Sunday, August 24, 2014

Everyday racism in Israel

"There is “rabid anti-Arab racism in Israel” and it has acceptance in society and government, according to Eva Illouz, professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Even members of the Knesset “feel no qualms expressing hatred for Arabs.” This she attributes to the rise of the religious right and right-wing political parties, and the steady erosion of liberal, democratic forces.  Angry Israeli mobs have been reported chanting “Death to Arabs” and looking for Palestinians to attack.   Calls to “kill all Arabs” used to be confined to extremist groups but “today, you hear it everywhere,” Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah, a legal centre for Arab rights in Israel, told the New York Times. “In the past when people said racist things, we found that many officials denounced that. This time we found silence.”  
Not all the anti-Arab hate is attributable to the passions generated by the Gaza war. It is fuelled “by other factors which are much less related to war,” said Prof. Yaron Ezrahi of Hebrew University.   “We have parties and politicians who score political points by inciting hatred against Arabs in general and also Israeli-Arabs . . .
“There is tolerance of this extremist rhetoric by the present government, including by Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu, who recently made a very unacceptable comment that there is a moral gap between Jews and Arabs.” Ayelet Shaked is a member of the Knesset belonging to the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home Party that is part of the Netanyahu coalition."