Racism and division increase in Israel

Submitted by AWL on 30 July, 2014 - 10:57 Author: Tom Harris

In the narrow, densely populated ribbon of land by the Mediterranean that is Gaza, hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured by the Israeli military. But while the worst horrors of the conflict are taking place in the strip itself, the war has also unleashed a fresh wave of racial and religious sectarianism far beyond the Palestinian territory.

In Israel, street violence against Arabs has spiralled.

In Jerusalem, two young Arab men were hospitalised after being beaten by a mob with baseball bats and metal pipes. Both right-wing street movements and the government ministers are attempting to construct a popular narrative in which any opposition to attack on Gaza is treachery. On social media, there has been a proliferation of pages calling for retribution against “traitors”, inciting violence against Arab Israelis who they view as an enemy within.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for a boycott of Arab businesses, and some Arab Israelis have been sacked from their jobs for criticising the Gaza invasion online.

In Europe, protests against the actions of the Israeli state have repeatedly shaded over into outright anti-semitism. In Germany, footage has emerged showing hundreds of protesters chanting “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone.” In France, eight synagogues have been attacked, and a riot took place in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, home to a large Sephardic Jewish community. Cars, kosher shops and identifiably Jewish restaurants were attacked and burned. A Jewish cultural centre in Toulouse was also attacked with firebombs which failed to ignite.

In Norway, the Jewish museums of Trondheim and Oslo were closed for fear of attack. In Austria, protesters attacked Israeli footballers playing for Maccabi Haifa. In Britain, police have recorded over a hundred anti-semitic crimes since the bombing of Gaza began, including the beating up of a rabbi in Gateshead, and the smashing of a Belfast synagogue’s windows two nights in a row.

This grim litany of racism and mob justice demonstrates the potential for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pit Jews and Arabs against each other not only in the Middle East but throughout the world.

Reactionaries on both sides stoke this division. Socialists oppose all racism and ethnic division, wherever it appears; we work to unite workers across the boundaries of race or religion. This is doubly urgent in the case of Israel and Palestine.

The best hope for a peaceful solution is the development of solidarity between Jewish and Arab workers around a programme of consistent democracy and self-determination for both peoples. There are embryonic signs of such a movement developing, as thousands of Israelis and Palestinians gather in the squares of Tel Aviv to protest against the bombing.

The left in Britain and around the world must stand with those in Israel and Palestine fighting to turn back the tide of chauvinism, and for peace.

Comments

Submitted by John D on Mon, 04/08/2014 - 16:55

As a resident of Israel, and a pensioner with time wander and gaze and talk to people, I have travelled the length of the coastal plain from Rosh Hanikra to Ashdod and Ashkelon. Throughout this mini-war I have been in dozens of locations, including yesterday at Ikea Kiryat Ata and another local supermarket. Everywhere, and I mean everywhere Arab families, youngsters, oldsters, what have you are shopping, mixing, in close personal proximity with non-Arab Israelis withoutout any sign of social discomfort whatsoever.
If AWL allowed, I could post photo after photo after photo to the point of obsessive mania that the posting by Tom Harris is patentently untrue.

Let me not mix words. Tom Harris, you are a liar. Your post, in is description of social conflict in Israel, is untrue in every word.
I do really hope that the editors of this site get in touch immediately with their own contacts in Israel to verify or deny this appalling cheap propaganda. What socialist purpose it is intended to serve I know not. But it demeans this blog to carry it.

John Davidson
Coastal Plain
Israel

Submitted by Tom Harris on Tue, 12/08/2014 - 11:49

John,

You say that my report is 'untrue in every word'. Were this demonstrated to be the case, I'd happily retract the article. I think you may struggle to do so, though.

Here are the paragraphs in which I describe an upturn in anti-Arab racism in Israel:

'In Jerusalem, two young Arab men were hospitalised after being beaten by a mob with baseball bats and metal pipes. Both right-wing street movements and the government ministers are attempting to construct a popular narrative in which any opposition to attack on Gaza is treachery. On social media, there has been a proliferation of pages calling for retribution against “traitors”, inciting violence against Arab Israelis who they view as an enemy within ...
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for a boycott of Arab businesses, and some Arab Israelis have been sacked from their jobs for criticising the Gaza invasion online.'

Which of these assertions is untrue, exactly? I'd love to hear it so that I can rectify any mistakes. You should probably also inform Ha'aretz, the Jerusalem Post and that notorious anti-Israeli rag Arutz Sheva, all of which carried the same stories I wrote about here.

You say that you have walked around an Ikea and a supermarket and seen some Arab Israelis mixing and socialising with non-Arab Israelis. That sounds very pleasant, but unfortunately it does nothing to disprove any of the incidences of racism I reported on here, anymore than it would disprove the serious structural racism of the USA to point out that lots of black and white Americans share a friendly social life with one another.

I await your response with genuine curiousity,

Yours,

Tom Harris (the liar)

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