Monday, July 03, 2023

Atidna describes itself this way:

Atidna is a coalition of educators and social entrepreneurs, Arab citizens of Israel together with Jews from the State-Zionist Camp in Israel.

We, Israeli educators, society and entrepreneurship, believe that true integration will only begin when all of us, Arabs and Jews alike, will see the Arab Israeli public as an equal partner in a Jewish and democratic state.

The vision:
An Arab-Jewish partnership based on mutual respect and full civil equality in the State of Israel as a Jewish-democratic state. A strong Arab community, proud of its culture and heritage, which is integrated into Israeli society.

Atidna's mission:
Building a young and courageous leadership of Arabs and Jews, who have equal rights and duties, and who are proud of their identity and culture and are committed to the challenge of the successful integration of the Arab minority in the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The movement works to create a critical human mass connected to Atidna values by developing and leading child, youth and student empowerment programs. Atidna is committed to supporting the building of a trusting, optimistic, independent and integrated Arab-Jewish community at the decision-making centers and throughout Israeli society. Atidna is committed to building a young Arab leadership avenue, which has an optimistic but practical outlook on life, which recognizes the challenge and the importance of the task and is ready to mobilize them into action in the spirit of Atidna’s values.

What makes Atidna special?
Atidna is a coalition of educators and social entrepreneurs, Arab citizens of Israel together with Jews from the State-Zionist Camp who joined together to work for successful integration in the State of Israel.
Atidna builds a community! All of Atidna’s programs are interconnected and create a multi-generational leadership community that creates change.

Addressing a diverse target audience from elementary school, students and adults.

Building a critical mass to create social change.
In short, Atidna wants to build a proud Arab society in Israel that embraces Zionist values and which will benefit everyone.

And therefore, the anti-Zionists are screaming bloody murder.

We may be at a pivotal moment. If we wake up in a few years and discover that a right-wing Zionist youth movement is flourishing in Arab society and is slowly crowding out the old movements, we will not be able to say that we did not know. You don't have to go far to identify the long-term vision: the realization of the dream of Netanyahu and his friends on the deep right: the emergence of a significant right-wing Arab current in Israeli society.

 In fact, Atidna admits it themselves. "In the long run, we hope that the social movement will become a political movement and be part of the coalition and part of the government," said Dr. Dalia Padilla, a co-director of the movement, in an interview with the "Jerusalem Post". A source in Atidna who left the movement with a slammed door was impressed that the targets are more focused. "The talk was about a Jewish-Arab party that would cut off from the territory the existing leaders of the Arab public in the Knesset," said the source, "a party that would weaken the left."

Al Quds al Arabi summarizes the Haaretz piece::
A new journalistic investigation, this time published by Hebrew-language Haaretz, revealed a project to obliterate the identity of the rising generations of the Palestinians of the interior in cunning ways and by building Zionist Arab youth movements. The talk is not only about an Israeli initiative aimed at corruption, but rather an unprecedented strategic right-wing governmental project whose malicious goal is to produce a “new Arab citizen” in Israel, i.e. a “good Arab” whose identity is a hybrid without a backbone and who has no demands inconsistent with a long-term vision sponsored by the Zionist right.  
The Hebrew newspaper, which published an extensive investigation on the matter last Friday, confirms that this project will explode in the face of its sponsors as soon as the Arab youth discover that the Jews only intend to use them as "Shabbos goys,"  i.e. a mere means to Judaize the country.
I have no idea how much traction Atidna has made in the Israeli Arab community, but the anger from the Left on an initiative from the Right to tackle systemic inequalities between Jews and Arabs in Israel feels so much like the reaction from "progressives" in the US to hearing an intelligent Black conservative. They feel betrayed that members of their pet causes might disagree with their own philosophy - which proves that their own pretense as being the only champions of minority rights is a sham. 

A Zionist Arab, like a Black conservative, indicates that some minorities do not want to be treated as if they cannot think on their own. And the "progressives" cannot handle that. 

Haaretz' article is, to put it bluntly, racist. Arabs are free to go shopping in the marketplace of ideas; if some of them choose to become Zionist, that is their right. If the Israeli Left is so convinced that Atidna holds no benefit for Arabs then Atidna is not a threat to them and they can make jokes about it, not panicked articles about waking up in a world where an Arab party is part of a right-wing government. 

The fear permeating this article is that a significant number of Arabs just might become Zionists if given a chance to learn what Zionism really is. This is a community that the Left felt that they have in their pockets and they are alarmed at even the possibility that many Arabs might be more attracted to the Right than the Left when they are exposed to real Zionism, not the racist caricature of Zionism that fills Haaretz articles. 

If some Arabs want to embrace Zionism - and certainly some do - then no one should infantilize them and tell them that they cannot. 

Because that is racist. 

(h/t YMedad)

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