Thursday, December 8, 2011

Laws, Leaders and Contempt for Human Rights

This article was first written on Dec. 10, 2010. 
In Israel, racism is rampant on the International Day of Human Rights, December 10, 2010. The Israeli Knesset is passing anti-democratic legislative initiatives that make a mockery of Israel’s claim to being a democracy while government officials conduct themselves in a discriminatory manner without any reprimand from the racist-in-chief Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These are examples of how the ever elusive peace process is hindered by the Israeli feeling of superiority toward Palestinians. Exposing this Israeli attribute is what is needed to take them off their high horse and to impose parity in peace talks.
In an arrogant attempt to divide Arabs and Israelis, the Israeli cabinet approved a proposal requiring new immigrants to pledge loyalty to the “Jewish and democratic” state. The citizenship loyalty oath would immediately affect Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who either want to marry a Palestinian-Israeli citizen or have already married and are waiting on their papers to be processed. These citizen applicants will have to pledge loyalty to an Israeli “Jewish” state. Jewish immigrants will not be affected asthey already enter on Israel's Jewish Law of Return.
Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of the Knesset, commented on the proposed legislation, "Palestinians will have to say that this country is for Jews, and Palestinians are only guests. If you are saying you are democratic, you should treat citizens with equality."
Another draft bill in the Israeli Knesset would make it possible for small communities to reject “incompatible” residents. Residents of a community will be given a right to vote whether to exclude people within their community they do not want or like. Again this proposed legislation is aimed at Arabs living in Israel and is clearly discriminatory. It will cause Arabs in Israel to live in certain areas because they will be excluded from other certain areas—clearly creating an apartheid regime withinIsrael like that of pre-democratic South Africa under the white supremacy rule.
This wave of racist behavior in Israel that is consuming Israeli society can be traced to governmental leaders. Leading Israel into this bigoted march is Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. His comments at the United Nations about “transfer of populations and territories” was not reprimanded and he was not forced to relinquish his ministerial seat. Netanyahu’s silence is acquiescence to this racism.
Although Netanyahu critized the call of 39 municipal rabbis who endorsed a religious ruling that prohibits renting to non-Jews, the mere thought of this racist ideology begets the type of society Israel is—an apartheid society. While I have advocated that it is proper for the Palestinian Authority to pass a law which provides for the death penalty for those Palestinians who sell their land to Israelis, there is a clear difference between this religious ruling and the Palestinian law. Israel is superstitiously confiscating Palestinian land for exclusive “Jewish” expansionist purposes and would love to legally buy out Palestine using US tax deductible dollars. In Israel, Palestinians already live in Israel and are not “buying” up land in Israel to the exclusion of Israelis. See my article Palestinian Authority Death Penalty Law a Matter of National Survival,
Again, the originator of this racist prohibition of renting to non-Jews was not reprimanded but instead joined by dozens of other municipal rabbis, a position of civil servant in Israel.
"There is a whiff of fascism on the margins of Israeli society," said Isaac Herzog, the social affairs minister, who belongs to Labour Party. Such a remark is not without a comparison to history. In 1933, Germany passed the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which banned Jews from government jobs. Thousands of similar laws were subsequently passed in Germany all aimed at banning or dissuading Jews from seeking privileged and superior positions reserved for the “Aryan Germans.” (Wikipedia: Racial Policy of Nazi Germany) It is ironic that the Holocaust survivors have not taught their heirs this lesson of history: no one race is superior to another.
Considering Jewish history, it is also ironic that Israel would even consider passing anti-democratic legislation such as the loyalty oath and residential “compatibility” zones; and allowing its leaders to espouse racist policies such as not renting to non-Jews and transfer of populations. Yet that is what is happening in Israel today—a contemptuous and conceited feeling of superiority that allows Israelis to act with total disregard for humanitarian values. So as the world reflected on human rights on December 10, 2010, Israel mark it with contempt for its fellow man.

(  © Copyright, Fadi Zanayed.  Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)

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