I was computer-less for 2 days—a blessing and a curse. The curse part is that when I opened my inbox today, an additional 300 emails flowed in, bringing the total to over 1000. I will hurriedly run through as many as I can tonight, and then delete the rest. I won’t possibly be able to read anywhere near 1000—however important or interesting each might be. If, by chance, you have addressed something to me and do not receive a reply, please resend and in the subject line write ATTENTION DOROTHY. That will catch my eye.
The blessing was that I finally had time to read several chapters of one of the umpteenth books that I want to read—no novels, just political or tied into the situation here, but nevertheless books that I want to read.
Have not had a chance to go through any electronic editions of newspapers today, except to glance at US election results, and read a few items in Haaretz. So only one of the 4 items below is today’s. But from checking what has gone out, it seems that at least 2 and 3 have not been distributed widely, and am not sure about 4. I apologize if these are repeats.
Items one and two are on the same subject: the bill that if enacted into law will keep Arabs out of Jewish communities. The difference between the two items is that the second extends the law to shut out Jews, too—well, some Jews, at least. Both articles name the law for what it is: racist.
Item 3 shows how Bibi Netanyahu gets tough on the Palestinians regarding Jerusalem. He refuses to allow a PA official to take part in the dedication of 2 schools built by the PA in East Jerusalem. Would someone please tell Bibi that East Jerusalem is recognized by the international community as being part and parcel of Palestine, not Israel. Imagine a Jew not being allowed to dedicate a school in France, or England, or other place.
The final item reports that Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor has cancelled a trip to England for fear of being arrested upon his arrival.
May more Israeli officials face this kind of music abroad. After all, Israel has denied entrance to numerous important people, the most recent having been a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
A final word: I trust that more will be said about this, but briefly: Israel’s High Court today rejected the appeal against New Profile by the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden (the ‘burden’ being enlistment in the military and all that this involves). The rejection came as a result of the criminal investigation against NP was closed last year by the Attorney General, and because the Registrar found no reason to deny New Profile being a non-profit association. Let’s hope that this is now behind us. Of course with the new bills on the docket, one does not know.
All the best,
November 01, 2010
Israel’s legislation could eventually serve its enemies [true, but is that the sole reason for not being racist nor for not supporting racist legislation Dorothy]
The liberty of a resident to choose his neighbors is not sacrosanct, especially when it is bound up with the way that the state allocates its economic assets.
The proposed law for the amendment of the communal cooperative directive − which enables admissions committees of small communities to reject candidates if they don’t meet certain criteria − is a wolf in lamb’s clothing.
At first glance, the proposal, which was approved by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justic Committee, bans these committees from refusing to accept a candidate “exclusively on the basis of race, religion, sex, nationality or physical disability.” In actual effect, owing to a formula that allows as criteria for admissions “the lack of a candidate’s suitability for the community’s social-cultural fabric,” the proposal allows for the disqualification of anyone who is not a Zionist, meaning Arabs, and other types of “unsuitable” candidates. In this way, the proposal joins continuing discrimination against the Arab public in the housing sector, as well as a series of proposed laws that seek to harm this population.
The Arab population in Israel suffers from ongoing discrimination in housing and land allocation resulting from massive expropriation in the past, unwillingness to expand areas for building in Arab towns and villages and the lack of an authorized development plan in many of these communities. In addition to discrimination in many areas, such as education and employment, there is a growing sense that Arabs in Israel are not citizens who enjoy equal rights, and that what is now at play is policy designed to drive them away.
The result is mounting hostility between Arabs and Jews in Israel. There are those, such as Prof. Ruth Gavison, who support the notion of “separate but equal” in principle. Yet even these people must acknowledge that under existing circumstances of disparity, the barring of Arabs from communal settlements is discriminatory toward them. The foul odor of racism wafts from the desire to keep Arabs out of the communal settlements. Types of justification marshalled to warrant this approach, such as fears of decline in property values, of intermarriage or of outbreaks of violence, are dubious.
How would we respond were such arguments hazarded against Jews in another country? Weighing against the racially based preferences of Jewish individuals to live exclusively with people of their own religious group, there is the right of a minority not to be humiliated by prohibitions against belonging to a certain group. This right has prerogative.
The issue in question is not just the liberty of a resident to choose his neighbors. It is also the way the state allocates its economic assets. In such allocations, the state has no right to discriminate on a national-ethnic basis. Should we accept the assumption that the arguments utilized to justify the barring of Arabs from the communal settlements take precedence over the rights of equality and human dignity, then these arguments would apply not just to the small communities but also to all forms of settlement in Israel, including cities that lack traits of planned communal villages.
Such a possibility has no legitimacy in a democratic society. There is thus a straight line connecting this proposed law and calls issued by rabbis in Safed not to sell or rent apartments to Arabs. So long as the state has a Jewish majority, its Jewish character will be preserved. This difference between majority and minority justifies settlements for Arabs (or vegans) alone, but not for Jews only. Since Jews are the majority, there is no concern about the preservation of their group identity, where therabs are a minority, and their collective identity is threatened.
The national isolationism that this proposal is designed to promote will deepen alienation and hostility. As things stand, separation between Arabs and Jews in Israel is extreme: There are scarcely any joint educational, residential or military service frameworks. A Jewish-Israeli can go through life without meeting an Arab-Israeli. That is how fears, stereotypes and malice is engendered.
No doubt, the proposal promotes the Yisrael Beiteinu party’s vision of making the Arabs disappear, and, until that time, of knocking them down in the hopes that they will lose their bearings. It is also clear that should the law be passed, the Knesset will notch a major “achievement” − the provision of ammunition to enemies of Israel who claim that it is a racist, Apartheid state.
November 3, 2010
Israel has turned ‘Jew’ into a hollow, separatist title
The small communities are the visible tip of an iceberg of systematic, ongoing ostracism that affects a great many Israelis.
What is so terrible, G. asked me, about people in small communities wanting to choose their neighbors? I’m talking about the desire to live in a clean, attractive place and give my children a values-laden education in a high-quality community; what’s so terrible about the fact that we don’t want Arabs? They are genuinely unsuited to a community with a Jewish-Zionist character.
G. is a young computer programmer from central Israel. His wife is pregnant. The dream of a hilltop community in the Galilee beckons him, and he thinks he and his wife, both hard-working college graduates, will join one.
Let’s start with the fact, I replied, that you haven’t a chance of being accepted.
G. was shocked. You’re Mizrahi, a Jew of Middle Eastern origin, I explained, and your wife is the daughter of recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union. You grew up on the periphery. Your income is okay, but you couldn’t afford to buy even a one-room apartment in the center of the country. Your wife, who works 10 hours a day at a law firm, will have trouble finding similar work up north. She was divorced at a young age, and you didn’t marry through the official rabbinate. Who would take you?
And even if they did, you wouldn’t be willing to give up your excellent job in Herzliya. Therefore, you would have to drive from your new home to the nearest railway station. But you’ll be investing all your savings in building your new home; you won’t be able to buy a second car.
These small communities are the visible tip of an iceberg of systematic, ongoing ostracism that affects a great many Israelis. The Arabs are indeed at the top of the list of dubious characters that this system has created, but after them come all those who cannot afford to live in the luxurious Gindi or Akirov Towers in Tel Aviv with “people like us.”
G. is dreaming of a small hilltop community because the government has not freed up land near major cities, has not built affordable or public housing in those cities and offers almost no subsidies for mortgages. It prefers the contractors’ story (construction is expensive because of all the bureaucracy, and because there are not enough foreign workers ), and therefore comes up with reforms that will send real estate prices even further through the roof. In this situation, the Bank of Israel’s decision to raise interest rates on mortgages will merely make it even harder for young people who are not ultra-rich to buy an apartment.
If G. were to be fired tomorrow and seek to retrain in one of the building professions where demand for workers is high, he would soon discover that he is superfluous due to the migrant workers from China, who offer maximum labor for minimum cost, and who will soon become submissive slaves to boot under an amendment to the Law of Entry that was quietly slipped into the 2011-12 budget legislation.
And even if he isn’t fired, he and his wife are about to have a baby. They will then discover that they are not poor enough to qualify for subsidized day-care, and that his wife’s law firm would rather have an unmarried intern who is willing to work for minimum wage. The Israeli labor market, which has grown used to exploiting Palestinians and migrants, loathes Israelis.
A cloud even hovers over the master’s degree program he has begun, thanks to the tax that is slated to be imposed on his scholarship.
G. doesn’t see the system that drives all these distortions, because the government has succeeded in confusing him. Almost all the new communities established over the last 30 years are unnecessary from a planning, environmental or socioeconomic standpoint. Their sole purpose is to effect an unequal distribution of the most precious resource of all – land. G.’s only chance of obtaining a home or a reasonable standard of living lies in a settlement or in one of the towns built to Judaize the Galilee.
The Arabs have been deprived of the most basic development for both housing and industry, and they face enormous barriers in the labor market. But the government tells G. that they are taking over land and building illegally, just as the migrant workers (whom the government itself imports ) are stealing his job.
So that G. will not, heaven forbid, feel solidarity with Sakhnin residents of his own age and join forces with them to rise up against this system, the government, under the leadership of Yisrael Beiteinu, is channeling his frustration into the artificial channel of an ethno-national conflict. You’re collapsing under an impossible burden, it tells the lower and lower-middle classes? The Arabs are to blame.
G. has fallen into a fascist trap that compensates him with the hollow separatist title “Jew,” while erasing his civic identity as an Israeli, so that he will not sense how badly his situation has eroded. But how can you fail to see, G.? After all, to all those hilltop community admission committees, and to all those that will yet be formed, you will be the next Arab.
November 01, 2010
Netanyahu: Don’t let PA hold east Jerusalem ceremony
PM’s instruction follows order signed byInternal Security Minister Aharonovitch stating PA officials forbidden from taking part in political activities within Israeli territory without permit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the security establishment on Monday to prevent the Palestinian Authority from conducting ceremonies and organizing events anywhere within the limits of the Jerusalem Municipality.
The instruction followed an order signed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch stating that Israeli law prohibits Palestinian Authority officials from taking part in political activities within Israeli territory without first obtaining special permission.
Aharonovitch’s order came following reports that Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad was due to arrive in east Jerusalem on Tuesday to attend dedication ceremonies for two schools as well as a new road project.
About a year-and-a-half ago police succeeded in dispersing a number of small events held in east Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian Culture Festival, meant to declare the city “the capital of Arabic culture for 2009.” More than 20 people were arrested, including Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Then-Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter signed a number of injunctions banning a series of events that were scheduled to be held in Jerusalem, Nazareth and in other parts of the country under the auspices of the PA.
Dichter instructed Israel Police to “suppress any attempts by the PA to hold events in Jerusalem and throughout the rest of the country.” According to the minister, the events would constitute a violation of the interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which includes a clause that forbids the PA from organizing events in Israeli territory.
Attila Somfalvi and Yair Altman contributed to the report
4. Ynet ,
November 01, 2010
Meridor cancels UK visit for fear of arrest
Foreign ministry officials warn deputy PM he may be detained because UK yet to pass legislation preventing arrest of senior Israeli officials
Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor has canceled a scheduled trip to the UK for fear he would be arrested upon his arrival, Ynet reported Monday evening.
Meridor, who was due to speak at an event organized by the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre instead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called off the trip after officials in the justice and foreign ministries warned that he may be arrested because the UK has yet to pass legislation preventing the arrest of senior Israeli officials over lawsuits filed by local political elements.
BICOM is an independent British organisation dedicated to “creating a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain.”
In December 2009 an arrest warrant was issued in the UK against opposition leader Tzipi Livni over “war crimes” allegedly committed during Operation Cast Lead.
In 2005 Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog arrived in London but remained on board his plane and was forced to fly back to Israel after learning that a local Muslim organization sued him for his “military activity against the Palestinian people.”
Last January Israel canceled the departure of a military delegation to the UK after British authorities could not guarantee that IDF officers would not be arrested.