Israel preparing to deport star of Oscar-winning doc ‘Strangers No More’

It’s big news here in Israel that “Strangers No More”— a documentary film that focuses on a South Tel Aviv school attended by zarim, Hebrew for foreigners or strangers—has won an Oscar.

“Thank you most of all to the exceptional immigrant and refugee children from 48 countries at Tel Aviv’s remarkable Bialik Rogozin school,” Karen Goodman, co-producer and co-director said in her acceptance speech. “You’ve shown us that through education, understanding, and tolerance, peace really is possible.”

So what is the Israeli government showing us by planning a mass expulsion of such children? Understanding and tolerance won’t be found here. (And you’d better look somewhere else for peace, too).

After a five month delay, which followed a year-long battle over the matter, the deportation of 400 children and their parents is scheduled to begin on Sunday—just a week after “Strangers No More” won an Oscar. Just a week after a crowd in the US applauded the touching story of foreigners who find a home here in Israel. Just a week after the Israeli media runs its hip-hip-hooray! reports of the win, the Oz Unit will start rounding such kids up. And one of the children is the 10-year-old star of the film. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel:

…10-year-old Esther who starred in the movie is facing a probable deportation alongside an estimated 120 pupils from her school. Esther fled from South Africa and arrived in Israel with her father four years ago – thus missing the five-year mark set as a condition to remaining in the country.

In fact on Sunday, the very day that the honor was awarded, South Tel Aviv’s kindergartens were half-empty. Why? According to the Israeli news site Walla, parents kept their children home from school because they were so frightened of the immigration police.

Israel has prepared for the detention of the kids at Ben Gurion International Airport—where some will await flights to countries they have never seen—by decorating a holding cell with cheerful drawings and fun, family games. But, in the words of Israeli Children, a grassroots organization that has been fighting the deportation for over a year and a half now, “Jail is jail!”

And it seems that “strangers” are strangers to the Israeli government—no matter how tolerant and understanding the children might make the state seem to the world.

Those who support the children’s right to stay in Israel will be rallying on Friday at 12:30 in Gan Meir.

Mya Guarnieri is a Tel Aviv-based writer and journalist. A regular contributor to Al Jazeera English, she is currently working on a book about Israel’s migrant workers.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. Potsherd2 says:

    The Oscar tie-in will make it easy to publicize this even in the US media.

  2. Eva Smagacz says:

    Reminds me of photo-opportunity Israel mission to earthquake shattered Haiti. First to arrive, first to call press conference, first to do press release that they helped to deliver baby named Israel by grateful mother and first to pack up and leave..

    All followed in great detail and in real time here on Mondoweiss, available, with sources, in Mondoweiss archives..

    • Citizen says:

      Yes, Eva, I thought of the very same thing. Just another round lost by Humility & Sincerity, another won by Chutzpah & Guile (or Mendacity).

  3. HRK says:

    What I’m frustrated by is the hypocrisy of some members of the Jewish community. If multiculturalism is so bad that Jews in Israel will have none of it, why have Jews everywhere else applauded it and downright pushed for it?

    I think Kevin MacDonald has a hateful attitude toward Jews, and I feel that such an attitude (toward any group) is wrong. As a Christian, I believe quite strongly that it is, in fact, a sin. But I do think he makes a point when he argues that what’s really going on isn’t the manifestation of a political philosophy so much as the manifestation of crude tribal ethics: Is it good for the Jews?

    It’s good for the Jews that Israel remain pure, so you won’t hear a lot of U.S. Jews complain about this. But it’s good for the Jews for other countries to become multicultural (because Jews don’t have to worry about one dominant ethnicity ganging up on them and they can play one group off another), so over here (and throughout Europe) you find the large Jewish organizations being outspoken in favor of multiculturalism.

    Rabbis would be SCREAMING over here if this were to happen. The ADL would be incensed. (In both cases, doubtlessly, making a huge, public showing of their concern for minorities.) But over in Israel . . . .

    And please no one explain this away by referencing the unique “tensions” that exist between liberalism and Zionism. There is no tension here–it’s Zionism all the way.

    • Citizen says:

      Kevin MacDonald in California writes extensively about this subject in terms of cultural adaptation, and he originally studied the conduct of wolves, if memory serves.) He may be motivated by Jew-Hatred as the PTB say, but I’m not aware of anyone that has demolished or even put an objective dent in
      the content of his scholarship. Are you? If so, I’m all ears.

      • hophmi says:

        “If multiculturalism is so bad that Jews in Israel will have none of it, why have Jews everywhere else applauded it and downright pushed for it?”

        None of it? There are Jews from many different cultures in Israel. To call Israel anything other than multicultural is ridiculous.

        As far as “Jews everywhere else” applauding multiculturalism, I assume you mean Jews who happen to be liberal. There are plenty of Jews who are conservative who are not, in fact, big fans of multiculturalism in its current inclination. But I see no reason why Jews must explain themselves anymore than Christians who support multiculturalism.

        “But I do think he makes a point when he argues that what’s really going on isn’t the manifestation of a political philosophy so much as the manifestation of crude tribal ethics: Is it good for the Jews?”

        And I think that’s bullshit, old presumptuous antisemitic nonsense that that when a Jew is for something, it’s self-interest, and when anyone else is, it’s altruism. Most ethnic, religious and racial minorities, particularly those who have faced discrimination in the past, worry about whether or not policies will be good for them or not. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; most people make decisions based on how those decisions will affect them. Pick up any newspaper with an ethnic, religious, or racial focus, and you will see articles written from the perspective of that ethnic group. In fact, Jews are about the only religious group in the US that reliably votes against its own financial self-interest, making this line of reasoning even more ridiculous and hateful.

        “But it’s good for the Jews for other countries to become multicultural (because Jews don’t have to worry about one dominant ethnicity ganging up on them and they can play one group off another)”

        It goes on. I’m a member of several of these Jewish organizations you all love to hate. No one plays groups off of one another. That’s yet another disgusting antisemitic suggestion here.

        “But over in Israel…”

        Over in Israel they’re making a big deal out of this issue, because most of the population is opposed to the deportation, and several groups have offered to house the families slated for deportation.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Noun, verb, “anti-Semite.”

        • Potsherd2 says:

          There are Jews from many different cultures in Israel and most of them are trying to make sure the others don’t get to live in their neighborhoods.

        • Taxi says:

          Good one Pots.

        • tree says:

          There are Jews from many different cultures in Israel.

          Ah, the ability of Zionists to hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time and not notice the incongruity! If, as you believe, the Jews are a separate people and nation then pointing out that there are Jews from various countries there really doesn’t make the point that Israel is multicultural. So if every Jew is a member of the Jewish people/nation, having a lot of Jews in Israel, and giving them significant benefits above the minority that is non-Jewish Israeli, makes it very mono-cultural, not multicultural. You can’t play it both ways and be consistent. If all Jews everywhere constitute a people, then ingathering all those from the same “nation” is not an act of multiculturalism. Quite the opposite.

          To call Israel anything other than multicultural is ridiculous.

          Israel calls itself “The Jewish State” and apparently wants everyone else, including its non-Jewish citizens, to likewise refer to it. Yes, its ridiculous, but until Israel drops that nomenclature its likewise ridiculous to call it a “multicultural state”.

        • HRK says:

          hophmi,

          Though I don’t agree with all of what you said, I’ll concede that you make some valid points. Also, I did a poor job at articulating myself.

          I disagree with liberals who think multiculturalism is “our greatest strength,” but I don’t think their advocacy of multiculturalism is based on hypocrisy–and I would say that about anyone (Jews, Christians, Hindus, atheists, etc.). So you’re absolutely right. Jews don’t have to explain themselves anymore than anyone else. And I’d never want them to nor ask them to.

          And, yes, I should have included the fact that a great many American Jews (your “Jew in the street,” especially–perhaps the vast majority of Jews) probably don’t think multiculturalism in its current inclination is so fantastic. (I think I even read a survey which backed this up.)

          What I was upset at was the person who simultaneously promotes multiculturalism over here and in Europe and then remains quiet about really intense political moves to maintain monoculturalism (or mono-religiosity, if you prefer) in Israel. Liberal here, conservative there. I don’t think that there are that many Jews who do that, just to put it in perspective.

          (I should add that I, myself, am “multicultural” in the sense that I think we should treat everyone who is an American citizen, from any originating culture, equally. But I’m not multicultural in the sense that I think bringing in many more cultures and deliberately making our country highly heterogeneous is a good goal–namely because I think this can create a lot of conflicts and political-ethnic alliance forming, etc.)

          You write: “Most ethnic, religious and racial minorities, particularly those who have faced discrimination in the past, worry about whether or not policies will be good for them or not. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; most people make decisions based on how those decisions will affect them.”

          Well, there’s a lot of truth in what you wrote, but we should be making decisions based on what’s good for everyone. One way a person might know that he’s making a decision not based on what’s good for everyone is if in another place (e.g., Israel) he completely switches his mind on the value of multiculturalism!

          Also: “No one plays groups off of one another. That’s yet another disgusting antisemitic suggestion here.”

          When I wrote about playing one group off of another, I meant playing one group off of another for safety’s sake–not for the purpose of just flat-out wanting to harm another group because of sheer sadism or inhumanity. I really do apologize for doing such a poor job at describing what I meant, and I can understand how you took offense (though, please believe me, it wasn’t what I meant).

          I’m definitely going to have to articulate myself better. I can see that in this last post I didn’t move the discourse in an upward direction. It was a regrettable blurt!

        • pjdude says:

          There are Jews from many different cultures in Israel and most of them are trying to make sure the others don’t get to live in their neighborhoods.

          am I the only person who sees this as an admition that there is no jewish people.

        • Shingo says:

          To call Israel anything other than multicultural is ridiculous.

          Are you saying Israel is not a Jewish state Hophmi?

          But I see no reason why Jews must explain themselves anymore than Christians who support multiculturalism.

          How many Christians are demanding a Christian State?

          In fact, Jews are about the only religious group in the US that reliably votes against its own financial self-interest, making this line of reasoning even more ridiculous and hateful.

          Are you suggesting that all Jews are wealthy?

          Over in Israel they’re making a big deal out of this issue, because most of the population is opposed to the deportation, and several groups have offered to house the families slated for deportation.

          If most of the population is opposed to the deportation, then the policies of Israel would reflect that.

        • Avi says:

          tree,

          I believe you have stumbled upon one of Zionism’s contradictions — Jews are one people, one nation, until it’s politically inconvenient.

          That’s when Jews suddenly become a multicultural society and Zionists start bragging about how they eat breakfast at their Jewish Yemenite friend’s house, eat lunch with their Jewish German boss, and have dinner with their diverse family of Iraqi and Moroccan Jews. And then they go to Nawal’s home on the weekend to enjoy some Arabic food.

          Among hypocrites in Israel, diversity — they presume — is best measured by the ethnic origin of the food they enjoy. If one eats Arabic food, then he/she must be a champion for equality and civil rights. At least, that’s how hypocrites in Israel market their alleged tolerance.

          Ala I have plenty black friends. But, I don’t think it’s a good idea to integrate the public school system

        • Ellen says:

          Exactly. There is no one Jewish people. Jews are of many people, universal. The idea of a Jewish homeland is a Zionist fairy tale.

        • hophmi says:

          “Are you saying Israel is not a Jewish state Hophmi?”

          Forget it, Shingle, the point is too complicated for you to understand.

          “How many Christians are demanding a Christian State?”

          Why would Christians need a state? They have an entire continent.

          “Are you suggesting that all Jews are wealthy?”

          Again, the answer to this point is too complicated for you to understand. You can’t read, so why would you understand a simple argument?

          “If most of the population is opposed to the deportation, then the policies of Israel would reflect that.”

          Because every policy of every state reflect the popular will.

          I’m not sure you’re smart enough to handle this discussion, Shingle.

        • Citizen says:

          Hophmi, I don’t know about usage in your Israel, but if you use the term “multicultural” or “diverse” in the USA with a general audience on the topic of any USA policy, law, values, objectives, goals, cultural agenda, demography, etc,
          the common understanding is that you are using those terms to refer to popularly recognized differences within the USA population as between groups, such as whites, blacks, Jews, Arabs, Latinos, Latinos, and Asians. The customary usage does NOT refer to differences between subsets of those respective groups, such as, say, with whites, e.g., Irish, Greek, German, English, Scandavian, Italian, Polish, Hispanic/Latino etc. The big picture is too contrast passe “the melting pot” with trendy “salad.” Further, Affirmative action programs mostly use these generalized ethnic catagories too, to distinguish privileged “minorities” under those laws (congressionally intended to collectively right historical discriminatory wrongs; although the effect of same does not always fit that picture, and 2 wrongs do not make a necessarily equitable right, but a legal right nevertheless), and the Census Form itself pretty much breaks it down in the same generalilzed way, adding a few minority boxes, and, e.g., distinguishing a bit between subsets of Hispanics, white (from Spain) or non-white (from, e.g., Mexico).
          Accordingly, in America, our government and popular culture as well, does not break down “Jews” or “Jewish” by subsets of Jews or Jewish groups that may be fairly familiar to Jews themselves, whether here or in the foreign country of Israel. This is especially so regarding the issue of institutional discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, or religion. Whites in the USA are just whites, and “the White man,” or “old white men,” or “the white establishment.” etc lumps together all those of Caucasian descent and culture, regardless of where there ancestors came from in Europe. Israel has such an establishment too–a Jewish one, regardless of where the individual Israeli Jew came from. Enough of your diversionary red herrings, this time on the issue of discrimination against “strangers” in Israel: The topic is Civil Rights in Israel.

        • tree says:

          ‘It’s complicated.”

          Great response, Hophmi. When you can’t answer a question, or explain away a contradiction, claim its complicated, and insist that your questioner is too stupid to understand your answer, which then relieves you of the need to come up with the rational answer which you don’t have. How intelligent you are! Not.

          Avi,

          Ala “I have plenty black friends. But, I don’t think it’s a good idea to integrate the public school system.”

          You forgot to add “Its complicated.”

        • That’s yet another disgusting antisemitic suggestion here.

          Third try at this. Hophmi, mi amigo, do you have a drop of Semitic blood in your body? I do and I saw nothing anti-Semitic in the comments you were referring to.

  4. hophmi says:

    “Reminds me of photo-opportunity Israel mission to earthquake shattered Haiti. ”

    It’s funny that you call an effort to save lives that was the envy of every other rescue effort in Haiti, including the US’s, a “photo opportunity.” Is there no act of Israel’s you will not find a reason to hate?

    • lysias says:

      The fact that the Turkish
      İHH NGO
      was prominent in aiding stricken Haiti did not prevent Israel from calling it a terrorist organization after the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

    • Citizen says:

      Re: “It’s funny that you call an effort to save lives that was the envy of every other rescue effort in Haiti, including the US’s, a “photo opportunity.”

      The USA, by far greatly exceeded the effort by anyone and everyone to help the Haiti earthquake victims. Although, unlike Israel’s effort, it didn’t repeatedly make the USA MSM news, the first responder was the next door neighbor, Domican Republic. The first non-local responder was Iceland. Within 24 hours China & Quatar had responded with Quatar’s aid equivalent to what Israel would send. Israel responded after China & Quatar, setting up in Haiti on 1-16-10. Many charities responded, and stayed comparatively long, notably the Red Cross & Red Crescent organizations.( The biggest individual aid donation was given by Tiger Woods ($3 M), followed by Gisela Bundchen ($1.5 M).) Many entity pledges were never fulfilled. By 7/10 Haiti “looked like the earthquake had happened yesterday.” A Baptist missionary group “helped” by trying to smuggle
      out 33 Haitian kids to be put under Baptist wings–they were stopped by the government of Haiti. Wiki covers the subject.

      • Citizen says:

        24 countries sent needed aid to Israel to fight the Carmel fires, and over 8 more announced more help, but Israel said it didn’t need any more help.
        Among the 24 aid providers were the Palestinians.

        • hophmi says:

          “The USA, by far greatly exceeded the effort by anyone and everyone to help the Haiti earthquake victims. ”

          One would certainly hope so, given the historical US involvement in Haiti and its geographic proximity. But the Americans were impressed with the Israeli effort, particularly with the field hospital.

          “Among the 24 aid providers were the Palestinians.”

          Yes, your point? I didn’t say no one contributed anything to Haiti but Israel. You seem to be overly defensive about this. It’s just another example of the inability of you and others here to speak of Israel in any other terms besides hate-filled ones.

        • tree says:

          I didn’t say no one contributed anything to Haiti but Israel.

          No, you said Israel’s effort “was the envy of every other rescue effort in Haiti, including the US’s”, which was a considerable stretch. You are the defensive one on this, yet again.

        • seafoid says:

          Israel didn’t have any aircraft capable of putting out the fires. It has hundreds of mikvahs in the Occupied Territories instead.

        • Miura says:

          The Haiti earthquake was turned into another avenue for the never ending work of hasbara:

          Hasbara is the noun form of the Hebrew verb ‘to explain’, in the sense of advocating a position. ‘Propaganda’ might seem the obvious translation but that might not do justice to the intensity of feeling that lies behind it. A Ministry of Hasbara was first created in 1974, with Shimon Peres in charge; in 1975 it was disbanded and hasbara became a multi-ministerial task. Since then, the importance of hasbara has come to the fore every time Israel has been involved in a major conflict—the 1982 war, the 1987 intifada, the 2000 intifada. In March 2009, two months after the invasion of Gaza, Israel re-established the Ministry of Hasbara; the current minister is Yuli Edelstein.

          The hasbara aspect of the Gaza operation was put in train several months before the invasion. In May 2008 four French-speaking Israelis were selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, to visit Switzerland, France and Belgium, where, as the Jewish Agency spokesperson put it, they were to ‘deliver the messages that our official diplomats cannot’. ‘Stick to your personal stories,’ they were told, ‘do not be drawn into political discussions. There will be people who irritate you and say that you are occupiers … do not go there.’ Similar, English-speaking delegations set out for Britain, Ireland, Holland, Denmark and the US. German speakers went to Germany. On arrival, they gave interviews to the local media; they met members of parliament, members of the Jewish community and local bigwigs and spoke, as instructed, of their own experience—the constant shelling, the effects on their families, their businesses, their daily lives.

          In February this year, the government’s Masbirim website (masbirim: ‘those who explain’) drew up a set of instructions for Israelis traveling abroad. The website, which according to the Ministry of Hasbara had 130,000 hits in its first week, aims to ‘provide information to counter criticism that might be experienced abroad’. It details Israel’s achievements in technology and agriculture, as well as suggesting ways to ‘encourage visits to Israel’, ‘to dispel myths about Israel’ and to deal with political criticism. Visitors to the website are advised, when arguing with ‘people of other cultures’, to ‘maintain eye contact … if you look away it might be seen as lack of attention and your argument will lose its force,’ and ‘to keep generally still … rapid movements can create nervousness and confuse.’ The same advice is being broadcast on Israeli television. Further afield, to ensure that the Israeli tourist is comprehensively brainwashed before landing in London or Rome, the Ministry of Hasbara distributes its brochures to passengers about to board El Al flights, and the TV campaign is beamed to aircrafts’ in-flight entertainment systems. There is no running away.

          When Israel sent 200 soldiers to Haiti to set up a field hospital on a football pitch in Port-au-Prince, the Israeli media crowed. ‘What do you think about that, Goldstone?’ was one headline. ‘Israeli Delegation to Haiti Makes All Others Pale,’ said another. ‘Well Done Us,’ said a third. But the most disturbing was: ‘The Haiti Disaster: Bad for Them, Good for the Jews.’

        • hophmi says:

          “No, you said Israel’s effort “was the envy of every other rescue effort in Haiti, including the US’s”, which was a considerable stretch. ”

          Just read the Time article if you don’t believe me.

          “You are the defensive one on this, yet again.”

          You know, tree, just because you say I’m on the defensive does not mean I’m actually on the defensive. I notice your new gimmick is to claim people who disagree with you are “on the defensive” usually after either misconstruing what they say or willfully misinterpreting it. It’s a little silly and childish.

        • eljay says:

          >> Israel didn’t have any aircraft capable of putting out the fires.

          Perhaps Israel should have directed its soldiers to empty their bladders into the fires instead of onto the heads of Palestinian prisoners… :-D

        • Sumud says:

          Scroll down hophmi, for a thorough debunking of your silly claim that to criticise the brief Israeli mission in Haiti is hate-, not fact-based.

        • tree says:

          So now you’ve changed your statement from Israel’s rescue being ” the envy” of everyone else to admitting that the US effort dwarfed Israel’s but, heh, the US was impressed with the Israeli field hospital. Typical.

          I notice your new gimmick is to claim people who disagree with you are “on the defensive” usually after either misconstruing what they say or willfully misinterpreting it.

          Hophmi, you were the one claiming people who disagree with you are “on the defensive”. I’d never used that phrase here until you did. Apply your same silly argument to yourself, please.

        • DBG says:

          I found your comment antisemitic seafoid. I don’t understand the reason to mock Judaism as a religion. Also I don’t see the correlation between the mikveh and aircrafts capable of putting out fires. I don’t know what is more troublesome your overt racism or your ignorance.

        • Sumud says:

          Anti-semitic? Overt racism? What planet are you on DBG? Please explain how seafoid’s comment are either of those two.

        • Citizen says:

          No, you said “every other rescue effort” was jealous of Israel’s rescue effort (envied), including the US rescue effort. You didn’t offer any proof of such a blanket emotional position, envy, jealousy.
          So I decided to look at the facts to see if said envy appeared justified by them. Were the Israelis first there? First there with the mostest? Stayed the longest, Etc? If you had said, “X was the envy of all the others arriving at the scene to save the day,” your readers might very reasonably want to see if this was so in fact, and/or why, especially since you would have described a subjective state of mind. Ergo, it’s you who is being defensive. I didn’t say no one contributed anything to Haiti but Israel either.
          Neither your original comment in this matter expressly said or remotely implied such, nor did my response. Why do you always make such a glaring fool of yourself? You need to retake Hasbara 101. You are being counter-productive to your agenda.

        • Citizen says:

          Hophmi, what makes you think the aware folks here put any credence in a Time article if they want factual reportage with sources? Why not just go the Israel government’s web site? You’re defensiveness is here for all to see. You have a history here, as does tree. Tree contributes very much to the objectivity here about issues not handled by the MSM. You have a different reputation, one of a hasbarabot–a weak one at that. Enjoy your zionist masturbation.

        • eljay says:

          >> I don’t understand the reason to mock Judaism as a religion.

          All religions are worthy of mockery – Judaism is no exception.

          >> I don’t know what is more troublesome your overt racism or your ignorance.

          Your apparent lack of a sense of humour. :-)

        • seafoid says:

          Oh FFS, DBG. There is no need for any mikvahs in the West Bank and you know it. The West Bank isn’t Israel, is it? The settlers don’t belong there. Take your antisemitism and stick it.

        • hophmi says:

          What sources have been offered to contravene my point? I never said Israel contributed the most money. I never said Israel was there first. I said Israel’s effort was well-regarded. That’s all.

          As usual, most of you misconstrued what I said (on purpose) and responded to a completely different argument than the one I made.

          As far as my “reputation” here as opposed to tree’s, anyone who says anything negative about Israel is sure to gain a wonderful reputation here. People who are openly antisemitic have great reputations here. I’m not looking for acceptance from your club.

        • tree says:

          . People who are openly antisemitic have great reputations here.

          And now you’ve resorted to flat out calling people anti-semitic because they disagree with you. Shame on you. Take a breather,hophmi. You need one.

        • fuster says:

          it wasn’t always the case that they wanted to help fight fires.

          link to ookaboo.com

        • fuster says:

          Friendly fire?

          Untold euphoria prevailed among Palestinians after the fires that broke out in several places in northern Israel, which led to the deaths of more than 40 Zionists, although grief was felt by some [because of] the large amounts of Arab and European aid to assist in fire suppression at the time when the Palestinian people are groaning from violations of the occupation.
          Bassam Hamdan expressed her delight at the fall of more than 40 people in the ranks of the Zionists, calling it revenge of God Almighty for the children of the martyrs who fell from the Zionist occupation fire, forcing the enemy to know that there are forces greater than all.

          Palestine Today met many people whose faces reflected a great joy about what happened in Israel, where they stressed that this was the least that can happen to the entity…

          link to forzion.com

        • tree says:

          Fuster, I reported your comment/link. Wildly off topic and a smear against the Palestinian firefighters, who in case you are grossly ignorant of history yet again, had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the European Middle Ages or the Black Death. Trollish behavior that.

        • eljay says:

          >> it wasn’t always the case that they wanted to help fight fires.
          >> link to ookaboo.com

          “Remember the Burnings of 1349!”

          While one cannot consistently say that “burnings are never necessary”, one can be thankful that “currently [burnings are] not necessary”.

        • fuster says:

          tree, you can report Palestine Today for the comment.

          those are said to be their words. they’re not mine.

          the picture has nothing to do with Palestinians, it’s a response to the person mentioning the 24 countries that sent aid.

          read through the other comments on this thread and from yesterday before crying too much about smears and have a nice day.

        • tree says:

          Its your link, fuster. Stop being such a troll.

        • fuster says:

          seafoid, I think calling you anti-Semitic for that funny little mikvah joke was an over-reaction.

          any old douchebag might have said that, not necessarily an anti-Semitic one.

        • tree says:

          the picture has nothing to do with Palestinians, it’s a response to the person mentioning the 24 countries that sent aid.

          So why did you pair it with a supposed quote from “Palestine Today”?

          And what’s your point then with the link? That disaster aid to Israel today doesn’t count because 700 years ago some people burned some Jews? Really? That’s not trolling?

          read through the other comments on this thread and from yesterday before crying too much about smears and have a nice day.

          So who got smeared on this thread? Hophmi called me and pretty much everyone else here anti-semites, and a few names got thrown around, but other than that who was smeared? I’ve read all the comments here and I don’t see it.

        • tree says:

          it wasn’t always the case that they wanted to help fight fires.

          That and your link to the picture was the comment I reported. Its your words, not Palestine Today’s or “For Zion Ministries”‘.

          As to your other comment supposedly from Palestine Today, helpfully translated from the Arabic by For Zion Ministries, its a stupid comment, but I didn’t report that. Some Palestinians were happy there was a fire in Israel. I’m not surprise, anymore than I’m surprised that some Israelis watched and cheered while the IDF killed people in Gaza. Or for that matter, I’m no more surprised that some Americans cheered the death and destruction we caused in Iraq. People have base and angry emotions some times It was just a petty reflexive post on your part. We’re all used to that here. Have a nice day as well.

      • MRW says:

        Citizen,

        Canada was in Haiti within hours of the earthquake striking. The Canadian Governor-General is Haitian (don’t think she’s still the GG). Canada sent over 2,000 troops, field hospitals, food, tents, medical supplies, did around 50 airlifts. I remember the stories because Canada beat the US there, and it shocked me. Canada has also forked over $200 million of the money it promised. The US hasn’t. It’s still a story in Canada: they coordinated huge recovery and reconstruction efforts, and football players are even now making highly publicized flights and visits to help out. (As in the last two months.) The first phase of Canadian help lasted from January 12 to March 31, 2010, according to Canadian gov website on it. This site addresses the first five months of aid.
        link to international.gc.ca

        You’re right about Israel responding after the ME Arab countries did, and what a fuss it made about how it was helping out…for 10 days. We all laughed about it here, as I recall, how Israel hijacked the US press to broadcast its great beneficence…couldn’t do it quietly as Canada did.

        Hophmi, there’s nothing “hate-filled” here about mentioning Israel’s involvement in Haiti. Of course, it’s help was welcomed. It’s just that no one wants to hear the hyperbole on the backs of the broken, and will take a swat at trying to make something out of an effort that was unremarkable. Just like the US trying to pat itself on the back now; none of the vaunted verbalized help the US promised has happened. All it seems to have contributed is press coverage.

        • Citizen says:

          MRW, somewhere on the number of wiki pages discussing aid to Haiti’s volcano victims I read that the US contributed the most by far, but I don’t have the time now to find that general statement; a quick look again did reveal that Canada’s contribution was very substantial,
          and also that the huge amount of US government aid promised (additional to what the US provided via government and NGOs), has not got there as of July of 2010 as it was hung up in the US congress.
          Here’s some of the details on the US and Canada’s specific respective contributions: link to en.wikipedia.org

        • tree says:

          Sorry to hear that about the US, MRW. Yeah for Canada, though, for both the initial response and for sticking with the effort even now.

    • Sumud says:

      It’s funny that you call an effort to save lives that was the envy of every other rescue effort in Haiti, including the US’s, a “photo opportunity.” Is there no act of Israel’s you will not find a reason to hate?

      The envy? Oh, I’d love to see a link to support that claim.

      The hate? Read on.

      It was a combination of field training for IDF medics and hasbara. If you think setting up a hospital for just eleven days (scroll to Israel entry) was anything more than a drop in the ocean for a country where 316,000 people had just been killed by an earthquake and many more injured, think again.

      From Mondoweiss, at the time: Port-au-Hasbara, and a quote from the Silverstein article linked to in that piece; it’s from a translated article by Yoel Donchin, IDF doctor who was fired after criticising the
      Haiti mission as a cynical exercise in PR [my emphasis]:

      In the present disaster, which is of a more massive scale than anything we have encountered to date, the need is not so much for a field hospital but field, ie portable, toilets. There is more of a need for digging equipment to dig graves and sewage pipes.
      A country which wants to provide humanitarian aid without concern for its media image should send whatever is required by the victims, and not whatever it wants to deliver. But would the evening news show the commander of the Israeli mission at the compound with 500 chemical toilets? Unlikely. It is much more media savvy to show an Israeli hospital, replete with stars of David and of course the dedicated doctors and nurses, dressed in their snazzy uniforms with an Israeli flag on the lapel.
      …It is quite likely that financial assistance commensurate with Israel’s resources would be preferable to the enormous expense and complicated logistics involved in the maintenance of a medical unit in the field…
      But apparently a minute of TV coverage is much more important…and in fact Israel is using disasters as [military] field training in rescue and medical care. After a fortnight, the mission will reportedly return to Israel. To be truly effective a field hospital needs to remain for two or three months, but that’s a condition that Israel cannot meet.
      …It is only in the Israeli aid compound in Haiti that large signs carrying the donor country’s name hang for all to see.

      How the Forward chose to pitch it: Israel’s Relief Effort in Haiti Saves Lives, Boosts Image

      • MRW says:

        Yeah, I remember that, Sumud. Israel acting like Bush swooping into Katrina.

        • tree says:

          Oh, lord. That was the article you were referring to? I read it yesterday and was sure you must have been referring to some other Time article, because there is nothing particularly spectacular about the Israeli effort in that article, other than the fact that it is mentioned first in the Time piece, which could well have been because of the self-acknowledged publicity effort on the part of Israel. No other rescue effort claimed to “envy” the Israelis. They had a good mortality rate but were only able to treat 100 patients a day.

          And the field hospital seems to have been the only rescue effort that Israel mounted.

          Look, every effort that was made by any country was a net good, but Israel went out of its way to crassly publicize its efforts and claim some extraordinary feat for their relatively minor effort. The Israeli doctor that Sumud quoted had it right.

          A country which wants to provide humanitarian aid without concern for its media image should send whatever is required by the victims, and not whatever it wants to deliver. But would the evening news show the commander of the Israeli mission at the compound with 500 chemical toilets? Unlikely. It is much more media savvy to show an Israeli hospital, replete with stars of David and of course the dedicated doctors and nurses, dressed in their snazzy uniforms with an Israeli flag on the lapel.
          …It is quite likely that financial assistance commensurate with Israel’s resources would be preferable to the enormous expense and complicated logistics involved in the maintenance of a medical unit in the field…
          But apparently a minute of TV coverage is much more important…and in fact Israel is using disasters as [military] field training in rescue and medical care.

    • Avi says:

      It’s funny that you call an effort to save lives that was the envy of every other rescue effort in Haiti, including the US’s, a “photo opportunity.” Is there no act of Israel’s you will not find a reason to hate?

      That’s right. When you’re out of factual, reasonable answers, break out the self-righteous indignation — no matter how contrived.

      What’s that, Hasbara point #2736?

      • hophmi says:

        “That’s right. When you’re out of factual, reasonable answers, break out the self-righteous indignation — no matter how contrived.”

        Self-righteous indignation? No, nobody here is ever self-righteous. LOL.

    • Cliff says:

      hophmi, whenever you mention ‘hate’ it’s stomach turning. You have a great ability to devalue words. Drain them of their meaning. Repetitive. Redundant.

      Why do you always think we are motivated by ‘hate’? This isn’t some cartoon world. Your Zionist State exists. It is colonizing another people’s land. It has been for decades. It is a colonial project. AND ALL THE VIOLENCE THEREIN exists within that framework.

      WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

      Yet, for all your intellectualism, you boil it down to ‘anti-Israelism’ or some other 2nd-grade level verbiage.

      GROW UP. You’re a child.

      • hophmi says:

        “Why do you always think we are motivated by ‘hate’?”

        Well, because I read what you people write, and most of it is pretty hysterical.

        “Yet, for all your intellectualism, you boil it down to ‘anti-Israelism’ or some other 2nd-grade level verbiage. ”

        When a piece about deportation of foreign workers becomes an opportunity to bring up the Israeli rescue effort in Haiti and resurrect the old “they did it for the PR” nonsense, and when post after post from people like Antidote and PG reeks of basic antisemitic nonsense that goes unchallenged by the vast majority here, I have every reason to conclude that hatred plays a role.

        “GROW UP. You’re a child.”

        LOL. You clearly do not read the comments here. It is you who is the child.

        • Antidote says:

          “when post after post from people like Antidote and PG reeks of basic antisemitic nonsense that goes unchallenged by the vast majority here, I have every reason to conclude that hatred plays a role.”

          The only reason you bring me up here, even though I don’t remember having posted anything about Haiti, is that I expressed my dislike of YOU, or, more precisely, your online performance. That doesn’t make me (or PG) an anti-semite, darling. Nor do I care about such labeling. You are a broken record. Go find yourself another boring obsession.

  5. Theo says:

    I wonder, will the MSM, like the WP and NYT cover this heroic event of the jewish state?

  6. hophmi says:

    “So what is the Israeli government showing us by planning a mass expulsion of such children? Understanding and tolerance won’t be found here. (And you’d better look somewhere else for peace, too).”

    C’mon. You act like this is a popular decision. Sara Netanyahu is against it. Ehud Barak is against it. Shimon Peres is against it. The Israeli public are against it. I got this all from your Al-Jazeera article.

    I’m willing to bet in the end that it doesn’t happen.

    I will make opposing the deportation my Facebook status and encourage others to do the same.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Were that you cared about the land of your birth as much as you apparently care about Israel.

    • CK MacLeod says:

      If what you say is true, hophmi – and I have no reason to doubt it – then you’re be right to highlight that paragraph as manipulative polemics – IOW, bs emotionalism. However, that’s true because the post as a whole declines to tell the whole story, treats as accomplished a measure that according to you has not yet been and won’t be implemented, and instead offers boo bait to the anti-Z bubbas – but not because on its own terms the statement is inaccurate. “Understanding and tolerance won’t be found here” is the “message” that even the mere “planning” of this expulsion sends. Regardless of the whole story of Israeli emotional self-division about the plan (or other controversial acts and proposals), if Israel keeps it up with the self-inflicted wounds, sooner or later it’s going to inflict a serious injury on itself, either by bad aim or cumulative effect, assuming it hasn’t done so already.

      Enough to make a guy wonder about a Zionist death wish.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      But eee tells us that it’s the will of the Israeli (Jewish) voter that matters. So either it’s the will of the voters to expel the children, or Eli Yishai is overruling that will with his racist obsessions, and eee is wrong.

  7. Light says:

    Netanyahu speaking about deporting 400 children.

    link to smh.com.au

    ”This decision is influenced by two main considerations, of humanity and Zionism,” Mr Netanyahu said. ”On the one hand, this problem is a humanitarian problem – we all feel and understand the hearts of children – but, on the other hand, there are Zionist considerations and ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel.”

    further down in the article

    “Several Israeli commentators expressed concern at the impact of the decision on Israel’s reputation abroad.”

    No problem. Just make a feel good documentary about immigrant children and award it an oscar.

    • hophmi says:

      ““Several Israeli commentators expressed concern at the impact of the decision on Israel’s reputation abroad.”

      No problem. Just make a feel good documentary about immigrant children and award it an oscar.”

      Yeah, because, it’s like, nobody else deports illegal immigrants or has major political parties interested in deporting illegal immigrants. It’s not like Austria or the Netherlands or Switzerland or Denmark or France or Sweden or Belgium or the United States has any issue like this. Yes, of course, there, most of the population would probably support the policy, because in places like Belgium and Austria, these parties actually vie for pluralities in their parliaments, so, yes, there is a difference between those countries and Israel.

      But when it comes to Israel, hypocrisy on the left knows no bounds.

      • Citizen says:

        The USA already had one large amnesty for illegal immigrants. And it has been legally giving anchor babies and chain migrant families citizenship since 1965. Yet continuing this legal policy is assumed by both significant political party leadership; the debate has been about granting another vast amnesty because the fear is that any posed conditions to it will never be enforced, as this is what happened with the first vast amnesty.

        • hophmi says:

          “the debate has been about granting another vast amnesty because the fear is that any posed conditions to it will never be enforced, as this is what happened with the first vast amnesty.”

          The debate has been about a lot more than granting an amnesty. It has been in part about changing the law granting automatic citizenship to children born in the US. It has also been about kicking out people who are undocumented, and that would be way more than 400.

        • Light says:

          hophmi, the US would not kick these kids out. In the US, anyone born here, whether the parents are legal or not, is a US citizen. These kids were all born in Israel and know no other country yet Israel wants to deport them.

          Netanyahu’s comment says it all.

          “there are Zionist considerations and ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel”

        • MRW says:

          Citizen, since 1965? Anchor babies have citizenship under the Constitution, no?

        • Citizen says:

          Yes, hophmi, the debate includes those items, but the heavy hitters from both sides have priortized their talking points; the amnesty issue incorporates the other issues, and the proposal to change the current Immigration Law to exclude anchor babies and chain migration addresses how to prevent getting into the amnesty issue again in the future because the proponents don’t want to keep recycling the situation, as I said. You say something, it is countered, so you nit pick the countering, and again fail miserably with your hasbara agenda of misleading “explanation” in behalf Israel’s ever increasing reputation and dirty deeds, which keep growing like Topsy.

        • Citizen says:

          Well, MRW, they didn’t have it as implemented law until the 1965 Immigration Act expressly made it the law of the land by legislating it. Whether or not Congress had/has a Constitutional right to so legislate that is a matter of the interpretation of our Constitution’s express words, and the intent of the Founding fathers is often an issue, and the well–known contrary jurisprudential theories respecting “living law” versus “historical precedent limits.”

      • seafoid says:

        That’s right. And it is wrong to condemn England and France for failing to welcome Hitler’s Polish Jewish refugees in the 1940s, isn’t it? Wasn’t it far better to le them die ? You hypocrite.

        • hophmi says:

          “That’s right. And it is wrong to condemn England and France for failing to welcome Hitler’s Polish Jewish refugees in the 1940s, isn’t it? Wasn’t it far better to le them die ? You hypocrite.”

          Eh??? What are you talking about? Are you really stupid enough to compare this to Jewish refugees in Europe during WWII?

        • seafoid says:

          Something to remember the next time Jews are refugees.

        • DBG says:

          seafoid, when will Jews be refugees again? Comments like this allude to some tragic event happening to Jews. I would like you to elaborate on what this event will be? With refugees there is always death, what kind of death of Jews are we talking about? will the world allow this to happen again?

          Do you forget that the state of Israel has a formidable army, just for the reasons you state “next time Jews are refugees”

          This is a very insensitive post, outside of MW I am sure it would be considered overtly hostile to Jews, not only in Israel, but world wide

        • MRW says:

          Are you really stupid enough to compare this to Jewish refugees in Europe during WWII?

          No, smart enough to call a spade a spade. These kids are Israelis and Netanyahu is kicking them out to maintain racial purity? It’s a good thing he’s only PM of 6 million people.

          Hypocrites. The lot of you.

        • Cliff says:

          What about what Israel is doing to Palestinians? Palestinian refugees?

          You clearly don’t care about the rights of refugees. Only Jewish ones!

      • RoHa says:

        “nobody else deports illegal immigrants”

        The children are not immigrants. They were born in Israel. That makes them natives.

        Their parents are legally in Israel, too.

        • eljay says:

          >> The children are not immigrants. They were born in Israel. That makes them natives.

          Stop throwing facts and reason around. It makes the people who use “common sense” very uncomfortable.

        • RoHa says:

          Sorry.

          I should know better at my age.

  8. bijou says:

    Another day, another vignette of racist intolerance in Israel:

    Settlement Leader Rejects Demands to Fire Israeli Arab Bus Driver

    You can’t make this stuff up….

    ….The driver, an Israeli Arab, is employed by the Gush Etzion Development Company. The company is an agency of the Gush Etzion Regional Council.

    The development company operates a bus service for local school children and employs dozens of drivers. The employee in question was hired several months ago to perform a range of tasks, but word got out that he would work as a school-bus driver in the [West Bank] settlement of Elazar.

    In a letter, Elazar residents objected to the Israeli Arab’s placement as a school-bus driver in the settlement.

    Acknowledging that Jews and Arabs are “cousins,” the residents said that the regional council “apparently wants to save a few pennies at the expense of the safety of our children, or perhaps for another reason, regional peace, eating baklava in Hebron, hummus in Bethlehem or a real vision of the end of days.”

    The residents stressed that the complaint was not motivated by anti-Arab racism [Quelle horreur!] but rather by what they said were legitimate concerns for their children’s safety [Cough, rapid succession of eyeblinks]. They said that if a member of the driver’s family were detained by the army, it was impossible to know how what the driver might do as a response.

    The secretary of the settlement of Elazar, Yossi Kaufman, told Haaretz: “[Residents of] Elazar have approached the regional council and requested that the settlement’s buses not have an Arab driver. If army directives require a guard for an Arab entering the community, there can’t be an Arab school-bus driver. If someone wants to earn a living, be my guest. In fact, Arabs built the houses in Elazar. When it comes to children, that’s an issue of safety. We were notified that the driver is not Arab and that was the end of the story.”

    At the same time, the right-wing Komemiyut movement wrote to the Gush Etzion Regional Council asking that the council stop employing Arabs. The movement’s board members include Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, against whom an arrest warrant was issued after he supported a book justifying the killing of non-Jews under some circumstances.

    “In recent years we have been disabused of our innocence and know that to inherit the land, we must see to it that our enemies are not given a source of livelihood,” wrote Komemiyut chairman Moshe Cohen. “Whereas otherwise, heaven forbid, we will meet a fate similar to the fate of the Jews of Gaza, who were ultimately expelled from their land because they were left very few in number in the heart of a massive number of Arabs.”

    In response to the objections, Shaul Goldstein, the head of the regional council, sent a letter to area residents. He said employing Israeli Arabs is not an “innovation” of the regional council, adding that 40 percent of public drivers in the country are Arab and that the situation is similar in the construction industry. He said hundreds of Arab workers come to Gush Etzion settlements every day to work….

  9. Potsherd2 says:

    Hey, Jesse Jackson – this is what you vote for!

    If someone talked about “ensuring the white character of the US” you’d see the CBC wake up from their comas in outrage. But all they care for is, “is it good for the blacks.”

    Martin Luther King is weeping in his grave.

  10. Taxi says:

    Why aren’t the so called ‘conscientious’ documentary duo filmmakers filming the bombed out schools in Gaza, the crackdown on Palestinian students needing to travel – the blantant Apartheid practiced by the REST of israeli students throughout the land of zion? I’m not critiquing the school itself and the positive example it sets, but I am really pissed at the documentary makers and their insanely out of context approach.

    Yes regretfully I saw the documentary and it’s an insipid piece of propaganda that uses children to score an undeserved point for israel.

    I also saw the competing documentary ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’, which was by far more gritty-real and fascinating, indeed more truthful and so therefore more pertinent/important.

    I highly recommend Mondo folks who are interested in Art to check out the brilliant Banksy documentary, Exit Through The Gift Shop. This piece shoulda won, but it’s Hollywood we’re talking here and so we know why it didn’t. We know Hollywood would always prefer cheap pro-zio propaganda made by zionists over soulful labor-of-love genius art made by goy.

    • fuster says:

      plenty of other film festivals in the world, Taxi. send your suggestions.

      link to noorfilmfestival.com

      • Taxi says:

        You’ll forgive me if I don’t check out your stupid link.

        I reckon now that censorship in the middle east is fast-breaking down, Arab and Western producers will begin to see a global market mega-profit in the making of some serious political and historic dramas.

        Buzz off Exodus!

        Helllllllowwwwww Right Of Return!!

        • DBG says:

          Hi Taxi,

          I am not sure how censorship in Arab countries equals the enabling of Palestinian’s right of return.

          The Arab revolutions will only strengthen their ties with Israel and hasten a two state solution.

        • Citizen says:

          RE: “The Arab revolutions will only strengthen their ties with Israel and hasten a two state solution.”
          Gee, DBG, I don’t think the respective US & Israeli regime spokepeople got your memo. Everything they’ve said to date about the Arab revolutions expressed immense fear that said ties with Israel & a 2ss are on the wan precisely because of the Arab revolutions..

        • Taxi says:

          Right Of Return, The Movie! Okay DBG, there’s gonna be a movie called Right Of Return, comprende?

          “The Arab revolutions will only strengthen their ties with Israel and hasten a two state solution.”

          I’ll let someone else comment kindly on your delusions.

  11. fuster says:

    hophmi, light has a point.

    ””’Light February 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    hophmi, the US would not kick these kids out. In the US, anyone born here, whether the parents are legal or not, is a US citizen.

    this is exactly the type of shit that Israelis correctly point to when they complain about the surrounding states. it’s what those states do, and Israel says that they’re better than their Arab neighbors.
    in this matter, Israel is acting not a bit better.

  12. The movement’s board members include Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, against whom an arrest warrant was issued after he supported a book justifying the killing of non-Jews under some circumstances.

    How many gigs does Dov Lior have? From Sefi Rachlevsky’s Haaretz article on the 27th:

    He [Lior] currently serves as a municipal rabbi, the head of a Jewish court and the dean of a large IDF yeshiva. He also heads the Judea and Samaria rabbis committee.

    Are these salaried positions? Are any of his stipends paid for by the State, or by Americans?

    • annie says:

      Are any of his stipends paid for by the State

      yes of course. that’s the price tagging gentile baby killing advocate rabbi. he’s a big honcho.

      • So is there a way to find out how much money Lior is paid by governmental agencies. Are the salaries and stipends of people paid by the State publicly available in the “only democracy in the Middle East?”

    • fuster says:

      Philip Munger

      he’s also got a klezmer band, does weddings and maybe Hu’s Bris.

      • Hu Bris says:

        “and maybe Hu’s Bris.”

        I knew you’d been thinking about me (and it) fuster when I wasn’t around – try not to obsess too much about it though, will ya? Not healthy that, at all –

        I mean I’m kinda flattered a little, and slightly amused.

        It’s mostly just creepy though.

        Obviously I can’t stop you obsessing about it when you’re lying awake thinking about me in the dark of night , but you’re really not my type,

        and anyway it’s already spoken for

    • Potsherd2 says:

      How many Americans donate money that ends up in this guy’s control? Why aren’t the indicted for “material support for terrorism?”

    • Avi says:

      Philip,

      Don’t take this the wrong way, but your approach is indicative of an American mindset. You see things from the prism of American democracy and equality, as if this rabbi is a government employee in the US, one who can be removed from office if enough constituents sent complaint letters, or campaigned against in the next elections.

      And so you ask:

      Are these salaried positions? Are any of his stipends paid for by the State, or by Americans?

      The entire state runs courtesy of America. But, more specifically, even if the rabbi is a salaried state employee in Israel, his case is no exception as there are entire agencies and departments headed by people worse than him, people who enjoy the support and mandate of Israeli society, and certainly that of the colonists in the occupied West Bank.

      • No offense taken, Avi. I agree my approach is indicative of an American mindset. I find Lior to be an appalling figure, support for him vastly more appalling. He seems to be a poster person for all that has gone wrong in Israel and what that has wrought on the greater body of Judaism. More information on him needs to be distributed as widely as possible.

  13. radii says:

    BRAND ISRAEL:
    Making bad, immoral, inhuman, cruel, hypocritical decisions is how we start our day!

  14. RoHa says:

    The issue has made it on to Australian TV.

    link to sbs.com.au

    Doesn’t look good.
    On the one side, cute kids.
    On the other, a fat, multi-chinned, sleaze-ball politician.

    Yet another example of the Israeli genius for public relations.

  15. ToivoS says:

    It does seem that the Academy has very likely aborted the Israeli policy of deporting all of those foreign workers. Something good came out of this. Of course, at the same time it will be spun as how flexible Israel is and how its basic humanitarian impulses are sound.

    But it does suggest that there are some very powerful Zionists in the US that is becoming quite uncomfortable with how far right Israel has turned. Progressive zionism may be an oxymoron but with its contradictions and all, it certainly beats the fanatical settler brand.

  16. jon s says:

    I’d like to make the point that these thousands of people, from Africa and elsewhere, see Israel as an attractive destination, are sometimes willing to risk their lives to get here, and want nothing more than to be allowed to stay here. Now , how does that fact square with the overwhelmingly negative image of Israel that so many on this forum have?

    • tree says:

      Now , how does that fact square with the overwhelmingly negative image of Israel that so many on this forum have?

      jon s,

      Most of us here are aware that the foreign migrant workers in Israel are the result of the closure and checkpoint system installed by Israel in the Occupied Territories prior to and during the Oslo period. Since the Palestinians from the OT, who had made up the bulk of the low wage laborers in Israel, had difficulty getting to work in Israel because of these restrictions, Israeli employers went looking for more reliable replacements. Note that these Palestinian workers were rendered unreliable solely because of Israel’s closure policies and the turn to outside low wage workers happened in the early 1990′s, well before the violence of the second intifada. (In fact, this was most likely one of the causes of the second intifada, when Palestinians during the Oslo period expected conditions to get better for them, but because of the Israeli closure and permit system, things instead became worse.)

      This of course, along with Israel’s horrendous treatment of the occupied Palestinians and their unfair treatment of their own Palestinian citizens, creates the image of Israel as a bastion of Jewish supremacism and inequality. The fact that foreign migrant workers may wish to remain there does not negate the unjust things that Israel does.

      What others here may not know and apparently you don’t know either, is that Israel’s policies also lead to exploitation of foreign workers, who often have to pay huge sums(“brokerage fees”) prior to leaving their home countries, with promises of jobs that oft times don’t materialize or that do not pay what they were promised. There is also exploitation of these foreign workers by their employers once they enter Israel and what little protections are on the books in Israel are not enforced and many employers take full advantage of this fact.
      Here is a report from 2003 about the conditions for migrant workers in Israel commissioned by the International Federation of Human Rights, at the request of the Israeli NGOs, ACRI and Worker’s Hotline. The report is a bit old, but conditions for foreign workers have not improved in the last 8 years, and in some ways they have worsened.

      MIGRANT WORKERS IN ISRAEL- A Contemporary Form of Slavery

      If you read it I think you will understand why no one should be unduly impressed by the fact that some or even most foreign workers in Israel would prefer not to be deported.

      I’m well aware that no country has a particularly good reputation when it comes to the treatment of foreign migrant workers. Israel’s is worse than some and better than others. But Israel’s treatment of these workers should not be a reason to view Israel in a particularly positive light, and it certainly should not be a reason to ignore the other ways in which Israel denies basic human rights to non-Jews under its control.

    • Avi says:

      So compared to Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Chad, Israel is a nice place.

    • Citizen says:

      When you’re starving you will go anywhere for bread that might have you. This particular destination (Israel) is heralded by US leaders to the impoverished tax-paying American public as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” one with “the same Judeo-Christian values,” indeed, trumpeted from on high, and constantly, as having “the same values as we do.”

    • I think it relates to the difference between an idea and a reality. The idea of what Israel is, is structured to conform to ideology, fitting real square pegs into ideas of round holes.

      The reality of Israel is not all that different than the reality of other communities, including those that have a mix of spirituality combined with custom and superstition in their religious nucleus.

      Real democracy, real justice, is in the real, not in ideal and not in the irritation or incongruity. It is an acceptance of the person, an acceptance of the community, combined with an effort to make it the best it can be (if one is an engaged Jew and/or a citizen of Israel, rather than just a judger).

      For solidarity to be righteous, rather than vindictive, requires that is address the real, the real democratic, of real people.

      Reform. Revolution from outside is more an imposition than a struggle.

      • Citizen says:

        For Israel to be righteous requires that it address the real, the real democratic, of real people, the Palestinian people within its very real power and control. Yes, Israel does do this–it does this by treating Palestinians like sub-humans, like not real full-fledged human beings. We obect to this shadow falling between the real and the ideal, as TS Elliot put it. The way to get rid of a shadow is to bring on the light.