airlines issues apology after Israeli passengers demand Arabs be removed from flight to Tel Aviv over security risk.

      Moshe Shai/Flash 90

      Greece’s Aegean Airlines issued an apology Tuesday afternoon for an incident on Sunday, in which Israeli passengers demanded Arab travelers be removed from a plane over security concerns.

      The airline said it would like to “thank again the two passengers who agreed to disembark for their understanding and collaboration and we apologize for the whole episode which was indeed extremely unfortunate.”

      The episode occurred Sunday on an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens, Greece to Tel Aviv.

      According to the airline, before the flight could take off, “an initially small group” of passengers “very vocally and persistently” demanded the two Arabs from eastern Jerusalem be “checked for security issues.”

      After completing the security checks, “a much larger group of passengers” apparently began demanding the two Arabs be removed from the plane despite assurances from staff.

      The two passengers agreed to disembark from the plane and take a flight back to Israel the following morning.

      The incident comes amid an over three-month period of near daily terror attacks on Israeli civilians, as well as a particularly brutal shooting attack in Tel Aviv last Friday which left two Israelis murdered.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        Hey, use QUOTATION MARKS (as in: “I am a dunce. I cannot conceive anything in my own mind and do not know what to say, but just want to copy and paste the work of someone else, who wrote same thing this article extensively laid out.”) when you copy and paste the works of others and do not try to blur the line between what is the product of your own mind and the works of others, because that is FRAUD, moron.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          @Merkava: I have to admit, it’s a novel persuasion strategy:

          Act like a completely obnoxious punk, to the max, and say something asinine in every post. And the more dishonest the troll tactics the better. Make sure you add lots of that. That way, you’ll convince a lot of people you are a reasonable person of good will, who means well and treats others well, and has a finely honed sense of fairness and justice in general and especially about Israel-Palestine. And that you’re really smart. And they won’t think you, as an ambassador of Israeliness, suggest that there is something pathologically obnoxious and entitled about mainstream Israeli culture. And they won’t think that in microcosm you are Exhibit A for the pathology of the occupation. I mean why would they? It’s a slam dunk, right? You go girl!

          How’s it working for ya, genius? Got any data on the results?

          Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            Jihadi BEN alias “Israel” alias Bruce Gould alias etc.

            Here is just ONE portion of apartheid of YOU Islamist low-lives: abuses and rapes of non Muslim women who by definition are considered less human than Muslims:

            “BERLIN, Germany (AFP) – German leaders expressed shock over dozens of apparently coordinated sexual assaults against women on New Year’s Eve in the western city of Cologne blamed on “Arab-looking men,” but warned against anti-migrant scapegoating”.

            http://www.timesofisrael.com/german-openness-to-refugees-tested-by-mass-sexual-assaults-in-cologne/

            Reply to Comment
    3. Too bad the airline did not ask the complainers to sit down or to get off the airplane. Perhaps they’ll see that as the better course next time. They could have simply told the passengers that the airplane needs to take off and they can take the ride they paid for or abandon it. Period. All appropriate security preparations had been taken, etc., blah-blah-blah.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        It seems to me that your outrage is always selective. That’s strange.

        “Airline REFUSES to apologize for removing four ‘Middle Eastern passengers’ from Chicago-bound plane because one of them was ‘watching the news on his phone”. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3324783/Airline-REFUSES-apologize-removing-four-Middle-Eastern-passengers-Chicago-bound-plane-one-watching-news-phone.html

        I do not condone discrimination against anyone for whatever reason. But as long as SOME Muslims use/abuse their religion to mass murder innocent civilians in Paris, Tel Aviv, California, Brussels, etc. emotions will sometimes overrule logic and this kind of incident will always happen to SOME innocent Muslims. It did NOT start with Israelis and it will NOT end with Israelis. Everyone, incl. YOU, is better off being over precautious and alive (which might lead to being called a “racist” as in this case) than being a dead victim of radical Islam. Life is not perfect.

        Stop the terrorism and killing of innocent civilians. Start doing that by coming here to condemn the butcher of Israelis in the streets of Israel every time it happens. That is the least you can do. If all you can do is come here and start ranting only when something happens to a non-Jewish person, they you are a hypocrite.

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          Israelis demand Greek airline remove Arabs from flight

          Aegean Airlines issues apology after Israeli passengers demand Arabs be removed from flight to Tel Aviv over security risk.

          Moshe Shai/Flash 90

          “Greece’s Aegean Airlines issued an apology Tuesday afternoon for an incident on Sunday, in which Israeli passengers demanded Arab travelers be removed from a plane over security concerns.

          The airline said it would like to “thank again the two passengers who agreed to disembark for their understanding and collaboration and we apologize for the whole episode which was indeed extremely unfortunate.”

          The episode occurred Sunday on an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens, Greece to Tel Aviv.

          According to the airline, before the flight could take off, “an initially small group” of passengers “very vocally and persistently” demanded the two Arabs from eastern Jerusalem be “checked for security issues.”

          After completing the security checks, “a much larger group of passengers” apparently began demanding the two Arabs be removed from the plane despite assurances from staff.

          The two passengers agreed to disembark from the plane and take a flight back to Israel the following morning.

          The incident comes amid an over three-month period of near daily terror attacks on Israeli civilians, as well as a particularly brutal shooting attack in Tel Aviv last Friday which left two Israelis murdered.”

          The quotes are in. Hasn’t changed the story at all though, huh?

          “Start doing that by coming here to condemn the butcher of Israelis in the streets of Israel every time it happens. That is the least you can do. If all you can do is come here and start ranting only when something happens to a non-Jewish person, they you are a hypocrite.”

          I checked the rules of engagement for this site and your demands weren’t among them. There was something about abuse. You and your various personalities are “breaking the rules” with almost every single post you make. This site doesn’t demand anyone condemn anyone’s behavior. Someone else, maybe it was you, also made some reference about someone else “always taking about Israel”. This site is specifically about Palestine/Israel; if you want to talk about Washington go to the NYT or London try BBC or Miami the Miami Herald, etc. That’s a trifling complaint, whoever made it.

          Anyway, maybe you can get the powers of 972 to change their posting rules to be more accommodating to meet the needs of the self-righteous, sanctimonious, insecure people who apparently have cornered the market on victimhood, whether real or imagined, past or present, and insist that the wrongs perpetrated by them onto others be kept in darkness. Good luck with that.

          Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            Pure gibberish. You neither care about human rights nor are you honest. Your remember that thing called “human rights” only when it can be used as a weapon against the Jewish State! That is what you just confirmed. You are a dishonest anti-Semitic Muslim thug who rejoices at the killings of Jews, but shed hypocritical tears, because some Israelis, fearing for their lives, refused to fly in the same plane with your jihadi brothers who butcher Israelis in the streets of Israel with meat-cleavers and machetes out of fear that they also might get butchered in the plane.

            You have never condemned the butcher of Israelis in the streets of Israel by your Muslim Arab brothers.

            But you come here complaining that Israelis refuse to fly in the same plane with Muslim Arabs?! Oh, get out of here!

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            Pure gibberish. You neither care about human rights nor are you honest. You remember that thing called “human rights” only when it can be used as a weapon against the Palestinians! That is what you just confirmed. You are a dishonest anti-Semitic Zionist Jew thug who rejoices at the butchering of Palestinians IN YOUR NAME, and WHINES and WAILS because some filthy Jewhadi Israeli ZIONIST MAMZERS, being the spolit little anti-Semitic Zionist Mamzers AND pieces of shit AND murderers that they are AND too precious for WORDS, refused to fly on a GREEK airline with the same Palestinians whom they slaughter by the thousand using their “smart” bombs, F-16s, carcinogenic Dime munitions and illegal white Phosphorus, AND IN THE NAME OF EVERY JEW!

            You have never, NOT ONCE, condemned the mass-slaughter of Palestinians, MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN BUTCHERED in their thousands on the streets of Palestine, by your “jewish state”, BEING MURDERED IN YOUR NAME!

            But you come here WHINING and WAILING like a POSSESSED ZIONIST BANSHEE, dripping with self-righteous indignation, spreading your insidious malicious blood-libels about the Palestinians who are being butchered by the thousand, by the STINKING STATE YOU WORSHIP AND IN YOUR NAME, and you are EVEN too fucking stupid to know the difference between “Arab” and “Muslim”?!

            Oh, go to Hell YOU FILTHY ZIONIST MAMZER WITH THE BLOOD OF THOUSANDS ON YOUR HANDS!

            Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            that’s the Muslim jihadi Ben alias “Bruce Gould alias” “Israel” alias “leffe” alias “Oriol”, alias etc. who uses Jewish names to smear Israelis, attack the Jewish State and act like a mad dog again on this site.

            Keep barking, Ben, and show the world what a mad dog you. You do us favor by showing the world the kind of anti-Semitic lunatics that gather here.

            Now start barking ……

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            That’s the American Zionist Jewhadi loon, Ginger LIES alias “Merkava’ alias “Qur’an” alias “Merav” alias “Hercules” alias etc., who like all indoctrinated militant Zionist anti-Semites, reduces Jews to a hideous homogenized anti-Semitic Zionist Jewface parody version of Jews, and defiles Judaism by defending crimes against humanity committed by the “jewish state” and acts like a psychotic little Zionist Chihuahua dog on this site.

            Keep barking, Ginger LIES, and show the world how sexually obsessed you are with a male who treats you like you do not exist. You do us all a favor by showing the world the kind of anti-Semitic Zionist lunatics that gather here.

            Ok, Ginger LIES, now bark for us! Louder!

            Bark, like a rabid Zionist dog! Bark for Isghaeel!

            Reply to Comment
    4. Muhammad570CE

      No person should be killed or discriminated against. Black people and white people, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians, Europeans and Asians, we are all one race.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Eliza

      The other ‘new normal’ is a readiness to report on Israeli (or individual Israelis) bad behaviour in the MSM.

      I sometimes wonder how Israelis cope with the world outside Israel, where Palestinians and Arabs in general are not automatically seen as ‘terrorists’. The poor little pets cannot even sit with a Palestinian in a plane and expect, as their right, that the Palestinians are removed. It would have been better for Aegean Airlines to have removed the complaining Israelis.

      Every incident like this builds up a picture of Israelis as entitled and seriously crazy people. Israel truly is the lunatic state.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben

      Mob rule: When Israeli Jews force Israeli Arabs off an airplane

      “…On a recent Aegean Airlines flight from Greece, a group of Israeli Jews “decided“ that two Arab passengers “constituted a security risk.” They demanded their removal, prevented the plane from taking off by standing in the aisles, and, one imagines, shouting and threatening.
      Am I missing something here? Shouldn’t these Jews have been removed from the plane? They were the ones causing a disturbance, inconveniencing the other passengers, forcing an additional security check, bringing in the police and delaying the flight for more than an hour and a half….”

      http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.696105

      Reply to Comment