FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Media Silence on Israeli Segregationism?

by TARIF ABBOUSHI

Trent Lott’s recent and now-infamous faux pas precipitated an avalanche of media editorials, mostly calling on him to resign his post as U.S. senate majority leader. Lott’s statement that the country would have been better off if U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond’s segregationist Dixiecrat candidacy in the 1948 presidential race had succeeded was deemed evidence of his failure to shed deep-rooted racist sentiments. His attitude was widely described as intolerable.

In the immediate aftermath of Lott’s gaffe, questions swirled about whether he had said what he meant or meant what he said. Those questions were quickly swept aside and replaced by near-unanimous editorial assertions that all manifestations of racism are to be condemned. But when editors of American newspapers correctly posit, as some have, that discrimination, bigotry and intolerance deserve to be condemned wherever they are found, it is fair to question whether they really mean what they say.

It is an article of faith for most Americans that discrimination, bigotry and intolerance should be condemned, whether practiced by individuals, groups, organizations, or states. It is held with equal conviction that condemnation is not only appropriate for discrimination and intolerance based on skin color, but also when the differentiator is sex, ethnicity, religion, or whatever else sets human beings apart from each other. But do we indeed condemn discrimination and bigotry wherever they are found?

On March 4th, 2002, the U.S. Department of State released its latest report on human rights practices in Israel and the occupied territories. The report in its entirety is available on the state department’s web site. It states that the Government of Israel has made little headway in reducing institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens, who constitute approximately 20 percent of the population but do not share fully the rights provided to, and obligations imposed on, the country’s Jewish citizens. Among the report’s specific examples:

* Under Israel’s Law of Return, automatic citizenship and residence rights are granted to Jewish immigrants and their families, but not to Christians, Muslims or other non-Jews.

* The Government provides proportionally greater financial support to institutions in the Jewish sector compared with those in the Muslim, Christian and Druze sectors. . A Ministry of Education special program to provide academic assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds is available only to Jewish students. Muslims and Christians do not qualify. The 2002 budget did not contain provisions to equalize spending on Jewish and non-Jewish special education.

* The Government has not allocated sufficient resources or taken adequate measures to provide Israeli Christians, Muslims and Druze with the same quality of housing and social services, as well as the same opportunities for government employment, as Jews.

* On a per capita basis, the Government spends two-thirds as much for Christians, Muslims and Druze as for Jews.

* A ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice found the Government’s use of the Jewish National Fund for development of public land to be discriminatory, since the fund’s by-laws prohibit the sale or lease of land to non-Jews.

* Christians and Muslims are barred from military service. Many employers, including municipalities, advertise “military service” as a prerequisite for job applicants, even for parking lot attendants.

* Foreign workers are barred from obtaining permanent residence status unless they are Jewish.

* When a group of approximately 1,000 Israeli Jews attacked non-Jewish homes in Nazareth, Israeli police inserted themselves between the two groups and fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas at the Arab citizens.

* During demonstrations and riots in October 2000, Israeli police snipers used live ammunition against unarmed Arab demonstrators, killing 13 non-Jewish citizens of the state.

Mainstream American media editorials ignore the picture of pervasive discrimination painted by the U.S. State Department report, preferring instead to laud Israel for its “shared values” with America. They abstain from condemning the Government of Israel for practices that even Israel’s High Court of Justice considers discriminatory. It cannot be that racial discrimination is abhorrent only when it rears its ugly head in America, but is a phenomenon to be supported with annual billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars when practiced by our allies on the other side of the globe.

Selective application of any principle is hypocrisy, and hypocrisy negates credibility. The cacophony of American voices denouncing Trent Lott for his transgressions rose inexorably, until he became the first senate majority leader forced to resign his post. The editorial silence on Israel’s endemic racial transgressions is no less deafening.

TARIF ABBOUSHI lives in Houston, Texas. He can be reached at: tabboushi@aol.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious madness in Ulster
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail