Monday, September 29, 2014

[ePalestine] Washington Post: An Israel equal for all, Jewish or not (A MUST READ)

Washington Post
 
Opinions
 
An Israel equal for all, Jewish or not

September 26

Patricia Marks Greenfield is a psychology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

An American colleague and I traveled to Israel at the end of June to continue research with an Israeli team composed of Jewish and Muslim researchers from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba. Our team studies how rapid social change has shifted values among Arabs in northern Israel, Bedouin Arabs in the Negev and Ethiopians Jews in southern Israel — Israeli citizens all. In the course of this work, we have been warmly welcomed into the homes of our Arab partners in northern Israel. We also saw the home of a newlywed Bedouin couple that had been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers because some Bedouin ancestral lands are not recognized by the Israeli government, and we learned about racial discrimination against Ethiopian Jews.

Given these experiences, it seems more important than ever to state two things clearly and forcefully: Israel is a full-fledged multiethnic, multireligious society, and it must provide equal legal and day-to-day treatment to all its citizens, no matter their ethnic or religious background. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those who are Arab or Ethio­pian or whose religion is Muslim or Christian.

In this respect, Israel is out of step with much of the world. Over time, nations have become more ethnically and religiously diverse; populations have become more urban and educated; and economies have become more commercial. In response to these social and economic changes, many nations have left behind the notion of a favored state religion.

It is time for Israel to do the same. It must be a fully secular state.

What was necessary for Israel after the Holocaust is no longer necessary and has even become counterproductive. As long as being Jewish holds such a preeminent place in Israel, then Muslim and Christian Arabs will always be second-class citizens, vulnerable to discrimination in housing, employment, education and other areas. Nor can Ethiopian citizens be truly equal so long as their Jewishness and religious heritage are called into question by powerful religious authorities.

While we were doing our work in July, we were close to the fighting in Gaza. Our research activities were disrupted by rocket fire. We could hear, and feel, rockets falling to the ground or being intercepted by the Iron Dome antimissile system. It was nerve-wracking to live this way, and I have a new understanding and respect for what Israelis go through in wartime.

But I also understood for the first time what Isaiah Berlin said of Israel: "Too much history, too little geography." The cut-off nature of the Gaza Strip means that, geographically, Gaza is, in reality, a part of Israel, while continuing Israeli settlement on the West Bank means that Israel has made itself part of Palestine. Gaza and the West Bank may be separated from each other, but they are not separated from Israel. Given this reality, Gaza and the West Bank must inevitably become part of Israel; there can be no two-state solution. And Israel must leave behind its official Jewish identity to acknowledge its multiethnic, multireligious character by providing equal treatment for all.

The Muslim Israelis with whom we worked as researchers, and the Arab communities we studied in northern Israel, are committed to Israel. Their commitment is based on their long history on the same soil, reinforced by the economic and educational opportunities that Israel provides. But this commitment could become even stronger if Muslim and Christian Israelis were treated the same as Jewish Israelis. As for Ethio­pian Jews, their joy and relief at reaching Israel would be renewed, were their unique history to be respected.

Many Jewish Israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates among Arabs and Ethiopians mean that they will soon outnumber Jews of other national and racial origins. But education and economic opportunity unfailingly drive birth rates down. If Israeli minorities were provided with the same educational and employment opportunities as other Israelis, their birth rates would decline to the same levels and their proportion in the population would stop increasing. Between the 1960s and 2004, as Arabs in Israel became more prosperous, educated and technologically connected, their birth rate fell by more than half, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Indeed, the bureau's figures for 2013 revealed that the Jewish birth rate is rising as the Muslim birth rate continues to decline. This is one important reason why Israel will continue to have a culture rooted in Judaism.

If Gaza and the West Bank were truly part of Israel, and Israel were truly a multiethnic, secular society, there would be progress toward peace. The "right of return" championed by Arabs would have new meaning: It would no longer mean the transfer of Israeli land. Instead it would mean the opportunity to live in Israel as fully equal citizens, with all of the privileges from and obligations to the Israeli nation. Internal equality and external peace are two sides of the same coin.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-israel-equal-for-all-jewish-or-not/2014/09/26/83151758-3a05-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

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[ePalestine] Haaretz: Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn't there (A Must Read)

Haaretz

Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn't there

It isn't a matter of racism. It's a matter of denial.

By Asher Schechter | Sep. 28, 2014

 Babies born in Israel. Photo by Ancho Gosh

Earlier this week, Israel's Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) released its annual statement for Rosh Hashanah. Filled with tidbits about Israel's population, such as the official number of Israeli citizens (8,904,373) and how many births occurred during the outgoing Jewish year (176,230), a main attraction in PIBA's annual publication is the list of most-popular baby names.

The year 5774 saw a stunning upset when it came to girls: Tamar dethroned Noa. Regarding boys, the most popular names stayed Yosef, Daniel and Uri.

But Yosef wasn't actually the most popular baby name in Israel. That, as reported by Haaretz's Ilan Lior last week, was in fact Mohammad.

One would be hard-pressed not to suspect racism. No distinctly-Arab baby name made it to the top 10 of popular baby names in Israel (Yosef and Adam are common among both Jews and Arab-Israelis), although Arabs account for 20% of Israel's population.

On the face of it, the omission smacks of a deliberate attempt to exclude the Arab population of Israel from yet another thing Israeli. Yet this isn't a matter of simple, blatant racism. It's worse. It's denial.

Denial of what? First of all of Arabs, of course. Failing to acknowledge the existence of its big Arab population is a much subtler of exclusion, and in a way worse than outright racism: at least when we discriminate, we acknowledge the other.

But mostly it's a denial of a reality that isn't convenient. In recent years, Israel has developed a habit of trying to embellish or simplify reality by ignoring inconveniences. Let's call it the "not counting the Haredim and Arabs" trick.

Peek-a-boo, I don't see you

For instance, back in April 2012, PM Netanyahu made a revealing admission. Asked about the extreme inequality in Israel and the surge of public anger, as shown in the social protests of 2011, Netanyahu claimed: "If you deduct the Arabs and the Haredim from inequality indices, we are doing great."

His statement caused an uproar but since then, the claim that Israel is doing just great if you don't count it's most impoverished groups has become a cliche of sorts among Israeli officials: if not for those pesky Haredim and Arabs, Israel would have been one of the most advanced countries in the OECD.

A study conducted by the Taub Center for Israel Studies in 2013 proves that even if you discount the Haredim and Arabs, Israel remains a poor, unequal, relatively-unproductive country by OECD standards. But the misconception has become entrenched, appropriated by ordinary and official Israelis for other walks of life beyond economics, whether it's Israel's troubled education system or, well, baby names.

In that sense, if you don't count the name Mohammad, Israel's most popular baby name is Yosef. And if you deduct the Arab population, Israel is a Jewish state. It's a cool mental trick, that enables Israel to be the Jewish country it always wanted to be. It also implies, quite ominously, that Israel as a nation has lost some capacity of dealing with reality.

For years now, for instance, Israel has been concerned with the so-called "demographic threat", a scenario in which Palestinians, both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories, become a majority thanks to their high birth rates and therefore risk Israel's Jewish majority and its status as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to raise this concern, back in 2003. Some analysts suggested the fear of it forced Ariel Sharon to unilaterally disengage from Gaza.

Which brings us back to Mohammad, and the reality that its omission masks. After all, what is the acknowledgement that Mohammad is the now most popular baby name in Israel, if not an embarrassing admission that the so called "demographic bomb" has already exploded? That Israel, despite its definition of itself as Jewish, is a lot less Jewish than it would have liked? How would you like a dose of demographic gunpowder with your honey-dipped apple this year?

But, if you deduct Mohammad, everything seems just fine. We are not racists, we swear, we are simply escaping to a much-less complicated fantasy land.

SOURCE: http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.618013
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

[ePalestine] Palestine Pod: Steve Sosebee chats with Sam Bahour + A long read

Palestine Pod: Steve Sosebee chats with Sam Bahour
http://ssosebee.podbean.com/e/palestinian-american-activist-sam-bahour

http://ssosebee.podbean.com/e/palestinian-american-activist-sam-bahour

and

Long, but well worth the read for a comprehensive overview of the U.S.'s role in sustaining the continued deterioration of Palestine. Thanks Nathan Thrall.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

[ePalestine] FILM: To see if I'm smiling (MUST WATCH BEFORE TAKEN DOWN)

The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are going to have such an easy time holding Israel accountable for their war crimes. Watch how easy here:


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

[ePalestine] The Hill: US guilty of war crimes in Palestine (By Sam Bahour)

The Hill (Congress Blog)

September 18, 2014

US guilty of war crimes in Palestine

http://bit.ly/US-guilty-in-Palestine

By Sam Bahour

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.'s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem of Enforcement (August 2014). The policy paper places the U.S. in front of its own mirror and meticulously documents how one hand of the U.S. government systematically documents Israeli violations of U.S. law and international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

READ ON AT:
http://bit.ly/US-guilty-in-Palestine

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

[ePalestine] 43 brave Israelis take us behind the system of occupation (A MUST READ)

If you don't have time to read them all, please read the first and last articles below.

IDF Unit 8200
Haaretz: Graduates of Unit 8200, the IDF's technological spearhead. Photo by Moti Milrod
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The Guardian, Friday 12 September 2014

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'Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother'

Testimonies from people who worked in the Israeli Intelligence Corps tell of a system where there were no boundaries

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-unit-testimonies

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Israeli intelligence veterans' letter to Netanyahu and military chiefs - in full

Read the letter from 34 reserve soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 explaining why they refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-veterans-letter-netanyahu-military-chiefs

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Israeli intelligence veterans refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

Innocent people under military rule exposed to surveillance by Israel, say 43 ex-members of Unit 8200, including reservists

Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-reservists-refuse-serve-palestinian-territories

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and the initial Israeli response to this crack in the system of oppression:

IDF spokesperson: Discipline of Unit 8200 refuseniks will be sharp and clear

Army spokesperson responds to letter of conscientious objection sent by 43 mid-rank soldiers and officers, says no room for refusal in IDF.

By Haaretz, Sep. 14, 2014

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.615674


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

[ePalestine] Do people understand the magnitude of what just happened in Gaza?


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

[ePalestine] Mondoweiss: Three-sentence letter to the ‘NYT’ results in Yale chaplain’s resignation

Message Received: DISSENT TOLERATED = ZERO!

One state of Apartheid, here we come... 



Bruce Shipman, Chaplain - Episcopal Church at Yale
Bruce Shipman, Chaplain - Episcopal Church at Yale

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/sentence-chaplains-resignation

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