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Thursday, May 03, 2012

When a charge of racism proves the bigotry of the accuser

I saw this tweet from anti-Zionist Joseph Dana:
Perhaps, the most racist article that you will read in the Israeli press today. Courtesy of the Israeli Onion, Ynet.
And what did this "racist" article, written by Giulio Meotti, say?
World-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, afflicted with polio as a child, just attended the 60th anniversary celebration of the Israeli Foundation for Handicapped Children. While in the Arab world disabled people have been called “the invisibles,” because they are segregated and hidden from the public eye, Israel’s work with illness and disabilities would merit a book in itself.
Then, after eight paragraphs on Israel's accomplishments in promoting the rights of the disabled, the author writes:
In Palestinian society, the most famous disabled was Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin. In Iraq, terrorists used many disabled women for suicide attacks. In Israel, Down syndrome youth can ask to be inducted into the army. This is the story of the Middle East conflict: death cult vs. Israel’s right to life.
The focus of the article is Israel's accomplishments, not Arab attitudes, concerning the disabled. Yet Dana, like all those who self-righteously obsess over supposed Israeli crimes, seizes upon this as a sterling example of Israel's "racism" against Arabs.

According to Dana, noting that Arab society shuns handicapped people is racist.

However, the Arab Human Development Report said:
In many Arab countries, vulnerable groups are subjected not only to institutional discrimination but also to the prejudices of the population at large. Such vulnerability is not confined to women; it extends to other marginalized groups such as minorities, the elderly, youth, children, disabled persons, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. The neglect and marginalization of these vulnerable groups is a blemish on the human rights records of Arab countries, which must be removed without prevarication or delay.
The Guardian's Comment is Free quotes a disability advocate in Egypt as saying:
"The idea that children with cerebral palsy could be self-dependent and integrated with Egyptian society is completely alien; most people think they'd be better off dead."
In The National, a UAE paper that Dana writes for, it was reported:
With her six-year stint as the UN's special rapporteur on disability drawing to a close, Sheikha Hissa Khalifa Al Thani questions whether handicapped people in the Arab world will ever get a fair deal....The UN's outgoing disability watchdog describes the Arab region as lagging behind the rest of the world. "Disabled people are more marginalised and more isolated than other people. But specifically in the Arab region, they are invisible, because of negative social attitudes and the lack of a human rights culture," Sheikha Hissa said.
Does Dana consider all these experts on disability in the Arab world to be racist?

Of course not. That toxic word, according to self-righteous moralizers like Dana, only applies to Zionists and Israelis.

If an  Italian quotes Arabs about Arabs in an Israeli newspaper, Dana thinks that this proves that Israelis are racist.

Which means that the only bigot here is Dana himself.

UPDATE: Here are some of those Zionist racists and their disability-washing (including helping Arab families with disabled children - h/t Raizel.) It is a very worthwhile video to watch.