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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Death to the Arabs - Israeli High School Students at their Racist Best

At least one can one thing of Israel's best. They have learned well from their elders. 'Death to the Arab's didn't come from nowhere. As recent posts have shown, Israeli rabbis are throwing off the inhibitions of the diaspora and talking of death camps for Arabs. Having already shouted racist abuse at a group of Arab women at Yad Vashem, the living insult that calls itself a memorial to the dead of the Holocaust, it is not surprising that, as all opinion polls show, the next generation of Israelis is even more racist than its predecessors. Tony Greenstein

As most of the readers probably know, a large group of Israel Rabbis, civil servants serving as senior Rabbis of various cities across the state, has recently issued an edict against renting homes to Arabs. The Rabbis remain in office, and the Israeli Attorney General is still "examining" the case, as if there is much to investigate.

Beneath this very salient tip of the iceberg, there lies the iceberg itself. From time to time, one is able to gauge its size. The following report provides a sneak preview of the future Jewish-Israeli collective mindset, and the calamities it may produce.

Are Israeli decision makers alarmed by the findings? Not really, according to their reactions, or lack thereof. After all, these youths will make excellent, obedient soldiers.

Independent young minds will always be found among Israel's youth, but most of these youths are not expected to defy their government's apartheid and occupation policies any time soon.

What shall one do? Along with attempting to introduce alternative ideas to the rotten fruit that Israel's official and parental(!) education systems bear, one is driven to the conclusion that only pressure from the outside can force the majority of the Jewish-Israeli public to take a look in the mirror and see the beast.

Ofer Neiman
January 19, 2011

Teachers tell Ynet of hatred and racism spreading among students, which has turned classrooms into battlefields. 'Teachers skip controversial chapters to avoid disruption,' says Myriam Darmoni, head of civics faculty at CET

Three weeks after the publication of a petition calling on Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar to take action against racism spreading within schools and the general public, teachers told Ynet about the harsh reality they are forced to face daily.

State of Education School principal prohibits students from speaking Arabic / Hassan Shaalan Dozens of Jaffa residents protest outside integrated school attended both by Arab, Jewish students. 'I dare you to prohibit Lieberman from speaking Russian at the Knesset,' city councilman says

Full Story

In one case, a 12th grade student of a northern Israeli school wrote "Death to the Arabs" on a test in civics class. In another case, a high school student from Tel Aviv stood up during class, and to the horror of his teacher declared that his dream is to volunteer for the Border Guard, "so that I can spray Arabs to death." His friends welcomed the announcement with applause.

Moreover, civics teachers around the country have been finding graffiti on the walls of their classrooms, bearing slogans ranging from "Kahane was right" to "A good Arab is a dead Arab." Other statements incite against the ultra-Orthodox sector and against refugees.

'Political discourse to blame for incitement' According to an Education Ministry source, the recent incidents reflect an escalation in racism among Israeli students. He primarily blamed politicians for encouraging hatred.

"We're not talking about a minority, or children from families that have extreme political views, but about normal children who are afflicted with ignorance," he said. "The political discourse in recent years has given them the legitimacy to be prejudiced."

The source also noted that the student who wrote "Death to Arabs" on his test is an honors student who is proficient in the material – a fact that raises a red flag.

He said the school in question dealt with the student in an uncompromising manner and the student did express deep regret for his actions. Regardless, the source asserted that it was not just an isolated practical joke but a trend widespread among Israel's youth.

A civics teacher from central Israel said she is constantly faced with racism emanating from the behavior of her pupils.

"When we have a discussion in class about equal rights, the class immediately gets out of control," she said. "The students attack us, the teachers, for being leftist and anti-Semitic, and say that all the Arab citizens who want to destroy Israel should be transferred."

She noted that expressions of hatred increase especially when she discusses the Kfar Kassem massacre, namely the significance of the "Clearly Illegal Order," a military command that is expressly against the law and should not be obeyed.

"It's very sad, but the students justify the massacre and say, 'A good Arab is a dead Arab,'" she said. "Often students who want to speak on behalf of human rights are either scared to do it because of the reactions of their friends, or apologetically clarify they don't like Arabs."

'We must raise generation free of hatred' Myriam Darmoni-Sharvit, who heads the civics faculty at the Center for Educational Technology, often hears her colleagues complaining that the situation in the classrooms has become unbearable.

"The teachers are truly despaired, they are exhausted, and some of them feel that mentally, dealing with the students is difficult," she said. "When they are in the classroom, they feel like they are in a battlefield, which is why they often act to 'survive' and choose to skip chapters or teach the material through dry dictation in order to keep the calm."

The Education Ministry said in response that teachers should convey to the students the difference between a disagreement or a dispute and between hatred, stereotyping and the deligitimization of humanity.

The ministry also stressed that the education system's goal is "to raise a generation free of racist attitudes, which is able to manage social tension and disagreement in a manner that respects the values of Judaism and democracy, on which our State is founded."

8 comments:

John Collins said...

Tony Greenstein, comparatively, racism in the Israeli state school system, from children living in a brutalised society with memories of Men, Women and Children blown to pieces by suicide bombings by terrorists is miniscule. Lives torn to shreds. Body parts flung in an orgy of murder. The crumpled carcass of an Egged bus. The gutted shell of a pizza restaurant or cafe. Dead bodies, men, women, children. And then the funerals. Yes ‘death to Arabs’ is blatantly wrong, and when it appears is stamped out by teachers and dissipates through education within the humanitarian society which is the essence of Israeli society. Wrong but miniscule in comparison. Why don't you write a blog about the racism of a suicide bomber? A suicide bomber takes racism and hatred to the extreme, destroys countless lives of civilians and then? is glorified as a martyr across the West Bank and Gaza. This is pure hatred. It is not merely racist but a fascist Islamist ideology, the cult of death. And the fact that you focus on Israeli high school kids in such a brutalised society is breathtaking. You have completely missed the point. You provide no context making this part of your blog an arrogant misrepresentation of Israeli culture coping within the context of conflict and terror.

Tony Greenstein said...

This is just an exercise in the justification of the unjustifiable. 59% of Israeli school students are against equal rights for Arabs. This is miniscule? http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2010/09/59-of-israeli-teenagers-are-opposed-to.html

What would John Collins call major?

As with defenders of settler colonialism and its murderous mentality, JC resorts to the tired old excuse of 'suicide bombings' and thus demonstrates his own racism very nicely.

Firstly there have been no suicide bombings for some time and very few in the past few years. But what is his objection to 'suicide' bombings? That the bomber kills himself? Does he find it better that when Israeli aircraft bomb Palestinian areas or tanks shoot shells into peoples' homes causing 'Body parts (to be) flung in an orgy of murder.' he seems to have no objection.

Maybe it's ok because Palestinian deaths can't be seen by their murderers? Or that Israel has killed thousands more Palestinians than the latter have Israelis?

Or maybe the Israeli high school children who, when they saw Arab women at Yad vashem, the Zionists Holocaust Propaganda Museum, shouted at them 'get out of here you sluts, this place is ours there is no room for Arabs' http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/01/yad-vashems-visiting-teenagers-abuse.html they were really thinking of suicide bombers?

If John Collins had an ounce of emotional intelligence he might stop to ponder why there is such desperation in Palestinian camps and society that young people are willing to blow themselves up. This has nothing to do with a 'fascist Islamic ideology' any more than partisans who blew themselves up taking Nazi soldiers with them in Serbia were 'fascists'. The fascists were those they were fighting. Likewise the Palestinians.

Israel dispossessed the Palestinians, massacreing and expelling. It demonised those who remained as a 'fifth column' and as the Palestine Papers show want to be rid of them and it invaded in 1967 the areas where they had been expelled to and stole their land for settlements. Perhaps this is the context that JC talks of?

I suspect not. Like all arrogant colonists and their supporters Palestinians are invisible and sub-human. Their pain counts for nothing whilst the traumas of those who have stolen their land are what is important.

No Israeli high school kids are more racist than their parents even because they live in a 'Jewish' State which has continually sought to ethnically cleanse and expel the other, the Arab, with his 'fascist ideology' unlike that of the nazi rabbis who justify the murder, yea even of the suckling infant.

John Collins said...

Tony thank you for your response. I entered into this blog quite forcefully and received and equally forceful response. Passionate you are and that could be a good thing. But let’s be cool headed about this otherwise we'll get nowhere. I'll try my best.

Before you attempt to discredit my comments, have you ever been through the Israeli high school system? Have you ever lived in Israel? Do you visit Israel? Do you have family there? Do you follow Israeli news outlets, with the myriad of voices? Do you speak Hebrew? Are you in any direct way in touch, in contact or well informed directly with Israeli thoughts, culture or society? Have you ever worked in Israel? Do you have any family or friends in the Israeli army? Have you ever lived in Israel during a surge in terror or during an Intifada or war? Have you ever felt the fear generated by successive terror attacks directed intentionally at civilian populations? Do you have friends with young families who dread the day when their children will have to go to the army, but recognise that this is the burden that all citizens of Israel carry, until peace can be achieved? Do you realise how deeply Israeli society yearns for peace? Only to be confronted again, and again and again by terror, stabbings, shootings, suicide bombings, border attacks, Kasams, Katyushas, Hezbullah , Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others, entire countries, threatening, inciting, and funding attacks, missiles, and then casting its eyes to the world, confronted by a torrent of worldwide demonisation and attempts to delegitimize the country? ‘Israel the Pariah state’, ‘Israel the illegal state’. Have you ever experienced this?

I have. All of the above. Each and every point. I went to High Scool in Israel. I served in the IDF. I've been to Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon. I lived and worked in Israel for many years. When I lived in Israel I worked alongside Palestinians, shopped in local Palestinian villages near to Kfar Saba, taught Palestinians English in Language schools made friends with Palestinians while out with friends. I listen to the Hebrew news, I familiarise myself with the politics and culture. I make an effort to understand and connect with the country I was born in and the country which ultimately protects me as a Jew. So I think I am in a good position to make a fair assessment of Israeli racism and hatred in comparison to hatred from Palestinian society.

The fear, the cynicism, the anger and sometimes the hatred certainly does come through, in some segments of society. But the second Intifada was a turning point. It was not long ago at all. The intended targets of an orchestrated campaign of murder and terror were, men, women, children. Israel’s response is to kill the terrorists, who hide behind civilians and the result is a dirty war by the terrorists who have no value for life, a cult of death which you seem to support. And this has had a deep deep impact on Israeli society. This bloody episode was only 10 years ago but it continues to this day, terror and hatred from Islamist groups, incitement to hatred from the West Bank and Gaza and beyond.

And yes, sadly, unsurprisingly, some young people, teenagers, will at times, in this climate of hatred towards them, resort to hatred, without the benefit of maturity and a full education. The teenagers grow up mature and gain a broader, educated perspective. Contrast, a teenager in the West Bank and Gaza, surrounded by posters of heroes in every town, heroes that are suicide bombers. What chance do they have when engulfed by a society that worships a cult of death, an Islamist scourge on humanity? What chance do they have when mothers hold up pictures of their ‘martyr’ children and proclaim and celebrate the death of their own child who murdered civilian Jews in the name of Islam?

Tony Greenstein said...

John,

Yes you did enter the blog forcefully as you put it and I responded in kind, but that kind of letting of steam produces more heat than light.

As it happens I have visited Israel and I do have family (a brother) there. But even if I didn’t would that disqualify me from commenting and campaigning? Would you say the same about anti-Nazi protestors or campaigners against Apartheid in South Africa etc? Does one have to visit iniquity to visit it? And if you do visit then what? Given that most Israelis have no idea what goes on in the Occupied Territories or turn a blind eye to it, how does it help to visit Israel?

And when I think of all those Whites who visited South Africa and said everything was fine or indeed all those people who visited Nazi Germany and sang the praises of Hitler then I don’t put much store in going to see for yourself because you only see a partial glimpse as a visitor or even a resident. When the ex-British Prime Minister Lloyd George visited Hitler he came back singing his praises!

In fact I was brought up as a religious Zionist, my father was a rabbi and I was a member of Bnei Akiva. I found the expressions of anti-Arab hatred from one particular Lubavitch rabbi at my yeshiva in Liverpool particularly obnoxious because I was a strange kid. The first real books I read were Lord Russell of Liverpool’s books on the Nazi death camps and the Japanese prisoner of war camps. I drew a conclusion that not only was anti-Semitism wrong but all racism was wrong.

You ask me to put myself in the shoes of Israelis who experienced ‘suicide bombing’. I am completely opposed to the bombing of civilian populations and terror attacks on them but Palestinians have experienced this since 1967 and of course in the Nakba. It is a weapon of the weak but is no different from an airplane that bombs from on high except in the latter case the perpetrator gets off scot free. I have withdraw from activity in one particular pro-Palestinian group because of the tolerated presence of someone who justifies ‘suicide bombing’ and I have always condemned it within the Palestine solidarity movement, not least because it is damaging not helping their cause.

But you should put yourself in the shoes of a Palestinian whose family was expelled in 1948 who went to Gaza or the West Bank only to find the Israeli army catch up with them and confiscate their new home and land too. Or the person who has been tortured in an Israeli jail or the parents whose child was killed by an Israeli rocket or sniper, who festers in a refugee camp and desires only revenge as a result.

It may indeed be disconcerting to know that the state you live in is seen as illegitimate by much of the world but you have to ask some questions. You mention Hizbollah, but they didn’t exist prior to the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when Sharon dreamed of a Greater Israel to the north. You mention Hamas but they owe their creation to a large extent to Israel and Shin Bet in particular which released Sheikh Yassin, arrested its opponents and gave it support in the 1980’s as a counterweight to secular Palestinian nationalism. Hamas is Israel’s Frankenstein.

Tony Greenstein said...

All the things you mention, Kassams, Katyushas etc. are a product of Israeli violence. The Lebanese didn’t flatten Israeli cities but Israel has repeatedly bombed and strafed Beirut, invading it in 1982. Do you not recall that Israel guided in the Phalangist murder squad that killed with knives and machetes up to 2,000 defenceless refugees in Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps? They even shone spotlights so they could see what they were doing. And to Begin it was just another example of non-Jews fighting each other when it was Israeli agency that allowed it. Imagine the terror of families who were awoken by these jackals and who were killed, all of them, in cold blood? Now you may understand why they seek revenge though ironically most Palestinians want not revenge but justice.
But you are telling me about the symptoms. Israeli racism is not a reaction to this anymore than German anti-Semitism was a result of the blitzing of their cities though undoubtedly it didn’t help. Racism is a justification for a priori attitudes, the rationale for conquering and occupying others’ land. Israel was set up as a Jewish state in a land where the majority were non-Jewish. And it sought to ‘redeem’ that land i.e. to Judaise it and expel the natives, first from the economy (Jewish labour – Kibbush Ha'avodah) and then from the country altogether. That is why Israelis are so concerned with demographic majorities and the prospect of losing a Jewish majority. Racism may be intensified but it isn’t caused by Palestinian resistance.
And the deep Nazi-like racism of the Orthodox does not stem from such violence either. It is from giving them a position of power in a state where they can try and emulate the Iranian mullahs.
Moshe Dayan was quite explicit. He wrote that ‘we are a settler generation, gun in hand, planting dunum after dunum, we took their land and that is why they hate us’ I paraphrase what he said after the death of one particular soldier but it conveys the message.
But if the Palestinians are transferred over the Jordan, which is the real aim of the Zionist majority today and Israel ever became a ‘normal’ state then there would be civil war between religious and secular. The Palestinian enemy keeps Israel united but it would be like Judah and Israel of old.

Roslyn Ross said...

Tony Greenstein, Judaism needs people like you. Israel gives Jews a bad name and it is so important when people like you stand up for justice against the human rights abuses and war crimes of the Israeli State carried out in the name of the religion.

Roslyn Ross said...

John Collins, any violence from Palestinians has arisen from the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation and continued colonisation of their country to create and maintain and expand the State of Israel.
I am sure you would not say that was justification for the violence you raise as justification for Israeli racism?
No-one seeks to justify violence but perspective surely would see some mitigating factors in those who use violence to free themselves from one of the most vicious occupations and colonisations in modern history, whereas Israel's use of State sanctioned terrorism to maintain occupation and colonisation has no mitigating factors.
Neither are there any mitigating factors, ever, for racism.
Until Israel accepts the wrong inherent in its foundation and the wrongs committed since in the name of occupation and colonisation and makes redress, it will continue to drown in the level of denial, delusion and dysfunction which enables you to seek to make a case like this - to excuse the racism and hatred which has corrupted and debased Israeli culture to such a degree that few recognise it as a modern or democratic state.

Anonymous said...

I haven't a clue where you found the first photo with the caption about Alexander Muss, but I find its inclusion completely irrelevant. There are no Arabs there just as there are no Israelis- it's an American/Jewish program in Israel.