Israel’s racist and ethnocentric roots

Israeli apartheid

By Jamal Kanj

Palestinians are this week commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for Catastrophe – the forceful dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Zionist terrorists in 1948).

On 15 May 1948, Israel was declared a nation on the ruins of more than 500 townships and 800,000 expelled Palestinians. In December 1948, the international community adopted UN resolution 194, calling on Israel to allow the return of the Palestinian refugees “at the earliest practicable date”.

This became one of more than three dozen resolutions ignored by Israel.

To pre-empt this and similar UN resolutions, Israel is demanding recognition as a state exclusively for Jews. Hence, it is reducing the status of non-Jewish natives to interlopers and elevating the status of Ashkenazi European converts to original inhabitants.

Ethnic cleansing

It is worth noting that the vision of Jewish exclusivity started to take shape at the end of the 19th century.

Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, articulated these objectives in his 1895 diary. “When we occupy the land… we shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border… while denying it any employment in our country,” he wrote.

Following a UN vote to divide Palestine in November 1947, Israel’s founder, David Ben-Gurion, reiterated the same goals when he voiced concerns that the partition plan would result in a state with only a 60 per cent majority of Jews, declaring: “Such a composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish state.”

After a six-month campaign of terror, the Zionists succeeded in reducing the “vexing” population by more than 90 per cent.

Religious incitement

Institutional racism targeting the remaining natives, who today represent 20 per cent of the population of Israel – was complemented by a rabbinic edict signed by several Israeli Jewish religious scholars, among them the late Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, forbidding Jews to employ Arabs or rent them apartments.

Yosef also endorsed Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira’s book, The King’s Torah, a rabbinical manual permitting the killing of non-Jews.

Even apartheid South Africa would have been ashamed to exalt advocates of “baby killers”, but in Netanyahu’s “Jewish state” rabbinical deviants are lauded as “Torah giants”.

It even rationalizes the slaughter of “babies… because of the future danger they may present, since it is assumed that they will grow up to be evil like their parents”.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu anointed Yosef as a “Torah giant, teacher and arbiter of Jewish law”.

Following in the footsteps of his father, the once chief Israeli Rabbi Ovadia Yosef pontificated in a 2010 sermon that God created gentiles (non-Jews) “to serve us – without that they have no place in the world, only to serve the people of Israel”.

Apartheid

Even apartheid South Africa would have been ashamed to exalt advocates of “baby killers”, but in Netanyahu’s “Jewish state” rabbinical deviants are lauded as “Torah giants”.

Israel’s ethnocentric, racist view of non-Jews is not limited to Palestinians.

A survey conducted last summer by Tel Aviv University statistician Camil Fuchs found that nearly 60 per cent of 12th grade Jewish students believed that black African refugees should be expelled. Following a visit to Israel, Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu – who experienced firsthand South African apartheid – lamented that he was reminded “so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”.

Ethnocentric programmes have always ended up in disaster. After 65 years of the Palestinian Nakba, Zionism is constructing the basis of another tragic human experiment. Israel is the only nation where religious ethnicity is an automatic qualifier for citizenship and where the rights of indigenous people are denied for “deficient” maternal genetics.

In fact, it is the only country in modern history demanding recognition not as a country, but as a nation of a single creed, for a people of one kind.


A version of this article was first published in the Gulf Daily News. The version here is published by permission of Jamal Kanj.

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