The New York Times has published a bold op-ed by Rula Jebreal, called “Minority Life in Israel,” that focuses on Palestinian conditions west of the Green Line and ends by saying, “Israel needs… a civil rights movement.” The piece is already drawing harsh comment at the Times site because of its simple descriptions of Palestinian life inside Israel. So far the piece has appeared on-line and in print in the International NYT.
Jebreal was born in Israel, but tells us that when she visits the country with her American husband, he breezes right in while she gets strip-searched. What a country! Her cousin was afraid to walk on the beach near Haifa last summer because of expressions of hatred toward Arabs during the Gaza onslaught. And: it is “virtually impossible for a Palestinian to buy or rent a home in any majority-Jewish city.” I didn’t know that. Did you?
Jebreal is specifically countering Netanyahu’s “American values” argument, that Palestinians can buy anywhere they please. From Netanyahu on Face the Nation earlier this month:
You know Arabs in East Jerusalem, Palestinians, buy apartments, thousands of them in the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem. Nobody says you can’t do it. If I said to you some place in the United States, Jews cannot buy apartments here. There’d be an uproar. I don’t accept this thing.
I mean, Jews can buy private homes in Arab neighborhoods, Arabs can buy private homes in Jewish neighborhoods. It’s their right. We don’t want to accept something else. And I was absolutely baffled by this. It’s against the American values and it doesn’t bode well for peace. The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace
Jebreal’s denunciation of “hate policies” is striking, for the New York Times, a newspaper that has refused to cover Max Blumenthal’s expose of these matters:
National leaders proudly promote hate policies. Israel’s foreign minister and the leader of the secular nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, has championed a call to boycott the businesses of Palestinian citizens of Israel and, ominously, has even sought to make the “transfer” of Palestinians legal. Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Mr. Lieberman — apparently without challenging him on such reprehensible views.
This is the atmosphere in which Israel’s Palestinians live. And there is no redress available to us elsewhere. Our rights and welfare certainly cannot be represented by the Palestinian Authority, whose jurisdiction is limited to partial control of the population of the West Bank. Its president, Mahmoud Abbas, cannot negotiate for us because we are Israeli citizens. Israel, however, prefers not to think of us as such, and thus resorts to all manner of petty aggressions to prove it, like trying to deny my daughter a new passport.
Notice the description of delegitimization:
Israel is quick to point out efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. Yet what truly undermines Israel’s international standing is not its critics, but Israel’s abysmal treatment of its own citizens who are Palestinian. It is little different than other countries that have systematically discriminated against and segregated a whole class of its people based on race, religion and ethnicity.
How great that Jebreal found a home for this piece at the Times. The author was cast out of MSNBC last summer for criticizing the network’s coverage of the Gaza slaughter. Jebreal had the temerity to speak about the lack of Palestinian guests, to Max Blumenthal:
“I couldn’t stay silent after seeing the amount of airtime given to Israeli politicians versus Palestinians,” Jebreal told me. “They say we are balanced but their idea of balance is 90 percent Israeli guests and 10 percent Palestinians. This kind of media is what leads to the failing policies that we see in Gaza.”
Notice how forthright she was, in a venue where most other journalists would be mincing words:
“We are disgustingly biased on this issue. Look at how much airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis, Andrea Mitchell and others,” Jebreal complained to [Ronan] Farrow [on air on MSNBC]. “I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues.”
When Farrow claimed that the network had featured other voices, Jebreal shot back, “Maybe for thirty seconds, and then you have twenty-five minutes for Bibi Netanyahu.”