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November 27, 2014 12:52 am

Who Are the Real Racists in Israel?

avatar by Chloe Valdary

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Haaretz editions in Hebrew and English. Photo: Hmbr via Wikimedia Commons.

Nineteen-year-old Israeli Eden Attias dreamed of becoming a DJ one day. His special knack for mastering electronics and technology attracted the attention of the Ordnance Corps of the IDF, who recruited him for basic training in November 2013. But this position with the Israeli army would never be fulfilled. As Attias closed his eyes to sleep on a bus with his fellow soldiers in Nazareth one fateful Wednesday morning, he had no idea that he would never wake up. As the bus rolled to a stop in Afula, Israel, a Palestinian terrorist boarded, pulled out a knife, and stabbed Attias several times in the neck and chest area. Aspiring to one day fill the world with music, Attias would instead succumb to his wounds and die an untimely death.

Attias’ story is sadly not an anomaly; Jews commuting on buses and in cars are frequently attacked by Palestinian terrorists throughout Israel, creating headlines that play across Israeli news television screens all too often.

This political landscape wherein Palestinian extremists see fit to attack Jews going about their daily work serves as the primer for the rationale behind Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s proposed security measure to compel citizens of the Palestinian areas who work in Israel to “return through the same crossing they left so there will be supervision of entry and departure like in any sovereign country that protects itself and takes care to admit foreign residents into its territory in orderly fashion.”

According to Ya’alon, the policy does not ban Israelis and Palestinians from riding the same busses. Instead, it compels Palestinians to exit through the same checkpoint through which they entered, namely the Eyal checkpoint. This will enable the IDF to “better account for the thousands of Palestinian laborers who enter Israel on a daily basis by tracking their return back to the West Bank.”

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To be sure, the pragmatics of this security policy must and should be debated and discussed by Israeli policy makers in the Knesset; that is what democracies do. Yet it must be stressed that this policy does not come out of a vacuum. As noted above, it comes out of a pattern of repeated incidents of aggression towards Jews; any debate must bear these conditions in mind.

But context is a foreign concept to J Street U leaders Catie Stewart and Gabriel Erbs, who describe the policy in a Haaretz article as “segregation” and an act of “denying Palestinian civil rights and self-determination.” In a hit piece published on November 4, Stewart and Erbs invoke the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King to suggest that policy makers trying to protect Jews from racist attacks are themselves guilty of racism.

“The idea of segregated buses should send chills down the spine of anyone who has ever … learned about … the segregated Jim Crow-era American south,” they write, after describing Ya’alon as a bloodthirsty fiend who wants to end the “Palestinian cancer” with “chemotherapy.” Yet both accusations are disingenuous. Yet Ya’alon clearly says, “We do not have intentions to annihilate them [the Palestinians] and we have also expressed readiness to grant them a state, whereas they are unwilling to recognize our right to exist here as a Jewish state.”

Moreover, creating a different bus route so as to deter attacks on Jews is no more “segregationist” than blacks refusing to go through an all-white neighborhood for fear of a lynch mob in the 1950s. Heaven forfend they should value their lives and take reasonable precautions so as to prevent beatings, raping, stabbings, and hangings. No, no, that would be a form of self-imposed “segregation,” a systematic disparaging of white people that should be publicly denounced by human rights folk everywhere.

Unfortunately, in Stewart and Erbs’s world, inversion is in vogue. Protection from racists becomes racism and a person’s right to defend himself is eroded, turning victims into victimizers.

To make matters worse, Stewart and Erb represent an organization that has no qualms about preventing Jewish communities from being established in the West Bank. According to J Street’s website, the very presence of Jewish communities, “undermines the prospects for peace by making Palestinians doubt Israeli motives and commitment.” Erb specifically writes in The Jewish Week that Jewish communities, “fuel inter-group tensions.” To wit, according to Erb, the presence of Jews in certain areas is itself a provocation; it is Jews who are responsible for the incitement against them.

That Stewart and Erb arrogate to themselves the authority to give commentary on the issue of “segregation” when they actively advocate for the establishment of a state which, according to them, must segregate Jews before it comes into fruition, illustrates the absurdity of their own hypocrisy.

And this is what their appraisal of Israeli policy ultimately boils down to: an excess of hyper-idealistic solipsism whereby members of a mutual admiration society think that referencing the name of a prominent civil rights leader means they are just like them. Yet, Dr. King understood fundamentally that a persecuted people will grow tired; they will grow tired of being pelted with stones; they will grow tired of having their children run over with cars; they will grow tired of having their soldiers stabbed to death while they sleep. “So in the midst of their tiredness, these people … rise up and protest against injustice.”

Security officials say that this policy seeks to address that injustice. Perhaps it isn’t the right one; perhaps it is. But one thing is certain: Stewart and Erb’s faux righteous indignation is categorically not.

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  • Jonah

    One thing for sure about islam they are all united in mind and body to kill all the Jews. Whereas the Jews are in a state of cofusion not knowing whether they should give them a hug and kiss while they are being stabbed or defend themselves. You are now suffering from a disease it’s called the Al Sharpton black plague. J street is spreading the virus.

  • Julian Clovelley

    One of the most poignant offences of segregation in both South Africa and America was that the facilities made available to blacks were vastly inferior to those made available to whites. If you do not want trouble that mistake must not be made again. The ongoing atmosphere of racial insult should not be allowed to occur

    Waiting areas should be comfortable and well served with quality food. Vehicles used should be new, comfortable , clean and air conditioned. Toilet, washing and showering facilities should be of good quality and an atmosphere of well serviced cleanliness should pervade

    Treat people with dignity and they behave better. If you treat people as “cheap labour” and a lower class what real opportunity for change exists other than revolution? – be you black, arab – or white.

  • Natalie

    For all the people who advocate simple, kick ’em out solutions, there is the problem of a miseducated world that would then attack Israel with everything it had. Don’t you think that the massive Arab, and even more massive Muslim world would scream “ethnic cleansing!!” and find in it a sufficient reason to attack Israel? Europe and the US would be SO happy to boycott, and I mean REALLY boycott Israel, and isolate her in any way possible. And then start increasing efforts on discriminating against their own Jewish citizens.

    They have no knowledge of the thousands of years of anti-Jewish discrimination and persecution — it’s not taught in the textbooks, which only teach about the Holocaust and think they’ve covered both Jewish and Christian history completely and well. And as the Catholic Church feared teaching the masses to read means allowing them to read all kinds of untruthful and inciteful (NOT insightful!!) material, and being unable to think for themselves, they gullibly fall for what seems right to them on the basis of incorrect and misleading information.

    In truth, this is a very complicated problem, and not going to be solved by mob mentality.

    • Julian Clovelley

      I feel Natalie you are getting a couple of issues mixed up.

      One issue is the totally unreasonable and cruel persecution based on a classification either applied by themselves or by someone else – labelling and demonisation one might call it. Genocides such as the Holocaust concern us all

      But the second is the question of what constitutes real history and identity. Jewish history is a quite dreadful fabrication, worsened, in recent times by the use of that fabricated ancient history as a backdrop to Zionist politics

      Persecution in the last two thousand years – or even thousands of years more than that – has been far from limited to one individual “group” and similarly it would be hard to find a totally “innocent” group. if ‘Jewish History’ , based on the Bible is correct, the original inhabitants of Caanan didn’t do real well at the time of the supposed Exodus – but frankly I doubt that ever happened

      Pagans, Gnostics, people classified as heretics, protestants, catholix , Eastern Orthodox, have all been persecuted within the Christian community on grounds of religion. On grounds of nationality every nation has experienced it – on grounds of ethnicity one might include gypsies, muslims, blacks, chinese – you name it.

      The problem of persecution is about a lot more than antisemitism – add Socialists and social democrats to the number – and democrats and trade unionists in past centuries.

      Your claim of a special discreet unique heritage of thousands of years of persecution by everyone else really only displays a lack of understanding of the real nature of ancestry. Your ancestors like mine almost certainly fought on both sides of almost every conflict – and were both perpetrators and victims, “Gentile” and “Jew”. It only takes one person of a different group background in the millions of possible direct lineages of every person to diversify that lineage in “new directions”. Our claims of a dicreet direct lineage that is special is made by being selective of particular ancestors and lines. We almost certainly share many ancestors. We all do

      We in fact all share the same ancestry – with stronger or weaker particular components – in the last five hundred years of my family I know of at least seven prominent ones, including Jewish. Of the most recent Jewish assimilation in my family – recorded but just outside living memory some twenty five years ago – there are already at least seventy “Gentile descendants” that I could list.

      If we are to bring prejudice to an end we need to embrace real history and real Genealogy, and not religious , nationalist and political propaganda

      But can you? – Most people can’t. They cling to a false identity with a determination that is shattering. I’m British born and I like to think I have, and had already mostly achieved that before even I migrated to Australia. The real tragedy isn’t just that people are persecuted – it is also that all of those people are in reality PHSICALLY and genetically mostly the same. The rest is cultural nonsense. Emphasise my own familys own tiny Genetic traces and we can be of several nationalities and through them a multitude of others.

      And were my child to marry their Chinese friend – we could add a whole new multitude of pasts.

      Nobody “owns” history. And it is vital – if we are to progress that we do not let it own us.

  • Charlene

    Went to a talk in UK by an academic who frankly I can only say is an intellectual apologist and appeaser for religious/political supremacist fascism aka Islamists aka IS, Hamas etc. Interestingly on the map of the region which was given as a handout it was so glaringly obvious that Israel is a miniscule strip of land whilst the Islamic lands cover the majority of the area. I cannot help but to W H Auden’s poem ‘There is no place for us my dear ….’ (which was an astute summation of Nazi Germany) compile a modern version that there is no place for a Jewish homeland my dear amongst the nations, and that is to highlight the nazification of the world which largely buys into the Arab/Islamist dishonest grievance narrative. But despite the hostility of the nations Israel has a right to exist, biblically, historically and morally. Ultimately those who hate her will be judged by the Almighty. Shalom Israel, and condolences to the families who have lost loved ones because of evil hatred.

    • Kris Hinson

      God bless you, I’m lost for words. What are the Jews/Israel meant to do?

  • Dov meir

    Arabs extremist or Aarabs? If the Arabs ar not condeming explicity the criminal activities then it is not criminal but a discoverd war of the Arabs Citizens of Israel against Israel.

  • steven L

    The secular left is the new “F-ist” of the 21st century. They would not be far from the Bolsheviks if they were given free hands.

  • art

    Ah yes the reversal of roles, the stabbers, assassins and killers are the victims the murdered person the aggressor, even if they are sleeping or 4 months old. The very fact of being Jewish an unforgivable crime . These people demand from Israel open borders with an entity that has repeatedly stated that they intend to destroy Israel and have acted to destroy Israel, Even those “moral” bastions sweden or switzerland have tight border controls. Would either of these authors live without doors or locks in a high crime area after they were told that they were going to be robbed and assaulted??

  • doubleblack4

    Why are the worst anti-Semites Jewish by heritage. What causes a person to hate themselves so mightily and lash out so viciously against the good guys. It is almost a Jewish trait.
    I saw Noam Chomsky on TV this afternoon speaking at the UN why Israel is the villain. It makes my head spin to see such self-hatred. Bolsheviks and commies all wrapped up in self-righteousness and smugness.
    They make me sick.

    • Steve Wenick

      Noam must have hated his parents mightily to have strayed so far from absorbing their love of being Jewish into developing such a strong animus of his being Jew.

  • Zvi Gross

    H Fox
    Excellent comment on an excellent article!!!

  • H Fox

    Ahhh the Left. A remarkable bunch whose aim seems to be to find racism wherever it may or may not exist and pour fuel on it, and dance around its flaming embers.
    As usual they see everything the present government in Israel does as being “racist” and “fascist”.
    Firstly I find the term “fascist” overused and even more importantly used by folks who have no idea whatsoever of the meaning of the term.
    Ignorance allows them to treat the word as if it covers every political act they disagree with, or are instructed to disagree with.

    As for the question of “racism”. For starters the Arabs and Jews are of the same race.
    Secondly, one must ask themselves whether this is a question of pure hatred of another culture and people, or maybe just maybe, we are not terribly fond of our enemy.

    For example. During WWII many of the white American soldiers were of German background, many of them children of parents who were immigrants to the U.S. They went into battle hating the “Karuts”, does this mean that they were racists, or was it simply a dislike for one’s enemy.

    I do not see Israel’s conflict with the Arabs as anything that can be portrayed as racist, we just happen to be enemies, and thus do not like each other very much.

    But, yes but, the Left has become fixated on “racism”, that is why they do not give a crap about Syria, or the many black on black conflicts in Africa. They need for one side to be the colonialist white imperialist, while depicting the other side as the poor downtrodden black or brown man. Israel being the foreign white power crushing the poor Arab world under her boot.

    So that is where we are, the Left screams fascism without knowing the meaning of the word, and needs to find racism lurking before they can get it up.

    • Efram

      It is even more mendacious. They do not look for racism everywhere, they look for it where they want it to be. So, they can scream racism and, if their is no conflict, create one.

    • L.M.

      Hear Hear well said.

    • Robert Davis

      It is even WORSE than that : they accuse Israel OF THEIR OWN FAULTS. The left IS fascist and racist. Was hitler not a socialist? They simply find it EASY to accuse Israel of their own faults,this is INVERSION and they do not even have to rack their brains! So I am caught stealing? then YOU are a thief! The question is: can we defend ourselves or not? Unfortunately Israel’s politicians are so bad they simply cannot or do not want to or both! They are not defending Israel and this is why WE are compelled to do it but this is not so efficient as if the State with all its might would do have done it. This PM MUST GO!

  • Yes, Stewart & Erb please invoke Dr Martin Luther King Jr. In March 1968 with great wisdom and prescience, he said: “People who criticize Zionists mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism”.

  • jerome

    Well said.

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