Israelis on the Left and Right alike expect Palestinian citizens of Israel to display loyalty to the state, yet they never acknowledge Israeli crimes against Palestinians. It’s high time they took a long look in the mirror.
“Is he also going to grow up to be an enemy of Israel like you?” A. asked as he played with Adi, my one-and-a-half-year-old nephew.
“Maybe, if god and Gideon Levy will it, he and a lot more like him will grow up to be a fifth column,” I answered as I put another Winnie the Pooh plate into the shopping cart — I’m babysitting the future demographic threat today, and I must do as it wishes.
“You know bro, out of everything you write, and you know I don’t agree with you, but you know what bothers me the most? It seems to me that the moment soldiers start dying, not even your balls could give a shit, and that’s not cool.”
Surprised by the attempt of A. – a Jewish childhood friend from Lyd, who I had ran into at the supermarket – to pretend to be an authority on my testicles’ areas of interest, I decided to get away and head to the cashier, before Adi bankrupted me but mostly because I was sick of these arguments.
The way that the majority of Israelis relate to us, Palestinian citizens of Israel, will continue in its duality forever, it seems. On one hand, most of the chosen people relate to us as Arabs – especially in order to turn us away from jobs, to come eat our hummus, and more recently, to attack us on city streets and in cyberspace. On the other hand, those same people will treat us like disloyal Israelis, at least when it comes to political arguments (the conclusions of which are generally predetermined). In our lighthearted conversation at the supermarket, A. saw me as someone who was anti-Israel, a not-nice Arab, an “enemy of Israel” (and all that despite our shared childhood memories), and he showed his disappointment that I shed no tears for the soldiers who died in Gaza.
In other words, A. doesn’t see me as an Israeli like himself (“a Palestinian enemy of Israel”) but at the same time expects me to show patriotism and loyalty according to his needs (“as soon as soldiers start dying, you should be empathetic”), or at least to show some sensitivity to the soldiers who were sent to protect the people of Israel from all of those terrorist Gazan children. A. doesn’t really try to understand me, but rather automatically makes his own assumptions and refuses — or is unable — to see their inherent flaws.
Flawed basic assumptions are one thing, but what’s even worse are postulations supposedly “based on facts” and their resulting judgements and conclusions. In a Haaretz article earlier this week, Alexander Yakobson wrote about a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, which shows that “less than half of Arab [Israeli] citizens decisively declared that there was no justification for the [military] operation.” And, of course, what everyone was looking for: 23.7 percent of Arabs think that embarking on the Gaza operation was justified. On the basis of these numbers, Yakobson reaches the necessary conclusion that there is no place for “hatred and wholesale slander” of Arabs by Jews, and ponders whether there are Arab leaders who spoke out against “Zoabi’s harsh words.”
First of all, the credibility and trustworthiness of the opinion poll should be cast in some doubt. Let’s start with the fact that the organization that carried it out represents democracy and pluralism like MK Miri Regev represents humanism. Out of 19 members of its management, senior fellows and department heads, nearly all are Ashkenazi and only two are women. Arabs? Mizrahim? More women? Don’t make Israeli democracy laugh.
Without dissecting the past of the institute’s members (because people change and articles can only be so long), let’s take a quick look at its latest “peace index.” At the same time that McCarthyism is spreading and Arabs are being dismissed from their jobs because of personal views (Hebrew), how reliable can a survey about their opposition or support for Israel be? Can their answers really be viewed as reliable? Are the Druze and other minorities — who serve in the army and support the occupation — categorized as “Israeli Arabs” this time in order to make the sample “representative” when it’s convenient?
But the conclusion that Yakobson deduces is actually interesting: the Israeli public should cease persecuting the Palestinian public in light of its apparently hidden loyalty toward Israeli crimes. Not because it’s unacceptable, not because it’s morally bankrupt in and of itself, but because some opinion poll by a Zionist organization claims that half of the Arabs support limiting criticism of “the operation.” What a strange attempt at self-justification; what does the world want from Israel, after all, even a large part of the Arab population here supports the continued massacre of their kinfolk.
But that said, I prefer A.’s dualistic approach to the Arabs, or even Yakobson’s self-justification over the distorted way the Zionist “Left” relates to Palestinians in Israel. A few weeks ago, Haaretz journalist Ravit Hecht more or less demanded that MK Haneen Zoabi be put on trial in the court of morality for refusing to call the alleged kidnappers of three Israeli youths “terrorists.”
By just bringing the topic up for discussion we can see just how much the Zionist left doesn’t acknowledge Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Palestinian youths are regularly kidnapped from their homes by the most moral army in the world. Have Hecht and her friends ever thought of calling that “terrorism?” And what about administrative detention? The army’s acts of murder in the West Bank? I don’t even dare ask about the deaths of over 2,100 Gazans and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless? If you ask the Zionist “Left” what happened in Gaza, you’ll get tons of twisted denouncements, but no recognition of the dry facts. At a time when racism in Israel is breaking all of its own sickening personal records, it’s easier and more comfortable to denounce the not-nice Arabs than to look in the mirror.
On the basis of all that, I’d like to call for most of the Israeli public to be tried in a court of morality, all those who are Zionist, for their refusal to call the actions of the Israeli army “terrorism.” Are you done giggling? Good, now we can go back to the collective Israeli consciousness: justification, turning a blind eye and the dismissal of anyone who dares to speak out against the trickery and lies of the Zionist establishment.
It’s not hard to guess whether A. is bothered by the fact that the macho Israeli public couldn’t give a shit about Palestinian suffering.
Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call here.