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Barakeh: Government policy at fault

MK Tibi: Jewish racism pays off

Arab-Israeli leaders hit back after poll shows strong anti-Arab attitudes among Israeli Jews. MK Tibi: Racism became mainstream in Israel long time ago; MK Barakeh: Poll results direct result of racist government policies

The reality of anti-Arab racism has become mainstream in Israel a long time ago, Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi said Wednesday in response to a poll showing strong anti-Arab attitudes among Israeli Jews.


Among the survey's highlights: Half of Israelis do not want an Arab to visit their homes, while 40 percent believe Israel should encourage Arab emigration.


"Racists have a long time ago moved from the street to government benches," Tibi added. "Every anti-Arab phenomenon is accepted with understanding within Israeli society."


"Overall, it pays to be racist in Israel because you don't pay a price for it and you can always explain it away by a security need and a self-defense mechanism," Tibi said.


Fellow Arab-Israeli Knesset Member Taleb el-Sana also issued a scathing response, saying the poll is a "stain on democracy, moral bankruptcy, and a complete failure by the Israeli education system."


"In my opinion, this shows we're not talking about a few people but rather, a worrying phenomenon that places question marks over the Zionist movement," he added. "The mosquitoes of this racism apparently grew in the swamp of incitement against the Arab public, as well as the occupation and the settlements. This is definite proof occupation corrupts."


El-Sana added that had a similar poll been released in France, Jews would initiate a media frenzy and claim France was anti-Semitic.


"Yet when it happens at their (Jews) own home, they're quiet, and that's why this is a two-fold failure – they are racist, and they're also not attempting to address their own racism," he said.


'The problem – walls between Jews and Arabs'


Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh said that the poll findings testify to the depth of racism toward Israeli Arabs.


"This is a direct result of the official racist discrimination policy that has been led by all Israeli governments. This policy was extended in light of the occupation, which created Liebermanism, Kahanism, Olmertism and Netanyahuism," he charged.


Shawki Khatib, chairman of the Israeli-Arab Supreme Monitoring Committee, was not surprised to hear the findings.


"These data stem from the walls existing between the Arab and Jewish populations. For a number of years now I have been warning against these walls and against the de-legitimization of the Arab public and its leaders, in which the media take an active role," he said.


"The discourse and the terminology, the establishment and the separation between the Jews and the Arabs, have added more and more walls, and this is the result. When we say that we want to live together we mean it, but the Jewish public up till now did not want to deal with it," he charged.


Khatib went on to say that "the establishment, the public and the education establishment must take the matter into their own hands. If there is a fascist party running in the elections like that of Avigdor Lieberman and Baruch Marzel, and candidates who have already crowned themselves are sucking up to them, what is left to say?"


"In all the countries of the world no one has sucked up to the fascist parties, something that is being done in Israel today. These are data that should concern all those who rebuke the Arab public and now have to rebuke the population. The one who has to take a look at itself is the Israeli population," he claimed.


The Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel was also not surprised by the findings.


"These data translate to what is happening in practice every day, and we at the Mossawa Center receive reports of these acts of racism on an ongoing basis," said Abir Kopty, the center's media coordinator.


"Whoever thinks that he hates an Arab and that it's okay can hit him and kill him and it will also be okay. These findings are also dangerous for the Jews, who have suffered themselves from racism," she added.


According to Kopty, "racism is unhealthy for any society. Today it's directed against an Arab and tomorrow against anyone else, and that's why every Arab citizen is responsible to fight this racism. This battle is not over the fate of the Arab public, and out of this vision we set up special headquarters to fight racism, made up of Arab and Jewish organizations that are active among various groups. In the next vote, Jewish citizens are responsible for voting against racism. Their vote is part of this struggle."


Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, also referred to the poll findings, saying that "ever since the October 2000 incidents, racism has reached worrying dimensions."


Meanwhile, National Jewish Front leader Baruch Marzel welcomed the poll results, saying that "the Israeli public sobered up from the illusions of peace and coexistence. More and more people realize today our views are right."  


פרסום ראשון: 03.22.06, 21:00
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