“Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.
Something here has to rise up and scream: Enough. All the excuses and all the explanations will not help – there is no such thing as a child that is allowed to be killed and a child that is not. There are only children killed for nothing, hundreds of children whose fate touches no one in Israel, and one child, just one, around whose death the people unite in mourning.
Gideon Levy in Haaretz Aug. 24, 2014
Many of the Zionist critics of Israel often mention the deep racism in Israel today Poll after poll indicates this sad fact. Peter Beinart in his book The Crisis of Zionism states that the poll results of Israeli attitudes towards Arabs are shocking. He then lays the results out with this statement: “As painful as it is for Jews to admit that race hatred can take roots among a people that has suffered so profoundly from it the ground truth is that occupying another people requires racism, and breeds it”.
Walls of course facilitate racism. Think about what that concrete monstrosity means that snakes across Israel today. Not only has it stolen 10% of Palestinian land, but it screams “I don’t even want to even see you.”. These poor Israeli kids who are forced to humiliate Arabs on a daily basis ultimately will see them as less than human.
There were no walls at Harbord Collegiate playground in the summers when I was a kid playing on three city championship ball teams with all Jewish kids in the early 50s. Athletics and demography can do that for you if you are lucky enough and wise enough to take the universal lessons dropped in your lap
One of the most shocking examples of this ingrained racism is contained in Israeli journalist Yoram Binur’s 1990 expose My Enemy, My Self, a book which rocked Israel. Like John Howard Griffin’s opus Black Like Me in the southern USA in the late 50s. Binur successfully passed into the culture as “the other”, in his case a lowly Palestinian doing menial jobs.
Fluent in Arabic, the author experienced the daily abuse as a Palestinian living under military rule in the Occupied Territories. Treated with utter disdain by his Jewish employers, he begins to hate his fellow Israelis who had no idea he was a former lieutenant in the IDF.
How prophetic Binur was. While he was underground the first Intifada broke out. His eerie conclusion:
If you respect them and their rights to freedom and independence, you dont have a problem, but if you just ignore it, you fall into a greater risk and this is the reason I wrote the book, because I feel the biggest risk is just around the corner and no one paid attention. Israel will not be a democracy anymore. You cannot apply a dictatorship to Palestinian camps five minutes from Jerusalem, as we do now, and keep a democracy,“
Binur’s sobering account of Jewish racism was at tghe same time also confirmed by Israel’s premier novelist David Grossman .In 1987 Grossman was commissioned to write about life in the Occupied Territories. Palestinians in their daily suffering leap off the page as fellow humans who often remind him of his grandmother.The author is appalled with the settlers “who will not allow themselves a split second of empathy. He is sickened by the exploitation of Palestinian workers.The Yellow Wind caused a sensation in Israel.
Twenty-four years later the chastened liberal Zionists are flagging racism as the grave threat to Israeli democracy. No less prophetic than Binur and Grossman is another brave Israeli, journalist Gideon Levy.
In an Haaretz article (Aug 24) the author wrote about “the difference between children”. It is a stunning piece in which Levy contrasts the coverage of the death of the four year old Israeli child Daniel Tragerman and the almost 500 children killed in Gaza. The death of the young Jewish child was major news in Israel and as Levy says “Whose heart would not be broken at the sight of the grieving family,who would not weep at how he was criminally killed…It is human understanadable and moving.””
Yet Levy probes depper.
“What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of thir children”
In a world where there is some good, children would be left out of the cruel game called war. In a world where there is some good, it would be impossible to understand the total, almost monstrous unfeelingness in the face of the killing of hundreds of children – not ours, but by us. Imagine them standing in a row: 478 children, in a graduating class of death.
These are the Palestinian children killed in Gaza
An iron wall of denial and inhumanness protects the Israelis from the shameful work of their hands in Gaza. And indeed, these numbers are hard to digest
The radio yesterday already talked about “murder.” The prime minister already called the killing “terror,” while hundreds of Gaza’s children in their new graves are not victims of murder or terror. Israel had to kill them. And after all, who are Fadi and Ali and Islaam and Razek, Mahmoud, Ahmed and Hamoudi – in the face of our one and only Daniel. We must admit the truth: Palestinian children in Israel are considered like insects.”