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Palestinians are good enough to save Jews’ lives in Israel, but not to be in their government

Opinion
on 26 Comments

The political news from Israel really could make you lose your mind right now.

A great number of the professionals who are helping Israelis fight the coronavirus pandemic are Palestinian: “18 percent of doctors and 24 percent of nurses and 47 percent of pharmacists,” according to Eli Kowaz of the Israel Policy Forum.

The Israeli health system would collapse without Palestinians. “If the thousands of Arab health workers–doctors, nurses, pharmacists–were to stay at home, the entire system would collapse,” former spy chief Ephraim Halevy wrote in Haaretz.

The only physician in the Israeli parliament (per Kowaz) is a Palestinian: Ahmad Tibi. Dr. Tibi has been playing a leading role in getting out health information during the crisis, in helping to evacuate Israelis from other countries— including former IDF soldiers who were smoking pot in faraway places to decompensate after years of raiding Palestinian homes and arresting children in the West Bank.

Ahmad Tibi, legislator and doctor, thanks health professionals both Jewish and Arab fighting coronavirus. March 2020. Screenshot from twitter.

Dr. Tibi celebrates the work of health workers both Jewish and Arab in this inspiring video (screenshot above). Dr. Tibi also posted the photo of praying health-care workers at the top of this article with the message, “Let us all be healthy, Jews and Arabs. We will defeat the Corona virus, overcome the racism virus.”

Rightwing billboard says Yes to Jewish democracy but no to Palestinians Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi — featured as potential allies to Benny Gantz — as supposed terrorists. Screenshot from Ayman Odeh video.

The racism virus. Benjamin Netanyahu, the caretaker prime minister who faces trial on corruption charges, has been attacking those very Palestinian legislators, including Dr. Tibi, in racist billboards (above) and chalktalks to the press. Netanyahu dismissed the 15 seats the Palestinians won in the March 2 election as non-factors in the coalition math that will produce a new government. He only counts Jewish legislators on the sheet below! 105.

Benjamin Netanyahu shows the number of votes cast for Jewish Zionist parties, in saying that Palestinians are not part of the equation in Israel. Screenshot from his twitter feed.

Netanyahu speaks of the Palestinian legislators as “terrorists,” and his lieutenant in the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, says that if the opposition Blue White were to form a governing coalition based on the outside support of the 15 seats of Palestinian Joint List, that would be “anarchy.”

Netanyahu’s 58-seat bloc of Jewish legislators contains a lot of “extreme racist and messianic Jews,” as Yossi Alpher writes at Americans for Peace Now.

One of them, Yaakov Litzman, is the health minister and he said last week that the “messiah will arrive before Pesach to liberate us [from corona]”. Here’s the full quote:

We are praying and hoping that Moshiach (messiah) will arrive before Passover as it is a time of our redemption. I am sure that the Messiah will come by Passover and save us the same way God saved us during the Exodus and we were freed. The Moshiach will come and save us all.”

Yaakov Litzman, Israel’s Health Minister under Netanyahu, who has said that the “messiah” will save the country from coronavirus before Passover. March 2020.

Some liberal Zionists in Israel are calling attention to this atrocity. “Anyone who disqualifies the Arab MKs [members of Knesset] disqualifies their supporters, including the doctors who are currently saving the lives of Israelis–Jews, Arabs and Druze alike. This is a disgrace and, worse, a self-inflicted wound,” says Halevy in Haaretz, as reported by Americans for Peace Now.

While Neri Zilber, an Israel advocate, told the Israel Policy Forum, “you can’t argue that you’re the only democracy in the Middle East” when you say that the votes of 20 percent of your citizenry don’t count.

There ought to be daily outrage from American Jews about these evolutions of the Jewish state, but… hey, 95 percent of American Jews are Zionists, according to the leading media advocates of Zionism, so the Miracle that is Israel is their immaculate conception.

But– and here’s the kicker– it looks like Netanyahu is going to stay prime minister because of all this racism.

Blue-White has been unable to form a “minority” government to replace Netanyahu, using the 15 votes of the Palestinians, because Blue-White has been foiled by three rightwingers in its own fold of 61 votes. Three Jewish racists who are opposed to Netanyahu say they won’t be in a government that has even the outside support of Palestinians. (Meaning the Palestinian legislators would have to cast two votes in favor of the government, Zilber says. Once, to install it. Then to pass the budget.)

And using coronavirus, Netanyahu is making himself indispensable and popular. Although today has not been a good day for Netanyahu, with the resignation of Edelstein–  yesterday Zilber and Owen Alterman of i24 News both predicted that Benny Gantz will fold and create a “unity” government that keeps Netanyahu prime minister for the next 18 months because Israelis like how Netanyahu is dealing with coronavirus.

There’s a “better chance than not that Gantz cuts a deal with Netanyahu,” Zilber says. “The irony is that it almost took a global pandemic… to potentially save Netanyahu’s political career.”

The Palestinian Joint List could well become the opposition to that government. It’s the third largest party in Israel. Because no Jewish leader of any credibility in Israel ever wants anything to do with them.

Even as Palestinians are saving Jewish lives.

It boggles the mind. And– of course– our newspapers are not explaining this racism to American readers. And U.S. liberal Zionist organizations are not howling about it, as they should be, every day.

But it’s alright, the messiah will stop coronavirus by Passover, so Israelis can stop thinking about Palestinian doctors and nurses and pharmacists soon…

Philip Weiss

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

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26 Responses

  1. Misterioso on March 25, 2020, 10:12 am

    Off topic, but well worth reading:

    https://www.juancole.com/2020/03/systematically-defame-palestinian.html

    “Right Wing Trolls systematically Defame supporters of Palestinian Human Rights, but Now They’re Losing in Court” Middle East Monitor, March 17,2020, by Nasim Ahmed

    “Libelling human rights activists who expose the brutal reality of Israel’s seemingly never-ending military occupation of Palestine has been the standard modus operandi of anti-Palestinian groups. This tactic has been relatively successful in recent years because a number of western governments, including Britain’s, view vocal support for Palestine and opposition to Israel’s brutal occupation through the lens of ‘Palestinian terrorism’ and not, as one would expect, within the context of the legitimate right to resist occupation as well as oppose racism. Moreover, a controversial ‘working definition of antisemitism’ which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish hostility, has empowered advocates of Israel to defame critics of the Zionist state and the racist ideology that underpins it.

    “While both of these factors can be said to have had a chilling effect on free speech across Europe and the US when it comes to exposing Israel’s crimes, there is good reason to believe that despite the current hostility wherein universities and public institutions cave in to pressure and clamp down on pro-Palestinian activism, challenging the organised defamation campaigns by Israel’s network of civil society organisations can bear fruit. One such organisation is UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLfI).

    “A recent challenge was made against UKLfI by Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), which is dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. DCIP successfully sued the lawyers’ group at the High Court of Justice in London after UKLfI published blog posts on its website and sent letters to institutional donors alleging that DCIP had strong “links” to a “designated terrorist group”. It was, alleged DCIP, ‘a well-orchestrated political and media misinformation campaign’ carried out since 2018.

    “As far as DCIP is concerned, UKLfI is part of a network of Israeli groups and their global partners ‘with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs’ which has led ‘targeted and organised defamation campaigns to delegitimise humanitarian and human rights organisations’ working in Palestine.

    “While the full extent of UKLfI’s role in this network is unclear, the goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs is not. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally tasked the ministry to marshal pro-Israel sympathisers and to create covert, anonymous groups to target pro-Palestine activists, often with the help of professional political consultants. Since the ministry’s launch, Israel has put together a million-dollar war chest and troll army that’s said to number 15,000 to take down pro-Palestinian groups.

    “Last month, DCIP claimed that it was the target of a fierce defamation campaign involving Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry, NGO Monitor and UKLfI. It was all intended, said DCIP, to block the human rights group from giving evidence at the UN Security Council in New York. DCIP senior adviser for policy and advocacy Brad Parker described the campaign at length in an article titled, ‘I was meant to talk about Palestinian kids at the UN. Israel forced me out’.

    “DCIP’s legal victory at the High Court is one of a number of similar victories against the pro-Israel, anti-Palestine lobby. In February, Britain’s Jewish Chronicle was forced to apologise to a Labour activist for libelling her over alleged ‘anti-Semitism’. The Electronic Intifada reported that the community newspaper admitted on its website that it had published ‘allegations about Mrs. Audrey White’ which were ‘untrue.’

    “The libel settlement was apparently reached after the UK’s press regulator ruled in December that the right-wing, pro-Israel newspaper, which published four articles about White, had been ‘significantly misleading’ and that it had also engaged in ‘unacceptable’ obstruction of the investigation.

    “Last year, the JC issued an apology to the trustees of Interpal, a British registered charity which provides humanitarian relief and development aid to Palestinians in need, and also agreed to pay damages. Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail and MailOnline, published full apologies and paid £120,000 in damages last year, again to the trustees of Interpal, along with their legal costs for similar defamatory claims. In February, UKLfI published a statement by Interpal’s trustees on its website ‘pursuant to section 15(2) of the Defamation Act 1996’.

    “The JC has been a major player within Israel’s network of anti-Palestinian groups. Back in 2014 it apologised and paid substantial damages to Human Appeal International after accusing it of being a designated entity in the US and claiming falsely that it supported suicide bombings. In the same year, the JC had to apologise to the Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

    “Paying substantial sums in damages is said to have pushed the JC towards financial ruin. Last year it was reported that the paper had required a major cash injection by “community-minded individuals” to avoid closure. In February, the weekly title announced that it would be merging with the Jewish News ‘to secure the financial future of both newspapers.’ According to the Electronic Intifada, the group that owns the Jewish Chronicle’s newspaper and website operates at a loss of more than $2 million per annum, while the Jewish News has liabilities of more than $1.9 million.

    “In the US, meanwhile, a pro-BDS grocery store has won a major legal victory against Israel advocates over its decision to boycott Israeli products on moral grounds. The win for the supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign was seen as an embarrassing defeat for Israel advocates in the decade-long legal battle to sue Olympia Food Co-op.

    “As with the DCIP case, lawyers acting on behalf of Olympia Food Co-op said that the lawsuit against the store was part of a broad and growing pattern of activism seeking to suppress anyone supportive of Palestinian rights. The Centre for Constitutional Rights, which represented Olympia Food Co-op during the ten-year legal battle, denounced the campaign to drown out pro-Palestinian voices as the ‘Palestine Exception’ to free speech.

    “Another case highlighting the fact that the legal route can bear fruit is that of the UN-accredited British organisation advocating on behalf of Palestinian refugees. In 2019 a British court ordered World-Check, a subsidiary of Reuters, to pay compensation to the chairman of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), Majed Al-Zeer, for listing the organisation as a terrorist group on its global online database. According to Al-Zeer, the PRC’s work in exposing Israel’s responsibility for the plight of refugees and its legal duty under international law had made the centre a target of the Israeli government.

    “With Israel entrenching its occupation further and locking six million people under an oppressive system, the targeting of human rights groups by its network of civil society organisations is likely to become more prevalent. Instead of demanding an end to Israel’s brutal takeover of Palestine and suppression of Palestinian rights, the pro-Israel groups will become even more fanatical and frantic in their attempt to silence and eliminate legitimate human rights work. Following the DCIP victory at the High Court in London, this should be seen as an opportunity to challenge the anti-Palestine lobby where it knows that it cannot win in a court of law.”

    Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:
    Defense For Children Palestine: “DCIP submits evidence to UN investigators on Gaza protest killings”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF3Rgvkm7JM&feature=youtu.be

  2. Mooser on March 25, 2020, 1:09 pm

    “But it’s alright, the messiah will stop coronavirus by Passover”

    And Pres. Trump wants all the churches full for Easter. Judeo-Christianity is gonna just r’ar back and pass a miracle!

  3. Vera Gottlieb on March 26, 2020, 9:40 am

    Palestinians…walk out on them!

  4. jrg on March 26, 2020, 2:53 pm

    I watched something on TV a while back (ABC’s Nightline?) that was presented as a moving display of humanity in the midst of a vicious conflict. It was a piece about how Israeli Jewish doctors treat Palestinian “terrorists” along with the IDF soldiers and settlers who shoot them, the point being to illustrate Israel’s exceptional decency. It didn’t mention the other side of the coin that Phil’s article presents.

  5. Ossinev on March 27, 2020, 10:54 am

    @jrg
    “It was a piece about how Israeli Jewish doctors treat Palestinian “terrorists”

    Of interest?
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-cops-condemn-settler-attack-on-troops-as-serious-terror-attack/

    So the Yahoo and his Ziocabal continue to view the actions of these young settler “pioneers” as at best a “disgrace” and at worst “criminal” but never ever ( Yahweh forbid) “terrorist”. That term is restricted to Untermenschen.

    To be (reluctantly) fair to the Border Police on the spot and their spokespeople they at least appear to have the gumption to call a spade a spade.

  6. LibertyRising on March 30, 2020, 8:45 am

    I would think that the Palestinian leadership must be at least thinking about how to organize a general pullout of all of their health care workers. If – as stated in this post – without those workers the Israeli health care system would collapse, this would be the perfect time. All Palestinians chip in to financially support them for a short period, let Israel die off without a shot being fired.

    • catalan on March 30, 2020, 9:04 am

      “let Israel die off without a shot being fired.” Liberty
      This is a fantastic and workable idea; more effective than BDS.

    • Nathan on March 30, 2020, 11:52 am

      LibertyRising – When you suggest to “let Israel die off”, it sounds to me that you are wishing death for the Israelis. I wonder why your comment wasn’t blocked by the Mondoweiss censor. I read quite a lot of Mondoweiss articles, and generally the line of propaganda is that Israel is “evil” or “illegitimate”. Quite often, the position is that Israel should be replaced by another political entity (i.e. no Jewish state), generally called “the one-state outcome”. There are readers’ comments here that can be very extreme and nasty. They show lots of hatred and obsessiveness towards Israel (and some can even express support for violence against Israelis). But this is the first time that I’ve noticed that someone fantasizes the death of masses, and even wins approval from another reader (catalan).

      Well, since the Mondoweiss team didn’t feel that your comment was worthy of erasure, I’ll end my interest in this website. The fact that none of the regular anti-Israel commentators felt the need to protest your ideas is also very worrisome.

      • Mooser on March 30, 2020, 12:30 pm

        “They show lots of hatred and obsessiveness towards Israel (and some can even express support for violence against Israelis)”

        Oh, get over it. Is Israel somehow supposed to be immune from the consequences of its own actions?

        ” I’ll end my interest in this website.”

        Good-bye, then, and don’t take any wooden bagels.

      • Mooser on March 30, 2020, 12:52 pm

        “The fact that none of the regular anti-Israel commentators felt the need to protest your ideas is also very worrisome.” “Nathan”

        Exactly. Zionism is so weak and damaged, even an internet comment could knock it over. You are right to be worried. Run away and don’t come back, maybe you will escape the coming program.

      • RoHa on March 30, 2020, 9:00 pm

        “Is Israel somehow supposed to be immune from the consequences of its own actions?”

        Er , yes. Didn’t you get the memo?

      • Mooser on March 31, 2020, 2:09 pm

        ” Didn’t you get the memo?”

        The one which tells me that Zionists consider it tantamount to genocide if they can’t have Palestinians saving Israeli lives, and give the Palestinians nothing in return?

        Yeah, “Nathan” and “Jon s” are delivering it loud and clear.

      • oldgeezer on March 31, 2020, 8:38 pm

        @Mooser

        What do you mean they give nothing in return? They let them have a distant second or third class temporary citizenship. At least until they can perpetrate the next crime against humanity and strip them of it in the Steal of the Century.

        At least nathan makes no secret of being an outright racist and supremacist. jon s has to keep up the pretense of not being one in order to fool himself. No one else is buying the bull he’s selling.

    • catalan on March 30, 2020, 12:56 pm

      “But this is the first time that I’ve noticed that someone fantasizes the death of masses, and even wins approval from another reader (catalan).”
      Nathan,
      When Americans say things like fantastic, it usually is sarcastic. In general, compliments in American culture tend to be backhanded. I look at the mondo comment section as Narnia: people discuss boycotts of Cheerios and Starbucks and always say: look at South Africa. On occasion particular gems come up – how Arab workers in Israeli hospitals would leave and Israel would die. Like, they cannot be replaced with Romanians and Philippinos. That’s when eljay is not explaining what a Jew is. You gotta have fun with it a little bit.

      • eljay on March 30, 2020, 2:41 pm

        || catalan: … I look at the mondo comment section as Narnia … ||

        Yup, Zionists do say some of the most fantastic (“imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality”) things. And some of the most disturbing.

        || … That’s when eljay is not explaining what a Jew is. … ||

        Correctly stating what is the identity of Jewish or, to put it in your terms, correcting your Narnian fabrications.

        || … You gotta have fun with it a little bit. ||

        I guess that explains your frequent snottiness.

      • catalan on March 30, 2020, 4:16 pm

        “Correctly stating what is the identity of Jewish”
        If you ever saw the movie beautiful mind (great movie) there is a scene where the guy has all this stuff written on the blackboard that he thinks explains everything, a great breakthrough. But actually what is on the blackboard is a bunch of nonsense and scribbles. Your talk of “stating the identity of Jewish” reminds me of that. There are 10 million Jews (some of them not at all stupid) who are very comfortable with their identity. That you think that they need you to explain to them who they are is where crazy lives.

      • eljay on March 30, 2020, 6:00 pm

        || catalan: “Correctly stating what is the identity of Jewish”
        … There are 10 million Jews … who are very comfortable with their identity. … ||

        I’m happy that they’re happy with their religion-based identity.  :-)

        || … That you think that they need you to explain to them who they are is where crazy lives. ||

        I don’t think that I need to explain anything to them. That’s just you being snotty (again) or lying (again).

    • jon s on March 30, 2020, 4:28 pm

      As Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians , work side by side to save lives threatened by a virus that makes no such distinctions commenter “Liberty Rising” comes out with one of the most outrageous and bloodthirsty comments ever posted on Mondoweiss.
      Shameful and disgraceful .

      • Mooser on March 30, 2020, 6:13 pm

        “As Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians , work side by side to save lives threatened by a virus that makes no such distinctions”

        I don’t understand this, “Jon s”. Why does Israel need Palestinians to help them? The Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman says not to worry:

        “…Moshiach (messiah) will arrive before Passover as it is a time of our redemption. I am sure that the Messiah will come by Passover and save us the same way God saved us during the Exodus and we were freed. The Moshiach will come and save us all. And if you do become infected, try a nice bowl of chicken soup. It couldn’t hurt.”

        Nothing ‘shameful and disgraceful’ about that, is there, “Jon s”. Or do you take a Jewish Darwinian view of the subject?

  7. jon s on March 30, 2020, 4:19 pm

    One correction: Dr Tibi is not the only doctor in the Knesset. Another is Dr. Mansour Abbas, a dentist, also of the Joint List.

    • Mooser on March 30, 2020, 6:27 pm

      Geez, I’m almost jealous of you “Jon s”!

      Here I am, worried about the virus and everything else, and there you are, with only a few weeks to wait until ‘Moshiach (messiah) will arrive before Passover as it is a time of our redemption’ Israel does have a huge advantage in Public Health, doesn’t it.

      Can the CDC or WHO, or any of those fancy-pants NGOs do that? You are lucky to have Health Ministers like Yaakov Litman, who can call forth the Messiah on demand.

      Won’t that be a joke on the Palestinians! No Moshiach before Passover to save them from the virus!

  8. jon s on March 31, 2020, 1:36 pm

    A day later the bloodthirsty comment from Liberty Rising is still here and even after commenter Nathan and I called attention to it the moderators and editors have not reacted . Nor have I seen any condemnations from any of the commenters.

    • Mooser on March 31, 2020, 1:59 pm

      If you don’t like the comment, “Jon s” Patsh zich in tuchis und schrei hooray

      You are desperate to divert or distract, but really, this fainting-couch and pearl-clutching act is getting pathetic.

      And BTW, really, really stupid. You are confirming just how much you rely on Palestinians for health services. And how determined you are that they receive nothing for it.

    • eljay on March 31, 2020, 2:41 pm

      || jon s: A day later the bloodthirsty comment from Liberty Rising is still here and even after commenter Nathan and I called attention to it the moderators and editors have not reacted . Nor have I seen any condemnations from any of the commenters. ||

      It’s funny how one ambiguous anti-Israel comment on MW makes your blood boil but countless Zionist comments advocating, defending or justifying Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism and colonialism and “necessary evil” can’t elicit even a peep from you.

      That said, if by “let Israel die off without a shot being fired” LibertyRising meant let the Zionist project come to an end, I think you’ll need to explain why this is a “bloodthirsty comment”.

      If, however, s/he meant let large numbers of Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis die, I unequivocally condemn the comment.

      I hope LibertyRising will chime in and clarify his/her comment (and, if necessary, retract it).

  9. echinococcus on March 31, 2020, 9:07 pm

    As expected, Eljay the Equal-Rights guy flies to the rescue of the genocidal Zionist invaders.

    Will you explain, O Equalizing One, how one “let[s] the Zionist project come to an end” by throwing in the same bag “Jewish by and non-Jewish Israelis”, the opposite fronts in the ongoing, merciless war by Zionists against the Palestinian people. And by making hysterical noises to protect “Israelis” — by pre-emptively opposing even a speculation about ways Palestinians can protect themselves against their invaders.

    Seeing how enthusiastically you adopt “Israel” and protest against being called an instrument of Zionist propaganda, I hope you won’t object to being rightly characterized as a propagandist for “Israel”.

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