Israeli Arabs should reenact Selma

Felson on the Arab minority in Israel getting dealt out of the electoral process:

It occurs to me that we're approaching a critical moment, with the
patience and frustration of Israeli Arabs expiring (and with many of
their fellow Israelis turning on them). How Israel's Arabs express
their anger is crucial to reversing public opinion in the U.S. It needs to be non-violent, modeled after the civil rights campaign in the South. There needs to be an alliance with like-minded Israeli Jews, who can play the same role that the Freedom Riders once played. Let Netanyahu or Avigdor Lieberman play Bull Connor
and turn the fire hoses and attack dogs on peaceful Arabs and Jews
holding vigil. Let an angry mob of right-wing Israelis cheer it on –
like the bigots in South Boston who threw rocks at buses full of black kids. When Americans are confronted with scenes like this, they are always repulsed, and demand action.

I realize that Israel is already playing the Bull Connor role,
and Americans don't seem to notice. But it's because it's presented
in the context of Palestinian violence; we're told that Israel's
violence is as tragic as it is necessary. This is why I think Israel's
Arabs have such an important role to play. They are not living under a
military occupation/economic blockade. Within Israel proper, the idea
of an orchestrated campaign of non-violent protest is much more
practical. Think of Tiananmen Square, and what that did to U.S.
opinion. Imagine a similar scene in Israel. Imagine many similar scenes
in Israel. It would be far more difficult for Americans to dismiss it
all as just Israel Israel doing what it has to do to deal with
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics

{ 39 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. BLG says:

    From two months ago


    While this is a long time, this process African-Americans was accelerated by socially conscious Jews. Perhaps for Israel, there needs to be an ethnic outsider to help fund civil rights organizations and promote justice, much in the way that Jewish organizations spearheaded and funded the proud movement of Civil rights in this country.

    Unfortunately, outside of the problems Israel had with Russian immigrants with false claims of Jewish heritage, there (effectively) is no immigration policy outside of aliyah. This might be a long time from Lincoln to the '60s, but bear in mind that there was a great deal of work facilitating this social change.

    Where are the analogous gentile organizations (effective like the NAACP) and people in Israel pushing for Palestinian social justice? It just might take longer than 100 years without that.

    It took a long time to get to Selma. Its with a sad sense of irony that we have to point out that in the U.S. Selma came about Jewish help and now we're talking about Lieberman and Israel. Who will help the Arabs inside of Israel establish their NAACP?

  2. chris berel says:

    Re-enact selma, we could all use the laugh. Pallywood at it's best.

  3. What a ridiculous proposal. So Palestinian citizens of Israel should accept being stoned (stoned is an understatement, because it is based on the assumption that zionists are on par with the racists of the U.S in terms of the extent of their actions — far from it) , so that their plight would appeal to the American people and their strange sense of "morality"? As for the argument that Palestinian violence justifies American support for Israel's actions because it is seen as a response to it, it is not the Palestinians' problem if the American people have got their chronology on Palestine wrong. End of story.
    Also, in South Africa, the struggle against apartheid took many forms, including violence on the part of black South Africans, and an insurgency by the ANC. That still did not stop the world from condemning S. African apartheid and pressuring it to the point of self-destruction, and rightly so. The author proposes treating Israel as a unique case. We demand that it be treated the same way that other racist and tyrannical regimes are and would be treated (and are detested) the world over.

  4. Duscany says:

    Ah yes, the N-Triple-A-C–National Association For The Advancement of Arab People–NAAAP

  5. Todd says:

    My guess is that Israel is presented in a positive light in the U.S. due to propagandists in the U.S., rather than propagandists directing events from Israel. Maybe Phil and his friends need to have a "Freedom Summer" in their neighborhoods this summer. I'll even drive up for it!

    On a side note, how much truth is there to the claims that MLK's non-violent movement was fizzling out due to a lack of violence before Montgomery? I've often read and heard the claim that activists pushing for provocation as a way to keep the movement going touched off the violence. Hosea Williams (one of King's friends in the movement) admitted that he was involved in provocations, which he claimed was a way of reducing tensions. I don't get his logic, but that is what he said in an interview not too long before he died. If Williams was telling the truth, he lends credence to those who claim that King's movement was not as non-violent as it is often claimed to have been. I don't know if it matters what tactics were used, but it would place King in a somewhat different light.

  6. On another note, I am quite happy with the fact that Lieberman's star has begun to shine. People have it wrong. Lieberman's rise does not demonstrate the "shift" of the Israeli electorate from center (or left) to the right. His rise merely highlights the Janus-faced nature of zionist society. In terms of policies, a Lieberman government (assuming it will come to power in the next elections) will not be any different than a Kadima or a Likud or a Labor or even a hypothetical Meretz government. As the saying goes, same shit, different names. That is precisely what Lieberman's rise amounts to. The reason I am happy is that he (and the so-called "right" more generally — not including Kadima, assuming it is perceived in the West to be a center party) is stupid and has little or no control over his mouth. He shows the hatred, bigotry, fascism, and genocidalism very clearly for all to see, whereas Labor (and Kadima to a lesser extent) would give the image of a "peaceloving" and "peaceseeking" Israeli government and an "enlightened" Israeli people, which is far from the truth. Yesterday I noticed in one of the Israeli papers a statement by one of the prominent leaders (can't remember who it was, but it was either from Likud, Kadima, or Labor), who said that the elections prove that hundreds of thousands of Arabs could exercise their democratic right to vote, whereas in Arab/Muslim countries this was not the case (he/she forgot Lebanon, and quite a few other "non-enlightened" countries, I guess). I found it ironic in the context of the attempt by all the major and minor "center", "left", and "right"-wing parties, to get all Arab parties banned from elections, a mere 2-3 weeks before the date set…. Again, it shows the Janus-faced nature of Israelis, and zionists more generally (i.e. including zionist activists and lobbyists in the West).

  7. ahmed says:

    When news of settlement expansion, the disenfranchisement and expulsion of Palestinians of East Jerusalem and other various humiliations, deprivations don't make it to the U.S. newspapers. Hell most papers here were unable to report the large anti-Gaza protests in Israeli or even the carnage in Gaza with any degree of "proportion" then why would some marches and protests get any exposure or change hearts and minds in the U.S.?

  8. Suzanne says:

    Does anybody besides me find it bizarre that blogger in Lebanon is focused on Israel when you have the likes of Hizbollah threatening Lebanon's infrastructure?

    This is a glaring example of how Arabs (or rather Pan-Arabists) let their own world fall apart around them while they point the finger at Israel.

    In the big scheme of things…Israel is not your problem, Lebanon blogger, dear. Israel could disappear tomorrow and Lebanon would still be a fragmented tribal mess.

    clean your house, clean your house, clean your house.

    And then spray it with pesticide so the cockroach eggs don't start the cycle all over again.


  9. spuxxx says:

    Where are the victors in the other civil rights movements, who at one time expressed their solidarity with the palestians?

    The Irish Americans who supported Gerry Adams, the African Americans who supported Martin Luther King, and the South Africans who supported Mandela.

    Why are theses voices are heard?

  10. Suzanne says:

    PS…January was black history month. So the (laughable) Selma comparison is rather off message.

    Just thought you'd like to know…:-)

  11. Mohammad says:

    Hezbollah is not the problem Suzanne. israel is the problem. Hezbollah is an islamist movement that was created out of the inability of lebanon to dela with israel's occupation. Hezbollah considers israel an enemy of lebanon, but that does not make Hezbollah anything more than Israel's enemy. Open your eyes my dear Arabs and Muslims don't see Hezbollah as a threat but as a defender of their sovereignty. Don;t be outraged if you don;t understand why Arabs can't see it in your blind slanted and racist ways. By Arabs I don;t mean the Pro American dictators of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

    Just try at least to open your eyes. You can consider Hezbollah a threat against the Zionism, fine. You're a Zionists, but just because Zionism has had too much of the share of world public pinion, you shouldn't expect that this kind of western propaganda has been effective in making "Arabs" into replicas of you.

  12. Suzanne says:

    "Israel is the problem, capitalism is the problem, the West is the problem. We are messed up and it's everybody else's fault but our own."

    Anybody detecting a self-destructive pattern here?

  13. pj says:

    Non-violence succeeded in India because the Briitsh became repulsed by thier own behavior. Gandhi was asked why he did not try non-violence in South Africa where he had previously had lived. He replied in so many words that he did not think he could count on an eventual moral reaction from the Afrikaaners and Boers.

    What reaction could a non-violent movement expect from the Israelis? Does their reaction to Gaza suggest anything?

  14. contrarian says:

    Actually Suzanne, FEBRUARY is Black History Month. Perhaps you're confusing MLK Day with the entire month of February?!

  15. Suzanne says:

    ooops! You're right…it's February. Got confused by lots of historical programs on PBS throughout Jan… probably due to President Obama's inauguration.

    Ok….carry on with your silly Selma message. At least it's fresh.


    "And then spray it with pesticide so the cockroach eggs don't start the cycle all over again." – Posted by: Suzanne | February 11, 2009 at 03:19 PM

  17. tree says:

    Speaking of Selma:

    "clean your house, clean your house, clean your house.

    And then spray it with pesticide so the cockroach eggs don't start the cycle all over again."

    What a classic example of a vile racist statement.

    And, imagine the chutzpah of someone in Israel telling a blogger in Lebanon not to obsess about Israel. You know… the country(Israel) that has invaded Lebanon multiple times, including a 20 year long occupation of parts of Lebanon.
    The country that has killed tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians over the years and destroyed much of Lebanon's civilian infrastructure in 2006. The country that continues to violate Lebanese airspace whenever it feels like it, sending surveillance drones and occasional fighter jets to flex their muscles and scare the local Lebanese population. Nope, no reason to obsess about that, right? "Yeesh" back at ya, Suzanne.

    And in the meantime, Israelis obsess about Iran, a country that has never attacked Israel or any other country for that matter. But I'm sure that Suzanne has a ready excuse for her racism-fueled double standard. It will be amusing to hear it.

  18. Julian says:

    "Amnesty International is accusing Hamas of harassing, killing and assaulting Palestinian political opponents in the Gaza Strip in the last two months.
    In a Tuesday report, the human rights organization holds Gaza's Hamas government responsible for the deaths of "at least two dozen men" before and during Israel's 22-day offensive into the Gaza that concluded on Jan. 18. The report says scores more were kneecapped, beaten or tortured in that same period."
    link to

    These are Phil's heroes.

  19. tommy says:

    The only way Palestinians are going to recover their territory and self-determination is through passive civil disobedience. Just as many will die using civil disobedience as if they were using the meager violent alternatives available to them, but they will not have ceded any moral ground to those who claim their violence is defensive in response to others who claim the same. The problems for the Palestinians adopting passive civl disobedience is they have no domestic or Israeli groups to mimic, like they have mimicked Irgun and Stern, and, in order for civil disobedience to work, little chance the violent reaction to their civil disobedience will be publicized. If the violent reaction to passive civil disobedience is not publicized, so that those with humane values can react to it and oppose the oppressors with economic, political and moral actions, it will not succeed.

    The European Jews could not have successfully ended German Nazi annihilaton with passive civil disobedience, and one could make the case the offspring of the German Nazis, the Zionist Kapos, will not be successfully confronted with passive civil disobedience either. They don't care about public opinion and only care about eliminating people who occupy territory they covet. The only way civil disobedience will work for Palestinians is if the Israeli subsidizers have enough humane values to recognize the immorality of violence against Palestinians and end their suppor of it. One could be doubtful about that, too.

  20. Suzanne says:

    tree…Europe isn't obsessing about Iran, right? RIGHT?

    My God, you people don't just have tunnel vision. You have carpal tunnel vision. Your brain nerves are NUMB!

  21. marc b. says:

    Mohammad, Suzanne is a racist and a mental defective. There is no need to converse unless you wish to do so for entertainment purposes.

  22. chris berel says:

    Good answer, marc, no one would have ever expected anything close to literate from you. Did you stay up all night to craft those two sentences? Did your mommy help?

  23. anonn says:

    tommy, you make some good points. But, although Germany was weighed down by its economic depression and the V Treaty shackles, it once again grew into a powerful state on its own. Israel is not only dependent on annual welfare checks from USA and Germany, it is totally vulnerable to American Public Opinion. NAZI Germany was not. Without such in its favor, the IDF would fold in every way, and the Israeli masses would begin to see past the incessant propaganda directed at them daily by their own controlled media. That's what Breaking The Silence IDF vets keep telling everyone who will listen–their key focus is on waking up the USA masses, the same as Phil's focus is. This is because those IDF vets have a real moral integrity, as does Phil, and, respectively, they are real patriots, concerned about the well-being of their respective countries.

    tree, well put. All the regular non-habarists here recognize Susanne, chris merel, Thom etc, for what they are. And, as Observer pointed out
    on another article thread today on this blog, they also can smell SOG a mile away, even when he steals real identities of consistent posters here.

  24. Citizen says:

    The internal movement against apartheid S Africa stuck rubber tires on status quo blacks and lit them on fire. This did not stop the world
    from siding against apartheid. The difference is that there are not many Palestinians or even any Arab citizens in the USA comparable to the
    black demographic in the USA. Also, the American jews used the civil rights movement to divide and conquer the majority demographic in the USA, the more diversity, the safer the jew was the reasoning. That's the nutshell history behind the 1965 Immigration Act also. But in Israel, as somebody posted above, by law all immigrants are jews except for some Russians who came in, pretending they were jews.

  25. chris berel says:


    "and one could make the case the offspring of the German Nazis"

    Since that is Hamas, you are saying that Israel must demolish Hamas as civil disobediance won't work?

  26. antiHasbara says:

    Suzanne, another braindead and brainwashed Zionist Jezebel on a ego trip. Reminds of the Arab probverb, kill someone and walk in his funeral, which you are doing by repeating your farcical cliches; "they hate us for our freedoms, etc". No, they hate you for what you've done to them. Thats what infuriates you and the rest of the Zionist scumbags. The Palestinians aren't going to wave the white flag and surrender as you desire of them.

  27. Suzanne says:

    Antihasbara, inta humar. :-)

  28. marc b. says:

    Good answer, marc, no one would have ever expected anything close to literate from you.

    Really? No one? So now you speak for everyone. You are delusional. And let me write it out for you in crayon, you f*cking moron, my comment was not meant to be humorous or ironical. Anyone who refers to an entire people as cockroaches is a racist and a mental defective. Got it?

  29. antiHasbara says:

    Yes Suzanne, intee humara. I know one of the mantra of Jews is, "never forgive, never forget". Well, I'll
    never forgive and never forget my grandfather's village that was wiped out by the Zionist scumbags. The Palestinians aren't going to go the way of the dodo as desired by you.

  30. Thom says:


    It will be unfortunate if they don't surrender. Mildly bad for Israel, disastrous for the Palestinians.

    When someone bigger that you is kicking the crap out of you, and will stop if you surrender, surrender.

    It did wonders for Germany and Japan.

    Actually Tommy, if the Palestinians stuck to non-violent civil disobedience their casualty rate would fall rapidly to zero. There is no need to convince Israel to stop attacking the Palestinians, just stop making it necessary (e.g., through non-violence) and the attacks will stop.

    Israel is very strong militarily, but it has never attacked any group that wasn't attacking them. The Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians, etc. attacked Israel in multiple wars. Each time Israel kicked the crap out of them.

    The Egyptians made peace with Israel, Israel hasn't attacked them since. Jordan made peace with Israel, Israel hasn't attacked them since. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

    Just in case you are a Palestinian, I will spell it out for you. Attacking Israel=getting the crap kicked out of you. Not attacking Israel means Israel doesn't attack you.

    "Ow, everytime I hit this button, a hammer hits me on the head." "Well don't hit that button".

    Of course, the real problem is not the lack of non-violent protest, it is the presence of violent terrorism by the elected government of the Palestinians. Non-violent protests don't make up for violent terrorism if you are doing both at the same time.

  31. Suzanne says:

    Antihasbara–What was the name of your grandfather's village–and was it destroyed or did the population flee because of fighting?

    I am sorry that it happened–there is no pleasure in hearing about something like that.

    What I want to know is–and I think this is the crux of the problem–why wasn't there room for both autonomous Jews and autonomous Arabs in the relatively vast region of Palestine?

    I understand there were Arab villages. My understanding is that there were 13 villages and that's where the majority of the Arab population lived. Some of those villages (I'm not sure how many) survive today as Arab enclaves within Israel. So we are talking about less than 13 villages, I think.

    So are you telling me that if Jews took their business to a part of the region where there were no villages..all of this would've been avoided?


    I don't want to diminish the personal tragedy of this but fighting over 13 villages seems really strange to hold a grudge that long. There is not one person on this earth, myself included, whose ancestors were NOT tossed off some piece of land. In fact, my Irish great grandparents had to pay rent to an absentee English landlord in their own country. I saw the document with my own eyes.

    I think it's a waste of time to hate the English for that. I like English culture in fact, even though they can be dinkheads about the Irish.

    Ditto for the Germans and the Holocaust. I've moved on. It was a psychotic moment in history and that's that.

    I'd rather concentrate on kicking the arses of modern day Jewhaters than dwell on Germany.

    I'm not trying to paint the Israelis as angels either. Obviously both sides developed hostility and people are not at their best in those circumstances.

    But it all still boils down to this: If those 13 villages were left intact, would Israel (as a concept) be given a green light to exist as a modern sovereign state?

  32. Ana Sanchez says:

    Suzanne, it was 531 villages that were destroyed, not 13.
    And 800,000 people, half of the indigenous population of Palestine, who were forced to leave their homes, never to return.

  33. Suzanne says:

    Well I guess there is conflicting information, and until the facts are well established (demonstrated by some impartial source such as demographic census from early 20th century)–it's hard to know who is telling the truth.

    I guess what the Arabs are arguing is that Palestine, the region was filled corner to corner with people. Brimming. Populous. The desert couldn't contain this bountiful basket of humanity. And there simply was no room for Jews to carve out a spot for themselves. Correct?

  34. Suzanne says:

    There is still the problem of the Arabs not being able to move past the creation of the Israeli state. They are stuck there…and there they stay. Which is a choice.

    The settlers are a really bad decision on Israel's part, in my opinion. But I suspect that if they are removed (and I think they should be) they will turn out to be a red herring.

    In fact, a huge credibility gap with Palestinians and their sympathizers is the tendency to dwell on the creation of the Israeli state rather than face the facts on the ground in 2009.

    It demonstrates ulterior motive, lack of realistic thinking, and unwillingness to move forward in a sensible way.

    Furthermore, blaming Israel, capitalism, and the West on the state of the ME region is warrior thinking. It suggests that Muslims prefer war.

    It brings to mind the story The Emperor's New Clothes. I know what I see, but I'm asked to believe something altogether different.

  35. tommy says:

    Hamas is the child of Irgun and Stern.

    Israel continuously kills children playing too near checkpoints. Israelis have killed many people holding flags of surrender over the years. Attempts have been made to use passive civil disobedience to counter Israeli violent aggression, and it is always met with overwhelming force.

    Israelis and Americans may not have the moral integrity to recognize their inhumanity when faced with such a resistance by Palestinians. Rachel Corrie's death has not raised American's consciousness sufficiently to stop any Israeli violence. Israelis and Americans have received too much state indoctrination demonizing Palestinians, Arabs and Persians to recognize their humanity..

  36. Suzanne says:

    There goes Tommy– blaming others instead of practicing self responsibility.

    The bottom line is…where does this thinking get you…where does it get the Palestinians?

    You patronize them like they are little children who can't control themselves.

    I haven't written them off as hopeless iron age savages just yet…but maybe you have?

    In any case, I am more interested in objectivity than anything else…so I found this site: Palestinian population

    The purpose of that site is to examine what's known about demographic history with FACTS. And they conclude that there is no conclusive answer. The Arabs and Jews are both erroneous in their own respective mythology of what population statistics looked like prior to 1948.

    And again I ask the question…was this a place so brimming in humanity that there was no room for autonomous Jews? That is the crux of the argument.

    Then again, that argument is also over. Israel is about as likely to be dismantled as is America or Australia. Israel is fait accompli.

    The only people worth negotiating with are those who live in the realm of reality.

  37. Thom says:


    The biggest problem that the Palestinians have is that they can't course correct. Good concept, course correction. When you are sailing, and you get off course, the fastest way to get where you are going is not to try to get back on your original course, but to plot a new course that takes you where you want to go.

    People do that all the time in life. You plan to keep your car until it is 10 years old, then it gets totaled when it is 9. You could spend ten times its value (before it was totaled) repairing it so you can keep to your original plan, or you can reevaluate your situation and buy a replacement for a fraction of that cost.

    The Palestinians refuse to do that. They lost a war over 60 years ago and another one over 40 years ago and rather than try to build something new, they sat on their asses taking handouts and trying to get back the land they lost in the war.

    If someone kicks you off your land you have my sympathy, if you refuse to build a new life in favor of futilely attacking the descendants of the people that kicked your grandparents off their land, you have my contempt.

    The Jews from around the Middle East lost their lands and money when the Arabs kicked them out after the formation of Israel. Roughly equal numbers to the Palestinians.

    The difference is, they got on with their lives instead of wasting their energy trying to get it back. Gee, which way works better?

  38. Dameocrat says:

    People who believe in passive resistance shouldn't no more wait for Hamas to come along to start doing it, than Obama should wait for republicans to become post partisans before pursuing a progressive agenda.

    Just do it. Lead by example. Hamas are politicians. Politicians are never friendly to mass movements.

  39. Citizen says:

    Suzanne, there is no "conflicting information" as between 700,000 Pals being booted from their land by the jews. The only conflict in all sources is whether it was 700,000 or 800,000 Pals that got booted out.
    Next thing, you will be telling us that that the Irish Famine, which killed lots of your ancestors on one side, was not intentionally aided and abetted by the Brits in every way. Pray to Auschwitz if it makes you feel important. The rest of us will take Auschwitz for what it should be, a lesson of never again applicable to all humans, including Palestinians.