Among Jewish respondents, 55 percent support the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel and 78 percent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government. According to a Haifa University study, 74 percent of Jewish youths in Israel think that Arabs are "unclean."Actually, I checked that last statistic, because I wanted to see what Hebrew word for "unclean" was used. The Haifa study is from 2004 and covered 1600 high school students in Israel. 69% of the Jewish students think that Arabs are not smart, 75% that they are not educated, 75% that they are not cultured, and 74% that they are not clean (nekiyim). 75% of the students think that they are violent. According to the ACRI report, studies of Israel media show that Arab citizens are portrayed negatively, as threats, and in a stereotypical fashion. Apologists for Israel will cite as mitigating factors the ongoing conflict, security concerns, the second intifada and the rocket attacks on Sderot, etc., etc, thus displaying their own racist tendencies to lump together all Arabs (citizens, terrorists, Hamasniks, etc.) in the same category. The truth is that much of this racism is independent of the security situation, but follows inevitably and inexorably from how most Jews in Israel conceive of the Jewish state. I would like to make this point clear. Not all varieties of Zionism are racist, some are not racist at all; some are blatantly racist, and some are implicitly racist. The political Zionism enshrined in the State of Israel founding dogmas is at best implicitly racist, at worse explicitly and unabashedly racist. By "racism" here I mean bigotry against a certain ethnic group/people, though not necessarily on purely racial ground. If you define Israel as a state of the Jewish people, you have excluded non-Jews from the nation belonging to the state, be they "citizens" or not. So it doesn't take a leap of logic to contemplate excluding non-Jewish political parties from the parliament of the Jewish state, especially if they are not willing to mind their place but wish to assert their rights. Liberal talk of a "demographic threat," where the threat is from the citizens of the state, is likewise racist. It is thus not surprising that most of the country suppots the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel. I am not saying that this is necessary; if the Arabs knew their place and kept to it, allowing their rights to be trampled upon, then the Israeli Jews would have no difficulty. Israeli racism is not eliminative racism; it allows Palestinians to live and to flourish provided that they know their place and don't get too uppity. Of course, many Israelis I know really don't mind being called racist, since they see nothing wrong with being racist with respect to Arabs. To ACRI's poll, they will reply, "Big deal." Still, I am told that in Israel and elsewhere there are still Jewish liberals who are troubled by these surveys. Perhaps they will say that increased racism, like massive violations of human rights, is the troubling, but necessary price to pay for a Jewish ethnic state.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
ACRI: Israeli Racism at Record Highs
The Association of Citizen Rights in Israel published its annual report, in which it claims that Israeli racism is at an all-time high. You can read about in Haaretz here. The report is available in Hebrew here; I couldn't find an English translation of it yet. The report focuses on various discriminated sectors in the Israeli population, but leading them all, is, of course, the Israeli Palestinians. The report "notes a 26-percent rise in the number of racist incidents against Arabs and twice as many Jews reporting a feeling of hate towards Arabs."