pabelmont March 20, 2015, 6:58 pm
“And what does it say about the supposed shared values between Israel and the United States?”
“Good point. America is going towards “majority minority” to use a horrible phrase, that is, people “of color” will soon if they do not already outnumber people “of white”. So racial prejudice already on a decline (as far as outward expression goes anyhow) will further decline, and Bibi’s incitements to racism in Israel will be (or should be) seen as driving a wedge between America’s “values” and Israel’s “values”.
In my view, no such wedge is being driven; and despite growing populations of people of color in the U.S., racial prejudice is decidedly NOT on the decline. We shouldn’t be misled in this; above all, it’s important that we harbor no illusions about the (relatively) benign conduct of democratic ideals in the American context.
Despite its seemingly kinder and more inclusive rhetoric, The U.S. has long had its own ingenious ways of “discouraging” certain kinds of people from turning out at the polls. From gerrymandering, to laws that prohibit convicted felons (who have served prison time) from voting, to opening the polls only on Tuesday, to tampering with voting machines, to rolling back key aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to requiring I.D. at the polls, the practical result of our elections (remember 2000?) is tantamount to the kind of bigotry voiced by Netanyahu about Arab voters.
The elderly, the poor, the very young, people of color, people who are in ill health, prisoners, felons, and other “undesirable elements” have all been vulnerable to voter intimidation that have, for a very long time, been a feature of the way elections are run in the U.S. The distinction between Israel and the U.S., then, is mostly rhetorical and symbolic; not much more. Racism is a “shared value” of both nations. A case can undoubtedly be made that Israel learned it from the U.S. in the first instance; and, increasingly, the US is re-learning it from Israel.
This past summer when the unrest in Ferguson began, it was brought out that the St. Louis police department trained in Israel under the tutelage of the IDF. It shouldn’t surprise us that American police forces are learning about more than tactics and weaponry when they train in Israel. They must also learn *whom* to target: which inevitably includes the ideology of absolute separation between “us” and “them.”