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Why Palestinian citizens of Israel are no longer safe

Despite institutionalized discrimination, in recent years Palestinian citizens of Israel have increasingly integrated into the economy, political life, academia and general society. The nature of the current assault on Israeli-Arabs launched from both the Knesset and the street is, in fact, a reaction to this integration.

By Ron Gerlitz

About a month ago I wrote here that the fabric of relations between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel was worsening, and that this was not just an escalation but a frightening new era of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. In retrospect, we were just at the start of the deterioration and had no idea what was in store for us.

Since the onset of the war in Gaza, the scale of the assaults on Palestinian citizens of Israel has increased dramatically, as have their intensity. Today we find ourselves in a new and appalling chapter of relations between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel. The lengthy article in last Friday’s Haaretz weekend magazine (Hebrew) was a comprehensive and systematic account of the campaign of physical and verbal violence directed at Palestinian citizens, the campaign by the right wing to have Arab workers fired and the profound fear that prevails among them.

Right-wing protesters shouting slogans at Palestinians during riots that irrupted following the finding of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1st, 2014. The riots broke during the funerals of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16-year-old, that were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. A few right-wing persons were arrested during the riots. (Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

Right-wing protesters shouting slogans at Palestinians during riots that erupted following the discovery of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1, 2014. The riots broke during the funerals of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, who were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. A few right-wing protestors were arrested during the riots. (Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

Why is this happening?

There are many explanations. I would like to offer another, less widely-known explanation for this outbreak of racism. In recent years we have witnessed two contradictory trends in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel: groups that push toward equality and those that work in the opposite direction; groups that work for the creation of a shared society and better relations between Jews and Arabs, and those that work for segregation and worse relations. I have argued in the past that both trends are present in the public, media, bureaucracy and the political arena.

Despite systematic discrimination by the government and profound racism (which of course is nothing new), Arab society in Israel, in cooperation with various factors in Jewish society, including in several government ministries, has been able to effect a significant improvement in its socioeconomic status, to somewhat reduce the inequality, to challenge state institutions and to enjoy substantial and authentic political representation in the Knesset. As Arab society has become stronger in recent years, we have witnessed the first signs of its integration into the centers of power, economy and society in Israel.

We are not talking about some submissive and fawning integration. A generation that did not grow up under military rule has had the courage to bolster its Palestinian national identity, and its bond with the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Arab world. Many prominent representatives of Palestinian communities in Israel, especially in the Knesset and civil society organizations, sharply assert the rights of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, both as individuals and as a collective. They demand equal individual and national rights, and an abolition of the special privileges enjoyed exclusively by Jews.

What’s most relevant in understanding the events of the past month is that Arabs’ increasing strength is not hidden and has not developed only in concealed regions far removed from Jewish life. On the contrary; it has been open and visible and has created further points of daily contact between Jews and Arabs, in diverse arenas.

Note the new Israeli reality of recent years. When I was a child in the 1970s, the only Arabs encountered by Jews who didn’t visit Arab localities were manual laborers. The situation is totally different today. A Jewish citizen who goes into a drugstore will almost always encounter an Arab pharmacist; should he/she need to go to the emergency room they may very well be treated by an Arab doctor. Ten years ago, I managed an algorithm development team in a startup company. At the time, an Arab employee of a hi-tech firm was an exceptional phenomenon. Today we are in the midst of a revolution in which many Arab citizens hold jobs in the hi-tech sector, the jewel in the crown of the Israeli economy. As Odeh Bisharat wrote in Haaretz, “Whoever, back in the 1950s, destined the Arabs to serve as hewers of wood and drawers of water, is now getting them as leaders in hi-tech.”

Jewish university students have Arab lecturers, and sometimes even an Arab department chair or college president. There has already been an Arab minister and an Arab director-general of a government ministry. Perhaps symbolic of the new reality is that not only the common man is exposed to the rising power of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. The chief judge of the panel that convicted the former president of the state, Moshe Katsav, and sentenced him to a long prison term was a Palestinian citizen.

Right wing protesters demonstrates in front of Palestnians living in Israel and Israeli left wing activists as they take part in a protest against the attack on Gaza in the city of Lod, Israel, August 3, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Right-wing protesters demonstrate in front of Palestinians living in Israel and Israeli left-wing activists as they take part in a protest against the attack on Gaza in the city of Lod, Israel, August 3, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

A counter-reaction

As long as Israel’s Palestinian citizens were powerless and excluded, they did not threaten Jewish hegemony. Today, though, Jews are no longer always at the top of every ladder in Israel. This situation undermines the world order of the radical nationalist right, which is terrified by the loss of absolute Jewish hegemony, and is stirred to take countervailing action. In contrast to those on the left and among Palestinian citizens themselves who belittle the economic and social integration of Arabs, it may well be that it is those on the right who have accurately identified the latent potential and consequently see it as a real threat. They are gearing up for a battle to halt what they view as a dangerous process and endeavoring to reduce the rights enjoyed by Arabs.

This a reaction to the fact that Arabs are a much greater presence in our lives than those who would preserve the Jewish hegemony can stomach. The lawsuits against the state, the stronger representation in higher education and the job market, the presence of Arabic language in public spaces (quite simply because there are now more Arabs in shopping malls, universities, workplaces, and so on) – all of these factors amplify the sense of threat, and spawn a desire to make Arab citizens disappear, or at least to push them as far down the socio-economic ladder as possible.

In recent years this reaction has been fueled by right-wing politicians. Avigdor Lieberman, supported by his cohorts in other parties in the current and past government coalitions, has sponsored an unprecedented wave of legislation targeting Palestinian citizens. With the support of the prime minister, the electoral threshold was raised – a brutal step with the potential to banish Palestinian citizens from the political system. And then, of course, there is the ultimate solution: Lieberman’s proposal to strip hundreds of thousands of Israel-Arabs of their citizenship by transferring their home districts to a future Palestinian state. Right-wing leaders have sent clear and unmistakable message to Palestinian citizens of Israel: If you don’t shut up you’ll come to a bitter end.

But despite the great damage caused by these politicians’ assault on Arab citizens, Arab society has not surrendered to the evil wind blowing from the Knesset. They have been joined by Jewish advocates for equality who continue to employ effective strategies to promote equality and full integration into Israeli society and the economy.

A Palestinian youth living in Israel waves a Palestinian flag during protest against the attack on Gaza in the city of Lod, Israel, August 3, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian youth living in Israel waves a Palestinian flag during a protest against the attack on Gaza, in the city of Lod, Israel, August 3, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

So what has happened in these last two months?

The new phenomenon of the last two months is that the populist, nationalist, radical right has been stirred to action. What its representatives in the Knesset proved unable to achieve, it is now trying to do on its own. Under the cover of its political leaders’ silence or with their encouragement, it has unleashed an assault on Palestinian citizens in order to force them to bow their heads, quite literally. It is simply unable to countenance Palestinian citizens’ increased power, especially not their greater visibility in public spaces.

If Arabs were employed only in cleaning and agriculture, and submissively shuttled home to their towns and villages every evening, Knesset members on the right – now joined by the rightists in street – would not make an effort to expel them from the labor force, political arena and public spaces. Note that most of the incidents of the past months occurred in places that are shared by Jews and Arabs – the mixed towns and the integrated commercial centers and employment zones in Jewish towns. Hair-raising nightly marches that feature cries of “Death to the Arabs!” took place in Upper Nazareth. Arabs were attacked not in their own localities, but on shared public buses and in the streets of mixed cities.

Of course, the strongest reaction was to the strongest trend: Arabs integration into the labor market. For the first time, we are witnessing an unprecedented and systematic attempt by members of the radical right to encourage the dismissal of Arab workers. The more senior an Arab’s position, the stronger the demand that he be axed. I doubt that the right-wing hooligan gangs would be motivated to invest significant energy in demanding the firing of an Arab cleaner. But when it comes to encouraging the dismissal of Arab physicians and pharmacists, professionals in the service of local authorities, shift managers, salespersons and service providers, right-wing gangs will work with all their might.

They simply find it impossible to endure a Palestinian citizen in a senior position, one who inverts the only power relation that the racists want to see between Jews and Arabs: Jews at the top and Palestinians at the bottom. For a racist, it is unacceptable that a Jew might have to depend on an Arab (as a physician, pharmacist or service rep). Here another factor enters and explains why this outburst happened precisely now. That same racist was willing to ‘endure’ the situation as long as the Israeli-Arab kept his mouth shut and did not speak out against the government or against that most sacred institution of all: the army.

And now we have to speak the truth, even if it is unpleasant for so many Jewish readers. In all of the violent conflicts of Israel against the Palestinians or the Arab world, a majority of the country’s Arab citizens, quite naturally, identified with the members of their own Palestinian people and not with IDF soldiers who were fighting against it. Although some Jews knew or intuited this, on some level or another Palestinian citizens’ identification with those the IDF was firing at was not an overt presence in shared spaces. Arab workers were careful not to express their views when in the company of Jewish colleagues.

Palestinian women living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, in the northern village Tamra on August 2, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Palestinian women living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, in the northern Israeli village Tamra on August 2, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

What changed the rules?

But today, in July 2014, the appalling number of Palestinians killed in Gaza (more than 1,800, including 400 children) and the existence of social networks have totally altered the picture. For the first time since the deep penetration of social networks, the IDF is killing many Palestinians and the pictures of dead children show up on Palestinian citizens’ smartphone screens almost immediately. It is inhuman to expect them to support those who are conducting the killing of their people.

Social media has also made it possible that almost every citizen’s opinion of the war, be they Jewish or Palestinian, is exposed for all to see. What Palestinian citizens could once keep within the confines of family and friends has now become known to all. The situation was not symmetrical in the past. Arabs always knew what their Jewish colleagues or customers were thinking, because they heard them saying that it was necessary “to crush the intifada,” “to route out Hezbollah,” “to flatten Gaza so as to teach Hamas a lesson,” etc. They listened, and for the most part kept silent. But during the last month of violence in Gaza, when the atrocities crowded their Facebook pages, along with denunciations of the IDF and its soldiers, they “liked” posts and perhaps even shared them and added a few words of their own. What used to be hidden is now exposed to the world. What the right wing views as Palestinian citizens’ disloyalty to the state, the IDF and its soldiers – and, worst of all, hope for the enemy’s victory – is now public knowledge.

And it is precisely here that the anti-Arab radical right lost it once and for all. The Kahanist hooligans in the street may have remained mute and helpless in the face of growing Arab economic power; but it cannot abide both their increased strength and their hostility to the IDF and the national narrative; all the more so when soldiers are dying. So it goes on the war path. It calls on the government to go all the way and kill Palestinians in Gaza in order to crush Hamas, while it goes to war itself against the Palestinians at home – the Palestinian citizens on our streets.

The same social network that made it possible to learn that one’s Palestinian colleague or pharmacist was not praying for an IDF victory (to put it mildly) enabled the radical right to organize quickly and effectively against Palestinian citizens and to demand their banishment from shared public space. In the best case, the demand targets those who were found not to be falling in line with the national narrative; very soon, however, as happens with every racist movement, the pressure grows into a call to throw them all out (such as the demand that the Rami Levy supermarket chain fire all its Arab workers).

Police arrest a Palestinian-Israeli protester during a demonstration against Operation Protective Edge in Haifa (photo: Activestills)

Police arrest a Palestinian-Israeli protester during a demonstration against Operation Protective Edge, July 18, 2014, Haifa, Israel (photo: Activestills)

The Knesset and the street join forces for a common cause

It is important for me to note that I am focusing on Jewish society’s responsibility for the deterioration in relations; however Arab society, too, bears some responsibility, although much less. Rocks were thrown at Jewish vehicles in the last month in a few places. It is important to mention that some of the statements against the state by Arab political leaders, although legitimate, critically impair the ability of those of us in a Jewish society who wish to promote equality and to recruit support for our efforts.

In a democratic state, one is permitted to argue that the basic ideology of the majority group – Zionism, in the Israeli case – is colonialist and racist. Personally, I object to these arguments, but they are certainly permissible. But it is not reasonable to expect that such charges will spur the Jewish majority to join the struggle for the rights of the Arab minority. The dismissals of Arab workers during the war were unacceptable; but Arab employees’ displays of joy at the death of soldiers, when they work with Jewish colleagues, is atrocious behavior, and certainly does not promote shared life between Jews and Arabs.

The summer of 2014 has demonstrated that the internal national conflict between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, which to date has been a non-violent conflict overshadowed by the occupation and the violent Israeli-Palestinian national conflict, has not been able to maintain the status quo, as bad as it was. Israel launched a military operation and the IDF bombed and shelled Palestinian citizens’ own people – in many cases their relatives – and ignored their familial, emotional, personal and national bonds with the Palestinians of Gaza. The fabric of relations within Israel proved unable to absorb this, and almost collapsed.

Thus three different factors came together this summer: the increased strength of Arab society and the greater presence of Palestinian citizens in shared spaces; the war in Gaza, which left the Arab and Jewish sectors totally polarized; and social media networks, which made all this visible.

And precisely at a time when these three factors were operating, the dangerous link-up between the radical right in the government and the even more radical right on the streets emerged and provided momentum for the escalation. In the past month right-wing politicians, including government ministers, have made unprecedented statements against Palestinian citizens of Israel. They have exploited their identification with the Palestinians under bombardment in Gaza to incite against them and to depict them as supporters of terrorism. The High Arab Follow-Up Committee’s decision to call for a general strike in solidarity with the victims in Gaza was a legitimate and non-violent response. But in response the Israeli foreign minister proposed a boycott of Arab businesses that took part in the strike and to cause a severe blow to the Arab economy.

And here Lieberman and the Kahanist hooligans on the streets complement one another. While some burst into a neighborhood pharmacy and demand that the Arab woman behind the counter be fired; Liberman operates on a much grander scale and seeks to expel Arabs from the centers of economic power, or at least to return them to their “natural” role as manual laborers. For years politicians have been trying to expel several Arab parliamentarians from the Knesset; this year, for the first time, they registered a partial success. Meanwhile, their supporters in the street are trying to have the voters who elected these MKs fired from their jobs. The process is not preplanned and coordinated, but it is a combined operation in which both elements – the Kahanists in the street and some politicians of the radical right – are inciting and working in tandem, in different arenas, in pursuit of the same goal. This collaboration makes the situation even worse by making it much harder to curb. The assault against Palestinian citizens is taking place in the Knesset, in the government, on social networks, in the media and, of course, also on the streets.

Right-wing protesters shouting slogans at Palestinians during riots that irrupted following the finding of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1st, 2014. The riots broke during the funerals of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16-year-old, that were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. A few right-wing persons were arrested during the riots. (Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

Right-wing protesters shouting slogans at Palestinians during riots that erupted following the discovery of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1, 2014. The riots broke during the funerals of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, who were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. A few right-wing protestors were arrested during the riots. (Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

Where do we go from here?

About a month ago I wrote: “I have not given up hope. I still believe that there can be a better future for the relationship between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.” I added that history has proven that “ethnic conflicts far more intransigent and violent than this one have been resolved, while conflicts that seemed mild have declined into bloodshed. All options are on the table.”

Today the situation is much more ominous. The optimistic scenario is that this period will be seen in retrospect as the extreme right wing’s rearguard action, its last hoorah before the failure of its campaign against the establishment of a shared and equal society in Israel. Much more horrendous scenarios are possible, of course: the expulsion of the Arab minority from the Israeli economy and society, or harsher discrimination. It is even possible that the Arab sector may revolt against absorbing the blows and resort to a fierce counter-reaction, which, heaven forbid, would trigger a violent battle between Jews and Arabs in Israel. I do not think this scenario is likely, but it can no longer be dismissed as wholly unthinkable.

The harsh news for all of us who are working to create a shared and equal society is that our past successes – the strengthening of Arab society and the creation of shared spaces –are precisely what encouraged the counter-reaction. Even if, by means of a supreme effort, we are able to prevent deterioration in the coming years and manage to promote Arab participation in the centers of social and economic power in Israel, the radical right will mobilize all its forces to try to halt this process. We will have to continue to build a shared society, but now we will also have to prepare for the reaction. In addition to our investment in building, we will also have to invest in preparing our response to this counterattack.

If we, Jewish and Arab citizens who seek a better and shared future in this land, choose life, we have no alternative: We must prepare ourselves for a difficult and protracted struggle. It is in our hands. No one else will do it for us.

Ron Gerlitz (ron@sikkuy.org.il) is the co-executive director of Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality.

Related:
For Palestinians in Jerusalem, to strike or not to strike?
Not just escalation: A frightening new era of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel
The Israeli media’s hit job on MK Haneen Zoabi

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    COMMENTS

    1. Pedro X

      “The Palestinian Arabs are merely trying to regain with patience what was stolen from them in 1948, and one day, the zionists will be restored back to Brooklyn, Belarus, Poland etc in order to free Palestine.”

      This is what it always comes back to, the 1948 war ledger. Arabs refuse to acknowledge the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Mideast and hope to destroy Israel and empty the country of its Jewish people by sending them back into exile or worse back to Arab countries.

      Kalejs can wish it all he or she wants, but Israel is here to stay. Any individual Jew or Arab is free to leave if he does not like living in Israel. I can ensure you that very few Jews or Arabs would choose to go back to Syria, Yemen, Iraq or Lebanon to be slaughtered. Do not forget that half of Israel’s Jewish population is made up of Jews and their families who used to live in Arab countries before 1948.

      If Arab Israelis want good relations with their Jewish brothers and sisters they will show tolerance and not choose to hold violent riots nor seek to boycott Jewish businesses. If they want to close their shops to support Hamas terrorism against Israel, maybe other Israelis may boycott or demonstrate against them. Thank goodness there are more Israeli Arabs in Israel who try to prevent provocative and violent demonstrations against Jews and the Israeli state than those that plan and encourage them.

      Reply to Comment
    2. CigarButNoNice

      One day the Arab settler-colonists stealing the Land of Israel from its indigenous people, the Jewish nation, will be restored back to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman etc. in order to free the Land of Israel. This separation is necessary because thief and victim cannot live together.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Mikesailor

      One of the silliest arguments promulgated by Zionist hasbaristas is the idea that somehow, European Jews are the indigenous people of Palestine. While some Jews fled the land in 70 AD, many more stayed. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a Palestinian Talmud etc. After the Romans left, the Diaspora didn’t attempt to return. instead remaining in Europe and other parts of the world until the twentieth century. What did the Zionists think? That there was “NO TRESPASSING” signs put up around the area? Especially when one considers that the borders of ancient Israel were almost as ill- or non-defined as the present day “state”. Cigar is almost correct. It seems that the victim and thief cannot live together but it is the European immigrants, the twentieth century invaders who are the thieves. In fact, the Moslem, Christian and Jewish populations in the province of Palestine lived together in relative peace for centuries until that xenophobic excuse for a journalist Hertzl came up with the misbegotten idea of a “Judenstadt” as an answer to European nationalsism and the accompanying emancipation of the Jews. The fear of “assimilation”, of being full-fledged memebers of secular states is what drove Zionism in reality. Unfortunately it has become more virulently racist and xenophobic over the decades.

      Reply to Comment
      • Michael W

        Mike, you are very ill informed about Herzl. Are you aware of that? Have you ever read Judenstaat or Altneuland?

        Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        “…European Jews…”

        One of the most malicious and revisionist yarns spun by the anti-Zionists is the racialist fiction where Zionism is made to be a 19th-century White European settler-colonial movement. This papering of their wish to deny Jewish national rights by putting a tissue of anti-white racial theory over it is despicable.

        “In fact, the Moslem, Christian and Jewish populations in the province of Palestine lived together in relative peace for centuries…”

        Um, no, unless you define “peaceful” as cowed into submission under Islam’s apartheid system (dhimmi status for Jews and Christians).

        Zionism is Jewish nationalism; Jewishness not being defined by race, Zionism has nothing to do with race either. Jews of Sephardic, Yemenite, Ethiopian and European extraction are all Jews (yes, I know there are problems; physician in America, heal thyself). White-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed Arabs in the Galilee and black Bedouins in the Negev (descendants of slaves from Zanzibar) are all Arabs. Race has nothing to do with this conflict; bringing race into this is nothing but a demonstration of the Western Left’s parochialism.

        “The Jewish theft of land not belonging to them…”

        By definition, the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews—any Jew—as they are the indigenous people of it. By definition, no part of the Land of Israel belongs to the Arabs, for their indigenous territory is the Arabian Peninsula; in the Land of Israel, the Arabs are the settler-colonist land-thieves and must evacuate their illegal holdings for the sake of a just and viable peace. No justice, no peace!

        Reply to Comment
        • BR

          “Zionism has nothing to do with race either”

          I agree; other than the fact that it’s a racist ideology.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn8

      Yeah, Israeli Jews are upset that the death of their brothers and sisters in uniform will be celebrated by their Israeli Arab neighbors and colleagues. Go figure. It must be the Kahanist racist Jews that think this way. What strange creatures.

      The Israeli Arab public has consistently taken the position that it desires the destruction of Israel and is perfectly willing to live with the consequences on their Jewish neighbors that entails, such as massacre and expulsion. In every war that Israel has faced the Israeli Arab public has publicly supported the other side. Every Israeli attempt to defend itself has been criticized by the leaders of the Israeli Arab public.

      This position was ignored while the interactions between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews were uncommon. Israeli Jews, for the most part, presumed that the Israeli Arab leaders do not speak for their people. However now that the Israeli Arab public is integrating into the Israeli job market, the Israeli Jews are exposed to how much most Israeli Arabs really wish to see them defeated and how much they support those that insist on destroying Israel. There are very few illusions left in the Israeli Jewish public that peaceful coexistence with Israeli Arabs is indeed possible, worse yet is the realization that growing economic power among Israeli Arabs radicalizes that population to be further anti-Israeli rather than making it come to terms with Israel.

      Israeli Arabs that side with Israel’s enemies have no future in the State of Israel. Israeli Arabs are going to have to choose. Either they choose to become a part of the State of Israel, which at the least consists of not supporting those that wish to destroy it, or they can leave.

      Reply to Comment
      • Israel’s Palestinian citizens know that in spite of the injustices that their community do have to endure the majority still have a better life than their neighbours. They have been good citizens contributing much to the country. They want to remain as citizens but – understandably – without facing discimination in law or fact. also understandably, they want their fellow Palestinians to be free of oppression from Israel. I find that most people who fail to understand how well integrated into society most Israeli Arabs are have rarely if ever been to Israel. Or they refuse to acknowledge any reality that does not comply with their political ideology.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Mikesailor

      For MikeW; Yes, I’ve read Herzl. And it is based upon multiple untruths and racist philosophy. Why do you think the French Jews basically disowned Herzl who thought they would all jump at the chance to “emigrate” to Palestine because of Dreyfus? Could it be that they saw non-Jews fighting for justice for a Jew? I wonder how often we see the reverse absent a infintesimally few hardy souls in Israel? And why did Zionism rear its ugly head only after the emancipation of the Jews in the West? When they were second-class citizens, mass emigration (Zionism) wasn’t even dreamt of.
      As for Kolumn: The destruction of the racist ideal of a “Jewish” state is what the Israeli Arabs want. A “state of all its citizens”, with equal rights and responsibilities for all those boorn or naturalized. Along with an end to the automatic grant of citizenry to only Jews with no relationship to the country other than a mistake of birth or conversion. They understand what apparently you do not: that nobody is leaving. Therefore a secular state is required to end both the occupation and most of the hostility. Those who want a “Jewish” state are the problem, for by defining a state thusly they disenfranchise those not of the same religious persuasion. There are not two narratices to this mess, only one. The Jewish theft of land not belonging to them and their brutal treatment of the indigenous inhabitants from forced “transfer” to outright murder. Nothing more and nothing less.

      Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        “A ‘state of all its citizens’, with equal rights and responsibilities for all those boorn or naturalized.”

        Multiculturalism. The world is moving away from this suicidal paradigm in favor of the nation-exclusive state where members of the nation are guaranteed security from demographic encroachment by means of exclusive political rights.

        Not all nation-states will so change; in that case, their resident nations will not survive, being demographically overwhelmed by immigrants. See Londonistan, Birmingham or Marseilles for examples. Or better, look what happened to once majority-Christian Lebanon.

        And no, I don’t care how politically incorrect those ideas are. National survival is a higher value than the lofty but suicidal cosmopolitanism of the Left, which serves only to make the world safe for Islamic imperialism.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ray

          You sound like the right-wing nutbars we make fun of here in the States. You and your countrymen live in a parallel dimension.

          Reply to Comment
          • Exactly.

            Cigarbutt can’t conceive of co-existence because he’s a common garden racist. A Zionist supporter too, of course…

            Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Mikesailor

        You are a lying, hating racist, ignorant fool.

        Reply to Comment
      • Michael W

        MikeS, your analysis of the Dreyfus Affair is in conflict with all other sources I’ve ever read. Herzl saw the Affair as a failure of French society, liberal Europe, of accepting assimilated Jews. Thus the conclusion that even emancipation and assimilation can’t protect Jews in Europe. Herzl didn’t fear assimilation (he was secular). He just concluded that it wasn’t a shield against antisemitism.

        What did Herzl say that was xenophobic? And how was Herzl against a “state of all its citizens”?

        Herzl: “It would be immoral if we would exclude anyone, whatever his origin, his descent, or his religion, from participating in our achievements.”

        Reply to Comment
    6. The Trespasser

      Given that ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestine’ are mutually exclusive toponyms, in is not possible to discuss well-being of ‘Palestinian citizens of Israel’ due to complete lack of thereof.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Mikesailor

      Gustav: Your ad hominem attcks are nothing but seet music to my ears. Your comments exhibit you intellectual capacity…or lack thereof. As to MichaelW: the upshot of l’affaire Dreyfus was that it showed that non-Jews, such as Emile Zola, would risk their livelihoods, reputations and even their own liberty pursuing justice for a Jewish captain in the French army. That is why the French Jews basically told Herzl to take a hike when he posited that they should all leave France for Palestine. And Herzl never forgave them. The question is still: Why did the “Jewish” question loom so large only AFTER the emancipation of the Jews? Why wasn’t such an idea of emigration a major part of Jewish discourse before that time? Was it because a Jewish nationalism was not seen as necessary or desirable? And, if so, why or why not? These are the questions hasbaristas run from in droves for they hold a mirror up to “reality” they have created out of whole cloth. And the one thing they truly hate is objective reality.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Gustav

      “Gustav: Your ad hominem attcks are nothing but seet music to my ears.”

      Enjoy the facts that I and others tell you. I am happy to oblige you Mikesailor.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Gustav

      Oh and Mikesailor, the French Jews did not reject Herzl. It is a fact of life though that some diaspora Jews, not just the French ones, did not have the stomach to return to Palestine because life in Palestine was harsh and they faced as much hatred there from Arabs as they did in Europe.

      As for Emil Zola, kudos to him. He was a decent man. Nor was he or is he alone. There are good and bad people amongst all nations. Unfortunately, Mikesailor, you are an example of the bad ones.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Mikesailor

      Gustav: I rest my case. The French Jews rejected Herzl for the likes of Zola. Now, tell me: Where are the Jewish Zolas? Why don’t they have the same influence with Israelis as Zola had with the French? Absent a few hardy souls writing in 972, I have yet to hear Jews call for transparent investigations of the Palestinians shot by Israeli snipers in May. Nor have I heard a Jewsih outcry over Netanyahu’s false statement about Hamas ordering the shooting of the Darwin Award nominees shot in the West Bank. Why were they “studying” at a yeshive in an illegal settlement known for ‘price tag’ operations and why does any parent allow 15 year-olds to hitchike in such an area? Why were Hamas sympathizers arrested en masse in the West Bank with many still not released? How much hypocrisy can you stomach? Or is your faith in the myths and lies too much to not bear? After all, you may be excommunicated by the tribe if you think for yourself.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Gustav: I rest my case. The French Jews rejected Herzl for the likes of Zola.”

        You can try and rest your case but you are wrong. The French Jews in general have not rejected Herzl. You ignored entirely what I said.

        “Now, tell me: Where are the Jewish Zolas?”

        There are plenty of Jewish Zolas when you compare apples with apples. But you compare apples with oranges.

        Now tell me this. What are you trying to say? Jews without exception are evil?

        “Why don’t they have the same influence with Israelis as Zola had with the French?”

        Show me a case when in Israel someone gets dragged out and accused of treason unjustifiably and on trumped up charges. And I will show you many Israelis with influence to stop it and who don’t even let it to proceed.

        “Absent a few hardy souls writing in 972”

        There were not too many Zolas running around in France either during the Dreyfus affair. The rest of them were too busy yelling “death to the Jews”. They were a bit like you, Mikesailor.

        “I have yet to hear Jews call for transparent investigations of the Palestinians shot by Israeli snipers in May.

        Could it be because they already investigated things and they proved no guilt?

        The problem with you, Mikesailor is for you, transparent investigations mean an unconditional guilty verdict no matter what. Because of your hate of Jews, you are a hanging judge when it comes to Jews.

        If you would have been a one of the judges, Mikesailor, you would have found Dreyfus guilty because he was Jewish.

        “Nor have I heard a Jewsih outcry over Netanyahu’s false statement about Hamas ordering the shooting”

        Netanyahu’s statement was not false. But yours IS.

        “of the Darwin Award nominees shot in the West Bank.”

        Aha, that says it all. You fully approve of the murder of kids just because they were at a place you don’t approve them to be at. You need professional help, Mikesailor.

        “Why were they “studying” at a yeshive in an illegal settlement”

        The “settlements” are only illegal in the eyes of self interested apologists for Arabs (oil lovers and petro dollar addicts) and Jew haters like you.

        “known for ‘price tag’ operations”

        Price tag operations? That says it all. To haters like you, when Jews react to being attacked, that is the wrongful act. Not the provocations which bring it on. The attack against Jews is normal and acceptable.

        (By the way, nevertheless, I consider pricetag attacks to be pointless and stupid. But I do understand that they are not unprovoked).

        “and why does any parent allow 15 year-olds to hitchike in such an area?”

        Why indeed? What are you trying to say though? That palestinians are blameless for the murder of Jewish kids? And that it is all the fault of the Jewish parents?

        “Why were Hamas sympathizers arrested en masse in the West Bank with many still not released?

        Why should they be released? So they could murder more Jews for you?

        “How much hypocrisy can you stomach? Or is your faith in the myths and lies too much to not bear?”

        Not much, I hate YOUR hypocrisy, that’s why I bother to respond to you.

        “After all, you may be excommunicated by the tribe if you think for yourself.”

        We don’t practice excommunications. You are thinking of Catholics whom you probably hate too.

        Or could it be that you are thinking of Muslims who issue Fatwas against people who say things that they don’t like to hear. Have you heard of Salman Rushdie and what they did to him after he wrote his book about the Prophet Muhammad?

        Reply to Comment
    11. Mikesailor

      Frankly Gustav, I left you with some questions to think about. Which of coures, you showed once again that you either can’t or won’t think unless someone else thinks for you first. There are a few intrepid souls of whom Zola would be proud: Gideon Levy, Amira Hass, Larry Derfner, Mairav Zonsein to name just a few. They are dismayed by the injustice and what, in their view Zionism has become. I,on the other hand, believe that the putrid flower that is modern Zionism had a misbegotten seed and was destined to become what is evident: a racist, brutal, aenopphobic ideology with no redeemeing qualities. Am I blaming all Jews? Of course not. Only those who support this monster. For it has followed a well-trodden path predicted by not only present day Zolas. but those prescient ecough to see the inevitable: Magnes and Einstein to name two. As the fascists move more and more to the fore, the lessons so painfully gained about the nature of exclusivist nationalism gone wild in the twentieth century, those of Germany and Italy; repeated on a smaller scale more recently in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda, loom large. Israel can proudly take its place among them.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Gustav

      “Frankly Gustav, I left you with some questions to think about.”

      I responded to every question that you raised. You on the other hand ignored my points.

      “Which of coures, you showed once again that you either can’t or won’t think unless someone else thinks for you first.”

      You, think for me, Mikesailor? You are joking of course. But it isn’t a good joke.

      “There are a few intrepid souls of whom Zola would be proud: Gideon Levy”

      He is a joke like you.

      “Amira Hass,”

      She is a joke like you.

      “Larry Derfner,”

      The best that I can say for him is that he is misguided.

      “Mairav Zonsein to name
      just a few.”

      The best that I can say for her is that she is misguided.

      “They are dismayed by the injustice and what, in their view Zionism has become.”

      Really? But I bet you could not tell me what would be their solution to Arab hatred of us and to their unwillingness to negotiate a solution which would leave us in a non vulnerable state. The best that they can suggest for us is total capitulation to all Arab demands. 99.9% of Israelis and Jews worldwide say a resounding NO to that.

      “I,on the other hand, believe that the putrid flower that is modern Zionism had a misbegotten seed and was destined to become what is evident: a racist, brutal, aenopphobic ideology with no redeemeing qualities.”

      That statement says more about your racism than about what you claim Zionism to be.

      “Am I blaming all Jews? Of course not.”

      Yes, I know you prefer the 0.5% of us who at best, can be described as misguided. Every people have those types too. Those who prefer unconditional surrender to the rights of their own people.

      “Only those who support this monster.”

      In other word you hate 99.5% of us because not only most of us Israeli Jews support Zionism but most diaspora Jews support it too even though they have not made the decision to make Aliyah. The funny (or maybe not so funny) thing is that haters like you will probably eventually force them to make the move because they will fear for their safety. In France it is already beginning to happen.

      “For it has followed a well-trodden path predicted by not only present day Zolas.”

      Zola said nothing about Zionism. He said a lot though about antiSemitism. And since he was against that, I am sure he would not have been against modern Zionism which was a reaction to antiSemitism.

      “but those prescient ecough to see the inevitable: Magnes and Einstein to name two.”

      Really? Then how do you explain Einstein’s reaction to the state of Israel when it was recognized?

      “When President Harry Truman recognized Israel in May 1948, Einstein declared it “the fulfillment of our (Jewish) dreams.”[24] ”

      “As the fascists move more and more to the fore, the lessons so painfully gained about the nature of exclusivist nationalism gone wild in the twentieth century, those of Germany and Italy; repeated on a smaller scale more recently in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda, loom large. Israel can proudly take its place among them.”

      Funny how you forgot to mention Arab nationalism like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, ISIS etc. or even the nationalism and racism practiced even in the few secular Arab regimes which are gradually being overturned by more virulent exclusivist theocracies.

      And we live in the middle of that in a state of war nearly for 100 years.

      Now, tell us about how “tolerant” European or even American societies were during your great wars. Let me give you a few hints, you practiced:

      – censorship

      – internment of your own citizens who came from enemy countries.

      – executions or Jailings of those whom you called traitors (google Lord Haw Haw and Tokyo Rose). And you did that at the END of your war as an act of retribution.

      We are nowhere near as strident as any of you lot were during your wars of survival. Yet we are still at war surrounded by a sea of hatred but you expect us to behave as if we live in the Middle of Scandinavia and in peace.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Gustav

      @Mikesailor

      Have a talk to your idols here at + 972. I tried to post (several times) a detailed response to your latest one but they seem to be extremely reluctant to publish it.

      Obviously, tolerance to opposing points of view is not their forte. I hope they won’t complain about right wingers giving them their own medicine elsewhere. At this rate, I will change my mind and will advocate restrictions on left wingers which to date I opposed because I believe in democracy. But what is good for the goose is good for the gander, in that too I always believed. That is why I side with Bibi about Hamas and their ilk.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Gustav

      I take it back. Now they published it after a very long delay.

      Oh well, better late than never.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Jacob

      It’s quite perverse to see what Israel has come to. This is exactly what Jews in diaspora experienced…so long as they were at the bottom of the social hierarchy in their host society, nobody minded. But once some Jews became wealthy and successful, the anti-Semitic bile began to rise. Who would have known that once Jews themselves attained dominance that they would end up doing the same to others?

      Reply to Comment
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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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