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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Racism in the "Beacon of Democracy" in the Middle East

The latest hot topic in Israel, is a report conducted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel which reports that anti-Arab sentiments are at an all-time high. For all those who still hold Israel up as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, read the following articles and judge for yourself.

Note: Just now when preparing this post, I tried to go directly to the Association for Civil Rights
(English) to get the full report and got the following: If someone else reading here can find it, or it "reappears" I would appreciate hearing from them.

The page cannot be found

The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

UPDATE: I was just able to find The Association for Civil Rights in Israel's Annual Report 2006/2007 from their Facebook page. Link HERE for that report (This isn't the report being referred to I don't believe, but it is valuable information about what this organization does)

Within THIS article at the end is the link to the full report (MS Word Document) A MUST read.

From the JPost article "

Ministers concerned over racism report

The ACRI surveys also revealed that seventy-five percent of Jewish Israelis polled said they would not live in a building with Arab neighbors and more than 50% of Israeli Jews refused to live with Arabs or allow them into their houses.

Most of the respondents said they supported separating Jews and Arabs in entertainment centers and are in favor of the Arabs leaving Israel. According to another survey, two-thirds of Israeli youth believe Arabs are unintelligent, uneducated, uncultured, unclean and violent.

Moreover, 2007 saw an overall rise of 100% in the number of expressions of anti-Arab sentiment by Jewish Israelis, the report said.

Read full article

Going further, YNet reports:

Report: Ratio of hospital beds per capita lowest in the West

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel publishes damning new report on the dreadful state of the public health system and discrimination by public institutions against certain groups: the poor, immigrants, and Arabs

Aviram Zino

Published: 12.09.07, 09:24 / Israel News

Israeli health services are coping with a serious erosion in government funding which is sending ripples through the health system, with hospitals hardest hit. This is the picture that emerges from the annual report of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), published Sunday.

The report also brings to light harsh statistics concerning discrimination by public institutions against different populations, including residents of outlying areas, the poor, day laborers, immigrants, Arabs, and prisoners.

The document's first chapter, entitled "It's better to be rich and healthy," presents statistical evidence of erosion in government funding for public health services.

Thus, in the past seven years, the health budget has decreased 14%. These funding difficulties have caused a crisis in hospitals, where the ratio of hospital beds to citizens is now the lowest in the western world, 1.94 per 1,000 Israelis. In 1970, almost four decades ago, the ratio was 3.27 per thousand.

Certain segments of the report pertaining to Israel Arabs were published last night. In their research, the ACRI found an increase in hateful sentiments among the Jewish public, racist law-proposals in the Knesset, humiliation at the airports, restrictions on free speech, and discrimination in the distribution of funds for rehabilitation to Arab communities in the North.

The report similarly deals with day laborers, revealing that the average salary of placement agency employees stands at 60% of the workforce average. The ACRI claims that the state itself has saved millions of shekels by hiring contractors who employ such workers, while the Finance Ministry attempts to quash legislation aimed at regulating the issue.

According to the chapter on unrecognized Bedouin villages, there are currently 80 thousand people living in these communities which the state refuses to recognize. The residents live in areas without municipal services or legal building permits, and thus, in 2007 alone, 200 structures in the Negev were demolished – a new record even when compared with the dozens of demolitions that have taken place every year in recent memory.

Regarding alleged criminals, detainees, and prisoners, the report addresses a newly passed law which makes it possible to extend detention through the use of video conferencing, which the ACRI claims "severely damages detainee rights, especially the right to be present during one's sentencing."

Disturbing signs of racism on the rise

Certain segments of the report pertaining to Israel Arabs were published last night. In their research, the ACRI found an increase in hateful sentiments among the Jewish public, racist law-proposals in the Knesset, humiliation at the airports, restrictions on free speech, and discrimination in the distribution of funds for rehabilitation to Arab communities in the North.


A couple of days ago I received a comment which I will post here now:

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( )?

You can cut and paste that link and go there yourself to read the racist blather which is NECESSARY to understand the root of Zionist racism. Sabbah also has it posted on his blog.

And what do I think? The facts speak for themselves as well as the racist rubbish in that link I was sent.


In a related article again in YNet today:

How would you react if you weren't hired because you're Arab?

Jubran Jubran

"Arabs get preferential treatment" said Hanoch Weber, whose article was posted on the Hebrew Ynet site. His arguments are clearly a combination of his frustration over what he considers the erosion of the State's Jewish symbols, coupled with his own personal opinions and attitudes towards the Arab minority.

He chose to hinge his arguments on a limited number of incidences that were taken out of context - their use is both erroneous and misleading. He has a blind and distorted view of the crushing of Israeli Arab citizens' rights in all walks of life.

The State of Israel is perceived as Jewish and democratic. However, in everyday life, as well as in our political and social reality, we tend to make more use of ethnic traits at the expense of civil ones. Yet with equality being a basic value in any democratic society, Israel is obliged to ensure equality among all its citizens, Jews and Arabs alike.

The Or Commission established in wake of the October Riots in 2000, determined unequivocally that the State failed in creating equality between Arabs and Jews, and that it must prioritize amending this situation in order to erase the mark of discrimination. The gaps between Jewish and Arabs citizens must be bridged as a basic right and not as an act of grace.

Discrimination against Arab citizens is systematic and ongoing and is inherent in the broad divides prevalent in the socioeconomic, educational and municipal arenas. It is also evident in the lack of integration of medium and high level Arab citizens in the labor market, and lack of adequate representation in governmental institutions and centers of authority

Overt and covert discrimination

This discrimination is manifested both overtly and covertly: Overt discrimination is manifested in the Law of Return, the National Jewish Institution Law, as well as in the clauses of the objectives in the State Education Law, and in the Broadcasting Authority Law.

Covert discrimination is generally seen in the outcome of policies, for example: Taking advantage of military service for granting benefits, while the Arab population according to law and cabinet decisions does not serve in the army.

Another example is the designation of various regions as areas of national priority, while excluding Arab communities from this category.

Massive land expropriations, the failure to establish new Arab communities, and the limit imposed on the growth of existing ones have created a sense of continued historic injustice. Arab communities were never earmarked for development, on the contrary: Their numbers and expansion were deemed as having to be minimized.

Different story in settlements

It's a very different story when it comes to the red-roofed cottages of the settlements that are continually expanding with the help of government support and public taxes, and whose very existence on occupied and expropriated land violates international law and any human value.

I would suggest Mr. Weber and those of his ilk switch places with a "preferentially treated" Arab for just one week.

'd like to know how he would react to an employer who wouldn't hire him just because he is an Arab; to a landlord who would not rent him an apartment; what would he do if his house was divided by a separation fence and his land expropriated "for the public good;" and how would he respond to racist responses to his own article?

I assure him that he'll also be entitled to the "package of bonuses" including: Low income, poor education, high mortality rate, occupied land and an oppressed identity.

Dr Jubran Jubran is an attorney and coordinates the Or Watch Committee project on behalf of the Association for Civic Equality in Israel


The following article puts it altogether:

Israeli Democracy: Arabs Need Not Apply

By Ellen Davidson
From the December 8, 2007 issue | Posted in International | Email this article

NAZARETH—Israel is frequently cited as “the only democracy in the Middle East.” The 1.2 million Palestinians living inside Israel’s borders, would beg to differ.

Beginning with the founding of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948, Palestinians have been treated as second-class citizens and enemies from within. Each of the “Basic Laws,” the foundation of the Israeli legal system, begins with a statement that Israel is a Jewish state. For example, the purpose of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom is “to establish the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

From 1948 until 1966, Palestinians inside Israel were subject to military law, while Jews lived under civilian law. During that time, 66 percent of Arab-owned land was confiscated. In 1947, Jews owned 6.7 percent while Palestinians held the rest. Today, Israeli Palestinians, 20 percent of the population, own 2.5 percent of the land.

Discrimination inside Israel falls broadly into four categories, according to Mohammad Zeidan, general director of the Nazareth- based Arab Association for Human Rights (AHR): laws that give different privileges and rights to Jews and non-Jews; indirect discrimination not specifically linked to religion; institutional discrimination, such as allocation of municipal funds; and racism in public life, including cultural discrimination.

The legal discrimination can be seen explicitly in laws that offer automatic Israeli citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world, while non-Jews who are married to Israeli citizens face a difficult process for acquiring citizenship.

In order to be elected to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, political parties must formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state, so even advocating complete equality for Palestinians inside Israel would disqualify a party from running candidates.

Legal discrimination also plays a role in land allocation. Nearly 20 percent of Israeli land is controlled by the Jewish National Fund, which is legally mandated to use the land only to benefit Jews. Much of this land was confiscated from its Palestinian owners by the military or taken away under the “absentee” laws of 1950, which declared that landowners who were not occupying their land in the years 1948 to 1952 forfeited their rights to it. Having been made refugees during the war of 1948, many Palestinians were robbed of their lands by these laws. In addition, many Palestinian villages had been declared “military zones” by the Israeli army. The owners frequently were living a few miles away, waiting for the military to allow them access to their land, only to have the title stripped from them.

Indirect discrimination is equally insidious: Many social services such as student and housing loans are predicated on having a military service number. Since Palestinians are exempt from military service, few Israeli Arabs have this number. Orthodox Jews are also exempt from military service, but they can go to the military service office and get assigned a number, giving them the same access to the privileges associated with military service. Many help-wanted ads specify that the position is open to candidates “after military service,” another way of saying, “Arabs need not apply.”

Institutional discrimination crops up in community development plans, where Palestinian neighborhoods are held to existing land allocations, while Jewish neighborhoods grow unchecked. In the Arab city of Nazareth, for example, the population of 13,000 Palestinians in 1947 lived on 3,000 acres. In 2007, with a population of 70,000, the city occupies only 3,100 acres, with strict limitations on any expansion.

On the hilltops surrounding it, the mainly Jewish city of Nazareth Illit (built on confiscated Palestinian land) with a population of 50,000, sprawls across 11,250 acres. When the original Palestinian owners of the land went to court to protest the confiscation of their property for “public” purposes, arguing that they were also the public, the court ruled that absorption of immigration was the main “public purpose” of the time.

In 1965, the Israeli parliament adopted the Planning and Construction Law governing development in the country. Dozens of villages were declared “unrecognized” and the land classified as non-residential agricultural land. Some 100,000 Israeli Palestinians live in these villages, which Zeidan says are more aptly called “dis-recognized,” They receive no government services such as electricity, water and sewage, although they pay the same taxes as other citizens, and all structures are considered illegal and subject to demolition.

Municipal funding is also plagued by inequity. In Jerusalem, for example, the population of approximately 700,000 includes 270,000 Palestinians. Social services in mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem receive 12 percent of the city budget. Education in East Jerusalem gets 15 percent of the budget. Per capita income in East Jerusalem is 1,311 shekels per month (or $341), versus 5,968 (or $1,520) in West Jerusalem.

Israel maintains two educational systems, one in Hebrew for Jews and one in Arabic for Palestinians. According to Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Organizations, 75 percent of Jewish schools have career and vocational guidance services, while only one-quarter of Arab schools do. Government-funded preschools do not operate in Arab towns.

Cultural discrimination flows from the other three forms of discrimination, says the AHR’s Zeidan. Israeli culture is steeped in racism, he says. More than half the population believes that political rights such as voting should be withdrawn from Palestinians living inside Israel. The Ysrael B’tenah Party, which with 12 seats is the fourth largest party in the Knesset, openly speaks of “transfer” of the Palestinian population. “The space that we can act inside Israel is getting smaller and smaller,” says Zeidan.

While Israel is legally a bilingual state — Hebrew and Arabic — you are more likely to encounter signage in Russian or English than in Arabic. ATMs, for instance, are mostly in Hebrew, English and sometimes Russian. Many government offices refuse to conduct business in Arabic.

“Israel is a democratic state for Jews and Jews only,” says Fida Ibrahim Abu Ata, public relations director of Ittijah. “And that is how it should be stated, as plain and vivid as this.”

Ellen Davidson is a longtime Jewish- American peace activist from New York who traveled to Palestine on a delegation with the Middle East Children’s Alliance,


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