Israeli Apartheid: Nurtured Trend and Practices

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

In recent remarks, Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s Knesset Speaker and member of the far right described the rising racist trend against Palestinians as “very worrisome”. His remarks followed a beastly attack on a young Jerusalemite Palestinian who nearly lost his life when 50 Jewish youths, males and females, attacked him. Rivlin said that signs leading to this horrible “phenomenon” were very clear for some time and “we in the   government, Knesset and the educational system are all responsible”. The attack, he added, was not the same passing expression of extreme racism against Arabs, but “something that is afflicting the Israeli society”. His words warned that “such phenomena have turned into a national problem which will definitely threaten the status of Israeli democracy”.

Following this incident, western and Israeli analytical reports, revealed further aspects relating to Israel’s treatment of its ‘Palestinian nationals’ casting much doubt on ‘the credibility of its democracy’. The American Counter Punch published recently a study by Patrick Strickland who noted the existence of a chauvinistic belief centered on the idea that the Palestinians of 1948 represent ‘a fifth column’ that undermines the future of Israel as a Jewish democratic state. Such a belief, he said, pushes the Jewish identity of the Israeli state to be above the rights of another national minority, the Palestinians. “This reveals that Israel was never a trusted democratic state to start with”, he concluded.  Strickland is right because the exclusivity of being Jewish in a Jewish state creates a first class citizenship for followers of the Jewish faith and a third class citizenship for Christian and Muslim Palestinians, while the second class citizenship has been assigned to Arab Jews, the Sephardic oriental Jews as compared to the European Ashkinazi Jews.

Words of one of the Israeli attackers of the Palestinian youngster who said, “as far as I am concerned, let him die, he is an Arab”, manifested a racist attitude and an act of apartheid entrenched deep into a large sector of the Israelis. A recent poll conducted by the New Israel Fund found that Israelis support apartheid with extremism increasing among the Israeli public, especially the youth who are turning into extreme religiosity with 46% polled favoring that Palestinians with Israeli citizenship be barred from voting for the Knesset. Indeed, the above mentioned beastly attack drew attention to the underlying feelings of hatred and racist attitudes long nurtured among Israelis with some writers and columnists warning of their impact on the society. Haaretz wrote under ‘The Belief of Killing Palestinians’ that “condemnations expressed by the Prime Minister and other Israeli public personalities do not erase the fact that such violence is deeply entrenched in the political and social trends of the Israeli society. The culprits are indeed youthful children and the hate against Arabs was taught to them during childhood by the environment they grew up in. May be they learned it at home, but definitely from the educational system and from the political arena as well.” On his part, the Israeli writer Omer Fox, in an article entitled ‘The Education of Racism’ said “to claim that it (the attack) was done without being an integral trend within our Israeli society is a naive claim indeed. The winds of racism is blowing fast and strong coming in recent years from many quarters that are central within the governing authorities and entrenched within the mentality of a vast sector of the Israeli public”. He referred to the Knesset as being a major instigator saying “the extreme racist trend which took root within our Israeli youth is a seed planted and nurtured by the Knesset whether intentionally or not. The racism that is being enacted as laws in the Knesset which gives legality to racist violence must be eradicated at once”. Moreover, Zvi Bar’el wrote that “Even the Good Jew Hates the Arabs”, noting that such a feeling preceded the occupation. Referring to the role of education, he said that the series of books of Dany Dean written for kids were full of images and expressions that became the foundation to hate the Arabs. The idea of wishing the death of all Arabs became entrenched in the raising of our children. This idea “Death for the Arabs” became an integral part of our national Jewish identity even if occupation were to end tomorrow”. He maintains that hating the Arabs in Israel does not resemble the hate of the Europeans to foreigners.  But it has become, he adds “the testing factor handed by the State to insure the loyalty of its Jewish nationals”.

Israel has been extorting the West by exploiting the western sense of guilt stemming from the Nazi Holocaust.  It is now being seen in the world as an apartheid/colonial state and the last occupying power, yet still powerful enough to exert extreme pressure on western governments having garnered strong influence in the White House and in the American Congress. The Zionist State is acting with absolute impunity violating every international law and the United Nations charter which gave Israel its legitimacy as a state. Such unchecked thuggish behavior (being perpetrated on daily basis in occupied Palestine) has made world peace and international security very vulnerable threatening a catastrophe that is bound to affect Israel, the Middle East region and the West in particular, to say the least. A wake-up call is in order for all to take action now before tomorrow comes with its utter destruction.