January 13, 2012

Ethiopians protest against racism in Israel

This reminds me of a joke I heard a long time ago about the Israeli Education Ministry ordering teachers to honour the legacy of the late Rahavam Ze'evi, an open advocate of the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine.  A teacher told the her class how courageous Ze'evi had been in advocating the, ahem, "Transfer" of the Palestinian population. A child said, "that's wonderful, Miss, when can we do that to the Ethiopians." The teacher said "don't be so racist in my class!"

Anyway, a couple of days ago Ha'aretz reported on a demo by Ethiopians and "representatives of various groups who feel weak in Israeli society."

"The phenomenon of racism harms us all, and it is impossible to separate the discrimination of Ethiopians in Israel from the discrimination of Arab residents or Russian-speakers," said Rabia Elsagir, a resident of Shfaram and member of The Coalition Against Racism in Israel, who attended the protest with a handful of people from the Arab sector.
There are of course many examples of racism in Israel but two more occurred just recently. One was the water throwing incident in the Knesset just the other day:

For a comment on this see Magnes Zionist.

The other is a further degeneration of the State of Israel into an explicitly apartheid situation within Israel itself and not simply between Israel and the occupied territories.  The Israeli High Court has now effectively ratified Israel's so-called Citizenship Law which spells out a crucial difference between the Jewish and Arab inhabitants of Israel within the pre-67 boundaries.  Again here is Ha'aretz:

Israel’s High Court rejected on Wednesday petitions against the Citizenship Law, which prevents Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs from receiving Israeli citizenship or residency. Six judges voted to reject the petitions, while five voted to accept them.
Israel generally grants citizenship to spouses of Israelis in a gradual process. In the spirit of this process, a similar process was instituted for the naturalization of spouses of permanent residents, though the process is a little longer. A 2002 temporary order excluded Palestinian spouses from these processes and barred them from becoming Israeli citizens.
 And again Magnes Zionist has a scathing comment:
Yesterday, the State of Israel became the first western state whose High Court ruled that some citizens have fewer fundamental rights than other citizens based on their ethnicity. Actually, it had done so before, but yesterday it rejected  the most sustained challenge to the “Citizenship Law,” which bars the non-Israeli spouses of Israeli Palestinians from becoming citizens. So while an Israeli Jew from Brooklyn has the right of marrying anybody she likes, and having her spouse naturalized, a native Palestinian Israeli citizen cannot marry  a distant relative who lives in a town five minutes from her house – unless that relative was a Palestinian collaborator, working for the Israelis, and then, only by special approval of the Minister of Interior.
Yet another answer to Goldstone and all those who try to make out that Israel isn't an apartheid state.


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