Thursday, December 30, 2010

"But those Arabs who do serve in the IDF are respected and honored" -- Not

With regard to the Arab population of Israel, there do exist issues. Nobody's denying that, but they're the result of the conflict and of the Arab unwillingness to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. Those who do serve, however, get the same privileges as the Jews do in all walks of Israeli life.

This is the kind of nonsense Zionists can peddle with impunity because, logically, we can't trace every last Israeli Arab who served in the army to see if they're granted the same rights as the Jews. We'll have to make do, then, with those who make it to the headlines. A few days ago, Ynet reported:

Arabs flee home due to racist threats

Five residents of the north, four Muslims and a Druze, were forced to leave their apartment in southern Tel Aviv due to threats and persecution by their Jewish neighbors, Ynet learned Thursday.

"I felt humiliated by the hatred," said Ganem Abbas, the young Druze man, who has served in the IDF.(...)

[T]hree days ago the friends returned home in the evening to see that their main water pipe had been broken. Gas bottles had been stolen.

"The landlady told me that people from the neighborhood had threatened to torch the house and attack her if we don't get out, because we're Arabs," Abbas said.

He also described a particularly humiliating moment. "The neighbors came out and started to yell that they don't want to see Arabs in the neighborhood, and that it is for Jews only," he recounted.(...)

"This act destroys coexistence. I feel humiliated from this intolerable cruelty. Despite serving in the army and telling the neighbors this, but [sic] they didn't care and only gave us the evil eye. I have heard stories about Arabs who were fired for speaking their mother tongue – even that disturbs the racists."

Please note that the young Arab was kicked out of the apartment not because the attackers didn't know that he was an IDF veteran, but in spite of such awareness.

One can only pity the Druze community, who made many years ago the decision to allow the IDF to recruit their children, maybe in the hope that one day the Jews would accept them as part of the mainstream Israeli society. Bad news for them: Israeli Jews are not interested in any Arab, IDF service or not.

The bright side, though, is that the Tel Aviv municipality, in a face-saving effort, apologized to the young Druze and offered to find accomodation for him in a less hostile neighborhood.

Just kidding!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Israel heeds Goldstone

The Goldstone report was a pack of lies. Everything in it is hearsay unsupported by any hard evidence. That has been the standard Zionist line since the document saw the light of day. But do they themselves believe it?

Looks like not, according to a recent Jerusalem Post story. Reports the rightwing newspaper:

IDF officers finish course on reducing civilian casualties

In what some in the IDF are banking on as the key to preventing another Goldstone Report, the IDF this week wrapped up its first-ever training course for a new military post aimed at helping Israel minimize harm to civilians during future operations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

How cute, they had previously almost convinced me that they did everything within their reach to minimize civilian suffering, and it turns out they are only now offering courses on the subject.

The officer in charge explains:

According to the commander of the school, Lt.- Col. Hatib Mansour, if such officers had been deployed inside IDF battalions during Operation Cast Lead two years ago, the criticism against Israel might not have been as severe.(...)

During the course, the officers were taught how to assist battalion and brigade commanders in planning operations while taking into consideration the effect these operations will have on the civilian population.

So you see: after 43 years of occupation they're considering the effects on civilians. Who knows, maybe in another 50 years they'll stop using human shields.

The most interesting part, though, was...

“If a field commander needs to conquer a city or a neighborhood, our officer will be there to explain what the sensitive targets are in the area of operations and what to look out for,” Mansour explained.

“We are adding the humanitarian side, like which road needs to be kept open so civilians can evacuate if needed.”

Wow, not only is the IDF the most moral army in the world; they're now adding the humanitarian side as well.

The rationale for the course proves what many NGO's had stated over the years, namely that Israel drops warning leaflets but doesn't allow the civilians any exit route. At last they seem to be realizing that.

And they owe it to Goldstone. The report can't be fallacious inasmuch as Israel is taking measures to minimize harm to civilians based on what the document says. Goldstone may be a self-hating Jew and the Goldstone report may be antisemitic. But thanks to it, a few select Israeli soldiers are being taught how to kill fewer civilians.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tiny minorities and even tinier ones

By now no one denies the existence of a deeply racist segment within the Israeli Jewish society, which operates with a freedom unseen in any other advanced democracy. Belgian priests signing a document against intermarriage with Muslims, for instance, or American politicians suggesting that Mexicans should not be allowed in certain neighborhoods, would be met not only with oprobium, but also with legal actions. Not so in Israel, where the housing minister can claim that the Arab and Jewish populations should not mix with hardly an eyebrow being raised.

The standard Zionist line of defense is that such elements are a tiny minority in Israel, and that the vast majority of Israeli Jews repudiate their discourse.

The events last Monday in Bat Yam, a suburb of Tel Aviv, would, however, suggest otherwise. As the Jerusalem Post reported:

Hundreds gathered at a demonstration in Bat Yam on Monday evening to protest the presence of Arab residents in the suburb south of Tel Aviv, and to warn against what they said was a worrying trend of Arabs “defiling” Jewish girls there and across Israel.

Posters advertising the protest said “The Arabs are taking over Bat Yam, buying and renting apartments from Jews and taking Jewish girls, whom they defile.” They also stated that “15,000 Jewish girls have been taken to [Arab] villages!” and “What would you do if an Arab man hit on your sister? We’ll put an end to this!”

The demo got the support of extremist politicians:

Far-right MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) attended the rally with his aide and fellow activist Itamar Ben-Gvir in tow. Ben-Ari said he had come “to see the Jews who are standing up for themselves. We are standing before a disaster, and our politicians are more concerned with ideas like democracy, ideas that our enemies exploit in order to attack the State of Israel.”

Moshe Ben-Zikri, a community administrator from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, who recently waged a campaign against the quarter’s Arab residents, told The Jerusalem Post, “Today, the Arab enemy is taking over all over Israel. They act innocent, they say we’re only here to rent an apartment, and then they take over house by house. Our girls fall victim to their temptation. Not only that, but crime and drugs, all of it comes with the Arabs; none of that stuff takes place in a Jewish area until the Arabs come.”

Like so many political loonies, these gentlemen had a conspiracy theory to explain it all: the Arabs are undermining Jewish society by taking their unwitting women.

Ben-Zikri said Arabs posed a special threat to innocent Jewish girls, who were easy prey.

“These Arabs, they speak Hebrew, they look just like us and they tempt our women,” he said. “Some guy named Arafat says his name is Ofer, and so on. Our girls don’t know these guys are Arab and they fall victim to them and families are destroyed. They [the Arabs] don’t have to kill people to destroy families.”

But according to their own probably inflated figures, just 15,000 Jewish women, of a total of some 3,000,000 in the country, are married to Arabs -- i.e., one-half of one percent. Irrational fears of minorities have always been a specialty of racists.

It's not that the Jews have any obligation to be more moral than other peoples, but if anything remotely close to this gathering had taken place in Western Europe or North America it would have been instant news worldwide; and if the target of the speeches had been the Jews the outrage would have been universal. Double standards anyone?

Ah, but what about the Jewish reaction against this atrocious demonstration? It did take place -- but see:

A counter-protest was held a few hundred meters away, where several dozen demonstrators chanted such slogans as “Bat Yam: A city for everyone” and “Down with racism.” One protester there held a sign reading, “I love Arabs, ask me how,” while another placard showed a picture of a smiling couple under the words “I married an Arab!”

Barak Sella, a 25-year-old organizer for the southern branch of left-wing youth group Hano’ar Ha’oved Vehalomed, said he had come with several other group members “in order to show our opposition to the other protest, but also to get across our message of unity, which is that we will keep Bat Yam Jewish and democratic.”

As can be seen, opponents to the racist gathering could be counted in the dozens, while the racists themselves could be counted in the hundreds. There's an order of magnitude of difference between the hateful camp and the tolerant one, which would suggest that if the former is a tiny minority, the latter is downright marginal. Furthermore, the tolerant gathering was made up of those people no one would think of as representative of Israel, and who are often described as self-hating Jews.

However they try to spin it, the phenomenon of unabashedly racist (and highly vocal) Jews in Israel is there to stay, to the shameful inaction of the rest of the society.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Anti-Arab hate festival continues; AP sanitizes

Israel President Shimon Peres is agonizing over the recent racist document produced by several dozen State-paid rabbis. He understands it's terrible publicity. But he also understands that the rabbis can't be fired, because what they propose is basically what Israel was built on: denying Palestinian Arabs a place on earth.

The affair broke out on Dec. 7 when some 36 rabbis signed a letter calling on their flocks not to sell or rent apartments to non-Jews -- meaning, in an Israeli context, basically Arabs. By Dec. 9, two separate developments had taken place: on the one hand, secular Israeli Jewish politicians were quick to denounce the rabbis; on the other hand, some 240 other religious figures expressed their support for the racist ruling. Now for all the disclaimers the secular politicians may make, the sad fact is that they have failed to take concrete action against the rabbis. They understand the rabbis may be crazy, but their craziness is quite mainstream: up to 46% of Israeli Jews don't want to live next to an Arab.

The curious thing is how news agencies try to present a "balanced account." Associated Press, in first reporting the racist ruling, claimed:

Israeli Jews have increasingly been questioning the loyalty of Arab citizens, who legally enjoy the same rights but tend to be poorer and discriminated against in state funding and job opportunities.

Arabs do not enjoy the same rights as Jews. Jews are entitled to the benefits of the Law of Return; Arabs are not. How can this influence someone's life? By affecting their ability to remain a citizen. Israel's Nationality Law provides that:

# 11. (a) Where an Israel national -

* (1) became an Israel national on the basis of false particulars; or
* (2) has been abroad for seven consecutive years and has no effective connection with Israel, and has not proved that his effective connection with Israel was severed otherwise than by his own volition; or
* (3) has committed an act constituting a breach of allegiance to the State of Israel,

the District Court may, on the application of the Minister, annul his nationality.

As can be seen, an Arab Israeli who pursues a career abroad may have his nationality revoked and loses any further right to it, while a Jewish Israeli in a similar situation can reapply for it under the Law of Return. Hardly the same rights for both groups of people.

AP goes on to report:

Meanwhile, some members of the Arab minority have become radicalized by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and are openly speaking about turning the Jewish state into part of a binational state that would be home to Israelis and Palestinians both.

You see, one outrage cancels the other. The rabbis may want to deny housing to the Arabs, but the Arabs want a country for all. Both equally worrying forms of hate.

Still more from the venerable Associated Press:

Rabbi David Rosen, the interfaith adviser to Israel’s chief rabbinate, described the rabbis’ action as “disturbing” but said he did not think that the majority of the country’s rabbis would agree and called it a product of the lingering conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The rabbinate as a whole isn’t xenophobic or hostile to Arabs,” Rosen said. “As long as the conflict goes on here, it’s logical to assume that the attitudes of all sides will harden, which is deeply regrettable.”

That this kind of logic can be presented without objections is striking. Of course, the Catholic clergy as a whole is not paedophilic, but child-molesting priests taint the whole Church so long as action isn't taken against them. At the very least, that "majority of the country’s rabbis" could produce a counter-document and shun their hateful colleagues. It hasn't happened. It won't happen.

Also, the "hardening" of positions is of a very diferent nature and significance when one group can hurt the other with its hard positions but not the other way round.

On Sunday, the hate festival seemed to continue as the rabbis of the Israeli Jewish city of Rosh Ha-Ayin, including the chief rabbi, declared a ban on hiring Arabs at stores which employ Jewish girls. "They want to steal our daughters" -- sound familiar?

Since the story was published in Hebrew and not picked up by main news agencies, Peres felt in no hurry to repudiate the incident.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Different boycotts, different standards

Kauft nicht bei Juden – “Don’t buy from Jews” – was the Nazi call to boycott Jewish businesses. It is also the phrase used by former British MP Denis MacShane to describe the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians. Claims MacShane:

Once again, as the tsunami of hate against Israel rolls out from the Right and the Left, from Islamist ideologues to Europe’s cultural elites, the demand is to punish the Jews.

This gentleman is bluntly stating that it is antisemitism, and no other factor, that is driving people to support BDS. He then goes on to indulge in unadulterated whataboutery, describing the many countries that behave worse than Israel does. Since Israel is the self-described Jewish state, this would mean that BDS proponents are antisemites.

MacShane's only problem is Apartheid South Africa. The Apartheid regime was subjected to international sanctions like no other country was at that time. Of course, there existed far worse human-rights offenders, like Mozambique. I'd like to ask Mr. MacShane: would he have supported sanctions against Mozambique, not South Africa, even if they weren't likely to improve a single bit the human-rights situation there? Would he be contented with a situation in which South Africa is still under Apartheid and Mozambique is still undemocratic, but subjected to sanctions -- for the sake of a "worse offenders first" approach to sanction-imposing? On another note, does he believe that the sanctions against South Africa, and only South Africa, reflected a visceral hate against Afrikaners?

MacShane seems to believe that calls for sanctions must be based first and foremost on moral considerations. This politician (does the phrase "the art of the possible" ring a bell?) rules out any possibility of a reality-based approach, in which only those boycotts that are likely to have an effect are advocated for. If a country is irrational and doesn't care for its economy, or for the well-being of at least part of its citizens, sanctions and boycotts are useless. But Israel is rational, and cares for the well-being of its Jewish citizens, so that BDS has a chance, however slim at present, of pressuring the country into becoming a democracy for all people under its control.

But while we're at it -- what about other boycotts that, unlike BDS, have involved physical violence against certain people? Case in point, the many boycotts decreed by -- ehm, uhm -- how to say this -- Jews. Very prominent Israeli rabbis --i.e., State-paid servants-- have called on their flocks to boycott Arab stores or deny lodging to Arab students. In the latest instance, chief Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and other prominent rabbis called not to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews. Spurred by the ruling, local Jews gathered in front of a building where a number of Arab students dwelt. Reports Haaretz:

The mass group of Jewish youths began shouting "death to Arabs", "stinking Muslims" and "a Jew has a soul and an Arab is a son-of-a-bitch" at the house. They began throwing bottles and stones at the student housing.

One of the bottles soared through an open window, shattering glass in an apartment where a number of students were sitting at the time.

This is a certainly frightening episode, yet Denis MacShane, in a glaring case of double standards, does not deem it fit to denounce these boycotts decreed by Israeli state employees that involve violence and calls for genocide. Instead, he describes the rise of several marginal neo-Nazi parties in Europe and, making a completely unwarranted association, gravely warns:

And now Europeans, of all people, once again cry Kauft nicht bei Juden. (...) As Europeans we must reject the old language of boycott and economic campaigns against Jews.

Nazi analogies should never be made unless a genocide is involved, like in Rwanda. But since MacShane himself brings up the subject, allow me to ask: between a peaceful call for BDS that hurts no one and a residential boycott that results in mobs calling for the death of Arabs and glasses in their buildings being shattered, which is more reminiscent of Kristallnacht?