‘Arabs, I hate Arabs!’–Independence Day and just another day in Jerusalem

Israel/Palestine
on 57 Comments
yom haatzmaut
Israelis celebrate Israel’s 65th Independence Day on the streets of Jerusalem, Monday, April 15, 2013 (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90/Times of Israel)

“Do you speak Hebrew,” he asked in me (in Hebrew). “No, but I speak Arabic. Do you speak Arabic?” I replied (in Arabic) to the drunk twenty-something Israeli at an ATM in West Jerusalem. He looked at me for a moment like he was hearing gobbledygook. Then — “Arabs! I hate Arabs!” he exclaimed throwing his arms up for the big finale: “They want to kill us! They want to kill us! I hate Arabs!”

Abruptly a journalist friend pulled me away thinking that the conversation would turn to blows. The night was Yom Haatzmaut, the April 15-16th celebration of Israel’s 1948 declaration of Independence. The air was full of irresponsibility. Myself, I was foolish to think I could put up a defense in a street beating—”there’s two of us and he’s shorter than me,” I said. My friend, however, was less interested in his colleague goading a racist to punch us, despite how righteous our bruises would be.

Nearby on Yaffa Street there was a flood of other drunk Israelis. Intersections to side roads that sheltered rows of bars were blocked by checkpoints. Security officers loosely patted down bags and stopped the occasional pedestrian. The hired hands gave me the impression that they were not looking for things, but persons—and by persons I mean Palestinians. Although I cannot say this definitively, it is widely known that there are only two bars in West Jerusalem where Palestinian can comfortably get inebriated. And so the lax checkpoints lend themselves as a visual marker for who is celebrating Independence Day, and who is not allowed to pass.

In Israel, Yom Haatzmaut comes the day after the Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and the day before Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. It is the season for national exuberance. But in Jerusalem tensions run high throughout the year. The drunkenness that tags along with holiday outdoor dance parties and pop music acts as a lubricant to expose underlying feelings of racism—”Arabs! I hate Arabs!

Yet even on an average day in the holy city some Israelis view the Arabic language itself as a provocation. About a week before Independence Day I was riding the light rail, a line serviced by Veolia that is the only public transportation running through both East and West Jerusalem. Standing in the rare un- segregated crowded car, a middle-aged Israeli woman spoke to a group of younger Palestinian men. The men wore jeans, tee shirts and sweatshirts and carried tied black plastic bags. In the West Bank and in Palestinian businesses in East Jerusalem, vendors package products in medium sized blue or black bags, while Israeli businesses typically give out shopping bags with words or prints. Because the men were dressed down, carrying the bags and heading towards the Damascus Gate—the location of the bus station for rides to the West Bank—they clearly looked like Palestinian day labors with special permits to work in Israel. The woman had picked up on this.

When she spoke I could not understand her words. Yet it was obvious that she upset one of them. The youngest man in the group of five spoke back to her in Hebrew. He was agitated. I understood only the phrase: “why, because we are Arabs?” At the next stop the women got off. Then the men switched to Arabic. I eavesdropped.

I remained quiet throughout the incident. In the moment of the first conversation, the one with the Israeli woman, I knew something was afoot, but I could not translate the altercation. But during the Arabic recounting of events I understood what had transpired.

Apparently the woman had asked to see the Palestinian group’s rail tickets. The youngest protested the question, leading the woman to explain something like “you look like you didn’t pay.” The youngest man then told her that every day he, and other Arabs are asked to show their tickets. Even the police, he continued, ask just him and then move on.

An older man sitting in the group tried to calm the youth whose feelings were hurt as they discussed what had just happened. The youngest looked sick of everything.

Because I was listening in, I kept looking over at the group. They noticed. I looked away. I am a creep, I thought. Something racist happened and I just sat there—like a quiet idiot—and now something else was happening. My intermittent eye locking was also getting mistaken as a gaze of contempt. But at this point, what could I say or do? And for that matter, even if I had understood the first conversation in real-time, what would it matter? The situation showed that small realities and hardships for Palestinians living under occupation and working in Israel are beyond capabilities of rectifying. If I said something after the fact, it would only be to absolve myself of guilt. To be a narcissist, showing that I am different from this woman. I could not change anything for these men. And it troubled me that speaking would be a selfish act and not a pious act, which only troubled me more because I realized I was still only thinking of myself.

I continued to replay this incident over the next week. At the same time a painful lump was growing on my intestine, the result of a medical condition that runs in my family. The bulge protruding from my abdomen served as a reminder to my helplessness, which is why on Yom Haatzmaut I asked the Israeli man if he spoke Arabic. I knew what I was doing, but didn’t care. I wanted to make the inner discomfort match the outer. I knew the man would be upset by the question. So I guess I was looking for trouble. I guess I was looking to recreate the scenario, but direct the outrage at me. I guess I was looking to get punched in the face.

When I am disappointed in myself I tend to internalize, which is perhaps the most ineffective way to deal with self-loathing. Through genetics I have a predisposition for my insides to crumble. I could feel the process starting to happen and I got feisty over the lack of control I have on my body, the occupation and on the racist Israeli public transportation rider. Anything I would have said that day in the light rail would have been more about my hero fantasy than actually assisting these men, who clearly did not need any assistance. They stood up for themselves and called out racism when they saw it. I am not part of their story and mouthing off at an ATM the week after was like recording a B side to a record that no one will listen to anyways.

It is hard to propose a solution for diffused racism. A re-education camp for bad behavior? No, there needs to be a psychological shift separate from equitable policy. And I don’t see that shift playing out in the light rail or in the street celebrations for Israel’s Independence Day.

Under International Law Jerusalem is a divided city, with East Jerusalem occupied by the Israeli authorities. But under Israeli law, East Jerusalem was annexed to the Jewish state in 1980. Increasingly the areas that are beyond the separation wall, such as Qalandia refugee camp have been de facto ghettoized to the Palestinian Authority, despite its location within the Jerusalem borders and not the West Bank. These people pay to the Jerusalem municipality around 26% of the revenue generated from taxes. But the city only doles out to Palestinians 5% of the funds. Such concrete discrimination is easy to point out. And perhaps it also forgives and encourages a social framework where shouting “Arabs, I hate Arabs!” does not so much as turn a head.
 

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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57 Responses

  1. W.Jones
    April 22, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Because I was listening in, I kept looking over at the group. They noticed. I looked away. I am a creep, I thought. Something racist happened and I just sat there—like a quiet idiot—and now something else was happening. My intermittent eye locking was also getting mistaken as a gaze of contempt. But at this point, what could I say or do? And for that matter, even if I had understood the first conversation in real-time, what would it matter? The situation showed that small realities and hardships for Palestinians living under occupation and working in Israel are beyond capabilities of rectifying. If I said something after the fact, it would only be to absolve myself of guilt.

    Don’t feel bad, Allison about yourself or saying words of sympathy. It makes a huge difference when someone is in prison and someone writes to them. Even if the person cannot get them out it shows they sympathize with them as one person to another.

    One idea is that you can say “sorry about that” or “I agree with you” in Arabic in a quiet voice. I am not telling you what to do, but there is really no reason you need to feel bad for showing someone sympathy who is in a bad situation like this. Even if the person does not react, you can do your part.

    Take care, dear.

    And it troubled me that speaking would be a selfish act and not a pious act, which only troubled me more because I realized I was still only thinking of myself.

    Your “whisper” of kindness need not be about justifying your failure, but giving moral support to the hurt.

  2. Mike_Konrad
    April 22, 2013, 3:06 pm

    My understanding is that the Arab – though NOT citizens – can vote in Jerusalem municipal elections; but don’t. (I got this fact from a pro-Arab film)

    Why don’t they vote?

    If they don’t, part of this misappropriation of funding is due to their failure to act.

    At 1/3rd of the population, they could swing a lot of votes. The seculars and Hasidic Jews hate each other. The Arabs could be a swing vote in exchange for funding.

    • Cliff
      April 22, 2013, 5:43 pm

      pro-Arab?

      why do you speak this way

      you’re not Jewish right? you’re not Israeli right?

      yet you speak exactly like a ****ing settler

      They don’t accept the legitimacy of the occupier.

      We wouldn’t either.

      But you always put absurd standards on the people you’re robbing.

      Just like how you said earlier that nuking all of the ME (by Israel) was reasonable.

      You’re disgusting and a hypocrite.

    • German Lefty
      April 22, 2013, 6:06 pm

      My understanding is that the Arab – though NOT citizens – can vote in Jerusalem municipal elections; but don’t. Why don’t they vote?

      Recently, I watched a great talk on YouTube. The answer to your question is somewhere in the video.
      Shir Hever: Economy in the Middle East – Jerusalem and the EU
      link to youtube.com
      (English with German translation)

    • kalithea
      April 23, 2013, 12:53 am

      Your hubris stinks.

    • Peter in SF
      April 23, 2013, 5:33 am

      Mike:

      My understanding is that the Arab – though NOT citizens – can vote in Jerusalem municipal elections; but don’t. (I got this fact from a pro-Arab film)

      Why don’t they vote?

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that you’d tell us that some of your best friends are Palestinians. So why not just ask them?

    • Sumud
      April 24, 2013, 6:33 pm

      Why don’t they vote?

      Why should they give legitimacy to Israel’s illegal and globally not-recognised annexation – not even by the US – of East Jerusalem by voting? As if that will erase the apartheid conditions the even Palestinian Israelis live under.

  3. seafoid
    April 22, 2013, 3:54 pm

    1900 years of exile. Rituals on 5 continents. Chicken soup in over 1000 varieties. Seders, Shabbats, Samovars. Joy, despair, banality. Mikvahs, Bar Mitzvahs, Menorahs. The Spanish Inquisition, Maimonides, The Bal Shem Tov. Endless iterations. The Star of David, rabbinical thought, hundreds of thousands of Torah experts down through the centuries. Wisdom and learning and praying and it all was directed towards this , all leading to this higher state of consciousness called Israel . Where some random barely educated Jewish thug can say ” I hate Arabs”. The pinnacle of Judaism. It was for this that people of faith died.

    The human condition is truly miserable.

    • Daniel Rich
      April 22, 2013, 11:30 pm

      @ seafoid,

      Very beautifully worded. I’m touched.

    • Sibiriak
      April 24, 2013, 7:05 pm

      1900 years of exile

      What exile?

    • Sibiriak
      April 24, 2013, 7:18 pm

      rabbinical thought, hundreds of thousands of Torah experts down through the centuries. Wisdom and learning and praying and it all was directed towards this

      Zionism appeared late and was generally opposed by rabbinical thought.

  4. Les
    April 22, 2013, 3:56 pm

    Another victory for BDS.

    Financial Times (online edition)
    April 21, 2013

    G4S to quit key contracts in Israel

    Gill Plimmer

    G4S, the world’s biggest security company by revenues, has confirmed it is planning to quit key contracts in Israel amid protests against its involvement in settlements within occupied Palestinian territories.

    The company employs 6,000 people in Israel, where it provides and maintains screening equipment for several West Bank military checkpoints. It also manages security systems at the controversial Ofer Prison in the Occupied West Bank.

    But with sporadic international protests continuing both outside the FTSE 100’s headquarters in London and internationally, the company said it would exit the contracts covering Ofer, the checkpoints and the West Bank police headquarters when they terminate in 2015.

    “Having conducted a review in 2011, we concluded that, to ensure that G4S Israel business practices remain in line with our own business ethics policy, we would aim to exit the contracts which involve the servicing of security equipment at a small number of barrier checkpoints, a prison and a police station in the West Bank area,” G4S told the Financial Times.

    The move will nevertheless disappoint protesters, who have called on G4S to end all dealings with the Israeli prison authorities. The security company will continue to service security systems in commercial and government sites inside Israel, including jails housing Palestinian inmates, after 2015.

    Analysts have raised the prospect that G4S could be tempted to divest the Israeli business altogether. The company has raised “reputational risk” higher up the list of priorities in the wake of its humiliating failure to provide 10,400 guards contracted for the London Olympics, with the army called in to make up the shortfall.

    Kean Marden, analyst at Jefferies, the US investment bank, said in a note: “G4S Israel may be next to be divested? The Israel/Palestine conflict has created reputational issues. In our view the potential disposal of G4S Israel could be announced as soon as the 25 June capital markets day.”

    G4S has established a risk committee and is conducting more formal reviews of the operational and reputational dangers of contracts worth more than £20m. It has also stated its ambition to offload underperforming parts of the business.

    The group earned £100m in sales at its Israeli operations last year. But the division accounts for just 1 per cent of global revenues, and 1 per cent of profits at the global group, which employs 625,000 people in 125 countries.

    Last week 19 non-government organisations from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine called on Arab nations and the European Union to stop dealing with G4S. The Scottish Trades Union Congress also voted on Tuesday to support Palestinian calls for a boycott of the multinational. It has agreed to put pressure on Holyrood to cancel G4S’s new £13m contract to carry out the electronic tagging of offenders in Scotland over the next five years.

    G4S has said that it has no people working at the prison sites or managing control rooms in jails in Israel or the occupied territories; staff simply fix security equipment such as CCTV and leave.

    Earlier this week, Trevor Dighton, finance director, sold 30 per cent of his share holding, or about 400,000 shares, at £2.958 and raised £1.3m. According to the latest report and accounts Mr Dighton held 1.46m shares (including deferred shares) on December 31 2012. His successor, Ashley Almanza, starts on 1 May.

    link to lexisnexis.com.central.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048

  5. Obsidian
    April 22, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Last week I attended a large Yom Haatzmaut celebration in central Israel and who did I see there? Arabs!

    I saw several Arabs walking around amongst the crowd of (sober) Jewish celebrants.
    The Jews didn’t pay the Arabs any mind and I judged that everyone had a nice time watching the dancers and singers and fireworks.

    • Allison Deger
      April 22, 2013, 5:37 pm

      @Obsidian,

      I believe it. I’m sure there were 48 Palestinians, ones who even self-identify as Arab-Israelis, at the Yom Haatzmaut celebration you went to. But I wasn’t in central Israel, I was in Jerusalem and racists statements and racists actions are rampant–from my experience. Speaking Arabic in Haifa, no one so much as glances. Speaking Arabic in Tel Aviv, funny looks come but people are too busy or too polite to say anything. Each city has its own tone and Jerusalem’s is well…the most explicit. With that said the policies that govern West Jerusalem are no different than wherever you are in the center of the country. And I think the lack of yelling “I hate Arabs” speaks more to the Israeli people where you are than a tone set by governance. How many ministers of Knesset would echo the statement by my Israeli ATM man?

      In the end, it can’t be ignored that the types of things I described in the two days I was in Jerusalem over that seven day period happen all of the time. So what’s that? It can’t be divorced from a national consciousness just because it didn’t happen in that city. I encourage you, if you disagree with those types of behaviors, to be active in making changes in the systems that foster such statements.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 22, 2013, 5:42 pm

        allison, david sheen is very active on his twitter account posting his personal videos documenting racism on the streets, sometimes in the form of authorities screaming obscenities. so i don’t doubt it’s very common especially around the holidays, this one in particular.

        i was much more impacted by the inner dialogue and personal turmoil in your article surrounding the racism you encountered on the rail. really impressive powerful writing. thank you so much for revealing so much.

    • MLE
      April 22, 2013, 5:38 pm

      Obsidian means- obviously I didnt see it so it must not have happened

      • Cliff
        April 23, 2013, 6:40 am

        Exactly MLE.

    • talknic
      April 22, 2013, 11:44 pm

      @ Obsidian

      Meanwhile elsewhere….

    • Sumud
      April 24, 2013, 6:36 pm

      Last week I attended a large Yom Haatzmaut celebration in central Israel and who did I see there? Arabs!

      Jewish arabs or non-jewish arabs? How could you tell?

  6. Felice Gelman
    April 22, 2013, 4:29 pm

    Racists respond to power. When African Americans in the US won the struggle to end overt segregation and were able to elect local officials of color, the power equation began to change. Overt racism became less socially acceptable. African Americans were able to claim their human dignity. (Yes, covert racism remains rampant, but there are now ways to address it). The simplest solution to Jewish Israeli racism is a state with equal rights for all. That would result in an immediate “attitude adjustment” — one sorely needed. The author is right — the hardships and small indignities of Palestinian life in Israel cannot be rectified by dialogue, confrontation, or any other form of one-on-one effort. The only course for the individual is to challenge the power structure that nurtures the racists.

  7. K Renner
    April 22, 2013, 5:21 pm

    You have far more self control then I have. I think I’d be in jail after running into someone like that first guy.

  8. giladg
    April 22, 2013, 5:27 pm

    Reported today that more and more Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are taking out full Israeli citizenship. I wonder why?

    • MLE
      April 22, 2013, 6:51 pm

      One state solution?

    • RoHa
      April 22, 2013, 8:58 pm

      Probably because they hope that having Israeli citizenship will make it a bit harder for Jewish thugs to throw them out of their homes and their country.

    • talknic
      April 22, 2013, 11:49 pm

      @ giladg “I wonder why?”

      You can find out by reading the full report .. link to crisisgroup.org

    • kalithea
      April 23, 2013, 12:39 am

      Because they sense Zionists will eventually self-destruct; they want to be in a position to step up and help free their brothers and sisters in the Israeli gulag called the “territories”.

    • Cliff
      April 23, 2013, 6:42 am

      1SS I agree Gilad-g.

    • Talkback
      April 23, 2013, 8:40 am

      giladg says:”Reported today that more and more Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are taking out full Israeli citizenship. I wonder why?”

      Reported not long ago:
      link to btselem.org

      Oh wait, did you actually think that more and more taking it, because Israel is so awesome, you poor misguided child?

  9. Justpassingby
    April 22, 2013, 5:34 pm

    Not surprising, the hatred for arabs, muslims and iranians are deep, its scary that such a paranoid and hateful regime have nukes.

    Of course we wont hear these racist attitudes on prime time news.

  10. Alex Kane
    April 22, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Awesome writing.

    • giladg
      April 23, 2013, 6:43 am

      Allison should write about what Muslims and Arabs say about Jews. The fact that she speaks Arabic should also put her in a position to comment on websites like Memri – www. memri.org , sites that translate vitriolic talk from Muslims, a practice that is widespread in the Arab world. Or is talking negatively about radical Islam so politically incorrect that one would struggle to know that there is a cultural war underway. Did anyone else notice that CNN and MSNBC hardly mentioned the Islamic piece to the Boston bombing, or was it just me? There I go again, over reacting. Political correctness seems to wipe clear the sores and warts of the Palestinian people. They are squeaky clean in Allison’s eyes at least.

      • K Renner
        April 23, 2013, 12:37 pm

        There is no “cultural war”. That’s just another myth spread by Israelis and their supporters so that they are able to justify their conduct in Palestine- “evil Muslims” and all that rot.

      • Allison Deger
        April 24, 2013, 5:52 pm

        I usually just comment on Mondoweiss and think about commenting on Open Zion.

      • giladg
        April 25, 2013, 1:29 am

        What I meant to say is that your understanding of Arabic can confirm or object to the way translations are presented on MEMRI, as this website shows actual video as well as direct quotes from reports in the Arab media, that show widespread use of racist practices.
        The videos and reports speak for themselves. You should speak to what the Arabs themselves are saying, and it ain’t that pretty and is far worse than what you imply only goes on in Israel.

      • eljay
        April 24, 2013, 6:18 pm

        >> Allison should write about what Muslims and Arabs say about Jews.

        Ah, yes, the old “they’re bad, so we get to be bad too”. Zio-supremacists love to reach for the bottom of the morality barrel.

      • justicewillprevail
        April 24, 2013, 6:25 pm

        Memri is a propaganda outlet, funded by the usual suspects. Of course you want to believe it. You are conditioned to. There is no cultural war, except the one you want to justify your hatred and hysteria. Fail.

      • talknic
        April 25, 2013, 9:24 am

        @ giladg Correction … // memri.org , sites that publish their uncorroborated translations alleged to be vitriolic talk from Muslims //

        “Political correctness seems to wipe clear the sores and warts of the Palestinian people. They are squeaky clean in Allison’s eyes at least.”

        No they’re a people under occupation for 65 years and they bear all the hallmarks of a people occupied. Hallmarks that include a propensity to react violently towards their occupiers. That’s why the GC’s exist.

        To protect the civilian populations of both occupied and occupier. However Israel, the occupying power under 65 years of successive governments, encourages its Jewish civilians to illegally enter “territories occupied”, thereby PURPOSEFULLY endangering them. Only a real schmuck would support such a government

    • Cliff
      April 23, 2013, 6:43 am

      Alison rocks.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    April 22, 2013, 6:46 pm

    RE: “These people [Palestinians] pay to the Jerusalem municipality around 26% of the revenue generated from taxes. But the city only doles out to Palestinians 5% of the funds. Such concrete discrimination is easy to point out. And perhaps it also forgives and encourages a social framework where shouting ‘Arabs, I hate Arabs!’ does not so much as turn a head.” ~ Allison Deger

    MY AMATEUR EFFORT AT EXPLAINING THESE BEHAVIORS (grossly simplified): If the Palestinians pay 26% of the revenue generated from taxes and the city only doles out 5% to Palestinians, most people would see that as being very unfair. Since it seems to be a matter of cold, hard numbers, the unfairness is difficult for people to deny. For an Israeli, this means that they (i.e., their government) are the the perpetrators of this unfairness. Consequently, this unfairness (to the extent Israelis are aware of it, at least subconsciously) has the potential to cause considerable cognitive dissonance in a good many Israelis, and this cognitive dissonance could become very unpleasant for them. So what are the poor Israelis to do? For the most part they will endeavor to use one or more defense mechanisms to keep as much of this cognitive dissonance as possible in check (at bay; kept to a manageable level).

    First let’s consider the young, inebriated male at the ATM who said: “Arabs! I hate Arabs . . . They want to kill us! They want to kill us! I hate Arabs!” Well gee, if “the Arabs” want to kill the Israeli’s/Jews, then they don’t deserve to get even 5% of the funds; no matter whether they have paid 26%, 50% or 99%. Who (other than a rabid anti-Semite) could possibly expect the Israeli’s to give even 5% of the funds to (dehumanized) people who want to kill the Israeli’s/Jews! ! ! Hell, the killer Arabs/Palestinians are mighty damn lucky to get even so much as a little chicken soup every now and again! Who (other than a rabid anti-Semite) could possibly expect the Israelis to fund (dehumanized) people who are intent on killing them! Ergo, problem (i.e., potential cognitive dissonance) solved!
    [DEFENSE MECHANISM POSSIBILITIES: See Acting out & Projection in the P.S. below.]

    Now let’s consider the middle-aged Israeli woman on the Veolia Apartheid Express™ who humiliated (i.e., deprived the dignity of) the two Arabs/Palestinians by asking to see their tickets, and then said something to them like “you look like you didn’t pay”. Well gee, if this Israeli woman believes that Arabs/Palestinians don’t pay for riding the Veolia Apartheid Express™ (and probably most everything else), then the cheating, freeloading, thieving Arabs/Palestinians don’t deserve to get even 5% of the funds doled out by the municipality; no matter whether they have paid 26%, 50% or 99% of the taxes paid to the municipality! Who (other than a rabid anti-Semite) could possibly expect the Israeli’s to give even 5% of the funds to cheating, freeloading, thieving (dehumanized) people! ! ! Hell, the cheating, freeloading, thieving Arabs/Palestinians are mighty damn lucky to get even so much as a little chicken soup every now and again! And they can sure as hell forget about any chopped liver! Who (other than a rabid anti-Semite) could possibly expect the Israelis to fund (dehumanized) people who cheat, freeload and thieve! Ergo, problem (i.e., potential cognitive dissonance) solved!
    [DEFENSE MECHANISM POSSIBILITIES: See Displacement, Dissociation & Reaction formation in the P.S. below.]

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 22, 2013, 6:54 pm

      P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA [Defence mechanisms]:

      [EXCERPTS] In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defense mechanisms (or defense mechanisms) are psychological strategies brought into play by the unconscious mind[1] to manipulate, deny, or distort reality (through processes including, but not limited to, repression, identification, or rationalization),[2] and to maintain a socially acceptable self-image or self-schema.[3]
      Healthy persons normally use different defenses throughout life. An ego defense mechanism becomes pathological only when its persistent use leads to maladaptive behavior such that the physical and/or mental health of the individual is adversely affected. The purpose of ego defense mechanisms is to protect the mind/self/ego from anxiety and/or social sanctions and/or to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.[4]
      Defence mechanisms are unconscious coping mechanisms that reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses.[5]
      . . . The list of defence mechanisms is huge and there is no theoretical consensus on the number of defence mechanisms. . .

      Vaillant’s categorization of defence mechanisms

      Level 1: Pathological
      • Delusional Projection:
      • Denial:
      • Distortion:
      • Extreme projection:

      Level 2: Immature
      These mechanisms are often present in adults. These mechanisms lessen distress and anxiety provoked by threatening people or by uncomfortable reality. . .
      • Acting out: Direct expression of an unconscious wish or impulse in action, without conscious awareness of the emotion that drives that expressive behaviour.
      • Fantasy: Tendency to retreat into fantasy in order to resolve inner and outer conflicts.
      • Idealization:
      • Passive aggression:
      • Projection:
      Projection is a primitive form of paranoia. Projection also reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the undesirable impulses or desires without becoming consciously aware of them; attributing one’s own unacknowledged unacceptable/unwanted thoughts and emotions to another; includes severe prejudice, severe jealousy, hypervigilance to external danger, and “injustice collecting”. . .
      • Projective identification:
      • Somatization:

      Level 3: Neurotic
      These mechanisms are considered neurotic, but fairly common in adults. Such defences have short-term advantages in coping, but can often cause long-term problems . . .
      • Displacement:/ Defence mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses to a more acceptable or less threatening target; redirecting emotion to a safer outlet; separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening. For example, a mother may yell at her child because she is angry with her husband.
      • Dissociation: Temporary drastic modification of one’s personal identity or character to avoid emotional distress; separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought.
      • Hypochondriasis:
      • Intellectualization:
      A form of isolation; concentrating on the intellectual components of a situation so as to distance oneself from the associated anxiety-provoking emotions . . .
      • Reaction formation: Converting unconscious wishes or impulses that are perceived to be dangerous or unacceptable into their opposites; behaviour that is completely the opposite of what one really wants or feels; taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety. This defence can work effectively for coping in the short term, but will eventually break down.
      • Regression:
      • Repression: The process of attempting to repel desires towards pleasurable instincts, caused by a threat of suffering if the desire is satisfied; the desire is moved to the unconscious . . .
      • Undoing:
      • Withdrawal:

      Level 4: Mature
      These are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults and are considered mature . . .
      • Altruism:
      • Anticipation:
      • Humour:
      • Identification: The unconscious modelling of one’s self upon another..
      • Introjection: Identifying with some idea or object so deeply that . . .
      • Sublimation: Transformation of negative emotions or instincts into positive actions, behaviour, or emotion. . .
      • Thought suppression: The conscious process of pushing thoughts into the preconscious; the conscious decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present reality; making it possible to later access uncomfortable or distressing emotions whilst accepting them.

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

  12. ivri
    April 22, 2013, 7:39 pm

    The “I hate Arabs” shouts are fortunately rare but do exist. There is however something in the world of humans called reciprocity and it applies not only in the political sphere but almost in any other one. We have to remember that an “I hate Israelis/Jews” attitude and talk is almost the norm for decades and decades (predating “the occupation” by a lot). This have had its ineviatble effects and indeed, given the depth and intensity of the latter, it is a tribute to Israelis that it is not much worse.

    • Sumud
      April 24, 2013, 6:53 pm

      We have to remember that an “I hate Israelis/Jews” attitude and talk is almost the norm for decades and decades (predating “the occupation” by a lot). This have had its ineviatble effects and indeed, given the depth and intensity of the latter, it is a tribute to Israelis that it is not much worse.

      No. What kind of twisted universe do you inhabit where we should all be grateful to Israelis that their toxic racism is not even worse?

      You are pushing that same tired hasbara barrow of this being an eternal religious conflict when it isn’t.

      Their is enmity between zionists and Palestinians because: zionists have waged war, ethnically cleansed and stolen vast amounts of Palestinian land, property and natural resources over the course of seven decades. They have created and maintained the largest refugee population in the world today. Gaza is a concentration camp where Israeli companies test new weapons and have killed 3000+ people since 2005 and The West Bank is being overrun by illegal settlers who demonstrate their love for the land by running their sewerage into Palestinian farms and chopping down olive trees, and the IDF terrorizes Palestinians daily, just because they can, see link to mondoweiss.net

      Zionist hate Palestinians because they continue to resist their oppressors.

  13. Sherri Munnerlyn
    April 22, 2013, 9:57 pm

    April 22, 2013 is not just another day in Palestine. Today is the day a deal was reached for the release of Palestinian hunger strike prisoner Samer Issawi. Earlier today, in his hospital room he bared his skeletal body to the Israeli Court and asked, do I look any different then holocaust victims. Within hours, it was announced Samer Issawi will be released on December 7, 2013, for each of the eight months he was on his hunger strike he was essentially punished by another month imprisonment. But he will be freed, and that is what makes today not just another day in Palestine. And this makes today a day to celebrate!

    • Sumud
      April 24, 2013, 6:55 pm

      Today is the day a deal was reached for the release of Palestinian hunger strike prisoner Samer Issawi. Earlier today, in his hospital room he bared his skeletal body to the Israeli Court and asked, do I look any different then holocaust victims.

      Their should be a photo of Issawi’s frail body on the front page of the NYT with that (“do I look any different then holocaust victims?”) as the caption.

  14. gamal
    April 22, 2013, 10:08 pm

    genuinely brilliant little piece, we await the novel, seriously your talents are wasted writing little epistles.

    “But at this point, what could I say or do? ”

    “Ma’alish habibi, inti helwa”

  15. Daniel Rich
    April 22, 2013, 11:33 pm

    @ Allison Deger,

    Whatever you didn’t do, it takes courage to show weakness.

  16. Danaa
    April 22, 2013, 11:38 pm

    For those who speak and understand hebrew, the racist comments made by Israelis of all stripes are ubiquitous. Some of the netter educated speak in code, disguising their intense contempt and suspicion of anything Arab. Not everyone “hates’ Arabs. Most just think “they” should know ‘their” place and not try to mix with the first class citizens.

    To get a taste of what average – and not so average – Israelis think and quip about, the social media are a good place. Just check the stories being shared on facebook and look at the comments. Sometimes, the worst comments are the off-handed ones, which assume everyone is on the same page. I’ll see if I can bring in a few examples.

  17. Emma
    April 22, 2013, 11:38 pm

    Eloquent piece, Allison. Thank you.

  18. kalithea
    April 23, 2013, 12:17 am

    I’m grateful for your reporting, but on this incident, you’re preaching to the choir. I believe this was a missed opportunity. I guess my nature is different than yours, although, I too suffer physically when I witness an injustice or when someone, anyone, stranger or not, including myself is the victim of ignorance. However, I’m better at defending others than myself. I guess because when it happens to you; it’s dehumanizing and paralyzes your spirit; I only wish someone would defend me when I’m the victim of someone’s ignorance. Unfortunately, most people today keep to themselves and don’t go out on a limb.

    But when someone else is a victim of injustice; it’s like I’m suddenly possessed and can’t be silenced, I could care less who’s listening or who I’m confronting, almost recklessly so. I too witnessed a racist incident on a bus once and believe me, the individual who behaved in a racist manner to a young man of another race on that bus got a PIECE OF MY MIND. I shamed the man publicly in front of everyone present. He too behaved as if he was that young man’s master, i.e. an act of supremacy, and I was not to be contained. I just couldn’t let him get away with it. True, I may be foolishly impulsive even reckless at times for my own good because he could have reacted violently; but I can’t stomach injustice and my reaction was so second-nature; I doubt I could have kept quiet even if I tried.

    I’m not trying to judge; I know you’re a good person, in fact, I really feel the empathy in your pieces; but that woman needed to be exposed for what she is: a RACIST bigot and supremacist. It’s too bad that she went on her way with her hubris unchecked and intact, probably setting a horrible example for her own children who will one day be drunken revelers contaminating the atmosphere in Jerusalem with their racism.

    I do sympathize though; I don’t think I could live in a place like Israel. I don’t think I could survive in such an environment. Perhaps, you’ve been conditioned to put up with it, but when it comes to injustice, I’m so fragile that to be surrounded by it every day would either threaten my health seriously or literally kill me in the long run. Deception also makes me physically ill. Maybe I’m not as strong as I should be; afterall. I don’t know how you can live there; but the reporting you deliver is valuable. The world needs to know and ACT against this injustice now.

    • Daniel Rich
      April 23, 2013, 9:02 pm

      @ kalithea,

      Q: I only wish someone would defend me when I’m the victim of someone’s ignorance.

      R: When around, I’ll be on your team. You have my word.

  19. Accentitude
    April 23, 2013, 3:33 am

    “I hate Arabs.” That’s a phrase which is quite telling, isn’t it? If he said “I hate Palestinians” then I could see why he would say that considering that the Israelis and Palestinians are locked in conflict. However, he didn’t say that. He said “I hate Arabs.” We could say that he was inebriated and probably wasn’t aware of the distinction between the two phrases but I believe that he knew exactly what he was saying because this is a phrase and feeling that is deeply woven throughout Israeli society. He knew exactly what he was saying.

    By saying “I hate Arabs” he confirmed that he not only hates Palestinians because they’re the other party in this long drawn out conflict but he also hates Arab culture, Arab society, Arabic history whether it be political, cultural, religious,…the Arabic language, and basically the very fabric of Arab existence. In doing so, he also hates Egypt and Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, of course Palestine…whether the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem or otherwise…, and most of North Africa, and the entire Arab Peninsula.

    However, what he forgot, or perhaps what he refuses, to recognize is that Israel is a little island in the middle of a whole group of Arab countries, full of Arabs which he “hates.” If the Israelis want to cling to that little island and live in peace, then they need to change their racist superiority complex asap…or else one day, it’ll reach a point of no return, where that island is going to be met by a tsunami and swallowed in to the Arab sea that surrounds it.

    • Walid
      April 25, 2013, 7:50 am

      Looks like not many here have had the opportunity of hearing Palestinians or other Arabs carrying on with the same “I hate Jews” that at times they are a little more polite by correctly referring to them as Zionists, and they express it without being drunk like the guy that was provoked in Jerusalem. In light of what’s been happening for the past 60 years, these manifestations of hatred on both sides are to be expected.

      • Accentitude
        April 25, 2013, 8:42 am

        I have often heard Palestinians here in Palestine and in diaspora refer to “Israeliyeh” (Israelis) if that’s what you’re talking about. Nearly all of the Palestinians I know are intelligent enough to know that there’s a very clear distinction between “Yahud” (Jews) and “Israeliyeh” (Israelis). I hardly think that criticism of the latter is unjustified as it is they that are upholding this devastating occupation over our people whether it is through actively supporting the occupation via their service in the occupying forces, or simply electing officials into the Knesset who are promoting racism against the Palestinians through their policies.

        Your comment gives the impression that you may be sitting on a high horse, “walid”, much like the drunkard mentioned in this article. Perhaps you’d like to come down from there and join us in the real world?

      • Walid
        April 25, 2013, 9:18 am

        No offense intended, Accentitude, already there. Just trying to say that irrespective of whichever tag you may want to pin on Jews or Arabs, racism exists on both sides. It’s just that the Zionists are carrying a bigger stick for now. Same situation with the drunk guy that considers all Arabs to be the same.

  20. Sumud
    April 24, 2013, 7:12 pm

    Because I was listening in, I kept looking over at the group. They noticed. I looked away. I am a creep, I thought. Something racist happened and I just sat there—like a quiet idiot—and now something else was happening. My intermittent eye locking was also getting mistaken as a gaze of contempt. But at this point, what could I say or do?

    If I said something after the fact, it would only be to absolve myself of guilt. To be a narcissist, showing that I am different from this woman. I could not change anything for these men. And it troubled me that speaking would be a selfish act and not a pious act, which only troubled me more because I realized I was still only thinking of myself.

    Allison – as my shrink used to tell me, look at the huge and unrealistic expectations you have of yourself!!! No, you can’t change anything in the larger sense for these men, so why beat yourself up over it? It doesn’t mean you don’t care – obviously you do since you’re in Palestine and Israel for MW, but you must have realistic expectations.

    In terms of that particular interaction on the train, you’re feeling bad and guilty over the fact they may have interpreted your glances as contempt? So this is where the reporter in you has to kick in, and the personal has to be put aside. You approach the gentlemen and say something like:

    “I hope you won’t think I’m being rude but I couldn’t help but overhear some of that conversation. My name is Allison and I write for a US website called Mondoweiss about Palestine & Israel, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

    At that point they can opt in or out, and either way you have instantly let them know that your interest is impersonal. Without saying it, your polite manner will also communicate that you do not hold them in contempt at all. As other people have written, sometimes it just helps people to know that there are people paying attention to their bad situation, and trying to make a difference. Maybe you might exchange contact information and expand your network of contacts.

    So you can’t swoop in like a knight[ess?] on a white horse and change the larger situation? Doesn’t matter, you do what you can, and stand tall. You should be proud now of all your efforts.

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