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A Short Anthology of Racism in Israel

Mardi, 4 janvier 2011 - 7h03 AM

Tuesday 4 January 2011


December 29, 2010 was a record day for Israeli racism; and we’re just getting started.

By Niva Lanir

January 03, 2010 “Haaretz” —

Last Wednesday, December 29, a hullabaloo broke out at the entrance to the Yad Vashem Holocaust and Martyrs memorial museum in Jerusalem.

A group of Palestinian women (from Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem ), members of the forum of Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families, had come to visit the museum.

This was their first visit to Israel, the culmination of their discussion on “Understand the Narrative” with their Israeli counterparts.

As they waited for the Israeli group outside the museum, they encountered several sharp-eyed Israeli high-school students. “Get out of here, you sluts,” the students shouted at them. “This place is ours, and there is no room for Arabs.”

Officials at Yad Vashem and the Israeli members of the forum expressed their regret and repugnance over the incident and apologized. But it is unlikely that the tour of the museum undid the damage.

From which school was this class? Sources at Yad Vashem say they still do not know. That morning, 32 classes visited the museum and it is difficult for them to figure out exactly which one was involved in the incident, although they would be grateful for any help. FYI, Mister Education Minister.

But even barring this event, the morning of December 29 reads like an anthology (small? partial? ) of racism: the rabbis wives’ letter promoting racial purity - “Don’t go out with Gentiles”; the call for targeted assassinations by National Union MK Yaakov Katz - “Snipers should lie in wait and shoot bullets at the heads of those Bedouin who bring in caravans of infiltrators”; the Breathalyzer of MK Otniel Schneller -

“Before the Russian immigration, there was no problem of drunken driving”; and the anti-syllabus reconnaissance unit of Im Tirtzu that is once again threatening Ben-Gurion University, this time with a petition to the High Court of Justice.

There are those who have long claimed that these and other phenomena are the Israeli prologue to the local Nuremberg Laws, and that therefore, it is fair to compare Germany on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power and our situation here and now. But why should we compare? After all, there’s room for everyone here and for variations as well. And we’re already big and can do things alone, if we just make a few accommodations. According to the rabbis’ wives’ letter, the source of racial impurity lies in the National Service. There, in the emergency wards and corridors of our hospitals, the kosher daughters of Israel encounter the Gentiles who will defile them and destroy their lives.

But it’s also possible that destruction will come from another place, from the President’s residence, for example. Not a Gentile president, heaven forbid. Just an ordinary rapist. And if MK Katz’s call to annihilate the Bedouin who bring in infiltrators is heeded, we’ll still have a problem on our hands - the bodies. If there were a fence, we could have buried them outside the fence. But there is no fence. No problem. We can set up a cemetery on the other side of the nonexistent fence and good Bedouin - trackers, not infiltrators - will bury the bad Bedouin.

Here’s another problem that defies logic. If the Russian immigrants brought the drunken driving problem here, where have the drunken Russian drivers all disappeared? Have they been killed in accidents? I assume that MK Schneller, who headed the national road safety authority for many years, noticed, as I did, what group has held the title of most fatal accidents in recent years. Their relationship to Russia is about as close as mine is to Lapland.

To be sure, this is only a partial anthology. We haven’t even gotten to the core - the rabbis. And please forgive me for asking: Is a Christian Arab judge who sits in the Tel Aviv District Court good or bad? After all, the sea is the same sea.