Israel is the most racist and right-wing state on Earth
The recent Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Anti-Semitism, [see Manufacturing Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism - Modern Day Alchemy - Home Affairs Select Committee Transforms Anti-Zionism into Anti-Semitism] whose primary purpose was to conflate criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism, started from the basis that ‘where criticism of the Israeli Government is concerned, context is vital. Israel is an ally of the UK Government and is generally regarded as a liberal democracy, in which the actions of the Government are openly debated and critiqued by its citizens’. (para. 23)
However the Committee was happy to assure people that ‘It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.’ (para 24) In other words, as long as you treat Israel as you would say The Netherlands, then without further evidence you are probably not anti-Semitic. But if you treat Israel for what it is, a racist settler colonial state founded on ethnic cleansing, you will be in danger of being classified as anti-Semitic and further you may be liable to prosecution for a hate crime if your criticism of Zionism is in an ‘accusatory or abusive context’. (paras. 5 and 32)
The first and foremost reason why Israel is not and never has been a democracy is that it is a settler-colonial state. In order to achieve the appearance of democracy, Israel had to expel, in 1948, ¾ million Palestinians in what was called the Nakba. Thanks to research by Israeli historians such as Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe, who based their research on the opening of the haganah archives, the myth that the Palestinian refugees evacuated their villages in order to allow the Arab armies to conquer Israel are no longer tenable. First hand witness testimony from those who took part in the destruction of Arab villages and the massacre of their inhabitants for example Liz Tcharansky’s On the Side of the Road are conclusive.
Because Israel, unlike South Africa, was particularly dependent on political support in the West came up with the concept of a Jewish Democratic state. For the Jews it was to a certain extent democratic, but for Israel’s Palestinians who spent the first 18 years of the state under military rule it has always been a Jewish state. Whenever there has been a clash or contradiction between the two then the Jewish prevailed over the Democratic. As the Jewish National Fund explained, after the Supreme Court ruled in Kadan in 2000, that the JNF and Israeli Land Authority could no longer refuse to allow Arabs to rent or lease land:
|To the Jewish National Fund, which owns 13% of Israel's land and controls another 80% what is more important is a Jewish rather than a democratic state -|
'A survey commissioned by KKL-JNF reveals that over 70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state rather than as the state of all its citizens'
Origins of Zionist Colonialism
The process of colonisation began in 1882 with the First Aliyah, (wave of emigration). Although Zionists today are fond of describing Zionism as a movement of ‘national self-determination of the Jewish people’, when the first Kibbutzim were established, they were called colonies and those who lived in them were known as colonists. [See Ben-Gurion’s Rebirth & Destiny]
When Theodore Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, wrote to the white supremacist founder of Rhodesia, Cecile Rhodes, in 1903 he remarked: ‘How, then, do I happen to turn to you since this is an out-of-the-way matter for you? How indeed? Because it is something colonial… [Diaries of Theodor Herzl, p.1194]
Today of course colonialism is not popular so Zionism adapts to the zeitgeist and adopts the language of the left to disguise its origins. Herzl sought what Chaim Weizmann achieved in 1917, an alliance with British imperialism, the Balfour Declaration, which promised to sponsor a Jewish settler colony in Palestine against the wishes of the indigenous population.
Zionist colonisation of Palestine first involved buying the land from a absentee landlords and then evicting the peasant population. At first settlements like Petah Tikvah and Rishon Lezion which were established in 1878 and 1882 survived because of the support they received from Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Later the Jewish National Fund, established in 1901, took over the purchase of land and the subsidisation of the colonies.
The difference between the first and subsequent aliyah was that the settlers behaved like traditional colonists and were content to sit back and let the Arabs do the work. The Second (Labour) Aliyah from 1904-1914, spearheaded by the Ben-Gurion’s ‘socialist’ Poalei Zion, insisted that it was Jewish workers who were to do the work. The colonies and the Kibbutzim were to be Jewish only.
It was the Labour Zionists, not their Revisionist opponents who sought to create a wholly Jewish economy as a precursor to a Jewish state. They campaigned on the policies of Jewish Labour, land and produce.
David HaCohen, a former Managing Director of Solel Boneh, the wholly owned building company of Histadrut, explained what this meant:
‘I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my Trade Union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to housewives that they should not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there... to pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash Arab eggs they had bought... to buy dozens of dunums from an Arab is permitted but to sell God forbid one Jewish dunum to an Arab is prohibited; to take Rothschild the incarnation of capitalism as a socialist and to name him the 'benefactor' - to do all that was not easy.’ [David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch, p.63].
Unsuprisingly this caused mass resentment which culminated in the 1929 riots when some 100, mainly Orthodox religious Jews were massacred. The Hope Simpson Report which reported into the causes of the riots was clear as to the reasons behind the riots. It observed:
|Haneen Zoabi is physically escorted from the podium of the Knesset because the Zionist members disapprove of what she is saying|
The effect of the Zionist colonisation policy on the Arab.— Actually the result of the purchase of land in Palestine by the Jewish National Fund has been that land has been extraterritorialised. It ceases to be land from which the Arab can gain any advantage either now or at any time in the future. Not only can he never hope to lease or to cultivate it, but, by the stringent provisions of the lease of the Jewish National Fund, he is deprived for ever from employment on that land. Nor can anyone help him by purchasing the land and restoring it to common use. The land is in mortmain and inalienable. It is for this reason that Arabs discount the professions of friendship and good will on the part of the Zionists in view of the policy which the Zionist Organisation deliberately adopted. (para. 54)
Israel’s Open and Increasing Racism
It is the settler colonial nature of Israel and the definition of Israel as a Jewish supremacist state where Jews must always retain a majority of at least 80% that lies at the root of Israeli racism. The ‘demographic question’ which is unknown in all western democracies, is ever present and manifests itself in the policy of ‘Judaisation’ of the Galilee, the Negev and Jerusalem. The Koenig Plan and the Prawer Plans are based on the need to secure Jewish majorities in both the former areas of Israel. The fear that Arabs will one day become a majority is responsible for Israel being the most racist and right wing state on Earth.
In Netanyahu’s governing coalition, Ministers are openly racist in a way that would be unheard of in Europe. For example the Deputy Defence Minister Rabbi Eli Dahan is of the opinion that Arabs are not human but beasts. In an interview when asked what he would do if a law for single sex marriages was proposed in the Knesset responded ‘“No, under no circumstances. A Jew and a goy [non Jew] can also not marry.” He went on to explain the racial hierarchy of souls: “We don’t recognize either of them. In any case, a Jew always has a much higher [level] soul than a goy, even if he is a homosexual’.
But lest it be thought that Dahan is an exception, we should remember that Prime Minister Netanyahu, when declaring that Israel was proposing to erect a fence all around itself, explained that its purpose was to keep the ‘“wild beasts” i.e. neighbouring Arabs out. Racism is the handmaiden of colonialism and occupation. Almost every government minister has made comments which would, in a liberal democracy, be considered beyond the pale.
For example ‘Culture’ Minister Miri Regev, who spends most of her time threatening Israeli arts groups with a loss of funding if they don’t play in settlements, described the 60,000 African refugees who made their way to Israel in the past decade, as a ‘cancer’ in Israeli society. When people protested Regev apologised to cancer victims for comparing them to refugees! Regev made these remarks at an anti-refugee rally in South Tel-Aviv and it resulted in a pogrom against individual refugees.
When the Peace Index conducted a survey a majority of Israeli Jews (52%) supported Regev and 33% condoned anti-migrant violence. [52% of Israeli Jews agree: African migrants are ‘a cancer’] By way of contrast only 19% of Israeli Arabs agreed with Regev’s statement.
All Surveys of Israeli Jews find a Majority Adopt Overtly Racist Attitudes
Every opinion poll finds that a majority of Israelis display what in the West would be considered virulently racist opinions. If a similar percentage of Britons had the same attitudes to Jews then anti-Semitism would indeed be a problem in this country. Whereas people with what might be called anti-Semitic prejudices in this country number around 5-6%, in Israel a large majority of Israeli Jews are, to be blunt, racist bigots.
In a survey earlier this year, Israel’ Religiously Divided Society by the Pew Research Centre, 64% of Arabs disagree with the statement that Israel can be Jewish and a democracy at the same time. This rises to 72% amongst Christians with 20% disagreeing.
|Just 8% of Israeli Jews identify with the Left compared to 37% for the Right and 55% for the Centre. In practice Israel's centre is on the right and the Right is the far-Right|
Amongst Jews 79% say that Jews deserve preferential treatment in Israel. An overwhelming majority such as this can only be caused by the perception that Jews already receive preferential treatment.
When it comes to the question whether the respondents favour the physical expulsion of Arabs a plurality, 48%, agree and 46% disagree. In 3 out of the 4 religious cohorts, there is majority agreement with this proposition.
This opinion poll is consistent with all other polls in Israel. YNet, the online English version of Israel’s widest circulation paper, Yediot Aharanot found that ‘62 percent of Israelis want the government to encourage Arabs to leave Israel, according to the 2006 democracy index released Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute.’
A year later, YNet reported that ‘over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason’. What is interesting about this is that people didn’t oppose it on national but racial/national grounds.
The survey also found that over 75% of Jews did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. 60% said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home. Inter-marriage diluted the dominant race.
About 40% of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”. Over half agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to leave the country and over half said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab. 55% said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”.
Israeli Jews hold views that, if they were expressed in Britain, would be attributed to the far-Right, the BNP and EDL. In Israel such views are mainstream.
Racism amongst young Israeli Jews is even higher than amongst their elders
|Israeli Jewish school students in their segregated classroom - most Jewish youth will never meet or have an Arab friend|
In Half of Jewish high schoolers say Arabs shouldn’t vote – poll, nearly half of Jewish Israeli high school students said they believe Arabs should not have the right to vote.
The poll asked Jewish Israeli high school students in grades 11-12 a variety of questions intended to probe their opinions on current affairs and political identity, among other issues. Nearly half (48%) of those polled answered “no” to the question: “Do you think Arab Israelis should be represented in the Knesset?” The remainder, 52%, said yes.
According to Israel Hayom, a newspaper allied to Benjamin Netanyahu, the poll also found that 59% of 11th- and 12th-graders identified as politically right-wing, 23% identified with the center and only 13% said they considered themselves left-wing.
When asked whether Elor Azaria, the soldier who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron should be prosecuted, some 60% said the soldier should not be prosecuted, 30% said he should be prosecuted, while 10% said they had no opinion on the matter. According to Hariri, 60% of those polled also said they believed medical treatment should not be given to an injured terrorist.
In 2010 a Ha’aretz article Poll: Half of Israeli High Schoolers Oppose Equal Rights for Arabs quoted Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal that "Jewish youth have not internalized basic democratic values,". The question is why? The answer is obvious. In a Jewish state where Arabs are marginalised, education, land and much else is segregated and where there are real economic differences between Jews and Arabs, then of course young people will internalise this.
Ha’aretz noted that ‘The results paint a picture of youth leaning toward political philosophies that fall outside the mainstream.’ It would seem however, on all the evidence, that the views of Israeli high school students fall squarely within Israel’s mainstream. That is the problem!
In response to the question of whether Arab citizens should be granted rights equal to that of Jews, 49.5 percent answered in the negative. The issue highlighted the deep fault lines separating religious and secular youths, with 82 percent of religious students saying they opposed equal rights for Arabs while 39 percent of secular students echoed that sentiment.
When students were asked whether Arabs should be eligible to run for office in the Knesset, 82 percent of those with religious tendencies answered in the negative, 47 percent of secular teens agreed. In total, 56 percent said Arabs should be denied this right altogether.
While an overwhelming majority (91 percent) expressed a desire to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, 48 percent said they would not obey an order to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank. "This poll shows findings which place a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth," said an Education Ministry official.
The survey, which indicates "a gap between the consensus on formal democracy and the principles of essential democracy, which forbid the denial of rights to the Arab population," the official said.
"The differences in positions between secular and religious youth, which are only growing sharper from a demographic standpoint, need to be of concern to all of us because this will be the face of the state in another 20-30 years," said Bar-Tal. "There is a combination of fundamentalism, nationalism, and racism in the worldview of religious youth."
In an editorial ‘Who Needs The Courts in Israel?’ Ha’aretz describes how ‘A government-sponsored bill that would expand the defense minister’s powers to restrict the freedom of Israeli citizens constitutes another step in an unbridled campaign whose goal is to deal a death blow to human rights and the sacred fundamental principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers.’
The bill would grant the Defence Minister the authority to detain individuals without trial or to issue a restraining order with minimal judicial oversight, and even that sometimes only after the fact. The minister would have the authority to exclude an individual from working in a certain trade or profession, from entering or leaving defined locales, from leaving the country or having contact with certain people. In what other democratic country would the Minister of Defence have the power to detain anyone or issue such powers?
There is a myth that Israel’s Supreme Court has been a block on the Likud government. This is not so. Although it has tended to favour the secular against the religious in Israel, when it comes to Israeli Arabs it has been nearly always ruled against them. In terms of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories the courts has been even worse, repeatedly ruling that Israeli law trumps international law. They have consistently turned a blind eye to land theft and confiscation using a variety of legal pretexts. The Supreme Court is now stuffed with judges who live on settlements in breach of international law. Israel's High Court Rules Residents of Settlements Can Serve as Justices
For Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, a member of the far-right HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) settler party, even the present limited freedom of the Supreme Court is too much to bear. Shaked is on record as advocating the genocide of Palestinians, putting on her Facebook a quote from a settler leader that "They [the Palestinians] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there." Shaked is Israel’s Justice Minister!
The Attack on Human Rights NGOs
On particularly favourite target of the Zionists in recent years have been Israel’s human rights groups, notably B’tselem and the soldier’s group, Breaking the Silence. They have been repeatedly accused by government ministers of supporting ‘terrorism’. The result has been the ‘Transparency Law’. Ha’aretz described how this Bill ‘demands that NGOs which receive funding from foreign governments specify that in all their official publications, along with the names of the countries that contribute.’ Israeli human rights NGOs receive most of their funding from abroad because there is little support for human rights amongst Israel’s Jewish population. Right-wing NGOs and Likud, also receive foreign funding, but this is from private not public groups therefore it doesn’t have to be disclosed.
When Btselem’s Director Hagai el-Ad recently appeared before the UN Security Council saying that without international pressure, Israel would never abandon its settlements in the West Bank, he was threatened with loss of his citizenship, called a traitor and attacked by all sections of the Zionist movement. The Times of Israel describes how:
Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli said the group was helping to advance “the libel and demonization of Israel.” A Labor party activist even lodged a police complaint for alleged treason by the organization.
The Zionist Union is the parliamentary group that is dominated by the Israeli Labour Party. These are the ‘moderate’ alternatives that the Labour Party’s affiliate the Jewish Labour Movement would have people believe are a principled opposition to Likud and Netanyahu.
In Israel it is possible for someone to be administratively detained without trial for up to 6 months at a time and for that detention to be renewed indefinitely without someone ever being brought before a court to face a charge. The Jerusalem Post described how ‘In Israel, the administrative detention of Jews and Palestinians is different by any measure, including length of detention, and number of detainees.’ At the time when the article was written there were three Jewish detainees all of whom were due to be released, meaning that there would be no Jewish prisoners detained compared to some 700 Palestinian detainees.’ The three Jewish prisoners were only detained because they were suspected of having firebombed the Dawabshe family home in Duma village, in which 3 people including an infant died and a toddler barely survived.
The Post described how ‘Justice’ Minister Shaked explained ‘why the state routinely demolishes Palestinian terrorists’ homes, but never Jewish terrorists’ homes. Shaked explained the much wider need to deter Palestinian terrorism justified applying the law differently.’ In other words, Jewish terrorism against Palestinians isn’t really terrorism.
Addameer, the Legal Rights group that provides representation and legal services to Palestinian detainees, in an article On Administrative Detention describes how since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, Israeli forces have arrested more than 800,000 Palestinians, almost 20% of the total Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territories. About 40% of male Palestinians in the occupied territories have been arrested.
Addameer itself and its workers have been repeatedly harassed by the Israeli army subjecting some to administrative detention. Human Rights Watch issued a statement Israel: Military Harassing Rights Group Staff in which it called on Israel’ military to
stop harassing members of Addameer, a rights group that provides legal services and advocates for the rights of Palestinians in detention. The Israeli military has imposed severe restrictions and penalties on Addameer’s staff, either without even alleging any violent activity, or without due process.
The Mistreatment of Palestinian Children
Perhaps the most abominable of all practices is the arbitrary detention, beatings and torture of Palestinian children. This in itself is proof that Israel’s claims to be a liberal western democracy is a sham. In The Palestinian children – alone and bewildered – in Israel's Al Jalame jail the Guardian described how in Al Jalame prison in northern Israel, ‘Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days.’
‘The only escape is to the interrogation room where children are shackled, by hands and feet, to a chair while being questioned, sometimes for hours....
‘Most say they are threatened; some report physical violence. Verbal abuse – "You're a dog, a son of a whore" – is common. Many are exhausted from sleep deprivation. Day after day they are fettered to the chair, then returned to solitary confinement. In the end, many sign confessions that they later say were coerced.’
These claims and descriptions come from affidavits given by minors to an international human rights organisation and from interviews conducted by the Guardian... Since 2008, Defence for Children International has collected sworn testimonies from 426 minors detained in Israel's military justice system. Their statements show a pattern of night-time arrests, hands bound with plastic ties, blindfolding, physical and verbal abuse, and threats. About 9% of all those giving affidavits say they were kept in solitary confinement, although there has been a marked increase to 22% in the past six months.
Minors are rarely questioned in the presence of a parent, and rarely see a lawyer before or during initial interrogation. Most are detained inside Israel, making family visits very difficult.
Most children maintain they are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, despite confessions and guilty pleas, said Gerard Horton of DCI.
Israel is one of the few countries where torture is not illegal. In May 2016 UN official Jen Modvig, of the UN Committee Against Torture told Israel: ‘You must criminalize torture.’
Israel has argued before the committee in the past that treaties like the Convention against Torture are applicable only in areas of the country in which Israeli law fully applies. Surprise, surprise, that doesn’t include the West Bank or Gaza, except for Jewish settlers of course!
Israel’s main claim to being a democracy is that Arabs have the vote. This too is deceptive. In Israel most voters vote for either Arab or Jewish Zionist parties unlike in western countries where people vote according to their political allegiance. The result is that the Jewish majority consistently dominates the Israeli Palestinian minority.
Even so there are constant attacks on both the Arab parties and individual parliamentarians. The latest move to restrict the freedom of manoeuvre of Arab members of the Knesset is an Expulsion Law. Jonathan Cook writes how ‘Critics fear the new legislation is designed to empty the Knesset of its Palestinian parties’
Writing from Nazareth Cook describes how ‘The Knesset, awarded itself a draconian new power last week: A three-quarters majority of its members can now expel an elected politician if they do not like his or her views.’
The expulsion law has no parallel in any democratic state. Addameer noted that it was the latest in a series of laws designed to strictly circumscribe the rights of Israel’s Palestinian minority and curb dissent. The four Palestinian parties in the parliament, in a coalition called the Joint List, issued an open letter warning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government “want a Knesset without Arabs”. After Stormy Debate, Bill Allowing Knesset to Expel Lawmakers Passes First Legislative Hurdle Ha’aretz 29.2.16.
Even Likud’s Attorney General warned that the Bill ‘frustrates the will of the voters’. Joint Arab List head Ayman Odeh said he would resign if Balad MKs are ousted. Another Arab MK Tibi described the Bill as 'The parliamentary translation of the phrase 'Death to Arabs,'' a favourite slogan of the Israeli Right.
Elor Azaria – the Soldier Murderer as National Hero
|At the demonstration for Azaria in 'liberal' Tel Aviv, one banner said 'My honour is my loyalty' the SS slogan|
Other examples of Israeli democracy include the case of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who was filmed executing a gravely wounded Palestinian as he was lying comatose on the ground. He instantly became a national hero. Poll: 62% of Israelis favor closing Hebron shooting case.
Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi, both 21, were shot dead after they allegedly tried to attack Israeli occupation soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron on 24 March. The killing of al-Sharif was caught on video which shows the youth on the ground, incapacitated, as Azarya points a rifle at him from close range and fires directly at his head.
The Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq called the killings war crimes and noted the complicity of Israeli medical workers who did nothing to assist the injured al-Sharif before he was extrajudicially executed. Al-Haq dismissed the arrest of Azarya as part of a public relations effort, noting that no one was detained in the shooting of al-Qasrawi, whose killing was not filmed.
|If an Israeli Palestinian had held this banner they would have been instantly arrested and placed in administrative detention and then charged - but in Israel Jewish racism is openly displayed without legal consequences|
In an article “Death to the Arabs” rally draws thousands in Tel Aviv Electronic Intifada described how, at a demonstration held in Tel-Aviv on April 19th 2016 there was a banner ‘Kill Them All’. The ‘all’ can be taken to ‘mean Arabs, leftists, critics of the IDF….) Another independent reporter, Dan Cohen, tweeted that many in the crowd chanted “Death to Arabs,” a frequently heard rallying cry at anti-Palestinian demonstrations.
Times of Israel reporter Judah Ari Gross tweeted that an activist from B’Tselem, the human rights group that released the video of Azarya shooting and killing Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, had to be escorted out of Rabin Square by police in order to “protect his life.”
Reporter David Sheen, a contributor to The Electronic Intifada, was set upon by a mob and then ordered to leave the area by police after he was accused of association with B’Tselem.
“It doesn’t surprise me that people in Israel harbour hatred towards journalists,” Sheen said. “They don’t see the soldier’s actions as a problem,” he added. “They see the problem as exposure to world media that puts pressure on their government to withdraw support from that soldier.”
Dan Cohen wrote that ‘Also in attendance were members of El Yahud, a loose network of Jewish supremacist thugs who organize mob violence against Palestinians and anyone they deem “leftists” that sprouted during the last assault on Gaza – a group journalist David Sheen compared to the Ku Klux Klan.
There are many other reasons why Israel is not a democracy. It has a pervasive censorship that extends even to Israel’s archives. Rewriting History – First the Holocaust now the Nakba – Netanyahu style. It has a permanent state of the emergency despite that fact that Israel is a military superpower that is under no military threat from its neighbours. It has certain democratic rights, for its Jewish citizens but even they, if they challenge the Zionist status quo are in danger of falling foul of the security apparatus. It however serves western interests well to pretend that Israel is some beacon of democracy in the Middle East.