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December 12, 2007 7:31 PM   Subscribe

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel says in its annual report that Israel has reached "new heights of racism". Embedded WMV video, article, and, typically for Ha'aretz, some very interesting reader comments.

Another report, the Israeli Democracy Institute's 2007 Democracy Index (pdf), reveals the Jewish State to be sharply divided. A majority of Israelis believe that relations are "not good" between rich and poor, between Jews and Arabs, between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, between "new immigrants" and "old timers", and between secular and religious Jews. 51% of Israeli Arabs think that Jews are racist; 55% of Israeli Jews think that Arabs "will not reach the cultural standards of Jews". Only 59% of citizens consider themselves to be "part of Israel", compared to 79% in 2003.
posted by stammer (30 comments total)

 
I am not sure what the poster means by "typically for Haaretz" interesting reader comments.
1. typically reader comments are always interesting?
2. interesting because they are left wing, as is the paper they appear in?
3. interesting because the the person posting the link finds comments in this paper usually interesting.

But this is nit picking and so dear commenters, let the fun begin
posted by Postroad at 7:41 PM on December 12, 2007


Option 3.
posted by stammer at 7:44 PM on December 12, 2007


A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.

1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
3 PAT ROBERTSON. Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
posted by ogre at 7:59 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I predict that this FPP will end well.
posted by Slothrup at 8:00 PM on December 12, 2007


I predict that Israel will end well.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:02 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I seriously made an effort to frame this in a non-inflammatory way. It's an interesting topic!
posted by stammer at 8:08 PM on December 12, 2007


I've tried to juggle flaming torches in a non-inflammatory way, so I can relate.
posted by 2sheets at 8:16 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Link Completely borks firefox on OSX.
posted by lalochezia at 8:19 PM on December 12, 2007




from the Tutu link: "Israeli policy toward Palestine is an inflammatory topic in the U.S. and is not commonly discussed in large, public forums. "
posted by Artw at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2007


Was it Bibi Netanyahu who said -- correct me if I'm wrong here -- that Israel could not have both a large Arab population and remain a democracy? I think he was actually right, but not in the sense that he was thinking (.i.e, Arabs can't handle democracy, they love dictatorship, etc.)

The truth is, democracy and ethno-religious states like Israel (or Boer Africa, or White Rhodesia, or even, to a lesser extent, modern France) can't coexist. This problem is actually going to get worse before it gets better -- if it ever does get better. I predict that in the coming decades we're going to see Israel transform from a scrappy little outpost of Western civilization into a fairly brutal dictatorship-in-all-but-name, scarcely different from her neighbors. Their security situation in Israel will continue to deteriorate until "extreme measures" will be demanded by the Jewish Israeli populace to keep them safe -- or so they think.

No, Israel will not end well. She won't end well at all. When it does happen, it will be the second tragedy to befall the Jewish people in as many centuries -- but they'll survive and move on. They always do.
posted by Avenger at 8:37 PM on December 12, 2007


As good a place as any to mention this:

Zochrot ["Remembering"] is a group of Israeli citizens working to raise awareness of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948. The Zionist collective memory exists in both our cultural and physical landscape, yet the heavy price paid by the Palestinians -- in lives, in the destruction of hundreds of villages, and in the continuing plight of the Palestinian refugees -- receives little public recognition.

The first video on this page is a 10-minute collection of interviews of Palestinian women talking about their experiences of losing their homes from 1930-1952.

It's the most interesting thing I've seen on this issue in a long time.
posted by mediareport at 8:43 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


their experiences of losing their homes from 1930-1952

...their experiences from 1930-1952, including losing their homes...
posted by mediareport at 8:45 PM on December 12, 2007


or even, to a lesser extent, modern France

Please explain how France is a non-democratic ethno-religious state like Apartheid SA or Israel . And not an ordinary run of the mill ethno-nationalist state like every other country in the world.
posted by dydecker at 8:57 PM on December 12, 2007


Please explain how France is a non-democratic ethno-religious state like Apartheid SA or Israel . And not an ordinary run of the mill ethno-nationalist state like every other country in the world.

Lets not derail the thread, but can we really deny that the French and the French government are a little, shall we say, sensitive about making sure that all her citizens are "fully French"? Weren't only a handful of native Algerians ever granted French citizenship? Didn't President Sarko refuse to offer an apology for all that on his recent trip there? Of course, its not as bad as South Africa or Israel -- I didn't say that it was (hence the "to a lesser extent") modifier.

I'm not just holding France's feet to the fire, here. We have a similar problem here in the United States where more than a few people are scared shitless that white Protestants will be "out-bred" by the Mexican masses. That problem isn't going to end well, either.
posted by Avenger at 9:09 PM on December 12, 2007


Palestinians rule!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:10 PM on December 12, 2007


Avenger: France's colonial adventures in Algeria weren't any worse then any of the other western powers, just a little later. And any event, it was still like 40 years ago. What does that have to do with what's going on in France today?

Being "fully French" (what does that even mean?) Doesn't depend on who your parents were, and being "fully Israeli" does. It's no different then the U.S. Desire in some groups that foreigners "Assimilate"
posted by delmoi at 9:15 PM on December 12, 2007


Please explain how France is a non-democratic ethno-religious state like Apartheid SA or Israel

I didn't want to participate in this thread, but the same damn thing comes up every time. Yes, Israeli Jews and Arabs don't like each other very much. Yes, Israel occupies the Palestinian territories. Yes, there is both de facto and de jure discrimination against Israeli Arabs. BUT Israel is not a non-democratic state in the way that a country like South Africa or Rhodesia or the others you cite are. About 20% of Israel's citizens are Arabs. They can and do vote and have representation in the Knesset. Whether, in the long-term, it can remain democratic is a different issue.

To get on to more useful topics, for those interested in understanding some of the reasons for the rise in racism (but not to justify that racism), this report on Jewish-Arab relations during the recent Lebanon War is very interesting. It references a rather famous editorial, Ahmad Can You Hear Me? written to an Arab member of the Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, who left the country during the war, and which summarizes some of the divide:
“Say, Ahmad, cross your heart and tell me, do you really believe that Amir Peretz is a murderer? A terrorist? […] so what is Hassan Nasrallah, in your view? Who is he? We have to work hard for hours, sweat bullets for days, to extract from you the smallest scrap of weak, stuttered, debilitated, hesitant, unspecific criticism of the terror industry that he and other operate against us.”

“Now the katyusha rockets may have landed on you too, but you still don’t get the point. They are killing you too, but still they don’t undermine your thesis […] the great Arab public feeds off your words, eats out of your hands, is raised and educated on the knees of your heritage of invectives. Your preach hatred, you strew poison and sparks every time you think that the hand of some Jewish individual was behind some plot. But when the show is on the other foot, and most of the time it is, you are suddenly silent.”
Tibi responded in part:
“It is not easy to be an Israeli Arab in ordinary times. It is not easy being an Arab MK. But it is difficult, almost unbearable, to be an Arab MK in these days of war. Our every word or uttering against the war and in support of a ceasefire is interpreted as a knife in the back of the state, or a fifth column.”

“This is my homeland, and it will remain so even when I think differently, and even if I feel the pain of the killing of the dozens of children in that house in Qana by the pilots of the ‘most moral army in the world’"
Also, I'd like to point out that the reader comments (called Talkbacks) to Israeli newspaper articles are famously insane. I am not sure I'd judge anything by them.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:32 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry that the last comment wasn't pithy, by the way, but this is a badly conceived FPP. The pithy version is this: "not inflammatory" my ass!
posted by blahblahblah at 9:39 PM on December 12, 2007


Weren't only a handful of native Algerians ever granted French citizenship? Didn't President Sarko refuse to offer an apology for all that on his recent trip there?

Isn't Sarkozy himself a counterargument to what you're saying, in that his father wasn't ethnically French? And t's been pretty hard for immigrants to get citizenship in *all* the western European countries, at least until recently.

About 20% of Israel's citizens are Arabs. They can and do vote and have representation in the Knesset.

The issue isn't really those Israeli citizens, though. It's the large number of stateless people living on land that some other Israeli citizens would like to claim without giving that land's current inhabitants the same citizenship.

And while you can argue that -- in most respects -- Arab citizens of Israel are considerably better off than Arabs in other Middle Eastern countries, they're still often treated as second-class.
posted by Slothrup at 9:44 PM on December 12, 2007


blahblahblah:

Israel is not a non-democracy in the way that Apartheid era South Africa was in that there 10% or so had control while 90% didn't.

However, by carefully denying the Palestinians a state and regularly using the IDF Israel has maintained control over the occupied territories. If those people are factored in then about 50% of Israel/Palestine has full rights, 10% have significantly fewer rights (Arabs in Israel) and 40% are forced to live in what is becoming a giant concentration (not death, just concentration as in what the British ran for the Boers) camp.

Israel can choose 2 out 3 of:

1) Being a Democracy.
2) Being Jewish.
3) Holding onto the Occupied territories.

Thus far choice 1 is being discarded.
posted by sien at 9:48 PM on December 12, 2007


sien and Slothrup:

To be clear, I agree with you both about the occupied territories. The FPP was (I think) about Arab Israeli/Jewish Israeli relations, so that was what I focused on in my replies, unlike many of the other comments here.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:56 PM on December 12, 2007


Israeli newspapers have reached new heights of crashing my browser.
posted by parmanparman at 10:13 PM on December 12, 2007


For those with browser trouble, this video-less version of the article may work for you.
posted by stammer at 10:15 PM on December 12, 2007


Anyone who's seriously interested in the current state of the Israeli left ought to take a look at David Shulman's new book, Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine (reviewed capably here by Avishai Margalit). Shulman is a member of Ta'ayush, an Arab-Israeli organization which puts partnership and bearing witness to brutality at the center of their peace work, rather than dramatic pronouncements that please ignorant Americans and Europeans but which amount to little. Also, they confront the settler movement, which they correctly see as the real cancer in Israeli society. It's a sad and serious read and a hell of a lot more important than more internet flame-bait.
posted by felix betachat at 10:47 PM on December 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


rather than dramatic pronouncements that please ignorant Americans

since their tax money has been picking up the very steep check for the occupation these last 40 years, at least leave Americans the right to be snarky about the situation -- Hashem knows they earned it
posted by matteo at 12:08 AM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Anybody have a link to the comments without the video?
posted by stinkycheese at 12:08 AM on December 13, 2007


It's a sad and serious read and a hell of a lot more important than more internet flame-bait.

Blasphemy!

One wonders how much further along things would be if the time and energy that has gone into arguing about various situations would instead have been spent trying to resolve them.
posted by Slothrup at 3:58 AM on December 13, 2007


The truth is, democracy and ethno-religious states like Israel (or Boer Africa, or White Rhodesia, or even, to a lesser extent, modern France) can't coexist.

I don't completely buy this. Every nation, including democracies must have some sort of core. Ethnicity and religion are two common ways for the population to orient itself and have an identity as a group. There can be shifts in the population of those belonging to a particular ethnicity or religion but there has to be allegiance to the culture. This is what much of the concern over illegal immigration comes down to, by the way, but that's a different argument.

There's a difference though between a population identifying with an ethnicity or religion and a country which has laws and institutions that privilege one section of the community at the expense of the rest. It's tough to make the latter congruent with democracy. The position of the Haredi in Israel, and in particular, the Tal Laws, makes it difficult to view Israel as egalitarian.
posted by BigSky at 7:17 AM on December 13, 2007


Slothrup: One wonders how much further along things would be if the time and energy that has gone into arguing about various situations would instead have been spent trying to resolve them.

The problem with that is, which solution do you try? Attempting a bad solution can easily be worse than doing nothing.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:21 PM on December 13, 2007


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