Israeli Apartheid: Intent and Manifestations

“The Israeli apartheid is not only a bunch of racist laws, it is a state of mind, fashioned by education”. The summation of such a policy appeared in a book entitled:’ Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks: Ideology and Propaganda in Education’ authored by Israeli human rights activist Nurit Peled Elhanan. The book will soon enter the market with a big bang, as Israeli news media predicts, and is expected to create a storm of international proportion. It essentially reveals that the Israeli educational system is largely biased against the Palestinians of 1948 who are citizens of Israel and against Palestinians in the 1967 occupied lands.

Published excerpts from the book show that the Israeli educational system aims “to get the young in Israel accept the legality of crimes committed by the Israeli army against Palestinians by simplifying very complicated issues within the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict”. The book puts the Nazi educational system -which dehumanized the Jews- at par with the Israeli system that looks at Palestinians as “subhuman” who represent a dire danger to the survival of ‘the Jewish state’. Elhanan states that Israeli educational books portray the Arabs as “degenerates, low life criminals who do not pay taxes, primitive farmers and refugees who are inclined towards terrorism”. “Dealing with the Palestinians of 1948” she goes on to say, “is being done on the basis that they actually represent a demographic conflict which may become a demographic threat to the survival of the state of Israel”. “When a massacre of Arabs is mentioned”, she says, “the students are being asked to overlook the death of Arabs for the sake of the big picture”. In other words, the goal justifies the means even if it violates all human laws.

Last November, the Justice for Palestine Center produced a report for the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which monitors compliance of countries that signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, (ICESCR) with the principles of this multilateral treaty which protects economic, social and cultural rights of all people in our world. The report provided a complete list of violations committed against Israelis of Palestinian origin. It also revealed Israeli plans “to transfer 40 thousand Arab families from their villages in the Palestinian Negev”. Furthermore, the report shed light on disparities among Arabs and Jews in that poverty, unequal pay and lack of educational and training facilities have become a destiny of the Palestinians of 1948. To make it worse, the report described detailed plans to annul the Arabic language as the second language in Israel in accordance with the ugly law awaiting enactment to “assert the Jewish nature of the state of Israel” putting the Palestinians of 48 outside the rights enjoyed by Jews. This apartheid law was condemned by the present Israeli President (Shimon Peres) as well as the former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens who said: “this law is a foolish proposal. We should be helping the Arab Israelis to fully integrate within the Israeli population”. Favoring the use of Arabic, he said “the adoption of a second language within the state has become a common practice among democratic nations” where the majority “shows its respect to the minority. He concluded: “the Arabs in Israel are not a small minority and why change now the status quo of the Arab language after 63 years?”

The systemic brain-washing of young Jewish students in the official Israeli religious schools aimed to make them hate and despise the Arabs has increased. Israeli educators spoke openly at Bar Élan University about the great increase of racist and apartheid expressions against the Arabs. This has become a common practice among jewish students. Jewish Rabbis are now issuing “religious edicts (fatawas)” that prohibit renting or selling real estate property to any Arab. According to the Israeli Army broadcasting station: “Democratic principles are being ignored and the (Jewish) students are being filled with hatred against the Arabs, thus doing away with tolerance for the minority, the very basic principle of democracy”. To add salt to injury, the Israelis are awaiting the enactment of several laws designed “to stifle free voices”. Civil rights organizations would be forbidden from receiving funds from outside Israel. Such a law would hit, in particular, many Israeli civil rights groups (both Jewish and Arab) that are putting strong opposition to the apartheid policies of the rightist coalition government of Israel who is indeed abandoning the civil state for the sake of the religious state; ‘the Jewish state’. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently announced that only “organizations that are engaged in political activities would be affected by this law!” His statement created a storm of protests in Israel and abroad, accusing Netanyahu of being selective by only choosing organizations sympathetic to the right wing’s apartheid policies to be exempted.

Yet, in spite of this dark wave of apartheid, there is still some light shining from among conscientious Israelis in Israel and from many Jews around the world who “allied themselves with the principles of equality embedded in the laws of civil rights and are expressing their complete opposition to the colonial Israeli occupation of Palestine”, according to the Jewish Organization with branches all over the world under the rejectionist slogan ‘NION’ or “Not In Our Name” can the Israeli government speak on behalf of the Jews of the world.