Just saw this article, which really disturbs me as a human being and also as a resident of Tel Aviv. The Israelis who frightened these people so much that they had to move away from their jobs should be prosecuted in court—no doubt! It is too often in this country that we hear stories about racism, not only in institutional policies but on a personal social level as well.
Yes, some things don't change
When you say some things never change Dan. What do you mean? I can take an educated guess. But I would prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt. From my perspective I would agree some things don't change, i.e. those with power in society be they Jewish-Israelis, European Americans, European Australians (at a group level at the worst) tend to minimise the pain or suffering occurring to marginalised groups within their society eg the social prejudice towards of Palestinian-Israelis, African and Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, asylum seekers etc.. That is not to ignore the marginalisation within certain dominant groups (ie the poverty found within the Jewish-Isralei community, European American or European Australia community), but it is to remember the broader spread of discrimination between communities.
Forgetting the context - the problem with Alex Safian's 1997 article
You will note in the Alex's piece my research identified similar figures in terms of land distribution by the ILA. However, what is missing in Safian's article is the context. A fifth of the population in Israel is Arab [Palestinian-Israeli]. Do we see a fifth of leases in Israel being made out to Arabs? If not why not? What percentage of arable land in Israel is leased to Arab-Israelis? What percentage of residential land is leased out to Arab-Israelis?
The real reason for cheap land in Rahat
Safian gives the example of cheap land for Bedouin in Rahat. Now why is that? Affirmative action? Generosity of the state? Or how about the state's desire to lure in Bedouin off their traditional lands? Or a desire to lure Bedouin-Israelis from lands where they have been living since they were forced to move after 1948? When this does not work then forcible evictions occur as in the case of al-Arakib
The fundamental problem with writers like Alex Safian is they just don't get the history of Palestinian people. Instead of trying to acknowledge the trauma of both communities - Jewish and Palestinian alike - he and others of his ilk just try and minimise or demonise the other. Safian's writing on CAMERA continues to miss the harm that occupation does towards Palestinians and Israelis alike. Until he gets that we will get the same myopic view presented above.
Alex Safian's original 1997 article
"A fifth of the population in Israel is Arab [Palestinian-Israeli]. Do we see a fifth of leases in Israel being made out to Arabs?
We also do not see 1/5 of the workforce in Israel being Arab, they make up less then 1/5 of the Kenesset, We don't see 1/5 of the army Arab, way more then 1/5 of children born in Israel are Arab, they do not pay 1/5 of the property taxes.
Whats you point. Israeli Arabs who have decided to embrace the Israeli culture, Israeli society have been quite successful, trust me I have many Arab friend who have nice big homes in the center of teh country with high paying jobs. Many Israeli Arabs segregate themselves from Israeli society, do not vote, live in villages they grew up in have many children and dont go for higher education. similar to teh ultra orthodox community in Israel. This separation has its price. and yes, I believe there is still discrimination against Arabs by individuals. But on a whole Israeli Arabs have more rights earn a better living than a large majority of the arabs in the Mideast, something usually not mentioned.
The fact this population for example does not have to do any form of national service, whether it be in teh army or just working in a hospital or education, like all Israelis are required is a pity. The fact that in most Arab villages there is almost no property tax, is a shame (thats why their communities look like they do). The fact that there is no Arab part who fights for the rights of Arab citizen independent of politics is just sad.
I believe better equality is needed but, I compare teh situation to that of the blacks in the US. Those who get out of the inner city, make an effort can go very far, even be president. And in teh US there is also racism but there is no such laws in US or Israel. Israeli law give equal righst to all it citizens...
How many Arab countries can say that? Are the Israeli Arabs as a whole really worse of than any other group of Arabs in teh mideast. i would contend that they have it much, much better.... While Palestinians lie in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, do they have rights? what percent of land leased there belongs to them? Why are they teh only people in refugee camps in over 60 years (at the time 10's of millions were in such camps, all other have been settled since.
These attacks of racism are honestly a bit of a joke relative to the surrounding countries, which no one here really has anything bad to say about. The rights of Suni's Iran or Syria. The Christians in Gaza or Egypt. women and gays throughout the arab world. what percent of leased land do they have?
I am all for equal rights in Israel for all its citizens and thank god the law supports that, now its just up for Jewish and Arab societies to get rid of their own discrimination from within.
Comparing 'apples with apples' as a means to understand the plight of Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinians under Occupation
It is good that we agree that discrimination:
It is good we agree that Arab countries are most definitely part of the problem because of the corruption, anti-semitism and anti-democratic practices and human rights abuses (just as Israel is a part of the problem, as is Hamas and Fatah).
However, in terms of disagreement, one area relates to our line of reasoning. The argument that 'Palestinian-Israelis have it better off than in other Arab lands...therefore what's the problem?' may present some shaky conclusions. If this same line of reasoning was used in the US or Australian context we would get the following callous result: "African Americans have it better off than in Nigeria or the Congo or Sudan , so what are they complaining about?" Or "Aboriginal Australians have it better off than slum children in Mumbai so what have they to worry about?"
In the 80s a pro-apartheid South African would have used the same reasoning - "the blacks have it better off in South Africa than in Zimbabwe, so what is the problem? And further...mind your own business. You've got problems with Aboriginals you fix that before you comment on 'our' blacks."
What is missing in the above line of reasoning is that they are not comparing like with like (apples with apples). The difference is Israel, the US and Australia are supposedly both first world countries reputedly based on the liberal democratic ideal. So trying to excuse the human deprivation and discrimination of marginalised communities within these wealthy countries by comparing it to regions that do not have the same economic resources or liberal ideal is not just pointless; it is misleading and potentially a form of disinformation (or propaganda).
When you do compare apples with apples you realise Palestinian-Israelis are getting a raw deal; and Palestinians living in the Occupied territories have put up with too much for too long and continue to be killed regardless if nonviolent protests are used.
"'Palestinian-Israelis have it better off than in other Arab lands...therefore what's the problem?' - was not my point or my conclusion at all. I said all discrimination should end but, I think those who "really" need help are the Arabs with "self-determination".
I just don't understand why Israel is always considered the big human rights abuser... When the UN human rights commity has 20 resolutions against Israel out of 25... You would that we were killing people in teh street yes, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, china, Cuba get no mention...does this make any sense?
"Palestinians living in the Occupied territories have put up with too much for too long and continue to be killed regardless if nonviolent protests are used." Really and the ones who blow themselves up and shoot rockets - in teh name of peace? Why not attack them for their huge civil rights abuses...ever or it is justified for freedom fighters... The whole double standard it riduculous...
You realize any Palestinian state will give teh Arabs a much worse situation then they have now... You know how women, gays, non-moslems are treated...is taht ok because they have self determination?
Once again there is a difference between state sanctioned Racism and that of a few nuts. i condemn it and will fight it in every way. Do you condemn the law that says selling land to Jews is a capital offence or do you want to try to "understand" it again......
There is much we agree on - HR abuses in Arab countries etc...but
Dan, there is plenty we agree about in terms of the present discrimination and human rights abuses occurring in Arab countries. You just have to look at the events in Egypt in recent days. And again I repeat my fears for the future Palestinian State. How will Palestine not become a South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya or Papua New Guinea? But what are the alternatives here? Another 20 years of occupation 30, 40 years? There have been too many Palestinians and Israelis who have lost their lives. The sooner the occupation ends the sooner the long road to state building begins - which will take decades and will involve instability and violence. But sadly, to build a new state this is what happens. To delay any further will only damage future generations.
The reason for our differences is because of our different experiences. I have spent the past decade writing on the conflict and meeting people from various sides. My deep sadness is the tendency of those who from either side of the fence going round in circles and deny any wrong-doing. They point the finger at some other country and say what about this one or that one as if that absolves any of the wrong they have committed. Please compare apples with apples.
Understanding how UN resolutions work
The UN has so many resolutions critical of Israel because that is something the the global community can agree on. People mistakenly misrepresent the quantity of UN resolutions against a country as a sign of the gravity of human rights abuses occurring in a country. No this is not how it works. All the quantity reflects is the uncontroversial political agreement on this issue. The situation in China, Congo, Iran, North Korea - these are places that the UN really needs to do some work. The problem is when countries like Israel ignore the UN resolutions why then should any one else follow them. Countries set a bad precedence by failing to follow UN resolutions (especially Security Council ones). The rule of law is in the best interests of Israel and her neighbours.
Look, I too want peace. But am afraid. i am scared. Israel has given Palestinians land, control, weapons and what it received was suicide bombings rockets and murder. You must understand, planes can be shot down from the Judean hills with a shoulder missile launcher - do I trust Palestinians taht will not allow that to happen. Beit jala was shooting are neighboring Gilo civilians. Do I trust that If i give away more land it will not happen all over teh country. Arabs have a horrible record of religious freedom for Jews in the holy land do I trust that giving them he Cave of the Patriarch will allow Jews to vistit and pray.
Israel has taken many chances for peace and they have been answer by Jihad Intifada and war. You know less people were killed 10 years before teh Oslo accords than 2 years after.
How can you ever expect Israel to trust Palestinians with their security?
Dan, I too am scared for the future. My point is that what are the alternatives? If we choose control we wind up as occupiers and complicit in the abuse of the human rights of another. This course of action prejudges all Palestinians as a threat and as a perpetrator. This is against everything that human rights, criminal law and liberal democracy stands for. [Remember how we were discussing the difference between lawful and unlawful discrimination - will this is classic unlawful discrimination (as it is solely based on nationality) but it is worse as it involves the occupation of a people].
If we choose to relinquish control and share power between two states this too will have unavoidable consequences ie further violence, right wing backlash. The reality is violence and death is inevitable in the short-term. There are too many people on the ground who have been hurt. But this violence is short-term. There is enough people with good will on both sides for peace to be found. It is generational, but it will be found.
Thesis - Empathising With the Enemy
" If we choose control we wind up as occupiers and complicit in the abuse of the human rights of another." - And if we give them a state and we have rockets on Tel-Aviv like on Sderot.... Our experience gives us no reason to trust it will not lead to long term blood shed. Other than the fact that you dont want to be an occupier, do you have any reason to believe that a state will bring peace?
Dan, you are an apologist for the prejudice against
Arab-Israelis when you say that it is worse in certain countries. Well, it was worse in South Africa for blacks than it was in the United States in 1975. That didn't make the prejudice non-existent.
I don't really think that Jordanians who are Christian have a hard time getting a building permit to build a home. Anyway, Israelis claim to have a democracy not a dictatorship. It's sine qua non that a so-called democracy is supposed to treat its citizens better.
I don't really think Syrian Christians or Jordanian Christians are treated worse than Arab Israelis, and they live under dictatorships.
"Arab-Israelis when you say that it is worse in certain countries. Well, it was worse in South Africa for blacks than it was in the United States in 1975. That didn't make the prejudice non-existent. "
I agree and condemn racism in every way... my point was that this is not racism built into the law... All I said is that the Arabs in Israel have more rights than the ones in pretty much every Arab country... They are the ones whop "really" need your help.
"I don't really think Syrian Christians or Jordanian Christians are treated worse than Arab Israelis, and they live under dictatorships". - Really? how long do you think they would go to prision in Syria if they said anything publically bad against Assad, or wrote in the papers some deamonizing remarkes against King Husein? Other than human right, self determination and freedom of expression, maybe you are right...
BTW...Palestinians in Jordan and Suni in Syria have governmental discrimination built in.... they could only dream of the freedom Israeli Arabs have in Israel....
Thank you Daniel for this post, please read carefully what I'm going to tell you. The Palestinians understands well that the Samaritans are different from the Jews living in Israel, I mean the Jews living in Israel carry guns, guard the checkpoints, shoot people, torture prisoners, and I don't mean by that all the Israelis, like there is many Palestinians have guns and ready to do the same if they had the chance to do so, anyway, the Samaritans do not do that and they live at peace with the Palestinians, they even share nearly the same problem with them, like curfews bombing and even they have relatives in Israeli's prisons.
Tow of my Samaritan's friends are working with me, Reem & Linda in Nablus health directorate, We even share the salute in our different occasions like holidays & Shabat Shalom.
When I was young I used to go to their house to turn off the Electricity because as you know religious Jews never touches Electricity or even eat meat on Saturday.
They share the schools & Universities with us, never felt themselves less than the Palestinians in anyway of life. Samaritans are well know about their capability of using magic and occultism, so many Palestinians uses their help to fix certain things in their lives like saving a crashing marriage, finding a good job etc.
At the end, all I wanna say is that whatever you are, whatever religion you believe in you are always welcome in our community.
Racism does not exist in our community because we don't want it, you also should try that at yours, we need to change from the inside to change what's outside.
For me I used mepeace to convince people of the importance of living at peace and free without a fight.
wish you the best my friend,