The Ugly Face of Israeli Apartheid
In Israel as the article from Jonathan Cook below explains, everything from education to land is segregated. Arabs get the left overs. Israel is a state where a plurality of its Jewish population (48%) want Israeli Arabs to be expelled. Nearly half of Jewish Israelis want to expel Arabs, survey shows, Times of Israel 8.3.16.
|Jewish Afula - Potential Arab residents are called 'terrorists'|
It is therefore logical that social and recreational facilities like swimming pools, beaches and so on should also be segregated. Of course the beauty of Israel is that this is not official, not law, but a matter of custom and administrative practice. Discrimination in Israel is indirect normally rather than direct. By this I mean that an apparently neutral practice or criterion is applied to both Arabs and Jews, but only Jews of course can meet the criteria.
|Moti Dotan - Head of Lower Regional Galilee Council|
|The Technion - Israel's oldest university - allows Jewish students the right not to share with Arabs|
One of the most common criteria is army service. Most Arabs don't serve in the army of a Jewish state. Good jobs, student places in halls of residence, higher benefits, student grants etc. are dependent on army service or having a dependent or relative who has served. So although Arabs aren't directly discriminated against they are discriminated again indirectly. In British and European law this is illegal, but in Israel it is the norm.
|Jewish residents in Afula demonstrating against Arabs living in Afula|
We learnt recently that it is the practice of The Technion, Israel’s oldest University, to offer Jewish students the choice of not having to live with Arabs. Universities are the only sector of education where Arabs and Jews mix which is why steps are taken to enable Jewish students not to have to live with Arabs. Arab and Jewish students live in separate housing at the Technion. As the article notes:
‘They study together, but they live separately. Students at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology share classes and lecture halls with students from many different religions and backgrounds. But, in the dorms the students can request to have only a Jewish roommate if they’d like. “We’re trying to avoid unnecessary friction,” claims those responsible. The Student Union’s former chairman explains, “It’s natural to want a familiar cultural atmosphere.”
After Arab Israelis had won a tender to build 49 houses in largely Jewish Afula,
‘a group of about 200 Afula residents staged a protest, calling on Mayor Yitzhak Meron to revoke the tenders. Demonstrators denounced him as a “traitor” and a “terrorist,” according to press reports. “He wants to build a mosque,” one sign at the protest read.’
The tender was cancelled by an Israeli court on some legal pretext. Israel's Virulent Housing Bias Runs Deep — and It's Not Only Aimed at Arabs see also Times of Israel, 24.4.16. Court revokes Arab-won housing tenders in Afula and State Backs Israeli Arab Homebuyers in Afula, After Contentious Debate
The Courts also uphold segregation, in this case because alleged collaboration between Arab bidders damaged equality! The fact that Jewish residents were opposed to Arabs, whom they classed as ‘terrorists’ for wanting to live in a Jewish town was of no concern to the Israeli court.
There is one common thread running through all of these examples of Jim Crow racism and segregation. It’s not biological, it’s not racial, god forbid. It’s cultural – Arabs aren’t at our cultural level and therefore it’s only reasonable that ‘we’ (Israeli Jews) don’t have to share facilities with them.
In fact there is a long tradition of European cultural racism. Indeed cultural justifications (‘they are not like us’) has been common to all forms of European fascism. It is one of the justifications for racial segregation and discrimination from the American Deep South to the National Front in France.
Moti Dotan cites ‘hygiene culture’ as one of the reasons for keeping Arab bathers out of local swimming facilities
Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, Moti Dotan, February 7, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)
July 28, 2016, 5:51 pm
The head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council said Thursday that he does not want to see Arabs in his local community pools, alleging that they have different bathing practices and a “hygiene culture” that is “not like ours.”
The official, Moti Dotan, whose council in the north of the country comprises 18 regional Jewish and agricultural communities in an area dotted with Arab villages, made the comments during a live interview with Radio Kol Chai.
The station had previously sent a questionnaire to northern council leaders about whether or not they would let non-locals use their swimming pools. Dotan’s written response prompted the station to speak to him directly for further clarification.
“Someone once told me that leaders should show leadership and not popularity on social media. I mean every word. To maintain pools costs a lot of money,” Dotan said. “Therefore, I think that those who are not from the community and the area should pay more.
“I do not hate Arabs, but I don’t want them in my pools. I don’t go to their pools either. If I went there in a [scanty] swimsuit, or took girls in bikinis with me, it’s clear to you what would happen to them… Therefore [the Arabs] should stay in their pools and [we] should stay in ours.”
Many religious and tradition Arab women remain clothed or fully covered when bathing in public places.
“This a cultural difference; it’s not racism,” Dotan continued. “In the non-Jewish culture, the Arab [culture], they go into the pool with their clothes on, and try to lay down manners of dress like that or similar, and therefore it is not suitable for us. The hygiene culture is not like ours. Why is it racism?”
|Illustrative photo of Arab women at an outdoor bathing pool in Israel, July 19, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)|
Challenged over his blanket description of Arab bathers by the radio show host, who posited that not all Arabs eschew bikinis or hygiene, Dotan replied that if so, they can go ahead and build their own swimming pools.
“If there are bikinis, I will be happy to come and join them in their pools,” he said.
The mayor then said that he has nothing against non-local bathers in the community pools, including Arabs, as long as they fit in with the local residents.
“By the way, also Arabs — if they behave according to the norms that we have, then I have no problem with them, but that doesn’t happen.”
Dotan noted that an Arab-operated pool near Kibbutz Beit Rimon in the Galilee region doesn’t have any Jewish patrons.
“It isn’t racism. The day that Jewish men and women can feel comfortable in an Arab community I will be happy to receive them by me as well. Until that happens I don’t want them.”
Dotan, the son of two Holocaust survivors who came to Israel in 1948, and whose grandfather also survived the Nazi death camps, insisted that he has “very good relations with the Arabs in the area, they know my views” and claimed many of them respect him for being so forthright.
MK Youssef Jabareen, of the Joint (Arab) List parliamentary faction, called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to look into Dotan’s publicly declared attitudes and demanded the council chief’s immediate resignation.
Lower Galilee council head: I don’t want Arabs in our pools
Moti Dotan cites ‘hygiene culture’ as one of the reasons for keeping Arab bathers out of local swimming facilities
Israeli Mayor Who Doesn't Want Arabs in His Pools Is No Extremist - He's in the Mainstream
The race culture that brought about Moti Dotan's statement is fed by a leadership that has made the exclusion and isolation of this country's Arab citizens the backbone of Israeli patriotism.
Haaretz Editorial Jul 31, 2016 1:57 AM
In saying “I don’t hate Arabs, but I don’t want them at my swimming pools,” Lower Galilee council chief Moti Dotan was expressing the essence of that deep-rooted form of racism – the kind that doesn’t masquerade as something else or cloak itself in political correctness.
In his interview with an Israeli radio station on Thursday, Dotan didn’t call for Arabs to be expelled from the country or for the torching of their village mosques. He’s not a member of the La Familia group of Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans and wouldn’t shout “Death to the Arabs!”. The Lower Galilee council head is actually expressing what many Jews – if not a majority of the Jewish population in Israel – think. “In non-Jewish, Arab culture, you go into the pool wearing clothes, trying to dictate all types of clothing, and that’s why it doesn’t suit us. The culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours,” he declared, and in the same breath stressed that he has Arab friends.
In the hierarchy of racism, Dotan’s position can be added to those of the nightclub bouncers who refuse entry to Israelis of Ethiopian origin or anyone whose culture “isn’t characterized by my culture at places of leisure such as a swimming pool,” as Dotan put it. He later retracted his choice of words in the way that’s accepted today when it comes to racist slips of the tongue: “It’s possible that I was misunderstood.”
But it’s actually “his” culture that has nurtured this ignorant racism for years and maintains the relations of enmity with the Arab minority, as part of what shapes the national cultural identity of society in Israel. This race culture is fed by a leadership that has made the exclusion and isolation of the country’s Arab citizens the backbone of Israeli patriotism. It’s the same leadership that excludes the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish from the schools curriculum and public discourse; that is afraid of the term “Nakba”; that harasses Arab and Jewish theaters that dare highlight the Palestinian narrative; and that tries to destroy the status of the Arabic language in the country. It also allows Moti Dotan, even if not formally, to establish his own “cultural” rules to rid swimming pools in the Lower Galilee Regional Council of the presence of Arabs.
The appeals made by Knesset members to Interior Minister Arye Dery and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit seeking to have them examine whether this constitutes incitement are correct, but they’re not enough. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is truly serious about his intention to change how he relates to Israel’s Arab citizens – as he declared in his video address to them last week (“Thrive in droves”) – it is appropriate that his voice be heard on the subject and that he make clear that Arabs are wanted everywhere in the country, just like the rest of Israel’s citizens.
Jonathan Cook, 1 August 2016
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to apologise for last year’s notorious election-day comment, when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian.
In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Mr Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”.
Pointedly, Ayman Odeh, head of the Palestinian-dominated Joint List party, noted that 100,000 Bedouin citizens could not watch the video because Israel denies their communities electricity, internet connections and all other services.
Swiftly and predictably, the reality of life for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinians upstaged Mr Netanyahu’s fine words. In a radio interview, Moti Dotan, the head of the Lower Galilee regional council, sent a message to his Palestinian neighbours: “I don’t want them at my [swimming] pools.” Sounding like a mayor in the southern United States during the Jim Crow-era, he added: “Their culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?”
Dotan was no extremist, observed the liberal newspaper Haaretz. He represents the Israeli mainstream. Notably, Mr Netanyahu did not distance himself from Mr Dotan’s remarks.
At the same time, Samar Qupty, star of a new film on Palestinians in Israel called Junction 48, was questioned for two hours and then strip searched at Ben Gurion airport and denied her hand luggage before being allowed to fly to an international film festival.
Stories of state-sponsored humiliation at the airport are routine for Israel’s Palestinian academics, journalists, actors and community leaders – in fact, for any Palestinian active in the public sphere.
The list of restrictions on Palestinian citizens is long and growing. A database by the legal group Adalah shows that some 60 Israeli laws explicitly discriminate against non-Jews, with another 18 in the pipeline.
Two laws passed last month intensify the repression of dissent. An Expulsion Law is designed to empower Israeli MPs to oust Palestinian lawmakers whose views offend them, while a Transparency Law stigmatises human rights groups working to protect Palestinian rights.
Recently leaked protocols reveal that the police have secretly awarded themselves powers to use live fire against Palestinian protesters in Israel, even if they pose no danger. Yet another law threatens jail for any Palestinian citizen who tries to dissuade another from volunteering in the Israeli army.
Growing numbers of Palestinian citizens, including poets and writers, are being jailed or put under house arrest for posts on social media the Israeli authorities disapprove of.
Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman recently compared the work of the Palestinians’ national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Darwish is banned from school curriculums.
The culture minister, Miri Regev, meanwhile, has tied state funding for theatre and dance companies to their readiness to perform in Jewish settlements, illegally located in the occupied territories in the West Bank.
In his video, Mr Netanyahu said: “Jews and Arabs should reach out to each other, get to know each other’s families. Listen to each other.”
And yet his officials have just halved funding for the training of Palestinian student teachers, though not Jewish ones, to deter the former from pursuing teaching careers. Jewish schools face severe staff shortages, but Israel’s educational segregation is so complete that Palestinian citizens cannot be allowed to teach Jewish children.
Mr Netanyahu also extolled his government for a promise to increase funding for Israel’s near-bankrupt Palestinian local authorities. He forgot to mention, however, that he had conditioned the money on the same councils demolishing thousands of homes in their jurisdiction. For decades Palestinians in Israel have been routinely denied building permits.
Israel’s Palestinian citizens were not fooled by Mr Netanyahu’s video. But as their leaders noted, they were not the intended audience. The video was a cynical PR exercise aimed firmly at the Europeans, who have been discomfited by Israel’s increasingly repressive climate and the government’s regular incitement against its Palestinian minority.
Mr Netanyahu is worried about a backlash in the West, including growing support for the boycott movement, European efforts to revive peace talks, and potential moves at the United Nations and International Criminal Court.
Palestinians in Israel have known worse repression than they currently endure. For Israel’s first two decades they lived under military rule, locked into their towns and villages and largely invisible unless they agreed to do and say as they were told. Palestinian MPs could be elected to the parliament but only if they were first approved by Zionist parties like Mr Netanyahu’s.
The Israeli right sounds ever more nostalgic for that era. Slowly the ethos of the military government for Israel’s Palestinians is returning – and the perfume of Mr Netanyahu’s soothing words about ending “discord and hate” will not cover the stench.