Defining Israeli Zionist Racism: Part 1
by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri / December 29th, 2007
We must do everything to ensure they (the Palestinian refugees) never do return.
– David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948.1
Let us not today fling accusations at the murderers. Who are we that we should argue against their hatred? For eight years now they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their very eyes, we turn into our homestead the land and the villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.”
– Moshe Dyan (Israeli Defense Minister during the Israeli-Arab war, 1967), 1953.2
“No state has the right to exist as a racist state.”
– Palestinian activist and author, Omar Barghouti.3
Responding to issues raised by the article “Defining Racism,”4 Barbara Kay, a columnist with the Canadian newspaper National Post,5 employed a standard Zionist gimmick devoid of elementary principles, historical validity, or logical thematic constructs. Kay’s defense of the Zionist dispossession of Palestinians coupled with heinous crimes against humanity is patently manipulative since she flagrantly attempts at confounding the fundamental subject that defines Israeli Zionist racism in its factual historical context and sequence of events. Writes Kay:
They [Palestinians] were transferred for two reasons: i) because their own leaders told them to leave so they would not be in the path of war, which the Arab countries initiated in 1948 and fully expected to win, after which the people would return and take back all the land and homes of the Jews; and ii) because you cannot have hostile people in your own state if they will not agree to live as citizens. Transfers of populations go on all the time. If the Arabs had accepted the two-state solution proposed by the UN partition plan of 1947, they would have been living in their own state for 60 years in peace with Israel. Why do you blame Israel for Arab intransigence and stupidity?
You mention the expulsion of the European Jews. i notice you fail to mention the expulsion of the Jews in Arab lands, of which there were 600,000, the exact same number as the Palestinians. Except they were not left to rot by their brethren as the Arab refugees were; they were absorbed by Israel, just as the Arab refugees should have been absorbed by Jordan, since ethnically they are Jordanians. So let me ask you: Was it wrong for the Arabs to expel Jews from their lands? And since I now assume you will say yes, why don’t we agree to call it a draw. The Arabs are now happily free of Jews, and Israel - while happily living with their 1 million Arab citizens - is also happily free of those Palestinians who wish them dead.
We present a general dissection of Israeli Zionist racism with Kay being only the instigative trigger behind this series. Accordingly, Kay is just a minute personification of Zionism that we can use as a model for our dissection. Therefore, to deconstruct Kay’s (and by extension all Zionist analysts’) statements — hence, tearing down her manipulative ideological edifice — we have to address first the eminent question whether racism, pointedly, Israeli Zionist racism, is materially applicable to the Palestinian issue. To this end, we will divide this series in two sections: 1) analysis of Israeli Zionist racism, and 2) the deconstruction of Kay’s statement.
Section 1: Analysis of Israeli Zionist racism
Before demonstrating the material aspects and institutionalized policies of Israeli racism in Palestine (and actions and policies in the Arab world), we must define said racism in its practical and ideological terms. However, to do just that, we still have to define first the term, “racism” itself. As a preliminary approach, we decided to rely on the definition given by the United Nations Organization. This is in spite of the fact that 1) western colonialist-imperialist powers created this organization to defend –- exclusively — their strategic and geo-economic interests, an 2) it was this same organization that illegally sanctioned the partition of Palestine between the indigenous Palestinians and Jewish European invaders, thus leading to the installation of the racist state of Israel.
Sub-article # 1 of Article 1 of the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination6 gives the following definition to racism:
In this Convention, the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
Do all elements that the United Nations said constitute the practical manifestation of racism apply to the situation of Palestinians since the immigration of Europeans of Jewish faith to the Arabic Syrian region of Palestine in the early 20th century? Does the subsequent forcible installation of the Zionist entity in Palestine where diverse ethnic groups from disparate parts of world having no social, anthropological, or cultural relations amongst them except nominal adherence to Judaism, settled through violence, murder, intimidation, land expropriation, and then collectively joined in practice of ritualistic discrimination against the indigenous populations constitute, per se, racism?
To answer these questions methodically and give the reader the widest view possible on this subject, we relied on extensive anthological extracts dealing with Israeli Zionist racism from varied perspectives. We anticipate that Zionists and their sycophants and acolytes would want to debate this series or distort its basic conclusions. For this purpose, we want emphasize that we are not merchants of accommodating principals and have no inclination to debate insincere arguments such as that of Israeli racism vis-à-vis the Palestinians based on terms dictated by Zionists whereby cheap preemptive accusations, such as labeling those who disagree with Zionism and the über-colonialistic policies of Israel as “anti-Semites,” is a norm.
We took the position for not debating Zionists on their own terms primarily because, before dubbing anyone with this trite label, one needs to define what Semitism is in the first place, who invented the term, and who decided to use it to intimidate and silence the opponents of Zionism. In addition, if Zionists insist to make anti-Zionism and anti-“Semitism” (or more accurately and specifically, “anti-Jewish”) interchangeable or equivalent, then that would not be our problem to address, discuss, or resolve.
Facts about Israeli Zionist Racism
A) A historical view by Basel Ghattas
Writing for the Jerusalem Fund, Basel Ghattas, General Director of the Galilee Society (Haifa, Israel), gives the following account on the situation of the Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) who remained in the newly formed exclusivist Jewish state:
History and Demographics
The 156,000 Palestinians that remained in the newly established Jewish state of Israel in 1948 have grown into more than one million. Their annual birth rate exceeded five percent in the 1950s and 1960s, and decreased to around three percent in recent years.
More than 20 percent of these one million people are displaced from their towns and villages as internal refugees. Palestinians in Israel now live in three main geographical areas: the Galilee, or the northern district of Israel where they comprise half of the population; the central triangle of Israel; and in the Negev in the south. The majority of Palestinians in Israel (60 percent) live in 115 villages. An additional 20 percent live in 7 towns, 10 percent live in 6 mixed Jewish-Palestinian cities, and the rest live in over 40 “unrecognized” villages that are considered illegal by the government.
Statistics of Discrimination
Until 1966, the Palestinian citizens of Israel lived under military administration. Still today, despite supposedly being equal citizens of a democratic state, the Palestinian minority continues to be subjected to systematic institutional and legal discrimination, and is completely marginalized by the Israeli government. Israeli prime ministers from left and right have recently acknowledged this discrimination, yet little has been done to bridge the wide gap that has been created between Jews and Palestinians.
When one looks at the economic conditions of Palestinians in Israel, this gap becomes apparent. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics has classified all communities in Israel into 10 clusters according to their socio-economic status. All 10 communities in the lowest cluster are Palestinian. Out of 26 communities in the second lowest cluster, 23 are Palestinian. None of the Palestinian communities ranked higher than the five lowest classifications. Moreover, almost 50 percent of the children living below the poverty line in Israel are Palestinian, despite the fact that Palestinians do not comprise more than 20 percent of Israel’s entire population.
Palestinians in Israel also receive less education than their Jewish counterparts. Sixty percent of the Palestinian labor force have a maximum of nine years of education. Only five percent of Palestinians have college degrees or higher, compared to 17 percent of Jews in Israel.
In addition, Palestinians encounter problems of overcrowding. They own less than three percent of Israel’s land, and less than 50 percent of that land is under their local authority’s jurisdiction. The severe lack of appropriate, updated urban plans for their neighborhoods has created a serious housing problem. This shortage has resulted in a high population density, as well as more than 10,000 illegal houses threatened to be demolished under court order.
According to a report submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, there are 17 Israeli laws that are discriminatory against Palestinians. These laws create a reality in which Palestinian citizens are deprived of basic educational, religious, social, and economic rights.7
B) A Statement by the United Nations
Recently, the United Nations, an organization that reflects the hypocritical establishment of its founders and signatories, condemned Israeli discrimination against the Palestinians.8 Before quoting on the nature of this discrimination, we have to point out to four relevant facts:
One: As for “suicide-bombing”, the UN, as one may expect, does not explain as why this type of attack (self-sacrificing against the Israeli occupiers of Palestine) is happening in the first place? An explanation, however, is readily available: 1) resistance against an occupation that has been lasting since 1967, and 2) frustration and despair against Israeli Zionist discrimination and racism.
Two: if the United Nations is concerned about anti-Palestinian discrimination, why has it never issued a resolution punishing Israel for its institutionalized racist policies and otherwise taken actions to stop the racism?
The use of the word “discrimination”, however, is a U.N. political ruse meant to appease Israel and mitigate the reality that pervades the Israeli relations with the Palestinians, which is racism. In fact, after the General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379 in 1975 that equated Zionism with racism (abrogated it in 1991 after Gulf War Aggression against Iraq and the de facto military occupation of the Gulf States) it would be impractical for the Israeli-controlled UN (via the US) to reapply the term “racism” to any racist act by Israel.
Three: the imperialist news agency, Reuters, reported on the discrimination charges by employing linguistic deception. It printed the charges under the headline: “UN: Israel must stop discrimination against Arabs, Palestinians.” [italics added] It is deception because, who is the Palestinian and who is the Arab in occupied Palestine, the occupied West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip? Does Reuters mean that Palestinians are distinct from the Arabs? Or maybe Arabs and Palestinians are two similar/dissimilar groups living in Palestine? Or maybe it wanted to imply that 1) it meant all indigenous Palestinians from all origins; or 2) it meant Arabs outside Palestine?
Arguably, therefore, Reuters’ attempt at concealing the victims of Israeli racism is apparent. The agency is trying to water down the Palestinian identity and merge it with that of the greater Arab nation primarily to promote the Zionist Israeli idea that Arab countries should absorb all Palestinian refugees in the countries where they are currently residing since they are all Arabs. …
Four: reporting on the UN charges against Israeli practices in the whole of Israeli-occupied Palestine was no less than Haaretz, a Zionist Israeli newspaper. This is somewhat peculiar since many in the West accredit it with progressive leanings. We believe this is sheer nonsense since Israel and all of its institutions, culture, and media are multiple faces for the same merchandize, that is, they are all expressions of the racist Zionist matrix that generated them. Specifically, Zionism and political or humanistic progressivism are antithetical because Zionism as a foundation and ideology could never reconcile with the reality that it has been trying to uproot and supplant Palestinians since the Balfour Declaration.
In quoting the United Nations, we added italics to all relevant situations where the charge of racism is transparent:
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said Israel’s security measures to ward off suicide bombings and other attacks must be re-calibrated to avoid discrimination against Arab Israelis or Palestinians living in Israeli-occupied lands such as the West Bank.
The committee specified that Israel should ease roadblocks and other restrictions on Palestinians and put a stop to settler violence and hate speech.
Its 18 independent experts, who examined the records of 13 countries at a four-week meeting in Geneva, also said Israel should cease building a barrier in and around the West Bank and ensure its various checkpoints and road closures do not reinforce segregation.
In its conclusions, the committee also voiced concern at an unequal distribution of water resources, a disproportionate targeting of Palestinians in house demolitions and the “denial of the right of many Palestinians” to return to their land.
Differing applications of criminal law between Jews and Arabs had caused “harsher punishments for Palestinians for the same offence,” said the committee, whose recommendations are not legally binding.
A high number of complaints by Arab Israelis against police officers are not properly investigated and many Arabs suffer discriminatory work practices and high unemployment, it said.
Excavations beneath and around the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s holiest site in Jerusalem, should also be undertaken in a way that will “in no way endanger the mosque and impede access to it,” it added.
Israel argues that the UN committee’s remit, to ensure compliance with a 1965 international treaty against racial discrimination which the Jewish state has ratified, does not apply to the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967. The committee rejects that position.8
Next: Part 2 of 12
1. Quoted by Michael Bar Zohar’s in Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet (Prentice-Hall: 1967), p. 157. #
2. Quoted by Uri Avneri in Israel without Zionists (Macmillan: 1968), p. 134. #
3. Interview with Silvia Cattori, “Omar Barghouti: ‘No State Has the Right to Exist as a Racist State,’” Voltairenet.org, 7 December 2007. #
4. Kim Petersen, “Defining Racism,” Dissident Voice, 26 November 2007. #
5. David Beers, “Marc Edge on ‘Asper Nation,’” The Tyee, 13 November 2007. National Post, a chunk of “Canada’s Most Dangerous Media Company,” CanWest Global, is according to Mark Edge, associate professor of journalism at Sam Houston University, undermining democracy and attempting to set the political agenda through ownership manipulation of editorials. The Asper family that own the National Post are unabashed supporters of Zionism. #
6. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” 21 December 1965. #
7. Basel Ghattas, “Palestinians in Israel: Discrimination and Resistance,” Palestine Center and The Jerusalem Fund, Information Brief No. 59, December 2000. #
8. Reuters, “UN: Israel must stop discrimination against Arabs, Palestinians,” Haaretz, 9 March 2007. # #
9. The Balfour Declaration #
Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. B. J. Sabri is an Iraq-American antiwar activist. They can be reached at: Petersen_sabri@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Kim Petersen.