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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

They might not be "dirty Arabs" but they are liars

Joharah Baker writes in the "Palestine Chronicle" (this article has also been published in literally hundreds of other Arab and left-wing sources):

What unwritten law is out there that allows Israelis to sling racist insults at Palestinians with impunity? After all my years in this country and the absurdities that come along with it, this is one absurdity I still find hard to digest.

Obviously, my outrage has been most recently rekindled by Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who during a tour of the old central bus station in Tel Aviv called a Palestinian-Israeli policeman a "real dirty Arab." Once the words were out, the minister was forced to apologize, saying his remarks did not reflect his worldview. A spokesman for the ministry also issued a statement saying that, "in a moment of jest, and using common slang, the minister said what he said, not intending to hurt anyone."

If this were an isolated incident or if it were not an Israeli right-wing minister who said it, we might, just might, be inclined to believe this sorry excuse for an explanation. But in Israel's history with the Palestinians, this can hardly be considered slip-of-the-tongue. Instead, such slurs are embedded in a historically-rooted relationship between Israeli Jews and their perceived Palestinian-Arab subordinates, a relationship that is so lopsided it allows room for those who wish to be verbally abusive against Palestinians to thrive.

Ms. Baker must have hundreds of examples of such instilled hatred, right? Let's check them out.
This is certainly not the first time an Israeli political or religious figure insults Palestinians or calls them some degrading name. In 2001, the spiritual leader of Shas, Ovadia Yosef called Palestinians snakes and called on God to "annihilate Arabs." In an interview with the Israeli daily Maariv, he said, "It is forbidden to be merciful to them, you must give them missiles, - annihilate them. Evil ones, damnable ones."

Expecting that such remarks might not be received well by the public and the media, a Shas spokesperson at the time clarified that Yosef had only been referring to "Arab murderers and terrorists." Doesn't that make us all feel better?
OK, her first example is not from an Israeli official, in a quote that indeed referred to terrorists, from eight years ago. Not quite the best example of Zionist racism, but she has more:
Still, some may say Yosef was an overzealous, ultra-religious fumbling fool who should not be taken seriously. Fine. What about Israel's prime ministers? Those who the Israeli public voted into office? In 1982, in a speech to the Knesset, Prime Minister Menachem Begin said, "The Palestinians are beasts walking on two legs."
Unfortunately for Baker, that (quite distorted) quote was also referring very specifically to terrorists. As CAMERA notes, the full quote is this:
The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of... Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.
But Baker isn't finished:
A year later, Raphael Eitan, then-Israeli army chief of staff told the New York Times, "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle."
This is the only slightly accurate quote Baker finds, and even that one is way out of context. Eitan was arguing against shooting Palestinian Arab stone-throwers, saying "The Arabs will never win over us by throwing stones. Our response must be a nationalist Zionist response. For every stone that’s thrown–we will build ten settlements. If 100 settlements will exist–and they will–between Nablus and Jerusalem, stones will not be thrown. If this will be the situation, then the Arabs will only be able to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle." Certainly nothing to be proud of, but hardly reflective of a deeply biased Arab-loathing society.

Her last example is from a Ha'aretz article where the people quoted as singing "All Arabs must die" weren't even Israelis.

Of course there exists some bigotry against Arabs in Israel as well as elsewhere. (Iranians are famously not fond of Arabs, for example.) And within the Arab world, there is even more bigotry against Palestinian Arabs - see how they were treated in Iraq after Saddam's fall, in Kuwait after the first Gulf War, in Jordan in 1970, in Lebanon today. However, considering the fact that Israel is literally surrounded by Arabs who are far less reticent to openly speak of their own ambitions to destroy all Jews, Israelis and Zionists, Israel's record is pretty damn good.

Baker's thesis is that "Israelis sling racist insults at Palestinians with impunity." Her biggest example was a case where an Israeli minister who indeed made a bigoted remark was forced to make a public apology. Perhaps she doesn't understand the meaning of the word "impunity." Or perhaps Baker is simply another liar who projects her own hatreds onto her perceived enemies.

Baker digs up a few mostly inaccurate examples sprinkled over three decades. I can easily find far more examples of prominent Arabs saying far worse things about Jews, and thousands of examples of them saying worse things about Israelis and Zionists, just over the past year.

Including lying articles like this that baldly equate Zionism with racism.