David Newman, dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University, writes: It has become almost second nature for Israelis to view the Arab and Palestinian residents of the country as citizens with lesser rights than those of the Jewish majority. But the ease with which those rights have been denied, is now spreading to the Jewish majority.
These may sound like strong words and I will no doubt be strongly criticized for making such a comparison, but we would do well to paraphrase the famous words of Pastor Niemoller, writing in 1946 about Germany of the 1930s and 1940s: “When the government denied the sovereign rights of the Palestinians, I remained silent; I was not a Palestinian.
When they discriminated against the Arab citizens of the country, I remained silent; I was not an Arab. When they expelled the hapless refugees, I remained at home; I was no longer a refugee. When they came for the human rights activists, I did not speak out; I was not an activist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”
For all of us who likewise believe in the need to preserve the country’s democracy, it is our responsibility to speak out now before it is too late.