Friday, June 21, 2013

Big Racists vs Little Racists: How Israeli apartheid is coming unstuck

Dissident Voice
Jonathan Cook
June 21, 2013.
NAZARETH — One incident of racism, though small in relation to the decades of massive, institutionalised discrimination exercised by Israel against its Palestinian Arab citizens, has triggered an uncharacteristic bout of Israeli soul-searching. 
Superland, a large amusement park near Tel Aviv, refused to accept a booking from an Arab school on its preferred date in late May. When a staff member called back impersonating a Jew, Superland approved the booking immediately.

As the story went viral on social media, the park’s managers hurriedly offered an excuse: they provided separate days for Jewish and Arab children to keep them apart and prevent friction.

Government ministers led an outpouring of revulsion. Tzipi Livni, the justice minister, called the incident a “symptom of a sick democracy”. Defence minister Moshe Yaalon was “ashamed”. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the “racist” policy be halted immediately.

Such sensitivity appears to be a reaction to an explosion of popular racism over the past few months against the one in five Israelis who belong to the country’s Palestinian Arab minority. Some Israeli Jews have started to find the endless parade of bigotry disturbing.

Israeli TV recently revealed, for example, that a group of children with cancer who had been offered a free day at a swimming pool were refused entry once managers discovered that they were Bedouin.

According to another TV investigation, Israel’s banks have a secret policy of rejecting Arab customers who try to transfer their accounts to a branch in a Jewish community, even though this violates banking regulations.

The settlers, whose violence was once restricted to setting fire to the crops of Palestinians or rampaging through their villages in the West Bank, are now as likely to attack Arab communities inside Israel. Torched mosques, offensive graffiti on churches and cars set ablaze in so-called “price-tag” attacks have become commonplace. Similarly, reports of vicious attacks on Arab citizens are rapidly becoming a news staple.

Recent incidents have included the near-fatal beating of a street cleaner, and a bus driver who held his gun to an Arab passenger’s head, threatening to pull the trigger unless the man showed his ID.

Also going viral were troubling mobile-phone photos of a young Arab woman surrounded by a mob of respectable-looking commuters amd shoppers while she waited for a train. As they hit her and pulled off her hijab, station guards looked on impassively.

However welcome official denunciations of these events are, the government’s professed outrage does not wash.
Read the rest here.
Comment: As a South African who grew up under apartheid these instances of Israeli apartheid dredge up traumatic memories I'd rather forget.

And these instances are deserving of the apartheid label like it or not.

If not apartheid then what?

Alice Walker has just published a new book entitled "The Cushion Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way" in which she spends a significant amount of space discussing Palestinian life under Israeli apartheid.

Instead of engaging her critique the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other pro-Israel Zionists have taken to calling Walker an anti-Semite.

This is standard fare for the ADL as Professor William Cook writes in a Countercurrents article entitled "Walker tells the truth, the ADL avoids it" (June 19).

The ADL and Israel and its supporters can cry foul all they want.  The truth is that Israel is an apartheid state save for once important distinction and, that is, the fact that even apartheid South Africa was nowhere near as brutal and inhumane as Israel is proving to be.


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