Is Israel becoming a racist state?

Americans—especially older Americans—like Israel because it’s like America: democracy, constitutional principles, independent, industrious, and tough people. But the trend on American campuses is to not like Israel so much because of the way they treat the Palestinians (and Syrians) in the territories they conquered in 1967. As Thomas Friedman told Fareed Zakaria last Sunday,

“Netanyahu…can get standing ovations in the U.S. Congress anytime [he wants], seven days a week, 24/7. How many standing ovations do you think he could get at the student government at the University of Missouri? At Stanford? At Harvard? At the University of Virginia? At the University of Texas? If you went to those student governments, they’re the future. They’re the future of voters. They’re the future people who will maintain the strategic relationship with Israel. And there, I can tell you, as anyone who goes to college campuses knows, that people don’t get Israel, what Israel is doing right now. They — some are alienated.”

The students are seeing the right-wing religious parties gaining more of a stranglehold over Israeli government policies, and seeing treatment of the conquered peoples getting worse. Fans of Israel have long defended her by saying that Arabs who are Israeli citizens are treated better and live better than Arabs in any Arab country. But a darker side of the treatment of Israeli Arabs is emerging.

Fifty Israeli rabbis last December warned Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews, saying those who do should be “ostracized.” Many leading Arab politicians have been hounded and persecuted by the Shin Bet security service. And many Arab schoolchildren go to segregated schools because of, in the words of the Lod Municipality, “the preference that Arab children, especially in the lower grades, attend Arab schools, in order to preserve their language and culture.”

American media don’t give a lot of coverage to this issue. This Al Jazeera article, “Can equality exist in the Jewish state?” gives a side of the story that most Americans never see.



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2 Responses to “Is Israel becoming a racist state?”

  1. Jack Marshall Says:

    And those students are completely ignorant of the history of Palestinian rejections of settlements of their homeland question. Friedman is absurd. How many people still have the reality-lite political attitudes they left college with, unless they remain academics? The characterizations I hear of the Iraeli-Palestinian conflict are so unbalanced that they are laughable. Policy should be made on the basis of the ignorant certitude of 20-year olds? Come on.

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    One fact is that Palestinians have had horrible governance, horrible leaders, and have harbored and encouraged the murder of innocents.
    Another fact: Israel has overwhelming military superiority and needn’t fear an invasion. A third fact; Israel is making it harder for ordinary Palestinians to earn a living and live in dignity. Fourth: The Israeli Jews are treating Israeli citizens who are Arabs rather like American southerners treated black Americans 50 years ago. Fifth (and this is just my opinion and my fear): things are getting worse.

    The students have this one right.

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