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Jebreal debunks Netanyahu’s ‘American values’ claim in NYT piece on ‘hate policies’

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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.”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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39 Responses

  1. just on October 27, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Fantastic article by Jebreal.

    Another one of my: ‘did the earth suddenly shift’ moments!!!

    Glad to see her back!

    (Grotesque comments– I couldn’t read all of them. Obviously the NYT readership on P/I is NOT used to the truth. UGH.)

    • ckg on October 27, 2014, 9:30 pm

      The trick, I think, to reading the NYT op-ed comments is to first read the top Readers’ Picks. Both #1 and #5 speak of apartheid. Then read the top NYT Picks for comparison to observe how the editors strain to be pro-Israel.

      • just on October 27, 2014, 11:13 pm

        Thanks for that ckg.

        (I have to admit I have given up on online NYT quite a long time ago.)

  2. Krauss on October 27, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Good for her to focus on non-WB/Gaza Palestinians, but these people are often the fig leafs that “liberal” Zionists wish to uphold.

  3. on October 27, 2014, 6:10 pm

    Here are the lead sentences from the first five letters commenting on this oped as listed on the NYTimes website:

    “Like anyone else who has anti-Israel bias, this op-ed contributor has it wrong about Israel’s treatment of minorities. ”

    “Ms. Jebreal refers to a “system of segragation”, but does not bother to describe it.”

    “Last time I checked Israeli Arabs still were members of Knesset, still served on the Supreme Court, still attended Israeli universities and still had equal protection under the law. The sad truth though is that hate engenders hate so it should come as no surprise that 66 years of unremitting hatred on the part of the Arabs toward Israel has resulted in some Israeli’s
    hating Arabs…”

    “This piece thoroughly confuses me…There is automatic citizenship for all Jews in Israel because it is the one place you can’t be turned away–unlike most other countries, including the US, before WWII. Jews have been thrown out of country after country for centuries–millennia”.

    “There are numerous factual inaccuracies in this Op-Ed”.

    The usual incredible mixture of victimhood, smugness, and arrogance. Each of these letters came from New York and all of them lectured this Palestinian who was born in Israel on what things are like in Israel.

    • ckg on October 27, 2014, 10:57 pm

      I believe those are the most recently posted comments at the time the comment section was closed by NYT staff or at the time you read.

      I relish reading the highly-moderated comment section of the NYT–it’s what every online news site should aspire to.

      On I/P op-eds, the comments follow a typical pattern. The earliest-posted comments are those most likely to be recommended by readers or NYT staff, but the earliest-post comments are also most likely to represent a random selection of readers’ beliefs. As time lapses, word gets out in the hasbara community and the flood of pro-Israel/anti-Palestinian comments roars in. But by then it’s too late to make a difference in the Readers’ Pick selections.

      • ckg on October 27, 2014, 11:13 pm

        And many late-posting hasbarists, while knowing that they won’t make the NYT Pick or Readers’ Pick lists, can comfort themselves in knowing that they will at least receive a paycheck.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 28, 2014, 12:44 pm

        Exactly. You see the same thing in ‘The Guardian’, on the rare occasion they dare to open an I/P thread to comments. The first comments are nearly always critical of Israel, then an hour or so later, in come the Hasbara brigade. And when they’re in, they’re in in force, as are the moderators.

  4. talknic on October 27, 2014, 9:49 pm

    Israel needs

    A) its promised constitution, under which;

    B) a legal government can be elected

    • JLewisDickerson on October 27, 2014, 10:17 pm

      Israel is a garrison state (or “pale”) surrounded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall”, and topped by the US-funded “Iron Dome”, but its true Achilles’ heel is the lack of an ‘iron foundation’ in the form of a formal constitution that is not easily overridden.
      Israel failed to take advantage of its best opportunity to “guarantee” basic rights to its citizens when it pretty much blew off the commitment made in its declaration of independence to formulate and adopt a formal constitution no later than 1 October 1948.
      Although some constitutional provisions are contained in Basic Laws passed by Israel’s Knesset, there is no clear rule determining the precedence of Basic Rules over regular legislation, and in many cases this issue is left to the interpretation of the judicial system.
      Consequently, at this point, it would be a stretch to say that rights of any of Israelis [Arabs, Jews or anyone else] are assured in the sense that Americans’ rights are “guaranteed” by its constitution (especially the Bill of Rights) which is very difficult to ammend. Considerably to the contrary, the current government of Israel is committed to having the Knesset pass a Basic Law subverting Israel’s democratic identity to its identity as the state of the Jewish people. When that is done, rest unsssured that all “Jews” will be treated equally, because inevitably some Jews will ultimately become more equal than others”.
      Without a formal constitution, the government of a garrison state that is permanently at war (where national security is always a priority) will enevitably become more and more authoritarian.

      • seafoid on October 28, 2014, 12:00 pm

        Its true Achilles heel is its neediness, I’d say. The need to be loved and understood while exhibiting the worse of its narcissistic nihilism. It’s a garrison state that needs the West. It has to balance its cruelty with PR and it’s finding that very hard now.
        Because Zionism is fundamentally incoherent.

  5. ckg on October 27, 2014, 10:17 pm

    This photo is complimentary, but the earlier one was dreamy.

  6. Horizontal on October 27, 2014, 10:55 pm

    Wow, she made points, didn’t mince words, and was clear in her accusations. No wonder they couldn’t have her on American television. Way too dangerous.

  7. adel hashemi on October 28, 2014, 12:51 am

    It is a fact that most Arabs in Israel would rather live under Israeli sovereignty than under an Arab one. Recently, when Avigdor Lieberman suggested that a final status agreement include a territorial swap that would transfer the Triangle area ( the territory, not its population, as this woman falsely claims) to a future state of Palestine, there were loud protests from Israeli Arabs, particularly in that area. Two polls showed opposition to such a swap at around 70%. How does that jibe with the “abysmal treatment of its own citizens” claim? Those same citizens tell us differently. I am an Arab and I know 8 Israeli Arabs in my area in NYC. With the exception of one from the Negev, all are happy to be Israeli citizens. Three of them are on state scholarships doing graduate work at American universities and intend to return to Israel to work there.

    • a blah chick on October 28, 2014, 7:11 am

      Gee, I wonder why the one from the Negev is so down on his or her country? Could it be because his or her people are getting ethnically cleansed?

      Your suggestion that Lieberman’s proposal was not about population transfer was not correct. Here’s what the man himself said about it:

      “There are many historical precedents for land and population swaps, and for the alteration of borders that enabled the creation of homogeneous states and the end of internal conflicts,”

      Tell me he’s not talking about a population transfer. Also aren’t you just a little upset that a senior government official can talk about giving away the land under your feet to another country? Why is it hard to believe that Palestinians in Israel might want to stay as part of a country that they have invested in? Never mind the fact that whatever you call the place it’s still their homeland.

      “Two polls showed opposition to such a swap at around 70%. How does that jibe with the “abysmal treatment of its own citizens” claim?” Are you saying that since these Arabs are allowed to vent in a poll there is no abysmal treatment? C’mon man. And that line “Those same citizens tell us differently.” Us? I think you let the mask slip there.

      But maybe you really are an Arab from Israel in which case I wish you the best and hope that you have chosen a field of study that will gain you employment back home, because there are certain jobs you cannot have and certain places you cannot live. But you already know that.

      P.S. When you fly back to Israel please show them your posting, if might keep you from getting anal probed at the airport.

      • just on October 28, 2014, 10:38 am

        “P.S. When you fly back to Israel please show them your posting, if might keep you from getting anal probed at the airport.”

        good advice, abc.

    • eljay on October 28, 2014, 8:29 am

      >> adel hashemi: It is a fact that most Arabs in Israel would rather live under Israeli sovereignty than under an Arab one. … How does that jibe with the “abysmal treatment of its own citizens” claim?

      A group of battered wives is given a choice: Remain with your husbands, or live in chains in the basement of a sadistic rapist. The wives choose to remain with their husbands. How does this jibe with the “abysmal treatment” of the wives by their husbands?!

      Why do defenders of Israel always argue that “better than the worst” is the same as “as good as the best”?

      • eljay on October 28, 2014, 11:44 am

        >> eljay: … in the basement of a sadistic rapist.

        Correction: … in the basement of a sadistic rapist’s house.

    • just on October 28, 2014, 9:28 am

      Perhaps because all of you live in NYC…

    • annie on October 28, 2014, 9:45 am

      would you like to stay where you were brought up and your family has lived for centuries or move across that border and get bombed and invaded? oh gee, i think i’ll stay where i am thank you! doesn’t mean they love the racist regime.

    • ckg on October 28, 2014, 11:54 am

      MLK Jr, of course, was never a fan of black separatism and black nationalism. He considered himself an American. But he was fully aware of America’s absymal treatment of many of its own citizens.

    • Shingo on October 29, 2014, 2:15 am

      It is a fact that most Arabs in Israel would rather live under Israeli sovereignty than under an Arab one.

      Where is the evidence of this so called fact?

      when Avigdor Lieberman suggested that a final status agreement include a territorial swap that would transfer the Triangle area ( the territory, not its population, as this woman falsely claims) to a future state of Palestine, there were loud protests from Israeli Arabs, particularly in that area.

      Probably because based on Gaza (“abysmal treatment of someone else’s citizens”), they know what Israel has in store for this area should it transfer it to Palestinian rule.

    • talknic on October 30, 2014, 7:05 pm

      @ adel hashemi “It is a fact that most Arabs in Israel would rather live under Israeli sovereignty than under an Arab one”

      Of course. What makes you think anyone would agree to their state wanting to get rid of them?

      “How does that jibe with the “abysmal treatment of its own citizens” claim? “

      Getting rid of your own citizens is not abysmal? WOW!

      “I am an Arab and I know 8 Israeli Arabs in my area in NYC. With the exception of one from the Negev, all are happy to be Israeli citizens. Three of them are on state scholarships doing graduate work at American universities and intend to return to Israel to work there”

      Maybe they like living in their traditional home land even if it is now called Israel.

      BTW you say you’re an American, born in Jordan to Palestinian Arab parents. Refugees. Sorry to hear that

      Citizens of Jordan are Jordanian

  8. a blah chick on October 28, 2014, 8:53 am

    I am not in the habit of calling out my fellow commentors but I do wonder if the Adel Hashemi who posted here is the same Adel Hashemi who posted on Twitter in July and August. I ask because his tweets were straight out of IDF talking points, all about how Hamas was using human shields and getting the poor Gazans killed, that Hamas is Nazi and Gaza is like Berlin in 1945. He didn’t post long, just 35 tweets and no followers. He appears to be the same Adel Hashemi who has a Facebook account, at least they use the same picture.

    Now the Twitter Adel and the Facebook Adel contain no profiles. But Facebook Adel does list some favorites. In music he likes Om Kalthoum, Fairuz and Arik Einstein. He then lists his other favorite things:

    StandWithUs, Israel Defense Forces, UN Watch, Thank you Israel for Healing our Wounded, Paul Estrin, The David Project, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Zionist Organization of America, MN Bike Trail Navigator

    Hmmm…very interesting.

    • just on October 28, 2014, 10:43 am

      thanks for that…

      things that make you go hmm, indeed.

      • a blah chick on October 28, 2014, 11:49 am

        Ain’t the Intertubes grand!

        Now that I re-read Mondo Adel’s post he does not say he’s an Arab from Israel just that he knows some Arabs who are and tells us how happy they are. Twitter Adel said he had relatives in Gaza, but other than saying how much they hated Hamas he never related what they were going through. And this was in July!

        I don’t know what is worse: an Arab who has bought into the Zionist system or someone masquerading as one.

    • Mooser on October 28, 2014, 11:47 am

      “He then lists his other favorite things”

      Girls writing Hebrew on bombs that make flashes?
      Phosphorus which lands on their nose and eye-lashes?
      Bombers which fly with the moon on their wings?
      Could those be a few of his fav-o-rite things?

      • just on October 28, 2014, 11:50 am

        rotflmao!!!

    • Mooser on October 28, 2014, 11:57 am

      “I am an Arab and I know 8 Israeli Arabs in my area in NYC.”

      That’s what Mr. Hashemi says about himself.

  9. Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 11:35 am

    I’ve noticed the same thing that Jebreal points out regarding the face-time and air-time of various talking heads spouting pro-Isreali and/or pro-administration talking points across all formats of MSM. It’s an ongoing problem, exacerbated by our corporate-owned media.

    Pro-Palestinian points of view are seldom heard, and if they are, they are in the minority or are presented as a clip without any in-depth followup. If you only view this casually, you may come away thinking you’re being informed fairly about all points of view, but that’s not the case.

    Another favorite technique is the selection of words used. Calling Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza an “ongoing conflict” gives the impression of two evenly matched opponents at war, and erases the reality of an occupation entirely — the root cause making the conflict happen in the first place. The media may indeed present isolated facts, but together these facts don’t end up giving the viewer an accurate picture of what’s happening on the ground.

    I’d say we get two flavors of Palestinians on our media — terrorists and victims. We see lots of scary guys launching rockets and we see people wailing around ruins and gravesides. One begets the other. Everything between these two extremes is missing. And Americans turn away from the story thinking that they know all there is to know.

    This is how subtle propaganda works.

  10. Mooser on October 28, 2014, 11:39 am

    How can you have a “civil rights movement” in a country which is based on, well, racism?
    To what basic law or concept can civil-rights advocates appeal? That more civil rights or equality would strengthen the “social fabric”?
    A basic legal (let alone social) equality of individuals is, frankly, anti-Zionist, and anti-Israel. To advocate “civil rights” is to advocate the destruction of Israel.

    • eljay on October 28, 2014, 11:49 am

      >> Mooser: To advocate “civil rights” is to advocate the destruction of Israel.

      IMO, civil rights wouldn’t necessarily destroy Israel, but they would destroy supremacist “Jewish State”.

      And that’s why Zio-supremacists love to talk about “peace”, but do their damnedest to avoid talking about justice, accountability and – hevven forbid! – equality.

    • Mooser on October 28, 2014, 12:03 pm

      C’mon, Hophmi, and Jon s, and especially you, Double Standard! This is no time to fall down on the job. Back me up on this!

    • just on October 28, 2014, 12:31 pm

      well done, Mooser.

      • Horizontal on October 29, 2014, 12:00 am

        Didn’t it work on Animal Farm?

  11. seafoid on October 28, 2014, 11:47 am

    Jebreal is from the same generation as Sayed Kashua and she’s even more dangerous because she made a career for herself in a country where being Palestinian does not qualify for platinum pariah status.

    Nothing worse for racists and bigots than a good looking, successful and eloquent pariah who understands that the rules work differently elsewhere where societies are not dysfunctional .

    Israelis are screwing up their lives today

  12. pgtl10 on October 28, 2014, 8:59 pm

    It’s a good start. Hopefully one day people will realize that the whole area is one area. The terms West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel are made up.

    If a non-Jew living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip wants to be represented, they are denied because they don’t live in Israel. However, if a Jew lives in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, the area magically becomes “Israel” and they get representation.

    The non-Jews are used as tokens to claim Israel is give rights to all. That way the West feels comfortable supporting the system.

  13. shalom on October 29, 2014, 12:16 pm

    It is hard to be balanced when one side is a state and member of the United Nations and the other is designated as a terrorist organization. With its military power it leveled large swaths of Gaza and killed some 2100 people, a majority of who were civilians while Hamas fired some 4500 rockets at civilian targets as well as Ben Gurion Airport and the Dimona Nuclear Reactor only managing to kill a handful of Israeli civilians and some 67 soldiers because of the difference in weapons, the Code Red warning system and the Iron Dome Defense system. As for the NY Times article, Rula Jabreal is largely right: The two populations are separated by a Security Wall constructed to stop terror attacks in Israel, by regressive Israeli laws and by the PA’s own anti-normalization/pro-delitimization policy, all of which do wonders to enhance the anger, fear and hatred that is driving extremist Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem and beyond toward the next Intifada instead of toward dialogue, reconciliation and peace.

    • Mooser on October 31, 2014, 1:07 pm

      “It is hard to be balanced when one side is a state and member of the United Nations and the other is designated as a terrorist organization”

      Gosh, what a world, “Shalom”! I guess when you’re “designated” you’re “designated”, and there’s no hope for recognition, let alone any ‘shalom’.

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