Israeli author: Israel is the most racist state in the ‘developed’ world

Haaretz reports: Israeli culture is no less toxic than fanatic Islam, and the country’s discriminatory attitude toward Mizrahi Jews and Arabs qualifies it for the title of “most racist state,” prominent Israeli author Sami Michael said on Monday.

“Israel can claim the title of most racist state in the developed world,” Michael, who heads the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said at the opening of an international conference of the Association for Israel Studies at Haifa University.

“More than 60 years after the establishment of the Israeli state, the rift between European and Mizrahi Jewry has not mended. It is reflected in racism and social gaps,” the author said.

“To this day people from Arab states are underrepresented in the state’s central institutions, especially academic and cultural ones,” he said.

The racism is encouraged by cabinet members and MKs, and fueled by increasing religious extremism in the country, he said.

Michael also criticized the social inequalities in Israel and what he characterized as the failure of the left to adequately contend with these issues.

“Israel is in danger unless its leadership understands it isn’t located in Europe’s tranquil north but in the Middle East’s seething center,” said Michael. “We may lose everything. Israel could be a transient construct, like the First and Second Temples.”

Michael said Israeli children are trained to hate the other.

“Israeli culture is no less poisoned than the fanatic Islamic factions,” he said.

“From kindergarten to old age we feed our children hatred, suspicion and disgust toward the stranger and the other, and especially toward the Arabs,” he said.

He called the occupation “disaster incarnate” for Israel.

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Comments

  1. delia ruhe says:

    Israel probably is “a transient construct.” And this guy is only the latest in a long list of people who think so. A couple years ago, Ian Lustick reminded us that Jewish permanence in the Land is contradicted by both myth and history:

    “Israel’s existence in the Middle East is fundamentally precarious. Twentieth-century Zionism and Israeli statehood is but a brief moment in Jewish history. There is nothing more regular in Jewish history and myth than Jews “returning” to the Land of Israel to build a collective life—nothing more regular, that is, except, for Jews leaving the country and abandoning the project. Abraham came from Mesopotamia, then left for Egypt. Jacob left for Hauran, then returned, then left with his sons for Egypt. The Israelites subsequently left Egypt with Moses and Joshua, and “returned” to the Land. Upper class Jews who did not leave with the Assyrians left with Jeremiah for Babylon, then returned with Ezra and Nehemiah. In the period of Greek and Roman rule, massive numbers of Jews left the land to inhabit a Diaspora where more Jews lived than in the Land, even before the Roman expulsion. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a minority of Jews returned to the Land, but so far in the twenty-first century, more Jews have left than have arrived. Currently Jews are a minority, or very close to it, of the actual inhabitants of the Land of Israel, even excluding the territories of Reuven, Gad, Naphtali, and Asher (in Lebanon and Jordan).”

    “All this coming and going, going and coming, points to the danger and ahistoricity of imagining that a Jewish state can be considered a “permanent” feature of the region, even if it is as muscular, as domineering, and as capable of producing a wealthy upper class as the Hasmonean kingdom.”

    I’ve always wondered about the possibility of a Jewish compulsion to repeat history.

  2. dickerson3870 says:

    RE: “Michael said Israeli children are trained to hate the other.” ~ Haaretz article

    SEE: “Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias” ~ By Harriet Sherwood, guardian.co.uk, 8/07/11
    Nurit Peled-Elhanan of Hebrew University says textbooks depict Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers’

    (excerpt) Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic, mother and political radical, summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism.
    They are called Arabs. “The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don’t pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don’t want to develop,” she says. “The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.”
    Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, “Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education”, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/07/israeli-school-racism-claim

    VIDEO of interview with Peled-Elhanan (08:48) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t91McXHxiXY

  3. Published in the U.K., banned in the U.S.A. by AIPAC/Dershowitz. Perhaps some wealthy person might make the book available to the religious right/Israeli firsters. No, that would be blasphemous.