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Israel's Racism

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Isn't it a Struggle Against Racism After All?
By: Dr. Azmi Bishara, June 26, 2004

Some of us were happy with the assumption that there is no relation between the construction of the West Bank Separation Wall and the unilateral disengagement plan on one hand, and the motives behind these steps on the other hand.

Many adopted the term, "Israel's demographic reasons" as if this is a normal reason that drives Israel to separate. While others were tempted by using the high birth rate of the Palestinians as an interpretation for a threat to Israel.

In fact we are talking here about a mere racism, this is the only explanation of these "demographic reasons".

What we are dealing with here is actually a racist colonialist separation. There is no other meaning for such a wall. Some might publicly argue that they are not against constructing the wall exactly on the green line, borders of June 4, 1967. Besides, most of the Palestinians do not object a unilateral withdrawal to the pre 1967 borders. However, the difference between the current wall and the planned disengagement on one hand, and the pre 1967 borders is not a quantitative issue. Simply because this disengagement does not create borders between two separate sovereignties, yet, its logic, given the characters of those planning and supervising this process, leads only to a limited Palestinian Authority caged by the wall whose task is to administrate the besieged Palestinians so as not to form any threat to the security of Israel.

If this is the case, taking into consideration the different promises and assurances that it is a Jewish State, Israel does not cease to be a racist country, or a little relaxed, but it will be encouraged to be more racist.

Some might even convince themselves that recognizing the Jewish Character of the State of Israel will make it feel safer. Actually, it will give it a push to go on with the Jewish project till the end. Therefore, As long as there is Arab and International recognition of its Jewish Character, there will be no room for the non-Jews, "the Arabs" in Israel except as guests. This means that the Palestinians, the indigenous people of the land inside the "green line" are guests in the Jewish States, or in the best case, the are residents.

Therefore, instead of relaxing, Israel will be more self confident and racism will grow, because it worked, and then, racist measures to protect its demographic balance will be seen legitimate.

Day by Day, the racist desire inside the "Only Democracy in the Middle East" grows, until the anti-democracy brains will control the political and social lives in Israel.

No doubt that the political, media and educational elites in Israel are responsible for this historic dangerous process.

No wonder that this might happen, since racism in Israel became an official political rhetoric.

We do not exaggerate if we say that the result of different Israeli public opinion polls show that the Israeli society is the most racist in the modern history. These polls show cruelty and obvious racism that no society will dare to show without causing a serious international scandal, which will affect its public relations and acceptance in the civilized world. Moreover, there is no single western society that accepts the political mood in Israel as a normal political culture of a democratic country.

Israeli press published on June 21st, results of a public opinion poll which exactly confirms the fact that Israel is on its way towards Apartheid. The poll was conducted in May 2004 and included 1016 samples including Arabs, Jews, Settlers, religious people and new comers. The poll was held under the title of the political extremism in the University of Haifa supervised by Dr. Gabriel bin David in the "National Security Research Center."

The results show that %64 of the Israeli think that Israel should encourage the immigration of the Israeli Arabs outside of Israel that is called the voluntary transfer, it leaves it up to the imagination to explain what do they mean by encouraging the immigration, how it is done, and how to lead the Arab to think of taking that option.

%55 of the Jews feel that the Israeli Arabs threaten the security of the state while %49 think the Arabs get treated better than they should be by the government, meaning Sharon's government that discriminates against the Arabs in Israel in many ways. On the other hand, %45.3 believe that Arabs should not vote or run for elections and %79 support the assassination policy Israel is conducting in the occupied territories.

At least %25 said they would vote for the banned extremist Jewish group Kach if it is allowed to run for elections. Kach was banned by the state of Israel because it threatens the Right Wing Party's system, not because of its racism.

The poll also tackled the issue of the foreign workers. The findings show that %72 believe that allowing foreign workers to the country should be limited, while %45 believe that the foreign workers are behind the current economic deterioration in Israel as they take the work opportunities form the local ones. This is in fact a traditional racism known to Europe, however, in Israel it takes a colonial dimension against the Arab residents of Israel.

Dr. Dafna Kenti-Nessim a researcher in the center that the results of the poll indicate a raise in the enmity towards the Arabs by the Jews in the country. This poll is the third where two were done in 2001 and 2003. The comparison between these questions proves this rise not only against the Arabs but also against he foreign workers. Kneti-Nessim refers this raise to the claim that the state is under continuous threat which creates a sense of aggression and hatred for the minorities.

Of course we do not agree with the comparison between the enmity towards the Arabs and foreign workers. Enmity against foreign workers is a xenophobia that exist in many of the modern societies, against the new comer who shares the market and the consumption and might even threaten the existing lifestyle. On the other hand, we do not agree with the security explanation of the enmity against the Arabs.

Therefore, we think that Jewish character of the state is not a feature or a distinction, but an ideology that prevents secularism, and confirms the Jewish Identity and the membership of the group as the ones share or stocks in the state. This means that there is no base for the individualistic approach that is based on rights and duties of the citizen. It is like an oligopoly of the state to the group of the Jews.

This is not a new case at all. As a reminder, here is some other research done by other centers.

In a public opinion poll done by Yaffi center for strategic research published in Haaretz on March 12, 2002, %46 of the Jewish Israelis support the transfer of the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and %31 support the transfer of transferring the Israeli Arabs. While %61 believe that the Israeli Arabs threaten the security of the state of Israel, %60 supported encouraging the immigration of the Arabs outside of Israel, (an opposite to the current result, percentage of the threat theory dropped, but the percentage of the transfer theory raised."

In a unified national right wing stand, %80 of the 2002 poll reject allowing the Arab citizens of Israel to participate in making important decisions, compare to %75 in the year 2001, %67 in 2000, and %50 in 1999. This is a sign of a great deal of rejection to Democracy in the Israeli society.

Despite the motion towards the right in Israel, and despite the fact that these racist stands became legal in Israel, this position of the main stream in Israel based on their belief of the need to disengage form the Palestinians in the frame work of two states with or without an agreement with the Palestinians.

The idea of "no coexistence" has been added as a top priority value of the Jewish State. This reached a level of resetting the borders to include some of the Arab areas in Israel inside the future Palestinian State, (an idea supported by %52 of the Jews in Israel in a poll published by Haaretz in July 2000).

Yet, most of the studied polls through a full year show that a majority support establishing a Palestinian state, but a higher majority say there will be a Palestinian state any way.

No doubt that the idea of disengagement including the evacuation of the settlement has the majority of the Israeli society. %65 support the evacuation according to Haaretz (June 6, 2002), %52 supported dismantling all Gaza settlements forcefully if a unilateral disengagement requires that, and %66 supported that this should be done within an agreement with the Palestinians, and %70 said they support removing settlement built in Arab populated areas. (Yedioth Ahronoth March 29, 2002).

The most important of all of this is the split on the issue of removing all the settlement. There is a majority who support evacuating the settlements within the disengagement process under an agreement with the Palestinians. At least half of the Israeli society supports this as shown in the poll done by Maariv news paper in March 2002 %45 and Yedioth Ahronoth's poll in the same month with % 47 supports)

The other items in the polls prove that accepting the disengagement has nothing to do with a just or unjust solution of the Palestinian question, but a deterioration of the separation idea into a total racism.

The disengagement should not be seen only as a withdrawal in isolation from the above mentioned data on the transfer.

The assassinations and the separation wall are major components of the disengagement including the excessive use of power and the liquidation of some Palestinian leaders to create a leadership that complies with the disengagement conditions.

Therefore, the Israeli political projects should not be regarded in isolation of the political culture that is backing these projects, which, no doubt, is racist in nature.

Going along with the Israeli conditions for disengagement by the Arabs and the Palestinians does not benefit them. It indicates a racism that has no legitimacy in any civilized society that the Arabs try to win their admiration.

This racism is not a side issue or a side effect or a symptom of the confrontation, but a core issue, that the Palestinian resistance should take into consideration if it has a democratic nature.

Being aware of such issue is vital for a democratic Palestinian struggle that is strategic and well organized and universal. However, recognizing the Jewish Character of Israel is only a proof that many of the Palestinian leaders have lost the nature of liberation in their struggle. This also, and most importantly, gives legitimacy of the Israeli racism. Israel would not even believe such statement of recognition of the Jewish Character of the State when said by Palestinian leaders. It does not also give those who release such statement legitimacy.

After all, if it is not a struggle against racism and occupation, what is the point then? This is a legitimate question.

Translated by: George Rishmawi-IMEMC

Dr. Azmi Bishara, Arab Member of Knesset in Israel,

Copy Rights © 2004 International Middle East Media Center
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Bashara's Racism

Bashara is the worst racist in the middle east

Perhaps some day Israel will jail its traitors.

Re: Israel's Racism

If Israel did that, Sam, the current government would all go to jail, along with most of the political parties and the IDF. Would be a good thing though.

Re: The ISM Terrorists are Just Following Orders

Ha ha. Do you really expect us to take this hysterical fantasy scaremongering seriously? Not even the right wing fundamentalist Israelis believe this McCarthyism. Take orders from arafat? Sure, and Sharon is a peace loving commie pinko who respects human rights.

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