The strategy of the US Reform Movement along with home-grown leftists to introduce an American-style obsession with “racism” into Israeli consciousness shows just how far from understanding regional reality these people are.
The movement’s Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) plans to document incidents of racism in Israel and sue the perpetrators in court, following the model of the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center in the US, which – despite illegitimately multiplying the numbers of right-wing “hate” groups, counting Christian, conservative, and anti-jihad groups and individuals as “hate groups” or “extremists,” and minimizing or ignoring Islamic, black and left-wing extremism – has managed to get itself treated as an authoritative arbiter of who should be denied a platform to speak, or even silenced by the removal of Internet services.
The Racism Crisis Center will provide support in cases of discrimination, hate speech, and hate crimes against minority populations, and collect data on the growing phenomenon of racism in Israel. The center provides support to victims of all backgrounds: Arab[s], Ethiopian Jews, Russian Jews, Mizrahi Jews, asylum seekers and migrant workers, and provides services in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Amharic and English [my emphasis].
The first thing we notice is that apparently IRAC accepts the pernicious definition of ‘racism’ that is lately popular on the Left: racism = bigotry + privilege. According to this definition, it is impossible for a member of an oppressed group to be a racist, because no matter how bigoted oppressed individuals may be, they don’t have power to oppress. This explains the second thing that we notice in the statement above, which is that the list doesn’t include “Jews” without qualification.
In Leftyworld, privilege and oppression are relative. A logical consequence of accepting the definition of racism above is that a hierarchy of oppression is created in which an oppressed person can only be victimized by the racism of a more “privileged” one. So if a Mizrachi Jew beats up an Arab, that is considered a racist hate crime; but when an Arab stabs a Jew the motive must be something else (the Arabs themselves call it “resistance”). Once you have the hierarchy you can use it for all kinds of things, such as who is allowed to speak and who is expected to be a silent “ally.”
Since all Jews, even Mizrachi, Russian or Ethiopian Jews, have more privilege than Arabs, there is no need for a category for racism against Jews. Jews qua Jews can’t complain of racism, unless the complainant is a member of one of the oppressed groups complaining about a more privileged person or group. And no, I don’t know whether Mizrachis or Russians are more oppressed.
This definition and the ideology that flows from it have created more racial hostility in the US than understanding or reconciliation. Bringing it to Israel is a terrible idea.
If we look at the basic difference between the “racial issue” here and in the US, we can see how blisteringly ignorant these people are of reality in Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Without the slightest doubt, the most common, blatant and vicious manifestation of racism in the region is Muslim Arab racism toward Jews.
Hate crimes by Arabs against Jews ranging from assault to mass murder are common. Jews are attacked on the roads with stones and firebombs, and stabbed on the streets. But there is also less deadly but equally humiliating behavior. Could there be a more classically apartheid-like phenomenon than the refusal to allow a Jewish child to drink (video) from a faucet that is used by Muslims to wash their hands? Isn’t it reminiscent of the Jim Crow American South when the police enforce racist rules?
The so-called “status quo” on the Temple Mount is a prime example of Muslim Arab racism. Arabs are free to come and go on the Mount, even to play football there, while Jews are required to go only in small groups, with specially humiliating treatment reserved for those who appear religious. The “president” of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, even publically stated that Jews have no right to “defile [the Mount] with their filthy feet.” If that isn’t racism, what is?
Consider also the racism inherent in a law that punishes Arabs (until recently a death-penalty offense) for selling land to Jews. Consider the opposition to Jews living in eastern Jerusalem, not to mention Judea and Samaria. Consider, finally, the opposition to Jewish sovereignty which is the essence of “Palestinian” identity, which has almost no other content. Simply put, Palestinianism is racism.
IRAC will probably say that none of that counts because Jews are a privileged majority in Israel. But only an artificial definition allows them to limit themselves to Jewish racism when murderous Arab racism is so prevalent and so much more severe. Why should they ignore the Muslim Arab racism that expelled Jews almost entirely from all of the Middle East, and is currently murdering and expelling Christians, and which suffuses the Palestinian population as well as many Arab citizens of Israel?
Here is what we should do: if you are a Jewish victim of Arab racism – if your car has been stoned, if Arabs tried to lynch you, if your home has been damaged by a Hamas rocket, or if you have been injured in a terror attack, go to the IRAC Racism Crisis Center website or call their hotline (1-700-704-408) and file a hate crimes complaint.
Even if your injuries are purely psychic, complain. Did you go up to the Temple Mount and have the police treat you like a criminal? Do you find the weekly sermons by imams at mosques all over the country in which they describe Jews as descendents of apes and pigs insulting? Do the maps published by the Palestinian Authority which erase Israel make you feel “unsafe?” Call the hotline or fill out the form.
IRAC’s campaign is a radically distorted inversion of reality, a denial of what should be visible to anyone with eyes. Let’s show them the real nucleus of race hatred in the Middle East.