The Middle East’s only pretend democracy

Israel/Palestine
on 99 Comments

Haaretz notes a recent survey, revealing the hollowness of Israel’s claim to be a democracy:

A comprehensive survey compiled by the Israel Democracy Institute and reported in yesterday’s Haaretz paints a gloomy, worrisome picture…

…Only 17% of the public believes the state’s self-definition as a democracy should take precedence over its self-definition as Jewish; an absolute majority believes that only Jews should be involved in decisions crucial to the state; a majority supports allocating more resources to Jews than Arabs; a third of Jewish citizens support putting Arab citizens in detention camps in wartime; and about two-thirds think Arabs should not become ministers.

…At the root [of the survey's results] lies the twisted belief that democracy means the tyranny of the majority, and that equal rights for all the state’s citizens is not an integral part of the democratic system.

…A democracy cannot have two classes of citizens, first-class and second-class.

Really? Israel can’t both be a democracy, and have second-class citizens? Hmm. What a brilliant revelation, if 60 years too late. Despite liberal Zionist delusions to the contrary, Israel has always been a pretend democracy since the founding of the state.

Although I can’t find the link, I remember that even the Palestinians inside Israel who weren’t expelled in 1948 lived under discriminatory military rule from day one, and have never had equal rights. For example, see the Association of 40 Palestinian villages that Israel refuses to recognize. They don’t even get basic garbage service.

About Matthew Taylor

Matthew A. Taylor is co-founder of PeacePower magazine, and author of "The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel," a chapter in the book Nonviolent Coexistence.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

99 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    December 2, 2010, 5:03 pm

    A friend sent me an email of that poll.

    It is very sad, and needs the response of people to get out and assert that democracy is the most important feature of Israel’s existence, not secondary and not a burden, but a primary component of its identity itself.

    This is NOT evidence of its death, of the need for divestment, but evidence of the need of INVESTMENT of ideals, of confidence, of spirit.

    • Colin Murray
      December 2, 2010, 7:04 pm

      What kind of investment and by whom? “Ideals, confidence, and spirit” aren’t commodities that we American taxpayers can buy for Israelis. Ultimately, this is about changing racist Israeli behavior and thus far the staggering outlay of American lives and money facilitated by the Israel Lobby has only served to enable their worst extremists.

      • Richard Witty
        December 2, 2010, 7:42 pm

        How do you change hearts and minds, by personal accusations?

      • Shingo
        December 2, 2010, 9:52 pm

        “How do you change hearts and minds, by personal accusations?”

        Are you rejecting the accusation that most Israelis have demonstrated that being a Jewish state is incompatible with democracy?

    • eljay
      December 2, 2010, 7:21 pm

      >> It … needs the response of people to get out and assert that democracy is the most important feature of Israel’s existence …

      Those people will have a hard time overcoming the obstinance of Zio-supremacists and “humanists” who insist that Israel was, is and will always be a “Jewish state” – that is, a Zionism-inspired, religion-supremacist state.

    • Shingo
      December 3, 2010, 1:09 am

      “This is NOT evidence of its death, of the need for divestment, but evidence of the need of INVESTMENT of ideals, of confidence, of spirit.”

      In other words, Witty’s prescription is to keep doing more of the same (ie. smothering it with kisses) and that will lead to Israel coming around and becoming a role model for democracy.

  2. radii
    December 2, 2010, 5:08 pm

    I thought it was a mafia state

    link to haaretz.com

  3. Matthew Taylor
    December 2, 2010, 5:15 pm

    Richard,

    What is the evidentiary basis for the claim that Israel has ever been a true democracy, and as you say, democracy “is the most important feature of Israel’s existence?” The factual reality that I am familiar with is that Israel has, as a fundamental feature of its existence, consistently oppressed and dispossessed its Palestinian population since the first day of the state’s founding. If you have specific factual evidence to counter this statement, by all means, please sure.

    Matthew

  4. Matthew Taylor
    December 2, 2010, 5:16 pm

    sure = share. pesky typo at the end there.

    • Richard Witty
      December 2, 2010, 7:48 pm

      Israel is legally a democracy with equal rights for all citizens with the sole exception of expedited right of return for Jews.

      The Israeli basic laws describe Israel as simultaneously Jewish and democratic and spells that out in similar terms to the US constitutional 14th amendment.

      Its up to Israelis to fight for that to remain, to persuade, to educate, to inspire.

      EVERY national democratic state (the vast majority on the planet) exist within a similar tension of its exclusive national basis and equal rights applied in a color blind manner.

      It is your responsibility to ensure that democracy is remembered, the primary component, and not the secondary component as the poll suggests many would prefer.

      If you choose to declare it dead, or never existent (a falsehood), then you will be equally renouncing the effort, complicit by that renunciation.

      When you could inspire if you put your heart, body, and time into it.

      It is a relative effort. There is NO pure justice, no pure equal rights anywhere, and can’t be possibly. There is only the tension and the requirement to remain committed.

      • Richard Witty
        December 2, 2010, 7:55 pm

        I said that it “needs the response of people to get out and assert that democracy is the most important feature of Israel’s existence”.

        That is NOT a claim that it has been the most important feature in people’s minds in the past. From my studies, I conclude that it was founded on very strong commitment to democracy, and struggled for that over an extended period of time.

        If you want it to improve at that, respectfully demand it. That is DIFFERENT than rejection.

      • Shingo
        December 2, 2010, 9:53 pm

        “From my studies, I conclude that it was founded on very strong commitment to democracy, and struggled for that over an extended period of time.”

        You’ve not studied a thing Witty, obviously.

      • Richard Witty
        December 2, 2010, 9:57 pm

        What do you recommend that I read Shingo?

      • Shingo
        December 2, 2010, 10:22 pm

        Here’s a list for you Witty:

        1. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
        2. The Modern Middle East
        3. A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples
        4. Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
        5. The Birth of Israel: Myths And Realities

      • Richard Witty
        December 3, 2010, 3:10 am

        Thanks.

      • Shmuel
        December 3, 2010, 10:00 am

        6. Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine

      • Shingo
        December 2, 2010, 10:19 pm

        “Israel is legally a democracy with equal rights for all citizens with the sole exception of expedited right of return for Jews.”

        If you are honest in your search, you will find that in spite of your disillusionment at discovering that “storks don’t bring babies”, this is not the case.

        For example:
        Arabs can only build on 3% of land in Israel, Jews have 96% available to them.
        Arabs have no say in their school curriculum, and are banned from teaching about the Nakba , while being forced to teach the Holocaust.
        Arab are allocated far fewer resources to schools and communities.
        Arabs can be fired for speaking Arabic on the job.
        Arabs are denied opportunities to obtain high paying jobs.

        So you see witty, Israel is not a democracy because it does not provide equal rights for all citizens.

        “The Israeli basic laws describe Israel as simultaneously Jewish and democratic and spells that out in similar terms to the US constitutional 14th amendment.”

        Israel’s laws grant privilege and entitlement to Jews over non Jews. This is the antithesis of the 14th amendment .

        “Its up to Israelis to fight for that to remain, to persuade, to educate, to inspire.”

        It might well be, but they are not persuading, educating, to inspiring.

        “EVERY national democratic state (the vast majority on the planet) exist within a similar tension of its exclusive national basis and equal rights applied in a color blind manner.”

        But no democratic state grants privilege to one ethnicity at the expense of another – except one of course.

        “When you could inspire if you put your heart, body, and time into it.”

        Have you put your heart, body, and time into it Witty, because I don;’t see any evidence of you inspiring anyone. Quite the contrary.

  5. Shunra
    December 2, 2010, 5:24 pm

    Matthew, the Wikipedia page describing the lot of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel has the information you asked about: they were under martial law from 1949 to 1966.

    “While most Arabs remaining in Israel were granted citizenship, they were subject to martial law in the early years of the state.”

    Info from here: link to en.wikipedia.org – please consider reading the article about that period, it is fascinating, especially in light of Israel getting to call itself a democracy despite its conduct.

    • Citizen
      December 3, 2010, 7:34 am

      The formula: Israel is a Jewish state and a democracy. Therefore Israel is a democracy for its Jewish citizens. Hamas is a democracy for its Palestinian population. Since it has no other population, it is by default more democratic than Israel.

      • Richard Witty
        December 3, 2010, 8:02 am

        Israel is a democracy for all its citizens, in need of attention for the democratic component of it dual component identity.

  6. Gellian
    December 2, 2010, 5:43 pm

    Wow. Pretty sobering poll.

    Matthew, you need to realize that for Richard Witty to make a comment like that, takes an enormous effort. He’s reaching out. He’s wrong, but at least he’s coming around. Work with him/

    • Avi
      December 2, 2010, 6:25 pm

      Work with him?

      How old is he, 10?

      Why is it that you people give your own so much leeway but are quick to condemn others? Is that all it takes to make it in Jewish America, cold smugness and fake polite disposition? Apparently so. No wonder a lot of the fascist radicals that populate the colonies in the West Bank come from the US.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 2, 2010, 6:44 pm

        avi,

        hahaha – “work with her” my man….

      • Gellian
        December 2, 2010, 7:09 pm

        Avi,

        Umm, ‘you people’ doesn’t apply to me, I don’t think, me not being Jewish. But thanks for the touching sentiment!

        My point is, what exactly is this echo-chamber of commenters and blogposters going to accomplish regarding Israel without bringing Jews aboard? Do you folks really, actually think that by crapping on Jews’ heads constantly that they’re going to want to take your side?

        My point is simply that Richard Witty seemed to concede a lot of ground in his remark. Not as much as I would or as I think he should have. But it also looks to me like he’s trying (esp. compared to his comments in the past, in which he was a pretty unbending defender of all things Israel, no matter the policy.) So if the goal is justice for Palestinians, you have got to work with people who are trying to come around.

        I really think this is the way to go. Jackboots and name calling aren’t going to do it.

      • Avi
        December 2, 2010, 10:55 pm

        Gellian December 2, 2010 at 7:09 pm

        Avi,

        Umm, ‘you people’ doesn’t apply to me, I don’t think, me not being Jewish. But thanks for the touching sentiment!

        So when you were defending Israel the other day, waxing poetic about Manhattan looking like Tel-Aviv you did so in what capacity? As a Zionist Christian? A Zionist Catholic? Or simply an ignoramus without a clue?

    • annie
      December 2, 2010, 6:51 pm

      Work with him/

      gellian, mathew asked richard a question and engaged him. personally i’d prefer not hearing patronizing language , we generally get plenty of that around here from witty constantly giving phil advice. i’m sure mathew can figure out for himself what he needs to realize and witty can speak for himself as well.

      as for your assertions of what constitutes ‘enormous effort’..
      whatever! i think it requires an enormous effort for witty to not be the first poster on threads, an effort he doesn’t make often enough! ;)

      btw, while you’re here i wonder what you think of Israel to peddle message through third parties.

      Israel’s ambassadors in western Europe received an urgent cable last week (Hebrew), ordering each to immediately recruit at least a thousand people loyal to Israeli positions, in order to deploy them in the battle of Hasbara. The recruits are supposed to be ready to arrive in demonstrations and rallies at short notice, and publish articles in the media as needed.

      These legions are to be commanded by paid lobbyists, whose main purpose is the dropping of messages in the local media, while obscuring the fact that these are Israeli talk points; the latter are supposed to reach the European public “free of Israel’s finger print”, to quote Haaretz.

      wow, i’m glad they’re not targeting the US for a program like this, that’s all i can say.

      So Israel has to – like those parties, like the Pentagon in Iraq, like the Scientologists, like the rulers of Iraqi-conquered Kuwait, like the Israeli gas corporations, like any justly-hated group – deliver its messages through other, hidden, channels.

      Tragically – to those people who will still speak out for Israel – what it means is that from now on, they will be automatically be suspected of being Israeli agents, paid or otherwise, even if they are not.

      sad don’t you think?

      • Gellian
        December 2, 2010, 7:23 pm

        Yup. I agree with you completely. This kind of propaganda and fifth-columning is nauseating. I wrote to someone on here the other day that one of the reasons I first started reading this blog with such interest is that I resented the Israel-muzzle that prevented us from saying anything bad about the special place. So we should definitely spotlight this kind of thing — not that matters as much as it did five years ago, largely due to Phil’s efforts here.

        So I’ll ask you a question back. These last couple of weeks people (like our friend Avi above) seem to think I’m some gung-ho Israel defender. I get a sense from your message that you actually think I might be one of the hasbara-pumpers. And that’s what I can’t figure out. I’m totally against this sort of thing. I am guessing you are, too. But why can’t reasonable people differ about the way to bring about justice for the Palestinians? A lot of folks around here think that jackbooting all of us into a demonize Israel is going to do it. I get that. But I think that’s a stupid waste of time, and that we have to deal with political reality as it is, which means reaching out to Jews who have often been indoctrinated their whole lives to support this country, and try to appeal to their sense of justice (or economic fears of boycotts, etc.). Don’t you agree that we can disagree about the means to the goal? (I gather from Jeffrey Blankfort’s attack of me the other day that he would say, no — it’s our way or the highway, our way being the jackbooted way).

        You don’t like patronizing language. Neither do I. But a lot of comments on here don’t recognize that Jews and Israelis are human beings, too. I guess because I live and work around a fair number and I’ve seen all the same professional, financial, and personal disappointments that the rest of us go through, it’s easy for me to realize that. A lot of comments here seem to imply that there’s this awesome, omnipotent club/lobby that prevents its members from them, and that life is just rosy. That’s the only reason I can think of that explains the animus.

        One last thing, as this post is already rambling, but I think it’s important to point out. Many folks may not get that a lot of Jews don’t actually know anything about Israel. They also don’t know much about what (say) the ADL is doing these days. A relative of mine (bleeding heart liberal) contributes money to it because he thinks they help fight anti-Semitism, and has been doing it for years and years. He has no idea that it’s morphed into a pro-Israel pressure lobby. So you can say he’s a member of the lobby. But he doesn’t know that he is, and pointing it out to him in a way that makes him feel attacked is just going to make him want to circle the wagons.

        Well, that’s enough.

      • Shingo
        December 2, 2010, 9:08 pm

        “He’s reaching out. He’s wrong, but at least he’s coming around. Work with him”

        Don’t get carried away, because you’ll fall into the trap of believing we’re dealing with a reasonable mind. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        While you might see this as an opening, experience has shown this is another dead end. This is as far as Witty will ever go.

        Trust us, we’ve all made that mistake. Witty will return to his “beautiful jewel” and “make a better argument” platitudes before the end of the day.

      • Shingo
        December 2, 2010, 9:32 pm

        “Don’t you agree that we can disagree about the means to the goal?”

        Sorry, but the well has been poisoned to long by lying frauds like Witty. They only support the goal while the goal remains unattainable. 

        When the biggest Israeli commercial property developer n the West Bank claims to support the 2 state solution, do you think his goals have any connection to ours? When Bibbi claims to support the creation of a Palestinian state that is completely unworkable, is he sharing our goals?

        Your heart is in the right place Gellian, but you are out of touch with reality.

        No one denies the humanity if Jews and the fact that their struggles are identical to the rest of us. The truth is that the people you refer to at least have a way out of their predicament. So long as they’re not being ethnically cleansed from their property, being evicted for no fault if their own, suffering home demolitions, forced to pass through check points or being murdered en masse, there is at least a chance they can find their way out of their predicament. The Palestinians don’t have that option.

        Witty’s lament is not that these polls come as a surprise, it’s the fact that the data is laid bare and impossible to refute. To the rest of us non Zionists, this is exactly what we have been observing for decades. Witty’s disappointment simply comes down to the fact that the Israelis that were polled were not on message.

      • annie
        December 2, 2010, 10:10 pm

        hi gillian, you’ve got a long post there and i’m short on words for the moment. before i start in could you answer a few questions for me please?

        But why can’t reasonable people differ about the way to bring about justice for the Palestinians?

        well, reasonable people can. i’m just not understanding how anyone ignoring what palestinians propose could be considered ‘reasonable’. you do understand the overwhelming majority of palestinian civil society (hundreds of groups) called for bds? is your focus equal rights and justice or (as you call it) ‘demonize Israel’ (which btw, is hasbara lingo..you may want to nix it from your vocabulary if you don’t want to be associated w/’hasbara-pumpers'(your term)!)

        a lot of comments on here don’t recognize that Jews and Israelis are human beings

        could you please source this. since according to you there are ‘ lot of comments’ that shouldn’t be too hard. please site a few plus links (available by clicking the # on the right side of the post and copying the url. then copy the text.) i’m rather baffled by this since you must know both adam and phil are jews. i think we all know they are human. i’ve been to israel and i can attest to the fact they are human. i’ll witness that any day.

        along w/those questions i really want to know why you implored mathew to ‘work with him’ after mathew asked richard some questions. why? why didn’t mathews response meet your standard of engagement?

        ps, as a regular commentor on dkos i am all tooo familiar with conversations about how to conduct conversations. you might try offering some of those ideas about how best to bring about justice rather than how best to listen to jews. i’m totally not getting your assertions about not listening to jews. you act like they do not have a voice. you pretend they have no presence in the discourse. please show me those sites because i have never seen them.

        what exactly is this echo-chamber of commenters and blogposters going to accomplish regarding Israel without bringing Jews aboard?

        what echo chamber. link please.

      • Avi
        December 2, 2010, 10:58 pm

        These last couple of weeks people (like our friend Avi above)

        I’m not your friend and never want to be your friend.
        But, thanks for the sentiment and the pretensions work with him talk.

      • Avi
        December 2, 2010, 11:28 pm

        I get a sense from your message that you actually think I might be one of the hasbara-pumpers. And that’s what I can’t figure out. I’m totally against this sort of thing. I am guessing you are, too. But why can’t reasonable people differ about the way to bring about justice for the Palestinians?

        Do you know how many Israelis, born and raised, frequent this website? Several.

        But, that’s not the point, the point is that you expect others to agree with you on facts that are otherwise not true. There’s a difference in the way each person approaches a problem. I’ll grant you that. But, to put forth inaccurate information and then complain claiming that others are silencing you because they disagree with you is an entirely different ball game, a dishonest one.

        I’ve worked with a few Chinese people from China, the vast majority of whom were pleasant and intelligent people, but you won’t find me arguing with others claiming to know all about China because I’ve worked with few Chinese people. And I know that you’re not claiming to know everything about the conflict, but between the lines you come across as such.

        Think about that and think about how you might want to try and approach this entire subject differently.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 8:05 am

        Gellian. Scroll up and look at Witty’s comment regarding how Israel is a democracy. Then scroll down a bit to Shingo’s responsive comment regarding how Israel is not a democracy. Witty persists in repeating such bold deceptive comments, no matter how many times the subject has been examined on this blog in great detail. (Then, on this thread, Witty asks for, and Shingo gives him, a list of books to read–every one of which has been recommended before and/or sourced for comment support). Is this comment sequence an example of jack-booting inquiring minds? Or is it an example of hasbara called to account and found lacking? You make general allegations about this blog and the comments here, but you give no examples of what you are talking about. See also annie’s request here for you to support your generalized slurs against the people commenting on this blog.

    • Chu
      December 2, 2010, 7:09 pm

      i think gellian was being sardonic?

      • annie
        December 2, 2010, 10:13 pm

        then you don’t know gellian

  7. Dan Crowther
    December 2, 2010, 5:46 pm

    Witty for Propaganda Minister!!

    “Investment of ideals, confidence and spirit” – Are you kidding me?
    Its amazing how Israeli’s/Zionists and to some degree, Jews in general — in the mind of people like Witty–can simultaneously be this advanced society where the arts, literature, technology etc are emphasized and furthered but also be a group of people that need “investment” in their collective conscience so they can understand the basic priniciples of liberal democracy. Guys like Witty make you envision Israeli society as a place where the dress code for the Knesset is a loin cloth and a war club, a place where Motorola can make phones that order groceries for you, but the electricity at their facilities is powered by people peddling stationary bikes.
    There goes Avigdor Lieberman, dragging his wife down the street to his cave by her hair…..well, that one I can believe.

    • Shingo
      December 2, 2010, 9:02 pm

      ” Guys like Witty make you envision Israeli society as a place where the dress code for the Knesset is a loin cloth and a war club, ”

      That was priceless.

  8. thankgodimatheist
    December 2, 2010, 6:41 pm

    I can easily anticipate the hasbara line on this one.
    “Look, we’re not perfect but..!”

  9. Hostage
    December 2, 2010, 6:48 pm

    Yehuda Blum, was a Professor of International Law at the Hebrew University and served as a member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations. He was invited to testify before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary and was questioned about the establishment of the State of Israel by Senator Abourezk. The Senator noted that Israel was not
    established as a result of a democratic election which reflected the will of the residents of the area, because many of them had been driven out. Prof. Blum finally admitted that Israel had been establish by force, after saying that under international law, general elections are not a precondition for the legality of a state. He said that “You have 120 out of 150 states which have dubious elections if they have them at all.” See the Q&A starting on page 39 of the transcript.

    I’m not sure which other sources you have in mind, but there are quite a few regarding the utilization of the martial law regime against the Arab citizens of Israel. It began in 1948 and lasted for nearly two decades. It was used to prevent internally displaced citizens from traveling in their own country, returning to their homes, accessing their agricultural lands, or conducting political organizing activities on their own behalf. Of course the properties of displaced citizens were classified as “abandoned” and expropriated to facilitate the in-gathering of Jewish exiles. See for example John Quigly, “Apartheid Outside Africa: The Case of Israel,” 2 Ind. International and Comparative Law Review. 221, 1991-1992; or The Palestine Yearbook of International Law 2000-2001, page 5

    Keep in mind that the Arabs constituted roughly half the population of the proposed Jewish state. The UN Palestine Commission had not been authorized to simply appoint the “Jewish authorities” to govern the Arab citizenry. It was the members of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the National Council of the Jews of Palestine (Vaad Leumi) who advised the UN Security Council that they had established themselves as the body in which “all legislative, executive and judiciary powers were vested”. See S/766, 22 May 1948 They immediately set to work codifying the dispossession and disenfranchisement of the exiled and internally displaced Arab constituency.

    • eee
      December 2, 2010, 10:38 pm

      How surprising that Israeli Arabs were under military rule. At that time they clearly considered themselves part of the Arab world which was all at war with Israel. It would have been crazy for Israel in the early years not to put the Arabs under military rule. Why did the US intern its Japanese citizens during WWII even though they did not lift a finger against the state? If the US was afraid of such a peaceful and small minority, how can you not see that Israel was quite justified in being careful with a huge minority that had just fought a bitter war with the majority and were backed by 22 Arab countries surrounding Israel?

      • Potsherd2
        December 2, 2010, 11:05 pm

        And quite justified in confiscating most of t heir land, too, I suppose.

      • eee
        December 2, 2010, 11:30 pm

        Some land was confiscated. But saying that most of the land of the Israeli Arabs was confiscated is just wrong.

      • Avi
        December 2, 2010, 11:47 pm

        eee December 2, 2010 at 10:38 pm

        How surprising that Israeli Arabs were under military rule. At that time they clearly considered themselves part of the Arab world which was all at war with Israel.

        They’re called Palestinians, not merely Arabs. I know you’d like to erase their national identity, but it won’t work.

        They still see themselves as part of the “Arab world”, much in the same way Jews in Austria, for example, might see themselves as part of the Jewish world.

        Are you going to tell the Palestinains how to feel?

        Many have family ties and relatives living all over the Middle East, however. Israel has prevented them for 63 years now from associating with those “ay-rabs”. So, your excuse about war doesn’t hold water and it certainly is not justified in any shape or form. To bring the US into the argument as though that exempts Israel from all wrongdoing is irrelevant.

        eee December 2, 2010 at 11:30 pm

        Some land was confiscated. But saying that most of the land of the Israeli Arabs was confiscated is just wrong.

        Some land, eh?

        Let’s take a look at a map and see how much was confiscated in 1949 and 1950 alone.

        Lands taken by JNF in 1949 and 1950.

        Note that land continues to be confiscated to this day.

        What’s worse is that even when those pesky Ay-rabs do their duty as loyal citizens of the state and serve in the Israeli army, their villages still get razed as was al-Araqib just the other day for the seventh time now, if I recall correctly.

        This further proves that your claim about military rule somehow being justified due to the state of war is false and irrelevant.

        Exactly who do you think you’re fooling?
        ===========

      • Potsherd2
        December 3, 2010, 12:02 am

        Ahmed Tibi:

        The facts speak for themselves. While a majority of the land was owned by Arabs when the country was founded, most property has since been expropriated. Only 2.5 percent remains under Arab ownership – even though Arabs comprise 20 percent of the population.

        But what of the confiscation, eee? Is that not “just wrong?”

      • eee
        December 3, 2010, 12:29 am

        Are you going to tell the Israelis how to feel? Apparently yes. The Palestinians as Arabs were part of the Arab effort to annihilate Israel. That is a fact, and therefore putting them under military rule was justified.

        The land that was confiscated was mostly NOT the land of the Arab Israelis. It was the land of the refugees. The Arab Israelis retained most of their land.

      • annie
        December 3, 2010, 12:43 am

        The land that was confiscated was mostly NOT the land of the Arab Israelis. It was the land of the refugees. The Arab Israelis retained most of their land.

        please provide a link to support your allegation palestinian israelis retained most of their land. this is poppycock. wrt ‘It was the land of the refugees’, what glorious point are you making? that most f the palestinians were cleansed from their land and became refugees? and you’re winning this argument how?

        Are you going to tell the Israelis how to feel? Apparently yes.

        source? avi source his comment you didn’t. first you make claims wrt how palestinians ‘considered themselves’ then you launch off from there pretending others are speaking for israelis. i know it’s a good line but you’ve got to back it up to steal it or else you just sound silly.

      • andrew r
        December 3, 2010, 3:04 am

        This is complementary to the map Avi just posted but it hammers the point: At the beginning of 1948 there was no Israel to eliminate. The yishuv had to conquer Palestine from the Palestinians and the Arab state armies became an obstacle (Egypt was the only real obstacle). The Haganah/IDF had no business de-populating the villages and cites – they had to expel the majority inhabitants to create a Jewish state.

        link to palestineremembered.com

      • pjdude
        December 3, 2010, 4:43 am

        they had possession of it than they didn’t. they never sold it. what the hell else would you call it?

      • Potsherd2
        December 3, 2010, 10:09 am

        Ever heard of Land Day, eee?

        And the laws that confiscated the land of Arab citizens who were prevented from living on it, the “present absentees”? And the Arabs who were just shoved out of entire towns to let Jews move in?

        And Israelis don’t feel shame about this, do they? You don’t feel shame about it, eee.

        Americans recognize that interning Japanese citizens and residents during WWII was a grave wrong. We rightly feel ashamed of this act. We have officially apologized and made reparations.

        Israel – defends its crimes as “necessary to create a Jewish state.” Which proves only that the existence of a Jewish state is a crime.

      • Hostage
        December 3, 2010, 2:05 am

        eee, it comes as very little surprise to me that the Palestinians were placed under martial law for two decades, only that anyone would claim that Israel was established or operated as a democracy.

        I would never excuse the undemocratic and wrongful acts of Israel on the grounds of a comparison with the undemocratic and wrongful acts of another state. The United States government Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians issued an official report that condemned the internment you mentioned as “unjust and motivated by racism rather than real military necessity”. The US Congress authorized payment of over 1.6 billion dollars in claims for reparation and redress. The Israeli Supreme Court recently recognized mandate-era Jewish property rights in judgments that resulted in the eviction of Palestinian families that had been living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Those Palestinians in-turn possess mandate-era deeds to properties in Jaffa and West Jerusalem. We all know that the Israeli government has no plans to restore properties to the Palestinians that the state has dispossessed and disenfranchised. In fact, Israel regularly employs the assets of all the Jewish refugees from Arab states, regardless of their current country of residence, as a bargaining chip to offset all Palestinian property claims.

        Ben-Gurion took over the defense portfolio of the Jewish Agency Executive in 1946 and the real political power has resided in the military establishment ever since. See “Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy”, by Yoram Peri. Ben Gurion held the institutions of democracy in contempt. See “Ben-Gurion against the Knesset”, by Giora Goldberg. Shabtai Teveth claimed that economic, social, and geographical partition (de facto apartheid) were inherent in Ben Gurion’s conception of Zionism. See “Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs”, pages 10, 12, 43-44, and 179-184.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 8:19 am

        Eee, the US also interned some of its innocent German American citizens at the time; many were so confined in Crystal City Texas. Since then, the US has apologized and awarded reparations to its formerly interned Japanese Americans.
        Are you advocating that Israel apologize and pay reparations to the Palestinian families
        that had members interned by the Israeli government for those decades?
        How about those innocent Palestinians so confined now? Also, the Palestinian Arabs were not “backed” by 22 Arab countries. Mostly they were caught in the middle between Jews and outside Arabs fighting for control of the former Mandate Land–more specifically, the 22 Arab countries attacked and fought the Jews in the (de facto) Palestinian side of the Partition line–for control of same.

      • Avi
        December 3, 2010, 9:57 am

        the 22 Arab countries attacked and fought the Jews in the (de facto) Palestinian side of the Partition line–for control of same.

        citizen,

        22 Arab countries didn’t attack. Where did you get that information?

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 4:05 pm

        Avi, I’ve heard it forever. Please share what you know. Thanks.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 4:22 pm

        Wiki says: The State of Israel declared itself as an independent nation, and was quickly recognized by the United States, Iran, the Soviet Union, and many other countries. Within hours, Arab forces invaded the infant state. In an official cablegram from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to the UN Secretary-General on 15 May 1948, the Arab states publicly proclaimed their aim of creating a “United State of Palestine”, in place of the Jewish and Arab, two-state, UN Plan. In the Arab League’s official declaration, they announced their intention to fulfill their responsibilities to restore order in Palestine and establish a single democratic state, which they proclaimed as being the only solution to the conflict, proclaimed Palestine to be an Arab country, and subsequently recognized the independence of the State of Palestine. They claimed that partition was illegitimate, as it was opposed by Palestine’s Arab majority, and maintained that the absence of legal authority made it necessary to intervene to protect Arab lives and property.[100] The Israelis maintain that the plan was not illegitimate, since Jews were a majority in areas assigned to the Jewish state.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 4:26 pm

        I’m really tired now, but I think Wiki also says only 2 Arab states attacked or were drawn into the Jewish partition side of the former Mandate land, Egypt and, if memory serves, Syria.

  10. Kathleen
    December 2, 2010, 8:48 pm

    “Israel can’t both be a democracy, and have second-class citizens?”
    “I remember that even the Palestinians inside Israel who weren’t expelled in 1948 lived under discriminatory military rule from day one, and have never had equal rights.”

    Folks are starting to get it

  11. eee
    December 2, 2010, 10:31 pm

    Is the US a democracy then, as African Americans score 100 points less than whites on average on the SATs? Is the US a democracy if an African American is many times more likely to be in prison than a white American?

    Have you looked at one of your 20 dollar bills lately? Recognize the guy on it?
    He is the guy that signed into law and strongly supported the Indian Removal Act, despicable ethnic cleansing if their was one. The Indians were removed from their land under the pretext that the government could not protect them from the greed for land of the white Americans.
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    Why is Jackson honored by being on the most widely circulated bill?

    And I can go on and on. If Israel is not a democracy, neither is the US. This is not a two wrongs make a right argument. It is simply stating that your standards are completely distorted. Israel is an exemplary democracy given its security situation. Very few societies would have remained democracies under such conditions.

    • Shingo
      December 2, 2010, 10:51 pm

      “Is the US a democracy then, as African Americans score 100 points less than whites on average on the SATs? ”

      Why do Asians typically score higher than white on their SAT’s eee? And why do Israeli high school students score lower than Americans on average on their SAT equivalent exams?

      Stupid argument don;t you think?

      “Is the US a democracy if an African American is many times more likely to be in prison than a white American?”

      It’s a sad reflection on society yes, but no black man is in prison for being a black man, unlike Arabs in Israeli prisons. And BTW. The US did have a civil rights movement, whereas Israel would ban such a movement.

      “He is the guy that signed into law and strongly supported the Indian Removal Act”

      Yeah, and not only was that a few centuries ago, but the US has acknowledged that his actions were a crime against humanity. The US doesn’t deny these crimes or continue to insist that the Indians were to blame for these crimes.

      Yes you could go on and on and your argument would all be as asinine and pathetic ads the ones you’ve presented. The reason why the US is a democracy and Israel is not, is because in the US, everyone has the same rights – with no regard given to ethnicity or religion.

      Unlike Israel, when peole’s rights denied or violated on the grounds of race or religion, those crimes can me appealed and prosecuted.

      Israel is an fascist apartheid state, though it is somewhat progressive.

    • Potsherd2
      December 2, 2010, 11:10 pm

      The difference is that the US has been working for 50 years to overcome its racism, while in Israel the racism has only deepened.

      In the US, laws upholding racism have been repealed. In Israel new racist laws are being promulgated.

      And the “security situation” is only an excuse of Israel’s only creation, the product of its racist repression.

      The disease is malignant and metastatic, spreading with alarming speed. From Safed to Eilat, through Tiberias and Bnei Brak, one city after another is declaring: I am racist.

      Renting apartments to Arab students is forbidden in Safed and Tiberias, migrant workers are being thrown out of their apartments in Bnei Brak, where their electricity and water is cut off as well. In Eilat, “black market labor” isn’t wanted. This is no longer just the bad old hatred of Arabs, in the name of fear and security; it’s now become distilled, violent xenophobia as well.

      A stormy silence hovers all around. There is no government in Israel, no one to explain who those Arab students are and what rights they are entitled to, or who those Africans are, who we’re so eager to hunt down and drive the hell out.

      In the state comprised of refugees and survivors, humanity has come to an end. The public discourse on the fate of the aliens focuses only on evil solutions, each one more monstrous than the next. One says let’s build a fence, the other says let’s construct a massive prison compound, a third says deport them immediately – or at least eventually.

      Listen to the leaders, not one of them has a single word of compassion for these people. Nothing. The fact that they are human beings, and ones in distress, has been forgotten. It is not even a consideration.

      Two seminal events should be recalled at this point. September 1957. U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to protect the nine black students of Little Rock Central High School, after the state governor, refusing to honor a federal court order, prevented them from entering the school. The rest is history – a history of increased equal rights for black people in America.

      The second event took place here, in June 1977. The Israeli ship Yuvali rescues Vietnamese war refugees lost at sea. Prime Minister Menachem Begin, a terrifying rightist at the time, makes his first decision as leader – to bring the refugees to Israel and naturalize them. In their wake, two more groups of refugees are brought here. Begin remembered then what has been forgotten today – that we are Holocaust refugees. And the rest is history – one of racism and growing xenophobia across Israel.

      Gideon Levy

      link to haaretz.com

    • Sumud
      December 2, 2010, 11:43 pm

      Oh dear.

      We haven’t linked to this for a while, but eee’s waffling is a pitch perfect example of strategy three (“The Doomsday Weapon”):

      You Suck!

      ‘How to make the case for Israel and win’
      link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 8:30 am

        Eee, in addition to Shingo’s and Potsherd2’s responses, you need to recall that we no longer live in the 19th Century, nor even in the 20th Century–where the Nuremberg Trials set new world standards limiting the powers of all sovereign nations; followed by a new set of international laws. It’s called Progress. You argue backwards, effectively justifying Goering’s self-defense platform at Nuremberg.

  12. eee
    December 2, 2010, 11:05 pm

    What bull. Obviously African Americans score less on SATs because they are discriminated against in education and resources. The US is a segregated society were education is determined by where you can afford a home.

    And why are African Americans more likely to be searched in NY or stopped on the NJ Turnpike? Is that not related to their ethnicity?

    How convenient, the US first gets rid of the Indians, letting the whites profit immensely and then say sorry 200 years later. If Americans really consider what was done bad, why is Jackson considered such a great president?

    Israel is a democracy, in fact it is a great democracy given the difficult conditions in which democracy persists.

    • Avi
      December 2, 2010, 11:50 pm

      Israel is a democracy, in fact it is a great democracy given the difficult conditions in which democracy persists.

      If you click your heels twice all your other wishes will come true, too.

    • yourstruly
      December 3, 2010, 12:50 am

      Despite improvements over the past forty some years, racism still pervades our society. Doubters might watch a Black man who’s trying to flag a taxi in NYC. Israel goes beyond such individual expressions of racism in that racism is written into its laws. Yes, until the sixties so did America, but legalized racism is now a thing of the past. And, yes, it’s shameful that the person most responsible for the Trail of Tears, Andrew Jackson, is still revered. As to what’s the significance of an ap;ology that’s delivered centuries after the genocide of Native Americans? Agreed, there’s no apologizing for such a crime; only our seeing to it that there is no genocide* no more, nowhere, never, never again. Which is why the world’s coming down on Israel.

      *including the slow motion genocide that is Gaza

    • Shingo
      December 3, 2010, 12:53 am

      “Obviously African Americans score less on SATs because they are discriminated against in education and resources.”

      Then surely, whites score less on SATs that Asians because they are discriminated against in education and resources right?

      And Israeli high school students score less that American students on high school exams because they are discriminated against in education and resources?

      “And why are African Americans more likely to be searched in NY or stopped on the NJ Turnpike? Is that not related to their ethnicity?”

      It’s related to racial profiling yes, and it’s against the law.

      “How convenient, the US first gets rid of the Indians, letting the whites profit immensely and then say sorry 200 years later.”

      I see, so you think that Israel should be allowed to go on killing Palestinians and staling their land for another 100 years before saying sorry?

      “Israel is a democracy, in fact it is a great democracy given the difficult conditions in which democracy persists.”

      No it’s a fascist apartheid state, though it is a progressive one.

    • Citizen
      December 3, 2010, 8:45 am

      So, eee, and Asian Americans score highest in academia because they are super-privileged as a group in the USA in terms of resources and educational opportunities? Every year for decades now US taxpayers have thrown ever-increasing wads of money at inner-city schools in an attempt to give the young denizens thereof more opportunity to undo the imbalance created by the fact that local property taxes determine the best public schools, and affirmative action dollars have poured in to help the inner city poor get a college education (as well as to help minorities establish and maintain small businesses). Israel does the opposite when it comes to the natives. Jackson’s contributions to his country are little known to the American masses–awareness is limited to his military skill.

    • Potsherd2
      December 3, 2010, 10:13 am

      Israelis so appreciate their democracy that the latest poll says they would abandon it in a second if it came to a choice between “democratic” and “Jewish.”

      Ahmed Tibi again: “Israel is democratic to its Jews and Jewish to its Arabs.”

  13. eee
    December 2, 2010, 11:36 pm

    America went berserk after 9/11. It went to war against two countries. What would have happened if a wave of suicide bombings that Israel sustained in the second intifada would have happened in the US? There would be nothing left of your democracy. Israel proved that it is probably the most democratic society in the world by the way its democratic institutions survived the second intifada. You can keep putting us down and criticizing the fine points. But you are being petty and unfair. No democratic society in HISTORY has proved itself so robust as Israel.

    • Shingo
      December 3, 2010, 12:57 am

      “What would have happened if a wave of suicide bombings that Israel sustained in the second intifada would have happened in the US?”

      The 911 attack killed more Americans than all the suicide attacks against Israel.

      In any case, are you admitting that Israel acts irrationally and punished those who had notice to do with attacks? I agree.

      “Israel proved that it is probably the most democratic society in the world by the way its democratic institutions survived the second intifada.”

      Actually what Israel proved is that it is a fascist apartheid state.

      “No democratic society in HISTORY has proved itself so robust as Israel.”

      Israel is only 60 years old and according to the CIA, it’s viability will end in 20 years. Israel is also the only democracy in the world that is threatened by demographics.

      Doesn’t sound too robust to me.

    • Citizen
      December 3, 2010, 8:55 am

      Eee, nobody here is defending the US neocon regime’s fake pretextual attack on Iraq; and many of Obama former supporters do not like the fact that he didn’t push to have it tried for illegal war crimes. Neither are we happy with his extension of the stupid policy in Afghanistan. We don’t like those uses of our tax dollars–why should we sit back and applaud our tax dollars going to the Likud Israeli regime? What is robust about Israel is its recycling of operational fascist principles the world had hoped would die at Nuremberg.

    • Sumud
      December 3, 2010, 10:21 pm

      There would be nothing left of your democracy. Israel proved that it is probably the most democratic society in the world…

      Israel is not a democracy, thought it simulates it quite well.

      A states that doesn’t let half the population under it’s control vote just isn’t a democracy. Israel is an ethnocracy, not a democracy.

  14. bijou
    December 2, 2010, 11:51 pm

    How surprising that Israeli Arabs were under military rule. At that time they clearly considered themselves part of the Arab world which was all at war with Israel. It would have been crazy for Israel in the early years not to put the Arabs under military rule.

    Historical Background from Adalah:

    Military rule: 1946-1966

    From the state’s inception, the Jewish majority viewed the Palestinians who remained within the state suspiciously and frequently with hostility – as part of the Arab world, as a potential fifth column, and oftentimes simply as enemies of the state. From 1948 to 1966, the Palestinians in Israel lived under military rule applied only to them, despite the fact that they were formally declared citizens of the state in 1948.

    Military rule placed tight controls on all aspects of life for the Palestinian minority. These measures of control included severe restrictions on movement, prohibitions on political organization, limitations on job opportunities, and censorship of publications. For example, in 1956, the Israeli army killed 49 Palestinian farmers in Kufr Kasem for “violating” the curfew imposed on their village. Unaware that a curfew had been ordered, the farmers were returning home from working their agricultural lands when they were killed. Substantial demonstrations on the anniversary of the massacre in 1957 marked the first time that Palestinians in Israel had organized on a large scale to protest the state’s repressive policies. Up to 1965, attempts by the Palestinian community in Israel to form political parties to run for the Knesset, such as the El Ard (The Land) Movement, were forcibly stopped and their associations outlawed.

    The Israeli authorities also confiscated massive amounts of Palestinian-owned lands. As the majority of the Palestinian community traditionally relied on agriculture as their main source of income, state expropriation of lands forced Palestinians to seek work as wage-labors and thus become primarily dependent on the Israeli economy. Prior to 1948, the Jewish community owned just 6-7% of the land. During the next four decades, 80% of lands owned by Palestinians living in Israel were confiscated and placed at the exclusive disposal of Jewish citizens. Today, 93% of all land in Israel is under direct state control.

    ~~~~~~

    Let’s get real. Military rule over such a large proportion of one’s citizens is never “necessary,” and certainly not for 18 years!!!!! In essence, it was a device that made possible the expropriation of vast amounts of Arab land, and that’s why it was done. The same reason why 30,000 to 40,000 of those remaining 150,000 who had temporarily sought shelter away from their homes but had not left the country were declared “present absentees.”A status which meant the state banned them from ever returning to their own homes, even if they were just a stone’s throw away. A status which, unlike military rule, was NEVER lifted and is in fact required by Israeli law to pass down to all future generations of the original “present absentee.” Today in “democratic” Israel there are about 300,000 such “present absentees” whose only was seeking protection under time of war over 60 years ago. They are ostensibly citizens, but they are designated “present absentees.” Needless to say, all their properties were confiscated and turned over to Jewish control. Was that all about “security?”

    • eee
      December 3, 2010, 12:12 am

      Are you a security expert and do you know what is necessary or not? Are 5 years enough? Are 10 years? The fact is that as long as the Israeli Arabs saw themselves as part of the Arab project of getting rid of Israel, military rule was justified. By 1966, it was clear that this was not the case. But one cannot take chances with these things.

      As for the land confiscations they were necessary to create a viable Jewish state. And there would millions upon millions of “present absentees” in the US if you did not so efficiently decimate the Native American populations. When exactly are you planning to return the Great Plain states to them? When is Florida going to be returned to the Seminoles? New Jersey to the Lenape? Don’t worry, in 200 years we will let the “present absentees” build casinos. That should make everything fine.

      • annie
        December 3, 2010, 12:50 am

        scraping the barrel eh?

        And there would millions upon millions of “present absentees” in the US if you did not so efficiently decimate the Native American populations.

        wrong century. colonialism and ethnic cleansing is so not PC anymore eee, get w/the program.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 9:00 am

        Most of the native Americans died by disease the white man was relatively immune from.

      • Avi
        December 3, 2010, 10:04 am

        Citizen December 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

        Most of the native Americans died by disease the white man was relatively immune from.

        Citizen, I really wish you’d stop advancing such propaganda, no different than the one that claims the US annihilated two Japanese cities to spare the lives of 1 million American soldiers.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 5:02 pm

        Propaganda? Are you claiming scholars don’t honestly and reasonably dispute this issue? Up to 90% of native Americans died from disease–there’s even a name for this literal tragedy, and it’s not the rhetorical “genocide.” I suggest you read this and then explain your accusation, Avi: link to hnn.us

        Similarly, if you are saying that sparing the lives of a million American soldiers was not a strong factor (among others) in the decision to drop the 2 nuclear bombs on Japan, you are wrong. This issue is another area of scholarly dispute.

      • Avi
        December 3, 2010, 10:14 pm

        Citizen,

        Keith answered your question last time about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You just can’t come to terms with the fact that your country committed such horrendous unspeakable crimes.

      • Potsherd2
        December 3, 2010, 10:45 pm

        Avi, the spread of epidemic that nearly obliterated the native American population isn’t “propaganda.” Where do you get these ideas?

      • annie
        December 3, 2010, 11:06 pm

        it’s true avi, listen to citizen and potsherd. maybe someone should do a post about the colonization of america. who was it that said the problem w/israel was it was born in the wrong century. they hunted them down like animals. the story of california is disgusting. at one time there was a bounty out that paid good money for each kill. but most of our indigenous people died from disease.

      • annie
        December 3, 2010, 11:14 pm

        wiki

        Most scholars writing at the end of the 19th century estimated the pre-Columbian population at about 10 million; by the end of the 20th century the scholarly consensus had shifted to about 50 million, with some arguing for 100 million or more.[1]

        Old World diseases such as smallpox, influenza, bubonic plague and pneumonic plagues devastated the previously isolated Native Americans. Conflict and outright warfare with European newcomers and other American tribes reduced populations and disrupted traditional society. The extent and causes of the decline have long been a subject of academic debate, along with its possible characterization as a genocide or democide.

      • Sumud
        December 3, 2010, 11:34 pm

        the story of california is disgusting. at one time there was a bounty out that paid good money for each kill. but most of our indigenous people died from disease.

        The same occurred in Australia – in the hundred years after white settlement began in 1788 the aboriginal population also reduced by ~90% with many of those deaths the result of viruses which their immune systems had never encountered before and were unable to combat. These deaths weren’t celebrated but they went a long way towards solving the “aboriginal problem” for the colonialists. There were incidents of massacre, though I don’t think there was ever a bounty system, and as European settlers (my ancestors) expanded our control over the land indigenous Australians were herded into reservations – or bantustans – or “state minuses”. The mechanism of colonialism has been remarkably consistent over the years.

      • Shingo
        December 3, 2010, 1:00 am

        “As for the land confiscations they were necessary to create a viable Jewish state.”

        Any state that requires land theft is clearly not viable. It certainly isn’t a democracy, seeing as land theft is the antithesis of democracy.

        “And there would millions upon millions of “present absentees” in the US if you did not so efficiently decimate the Native American populations.”

        There you guys go again, lamenting how Israel didn’t get to have it;s very own 19th century and be allowed to have it’s own turn at genocide. The rest fo the world has realized that genocide and colonialism is a bad idea but your Hasbarats want Israel to find out by experience.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 9:05 am

        Acquiring more land pursuant a state principle, e.g. for Greater Germany and Greater Imperial Japan,
        has been an internationally recognized war crime for how many years?
        The same number of years as “crimes against humanity” have been recognized. No more lebensraum. No more genocide, not even the “put ‘em on a diet” sort.

      • RoHa
        December 3, 2010, 3:43 am

        “as long as the Israeli Arabs saw themselves as part of the Arab project of getting rid of Israel, military rule was justified.”

        Since the establishment of Israel was morally wrong, any act undertaken in support of that establishment was itself morally wrong. Thus, it cannot have been justified.

        “As for the land confiscations they were necessary to create a viable Jewish state.”

        If the creation of a viable Jewish State requires land confiscations, the creation of such a state is morally wrong.

        Why are Jews so important that we should suspend morality for them?

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 9:06 am

        Because “never again” only applies to Jews?

      • Potsherd2
        December 3, 2010, 10:20 am

        eee, the massive confiscations of Israel Arab lands peaked after the wars. Land Day was in 1976. Security needs? No, greed, combined with systematic oppression. Israel openly stated that its purpose was “Judaization.”

  15. bijou
    December 2, 2010, 11:56 pm

    Sorry, I forgot to provide the link to Adalah’s site and also to specify that everything beneath the line was my language, but above the line is Adalah’s.

    And here is some more info from Adalah for those who think Israel is such a wonderful democracy except for the Law of Return:

    Discriminatory laws

    Adalah’s report to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, issued August/September 2001 and entitled Institutionalized Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel, identifies more than 20 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel. The report shows that the Jewish character of the state is evident in numerous Israeli laws. The most important immigration laws, The Law of Return (1950) and The Citizenship Law (1952), allow Jews to freely immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship, but excludes Arabs who were forced to flee their homes in 1947 and 1967. Israeli law also confers special quasi-governmental standing on the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and other Zionist bodies, which by their own charters cater only to Jews. Various other laws such as The Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law (1980), The Flag and Emblem Law (1949), and The State Education Law (1953) and its 2000 amendment give recognition to Jewish educational, religious, and cultural practices and institutions, and define their aims and objectives strictly in Jewish terms.

    Government discrimination

    Further, the discretionary powers entrusted to various government ministries and institutions – including budget policies, the allocation of resources, and the implementation of laws – results in significant de facto discrimination between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. For example, a report issued by the Ministry of Interior confirmed that Arab municipalities received a fraction of the total funds allocated by the national government per resident to Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories and to development towns populated exclusively by Jews. Moreover, the Ministry of Religious Affairs affords a small percentage of its budget to the Arab Muslim, Christian, and Druze religious communities. Funds for special projects such as the renewal and development of neighborhoods and improvements in educational programs, services, and facilities are also disproportionately allocated to Jewish communities. To date, Israeli authorities have rarely used their discretionary powers to benefit the Palestinians minority.

    Land expropriation

    Most importantly, the Israeli government has maintained an aggressive policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights. For example, the National Planning and Building Law (1965), retroactively re-zoned the lands on which many Arab villages sit as “non-residential.” The consequence of this is that despite the existence of these villages prior to the establishment of the state, they have been afforded no official status. These “unrecognized Arab villages” receive no government services, and residents are denied the ability to build homes and other public buildings. The authorities use a combination of house demolitions, land confiscation, denial of basic services, and restrictions on infrastructure development to dislodge residents from these villages. The situation is severely acute for the Arab Bedouin community living in these unrecognized villages in the Naqab.

    The Basic Laws

    In 1992, the Knesset passed two important Basic Laws – The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and The Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation – which, for the first time, contain “constitution-like” protections for some civil liberties and human rights. The Basic Laws, considered a mini-bill of rights by Israeli legal scholars, do not explicitly protect the right to equality. On the contrary, this Basic Law emphasizes the Jewish character of the state, and undermines the rights of “non-Jewish” citizens. However, even with the passage of these Basic Laws, Israel still has no law that “constitutionally” guarantees the right of equality for all. Although several ordinary statutes protect the equal rights of women and people with disabilities, no Basic Law or general statute guarantees the right to equality for the Palestinian minority….

    • Richard Witty
      December 3, 2010, 3:06 am

      Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty
      Purpose 1. The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

      Preservation of life, body and dignity 2. There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person as such.

      Protection of property 3. There shall be no violation of the property of a person.

      Protection of life, body and dignity 4. All persons are entitled to protection of their life, body and dignity.

      Personal liberty 5. There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise.

      Leaving and entering Israel 6. (a) All persons are free to leave Israel.

      (b) Every Israel national has the right of entry into Israel from abroad.

      Privacy 7. (a) All persons have the right to privacy and to intimacy.

      (b) There shall be no entry into the private premises of a person who has not consented thereto.

      (c) No search shall be conducted on the private premises of a person, nor in the body or personal effects.

      (d) There shall be no violation of the confidentiality of conversation, or of the writings or records of a person.

      Violation of rights 8. There shall be no violation of rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required.

      Reservation regarding security forces 9. There shall be no restriction of rights under this Basic Law held by persons serving in the Israel Defence Forces, the Israel Police, the Prisons Service and other security organizations of the State, nor shall such rights be subject to conditions, except by virtue of a law, or by regulation enacted by virtue of a law, and to an extent no greater than is required by the nature and character of the service.

      Validity of laws 10. This Basic Law shall not affect the validity of any law (din) in force prior to the commencement of the Basic Law.

      Application 11. All governmental authorities are bound to respect the rights under this Basic Law.

      Stability 12. This Basic Law cannot be varied, suspended or made subject to conditions by emergency regulations; notwithstanding, when a state of emergency exists, by virtue of a declaration under section 9 of the Law and Administration Ordinance, 5708-1948, emergency regulations may be enacted by virtue of said section to deny or restrict rights under this Basic Law, provided the denial or restriction shall be for a proper purpose and for a period and extent no greater than is required.

      • Shmuel
        December 3, 2010, 3:55 am

        Escape clauses that empty this law of any real significance for Israel’s Palestinian citizens and non-citizens under Israeli control:

        1. The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

        8. There shall be no violation of rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required.

        10. This Basic Law shall not affect the validity of any law (din) in force prior to the commencement of the Basic Law.

        12. This Basic Law cannot be varied, suspended or made subject to conditions by emergency regulations; notwithstanding, when a state of emergency exists, by virtue of a declaration under section 9 of the Law and Administration Ordinance, 5708-1948, emergency regulations may be enacted by virtue of said section to deny or restrict rights under this Basic Law, provided the denial or restriction shall be for a proper purpose and for a period and extent no greater than is required.

        Democratic features, ethnocratic essence.

      • Richard Witty
        December 3, 2010, 5:29 am

        Requiring continued investment in preserving and amplifying the democratic component in the balance of Jewish AND democratic.

      • Shingo
        December 3, 2010, 7:05 am

        Amplify to your hearts content. Israel aren’t listening. They’re as tone deaf as you are.

      • Citizen
        December 3, 2010, 9:35 am

        Consider:
        1. The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Christ as a Christian and democratic state.

        8. There shall be no violation of rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Christ, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required.

        10. This Basic Law shall not affect the validity of any law in force prior to the commencement of the Basic Law.

        12. This Basic Law cannot be varied, suspended or made subject to conditions by emergency regulations; notwithstanding, when a state of emergency exists, by virtue of a declaration under section 9 of the Law and Administration Ordinance, AD-2010AD, emergency regulations may be enacted by virtue of said section to deny or restrict rights under this Basic Law, provided the denial or restriction shall be for a proper purpose and for a period and extent no greater than is required.

      • pjdude
        December 3, 2010, 4:47 am

        talk is cheap actions are what matter. all the pretty language doesn’t change the fact that palestinians don’t have the same rights in jewish occupied palestine as the citizens of that force.

      • annie
        December 3, 2010, 11:53 pm

        it’s not the basic law that thwarts democracy, it’s the nationality law.

        how one gains ‘nationality’ is determined by different standards. those standards determine one rights. for example, a person who gains nationality thru ‘Acquisition of Nationality by Residence’ have less access to rights than those who gain nationality thru ‘Acquisition of Nationality according to the Law of Return’.

        it is thru these processes of naturalization that discriminations are hidden and the racist nature of the law reveals itself. fr example no where does it say ‘only jews have access’, it merely allows access to 93 % of the land (JNF : land confiscated from palestinians) to those whose nationality is granted thru return.

        this is why israel qualifies under the legal definition of ‘The crime of apartheid ‘

        institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

        .)

  16. Richard Witty
    December 3, 2010, 3:16 am

    The combination of equal rights guaranteed to all in its basic laws, with tragically noted incidents and policies of discrimmination, add up to the need for reform.

    Engagement, not divestment of one’s time and effort.

    This is DIFFERENT than South Africa, different than every fascist state in history.

    And, different from the full democracy that is possible.

    • Shingo
      December 3, 2010, 7:04 am

      Rubbish Witty.

      There are no guarantees to all in Israel’s basic laws. In fact, the laws explicitly denysuch rights to Arabs.

      “Engagement, not divestment of one’s time and effort.”‘

      It’s failed. It’s time to move on.

      “This is DIFFERENT than South Africa, different than every fascist state in history.”‘

      Different only insofar as it’s much more severe and more extreme. All fascist cases are different. Israel is it’s own unique apartheid fascst case.

      “And, different from the full democracy that is possible.”

      Non existen and never jhas existed. it’s timefor BDS, and if necessary, santions.

Leave a Reply