Haaretz reports a majority of Israeli-Jews want to live in an apartheid state where Jews and Palestinians are separate and unequal– as they are on this road in Hebron, 2012. (Photo: Jonny Ward/onestep4ward.com)
In the United States nothing stops a conversation on Israel shorter than dropping the “A” word, “apartheid.” Literally millions are spent to counter events like “Israel Apartheid Week,” and there are pro-Israel advocacy groups and public relations firms whose raison d’être is presenting the Jewish “democracy” as more democratic than anywhere else in the Middle East. “Where in the Middle East do Jews and Arabs Play Together?” asks one billboard by the San Francisco-based Blue Star PR—”Only in Israel.”
But according to a new poll by an Israeli data firm a majority of Israelis don’t want to play—or study, live, eat or drive anywhere near an Arab. Rather, they want an Apartheid state.
“Only in Israel,” not anymore as a majority of Israelis prefer “apartheid.”
(Image: Blue Star PR)
In two articles by Gideon Levy published today in Haaretz the results of a survey by Dialog are presented: 58% of Israeli Jews believe Israel practices apartheid in the West Bank, and they are fine with that. In fact Israelis are so comfortable with institutionalized discrimination that a third said they do not want Palestinians citizens of Israel to have the right to vote and 69% do not think Palestinians in the West Bank deserve to vote in the case of Israel annexing the occupied territory.
Such displays of racism, or the desire to live separately from Palestinians, or even transfer them (code for ethnic cleansing) is not new to Israeli society—or survey results. Over the past decade Israeli universities have published data showing a rise from around 60% of Israelis wanting Palestinians to disappear to 68% today. Even back in 1991 during the height of the first Intifada, a quarter of Israeli-Jews said they wanted to transfer the Palestinians citizens of Israel.
But what makes me feel like I’m being whacked across the face when reading both of Levy’s articles is not the percentages, it’s the arrogance. In great numbers, of the 503 interviewed, around half think they deserve to be treated “better.”
59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.
In his op-ed Levy calls this comfort and desire for Jewish privilege at the expense of Palestinians “apartheid without shame or guilt.” Where his first article, the reported piece, is all facts and figures, his second is his heart, which too is having an arrhythmia over the “certain innocent candor” expressed in the survey results:
Among its terrifying results, the survey discovers a certain innocent candor. The Israelis admit this is what they are and they’re not ashamed of it. Such surveys have been held before, but Israelis have never appeared so pleased with themselves, even when they admit their racism. Most of them think Israel is a good place to live in and most of them think this is a racist state.
It’s good to live in this country, most Israelis say, not despite its racism, but perhaps because of it. If such a survey were released about the attitude to Jews in a European state, Israel would have raised hell. When it comes to us, the rules don’t apply.
Or to put it more bluntly, Levy says the survey tells the world “We’re racists,” continuing, “we practice apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel.”