Hardly a day goes by without seeing various manifestations of Israeli racism against the Palestinians of 1948 areas; the last of which is the approval of the special committee for the preparation of the “National Law” of its text ahead of a vote on the first reading in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). The “Law” specifically mentions the establishment of Jewish towns with the aim of enabling the High Court of Israel to prefer the Jewish character of the state to democratic values when there is a contradiction between them. It also abolished Arabic as an official language. Soon after the announcement of the approval, the local council in the Jewish colony of Kfar Hefradim cancelled a tender to market the third section of the construction coupons in the town, because the majority of applicants are Palestinian Arabs!
Data from the State Civil Service Commission in Israel showed that racism has been manifest in all ministries of the state: Immigration, Jerusalem, heritage, and strategic affairs do not employ a single Arab. It is also “remarkable” that the Ministry of Religions, which is supposed to be different in dealing with Islamic and Christian as well as Jewish affairs, also does not hire a single Arab. Thus, in most ministries, the percentage of Arab workers is very marginal: In the Development Department of the Negev and Galilee, only one Arab employee works out of 56 employees, although the majority of the population in these two regions is Arab, eight Arabs out of 96 work in the Social Equality Department along with 177 others out of 2010 work in the Education field.
One of the most recent manifestations of racism in Israel is the decision of the so-called Parliamentary Ethics Committee in the Knesset to prevent Arab member of parliament Yousef Jabareen from travelling abroad to deliver lectures at the invitation of the American organisation, The Jewish Voice for Peace, which calls for the boycott of Israel because of it occupies Palestinian land. More serious manifestation: On March 21, marking the World Anti-Racism Day, the Coalition against Racism published a new poll by the Ravi Smith Research Institute in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The poll revealed that “more than 90 per cent of the Israeli society believes that various institutions in Israel do not play their role adequately and 46 per cent believe they do nothing to counter racism in Israel. 47 per cent believe that the society in Israel is racist”.
The poll also confirmed that “the general feeling is that Israel is moving towards institutionalising racism, and the largest percentage of racism is directed against Arabs and asylum-seekers in Israel, estimated at 76 per cent”.
Perhaps the most prominent words in clarifying the roots of Israeli Zionist racism is what the Jewish thinker Dimitri Chomsky reported: “The project of the Messianic National Settlement, based on the racist idea of the sacred superiority of Jewish rights in the region between the river and the sea, is considered the first source for encouraging national ethnic dominance against the Arabs inside Israel. Any legitimisation of an illegal outpost in the West Bank — which is always established as divine command — indirectly gives support to the trends of pillage and repression of the overall civil rights of Palestinian Arabs inside Israel, trends that are based on the distorted logic of Talmudic ... racism, which view Arab citizens of the Arab world who have lived in the wide Middle Eastern arena since time immemorial, as immigrants who are here — thanks to the generosity of the Jewish master.”
Revealing statements were made by the official responsible for Israel State Archives Yacoov Lozowick in a report at the end of his term in office came in the same context. He stressed that “Israel covers up the archives [of] information in an unexpected way from a democratic state. The pretext of national security should not be invoked to cover up the failures of the past, especially all that is related to the commitment of war crimes and the state dealing with Arab citizens.” He concluded: “Israel committed war crimes in multiple places.”
Leftist writer Gideon Levy ridicules the general situation in Israel: “Rampant right-wing rule leads to more plays of improvisation. The Israeli army is the “adult and responsible”; the Shin Bet security service is “a factor that leads to moderation”; police forces are victims breaking hearts, and it’s funny to see the chief-of-staff (Gadi Aizenkot) as a model of enlightenment and see the Israeli army as a model of ethics!” He goes on to say: “The Israeli police are violent and racist, let someone file a complaint on behalf of a Palestinian against a Jewish [colonist] and you will say: ‘If these are not apartheid police, what is apartheid’?”
The manifestations of racism in Israel are dangerous. The Israeli public mood has become linked to racist issues against the Palestinians of 1948, and incited against them daily by hatred and hostility. Right-wing Israeli parties now realise that whenever they target the Palestinians in 1948 (together with the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank) areas, they increase their popularity. Therefore, all racist laws and acts serve Israeli policy in linking the public mood to the existing official Israeli policy. Perhaps, this is the most dangerous political development.
Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.