The racism test

Op-ed: Non-Jews often suffer discrimination, humiliation under guise of security reasons

Here's a small "spot the differences" style test referring to two stories reported in recent days. The first, which appeared on the website, was about a blind passenger who was taken off a flight from Philadelphia to Long Island because his service dog, Doxy, refused to remain under the seat in front of him, violating safety instructions. The rest of the passengers rebelled and got off the plane as one. One of them reportedly said that he would rather ride a bus for 3.5 hours than travel with such insensitive people.


The second story has to do with us. A bus filled with soldiers arrived at the Dimona nuclear reactor for a security drill. The soldiers handed over their certificates, and it was then revealed that the three Druze troops among them were barred from entering the facility. They were only allowed to go in half an hour later.


The clear differences to an Israeli eye are as follows: There it was a flight, here – a bus. There it took place in Philadelphia, here – at the nuclear reactor in Dimona. There it "only" had to do with safety instructions, and here it had to do with the holy of holiest – security orders. And of course, there a dog was removed, and here – minorities.


These answers are correct, but they conceal the truth. The real answer is that there the passengers left the plane and the flight was canceled, and here several soldiers suggested "staying in the bus," but the drill was held as planned, without the Druze soldiers.


Troubled by anyone who isn't Jewish

This is a grim story because it's not exceptional. The discrimination and humiliation suffered by non-Jews takes place frequently under the guise of security reasons. As the Nuclear Research Center said, "Everyone entering the Nuclear Research Center undergoes a security check at the gate, and this is what happened in this case too." That is what they say at Ben-Gurion Airport as well in response to the repeated cases of humiliation.


That is also the excuse which the law preventing Palestinian family reunions in Israel was based on. The court accepted the claim that the partners arriving from the territories would be more inclined to support terror, although that security argument was not too strong. According to data which appeared in one of the verdicts, 130,000 Palestinians received a permit to stay in Israel from 1994 to 2006, and only few of them were suspected of security offenses.


Judge Procaccia, in a minority opinion, did not hesitate comparing the result to the infamous verdict in the Korematsu v. United States case, which approved putting Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II based on a general suspicion of treason due to their descent. Meanwhile, time has passed and the Americans regret this verdict. Here people say that it's better to be safe than sorry. That's a good piece of advice, but when it's translated into a "rule of thumb" identifying dangerousness with Arabs, it turns into a racist instruction.


This security-related axiom is an admission ticket to the land of apartheid, where suspecting, checking and separating minorities seem like a normal and normative thing to us if they are covered with the "security" reasons.


We are troubled by anyone who is not Jewish: Arabs, migrants and even Druze who serve in the army. That is why we agree to join the shortened line reserved exclusively for Jews and turn a blind eye to the obstacle course reserved for others. We don't leave the plane together with the dog. We take care of ourselves so much that we lose our humanity.



פרסום ראשון: 12.04.13, 10:41
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