4. Israel and the A-Word

Nov-09-2012 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: Regular readers will have noticed a decrease in Israel articles: that’s mostly caused by Haaretz charging for links. But they now allow access to ten free articles a month… and the Gideon Levy analysis of the Israeli attitudinal survey is worth reading. Meanwhile Netanyahu and Lieberman have mined forces, and an upcoming election looms. Interesting times in the Middle East, as always….

* It’s Official, Most Israelis Want To Live In An ‘Apartheid State’ Mondoweiss

In the United States nothing stops a conversation on Israel shorter than dropping the “A” word, “apartheid.” Literally millions are spent to counter events like “Israel Apartheid Week,” and there are pro-Israel advocacy groups and public relations firms whose raison d’être is presenting the Jewish “democracy” as more democratic than anywhere else in the Middle East. “Where in the Middle East do Jews and Arabs Play Together?” asks one billboard by the San Francisco-based Blue Star PR—“Only in Israel.”

But according to a new poll by an Israeli data firm a majority of Israelis don’t want to play—or study, live, eat or drive anywhere near an Arab. Rather, they want an Apartheid state.

In two articles by Gideon Levy published today in Haaretz the results of a survey by Dialog are presented: 58% of Israeli Jews believe Israel practices apartheid in the West Bank, and they are fine with that. In fact Israelis are so comfortable with institutionalized discrimination that a third said they do not want Palestinians citizens of Israel to have the right to vote and 69% do not think Palestinians in the West Bank deserve to vote in the case of Israel annexing the occupied territory.

* Meet the Israelis Gideon Levy Harretz

Nice to make your acquaintance, we’re racist and pro-apartheid. The poll whose results were published in Haaretz on Tuesday, conducted by Dialog and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, proved what we always knew, if not so bluntly. It’s important to recognize the truth that has been thrown in our faces and those of the world (where the survey is making waves ). But it’s even more important to draw the necessary conclusions from it.

Given the current reality, making peace would be an almost anti-democratic act: Most Israelis don’t want it. A just, egalitarian society would also violate the wishes of most Israelis: That, too, is something they don’t want. They’re satisfied with the racism, comfortable with the occupation, pleased with the apartheid; things are very good for them in this country. That’s what they told the pollsters.(Includes poll results.)

 * Calling Israel’s Discrimination What it Is Rabbi Brant Rosen Shalom Rav

Forward columnist Philologos recently took the Israeli daily Ha’aretz to task for using the term “apartheid” in its reporting on a poll that showed most Israelis support discrimination against Arab citizens. “Apartheid” and mere discrimination are two very different things, Philologos claimed. He suggested that Ha’aretz should be censured for using such a damning epithet.

Philologos went on to define what he sees the critical difference between “apartheid” and “discrimination.” The former refers to “the systematic segregation of one people, race or group from another,” while the latter means “the systematic favoring of one people, race or group over another, such as exists in numerous countries around the world today.” And while Israel may practice regrettable discrimination against its Arab citizens, he claimed it was a “lie” to suggest that it is in any way an apartheid state.

While Philologos may be a fine linguist, his knowledge of international human rights law is sorely lacking….

At the end of the day, it really is academic whether we choose to label this kind of policy — and many others like it — to be “discrimination,” “institutional racism” or “apartheid.”

The real question before us not what to call it. For Jews who purport to cherish human rights, the right question is: what are we willing to do about it? 



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