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On Netanyahu’s apology to Palestinian citizens of Israel


Attempting to display a shred of dignity toward a population that he would otherwise prefer to pretend does not exist, Prime Minister elect Benjamin Netanyahu recently issued an apology to “Israeli Arabs” for his outlandishly racist Election Day remarks that “Arabs voters are going to the polls en masse.”  Not surprisingly and quite typical of any colonial autocrat, Netanyahu orchestrated his apology before a group of truly authentic “natives”; elderly men clad in the archetypical exotic dress of the Orient and who thereby perforce represent the country’s Arab population.

Even aside from the glaring fact that for the average Palestinian citizen of Israel, such garb bears far more resemblance to the multitude of popular Egyptian soap operas than anything found in their daily lives, one can’t help but muse why Netanyahu chose to render his apology to a crowd of elderly men rather than the 12 recently elected Palestinian Arabs (not including Israeli Jew Dov Khenin from Hadash) from the Joint List that actually represent the majority of the country’s Arabic speaking population?  After all, if Netanyahu sincerely sees “…in every Israeli citizen a partner in the building of a flourishing and safe state of Israel for all”, then surely he would have no reservations in convening members of the Joint List together and publicly apologizing to them for his unabashedly discriminatory comments that Palestinian citizens of Israel exercising their civic right and duty somehow constitutes a threat to society and civilization.

Needless to say, regardless of how many local Arab leaders he coopts, Netanyahu has no plans or intentions of initiating any form of dialogue with or incorporating Israel’s Palestinian citizens into the mainstream sociopolitical or economic dynamic, nor will he or his future coalition attempt to engage the Joint List on any meaningful level.  Thus, in offering his perfunctory apology to a cohort of kufiyya and thobe wearing “tribal elders,” Netanyahu’s message to over 20 percent of the country’s population could not resonate clearer: “modern” Arabs seeking genuine representation and influence in the body politic are not welcome.

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33 Responses

  1. a blah chick on March 25, 2015, 10:42 am

    Bradley Burston’s take on this in Haaretz was great:

    “In choreography that must be seen to be believed, Netanyahu, addressing a carefully culled delegation of strongly pro-Likud Arabs, leaves the podium and whips the sheikhs and village headmen into a frenzy. The prime minister ducks and stumps and weaves and bucks and wheels like a faith-healing preacher whirling cyclone-like through a tent meeting.” Bwahahahaha.

    Another thing I read was that the whole shindig was set up by his political staff, not anyone from the PM office. Seems a lot a trouble to go through just to provide AIPAC and Stand with US with new pictures for their brochures.

    • Pixel on March 25, 2015, 5:53 pm

      A lot of people fall for that sh!t.

      • seafoid on March 25, 2015, 6:05 pm

        Netanyahu’s apology is like a Fox apology. The damage is already done, the circus has moved on and sorry is cheap. No change next time around.

  2. Kathleen on March 25, 2015, 11:08 am

    Actions speak so much louder than words!

  3. just on March 25, 2015, 11:09 am

    “Not surprisingly and quite typical of any colonial autocrat, Netanyahu orchestrated his apology before a group of truly authentic “natives”; elderly men clad in the archetypical exotic dress of the Orient and who thereby perforce represent the country’s Arab population.”

    It’s classic ‘Orientalism’ as Edward Said (RIP) wrote and spoke about decades ago…

    It’s still alive and well among colonialists.

    And Netanyahu is a liar, a thief, and a racist.

    The majority of Israelis voted for continued and prolonged Zionist violence and colonialism/ Occupation.

    Thanks, Scott.

  4. eljay on March 25, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Netanyahu told the gathered community leaders on Monday that he saw himself as the prime minister of every one of them, “without any difference in religion, race, or sex.”

    Well, duh, of course he’s the prime minister of every one of them. But that doesn’t mean he that he supports equality in a “Jewish State” of Israel.

    “I see in every Israeli citizen a partner in the building of a flourishing and safe state of Israel for all,” Netanyahu remarked.

    “And by ‘Israel for all’,” he added, “I mean primarily all Jewish Israelis and all non-Israeli Jews. But the rest of you can stay as long as you all don’t make any trouble.”

  5. Memphis on March 25, 2015, 12:57 pm

    He didn’t even apologize. He said he “regrets” his remarks. Regret is much different from feeling sorry. He may regret it for a host of reasons; my guess would be the political fall out that occurred as a result, and not that it was completely racist.

  6. eGuard on March 25, 2015, 1:39 pm

    And to prove that he meant it, he gave the five racist seats he gained to the Joint List.

  7. just on March 25, 2015, 1:43 pm

    “Arab mayors on Wednesday said they rejected last week an overture made by mediatory forces to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    A statement published by the Committee of Heads of Arab Local Authorities said that they had refused to meet Netanyahu and that they reject his remark on Election Day, in which the prime minister urged voters to go to the polls because “the Arabs are voting in droves.”

    The committee’s statement said that the Arab citizens who took part in a meeting with Netanyahu earlier this week, in which Netanyahu apologized, “do not represent Israeli Arabs and their official institutions.”

    According to sources in the committee, the day after the elections they were approached by Haim Bibas, the chairman of the Union of Local Authorities who is considered close to Netanyahu, who offered to set up a meeting between Netanyahu and all of Israel’s heads of Arab local authorities. The committee rejected the offer, they said, because it was not clear what the purpose of the meeting was.

    “There is no problem sitting with the prime minister and other cabinet members in an official meeting, but only after the government is formed,” they said.

    The statement, signed by 63 Arab heads of local authorities, said that the committee does not rule out a meeting between panel members and Netanyahu after the formation of a government, but noted that the Arab population in Israel does not accept the prime minister’s apology. It stressed that words were not enough and that they expect a change in policy.”

  8. DoubleStandard on March 25, 2015, 2:21 pm

    It wasn’t racist. It was stupid and insensitive, especially given that morons like you will harp on it for years (decades?) to come. He didn’t say they shouldn’t be able to vote, just that they are voting in large numbers for parties that deny Israel’s right to exist (like Balad). The fact that Arab voters worry Likud is just a testament to democracy in Israel.

    • just on March 25, 2015, 5:58 pm

      “The fact that Arab voters worry Likud is just a testament to democracy in Israel.”

      You’re as much of a racist as your PM. Any “mask” that you might have had is also gone. Nobody’s going to forget this~ not ever.

      Israel is NOT a democracy. Your PM said as much, and he’s demonstrated worse.

      • DaBakr on March 25, 2015, 9:01 pm

        the supreme judge of the Israeli elections council is an Israeli Arab. Just another “co-opted’ Arab in the [un] democratic process.

      • oldgeezer on March 26, 2015, 1:45 am


        Those who have been disenfranchised speak to the lack of democratic process. A minority allowed to participate do not outweigh the majority that have been actively excluded through active violence, including murder, excluded through slective racist laws, excluded through violations of the UDHR. The list goes on.

        If permitting a minority to be involved salves your conscience then so be it but don’t expect people to see you as anything but what you actually are.

    • a blah chick on March 25, 2015, 10:30 pm

      “… given that morons like you will harp on it for years (decades?) to come.”

      Yep, just like Jesse Jackson and his Hymietown remark.

      • bintbiba on March 26, 2015, 5:18 am

        This ‘moron’ finds that photo sickening !!

    • eljay on March 26, 2015, 7:56 am

      || DoubleStandardeee: … He didn’t say they shouldn’t be able to vote, just that they are voting in large numbers for parties that deny Israel’s right to exist … ||

      Zio-supremacists like you and King Bibi aren’t worried about the existence of Israel – a secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, ex-pats [sic] and refugees, equally. You’re worried about the existence of “Jewish State” – a religion-supremacist state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

      Israel exists and will continue to exist; supremacist “Jewish State” has no right to exist.

      • DoubleStandard on March 27, 2015, 5:16 am

        It’s not Israel unless it’s a Jewish state. That’s Isra-stine maybe. It’s all theoretical anyway since Israel as a Jewish state is not going anywhere no matter how many anti-Semitic screeds Mondoweiss users produce.

      • eljay on March 27, 2015, 3:11 pm

        || DoubleStandardeee: It’s not Israel unless it’s a Jewish state. ||

        Sure it is. The country’s Israel and all of its citizens, immigrants, ex-pats [sic] and refugees are Israeli. The only difference is that they’re all equal – no more special / different rules for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

        And it’s that lack of Jewish supremacism that really upsets hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists like you. :-(

    • DoubleStandard on March 27, 2015, 5:18 am

      How did he say as much? A political candidate’s comment doesn’t change the laws or political system of a country. You may believe israel wasn’t a democracy BEFORE Netanyahu’s comments, but it’s no less of one now.

      (P.S.: it was a democracy before and after his comment)

  9. amigo on March 25, 2015, 3:01 pm


    Is bibi their King also???.

    • Abu Malia on March 25, 2015, 4:22 pm

      @ amigo – when i read the sentence “strongly pro lukud Arabs” I asked myself the same question. Then, i rationalized – it is an infinite universe we live in after all – anything or any event possible is happening somewhere.

      Somewhere there is a parallel existence where Nutinyahoo is Mohatma Ghandi.

      funny, in one of the African dialects i speak the word “lukud” means “persistent and merciless person” One who does not let up in his/her quest to hurt his/her perceived enemies and keeps a grudge forever – how fitting i always think.

      • Walid on March 26, 2015, 12:57 am

        “strongly pro lukud Arabs”

        Abu Malia, you probaby haven’t encountered the term “Arab Zionists”. It’s a movement that’s been around since the 1920s and still active today. These are working behind the scenes at helping Israel reach its objectives as they agree with them. One of them was the Hashemite King Faisal and his aborted deal to give the whole of Palestine to the Zionists in exchange for some of their technical and political backing and was very much at ease with the Balfour Declaration. From Wiki:

        “… On March 23, 1918, Al Qibla, the daily newspaper of Mecca, printed the following words in support of the Balfour Declaration of 1917:

        “The resources of the country [Palestine] are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants (…) we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, and America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons [abna’ihi-l-asliyin], for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles [jaliya] to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land.”[18]

        On 3 January 1919, Hussein’s son, king Faisal I of Iraq and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization signed the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement for Arab-Jewish cooperation, in which Faisal conditionally accepted the Balfour Declaration based on the fulfillment of British wartime promises of development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and on which subject he stated:

        We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilised peoples of the world.[19][20][21]

  10. just on March 25, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Must see TV:

    “Where Israeli Arabs stand post-election
    In a last-ditch effort to drum up right-wing support right before the election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Arabs were voting in “droves.” Aluf Benn of Haaretz and Max Blumenthal of Alternet join to discuss the backlash from critics, who’ve said the comments were divisive.”

    • Abu Malia on March 26, 2015, 10:55 am

      @Walid – you’re right, I have never heard of the term “strongly pro Lukud Arabs” . Thank you for pulling my coat to this! One of the great benefits of this site is the immense knowledge and insight of the commenters – I learn from others all the time.

      of course i would expect few self serving individual Arabs to back the Zionist project for direct personal gain – something a kin to Jonas Savimbi’s (remember UNITA and the Southern Africa’s Bush Wars) support for the Apartheid regime of S.A. But, after all that has transpired since the founding of this horrible little country of Israel I did not know such creatures ( as pro Lukud Arabs) still exist.

      thank you for the education!

      P.S. reminds me of Malcolm X – when the slave owner is sick, the “house negro” asks, “master are we sick?”

      • traintosiberia on March 27, 2015, 9:16 am

        Faisal,Weizman,and British had a convoluted ,deceptively secretive ( even among themselves) understanding . Faisal agreed with the stated objectives of Weizman -1 on the conditions that other Arab leaders ( local landlords,officials employed by British,ex eloyees of Turkish administration, Mufti family of Jerusalem and tribal Beduin leaders etc would agree
        2 Weizman would be promising one thing to Arab,another thing to British and a third different stuff to the Zionists

        There were other sources of duplicities – what Brtish promised to Faisal and what they said to the parliament( the white papers,the McDonald government ‘s revocation of the findings of the various commissions were often the sincere and not so sincere attempts by the commissions and by the government to juggle these opposites opportunistic ad hoc ism ) and completely different set of advices to the Zionist all the way to the Paris Peace Conference and beyond until 1947.
        Faisal had interests on three thrones- Saudi, Iraqi,and Jordan. The first two were swept away . The third survived .
        Faisal worked with British and Zionists to abort the popular revolt in Arab that was developing as a reaction to the failures of the early colluding Arab leaders .

  11. Joeygee23 on March 25, 2015, 3:24 pm

    Anyone else notice as King Bibi moved from the podium to his subjects…the security guards itchy finger anxious to put the Uzi under his jacket to use?

  12. a blah chick on March 25, 2015, 4:22 pm

    I just saw the video of the “call to arms.” The thousand yard stare, the voice quaking with emotion and the big map of the Middle East looming in the background. Even without understanding hebrew I got the message loud and clear: the enemy is massing on the booths, come out and save the country!

    And no he’s not sorry.

  13. Bornajoo on March 25, 2015, 4:47 pm

    (Thanks for the video link Just)

    “Arabs seeking genuine representation and influence in the body politic are not welcome. ”

    Fully agree. New legislation was brought in to raise the minimum threshold and it was due to this subversive plan backfiring that produced the Joint List.

    But don’t put it past them to try and find other ways of limiting them in the near future. New and enhanced legislation on treason if you ask me. Let’s not forget what they did to Azmi Bishara. If these JL chaps start becoming a bit too influential they can expect the same

    Thanks Scott Ratner

    • a blah chick on March 25, 2015, 10:21 pm

      ” If these JL chaps start becoming a bit too influential…”

      Bornajoo, the proper term is “uppity.” : )

  14. Abuadam on March 25, 2015, 9:06 pm

    Kufiyya and thobe wearing house Sand….., is what Malcom X would have called them. “Tribal elders”, your being kind Scott. LOL !!!

  15. Tom Suarez on March 26, 2015, 2:56 am

    Why does no one raise the Achilles heel of East Jerusalem, which Netanyahu considers to be a part of Israel like any other, but in which non-Jews are NOT citizens and can NOT vote?
    (Not to mention the 4 millions Palestinians of whom he is effectively the unelected despot…).

  16. Accentitude on March 26, 2015, 4:48 am

    We Arabs have a word for the chuckling grinning doofus in the photo up there with Netanyahu: جاسوس. He’s a stool pigeon or a spy with no real allegiance to his people who’ll happily sell out his own mother for the right price regardless of the devastating consequences. We also call guys like him: خائن or a traitor. He can also be considered an “Uncle Tom” or a “House Arab” for anyone who doesn’t speak Arabic. Those terms should be quite familiar. No definition required. Needless to say, that idiot doesn’t represent the Arab population of Israel by any means. If you want to know what real Arabs think of Netanyahu go to Silwan or Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem where they’re living under the shoe of the Zionist occupation and ask them yourself.

  17. mcohen. on March 29, 2015, 7:08 am

    4th april 2015

    it would a gesture of goodwill if the temple mount could be cleansed of chametz before is a big space but a once over would be great.this year will be different and attention needs to be paid to certain preparations for passover 2015.perhaps christians,jews and muslims could come together and do a general cleanup of the area.a low level ritual purification is called for.

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