When you dehumanize Naftali, Eyal and Gil’ad, how can you expect to elicit compassion among the jewish public?
The ongoing riots in the arab sector elicited the usual complaint of discrimination. Yet, despite the tantamous importance of coexistence between jewish majority and arab minority in Israel, I keep on asking a simple question: when is the israeli arab intelligentsia going to respect jewish sensitiveness and rights? I was harshly confronted with this reality a few days ago, taking part to an online debate in a friend’s Facebook page. Let’s premise that he is pro peace, left wing jew, that believes in a two State solution and bemoans Israeli presence in the West Bank. Yet, being a zionist, he hasn’t been blinded by that “democratic syndrome”, whereby many in the leftist enviroment seem to justify the extremism of arab leadership. In this spirit, he reposted a comment from a jew that, living in Wad Ara, lambasted arab parents and arab Mks for having been complacent regarding their youth’s unrest. And it was precisely this jewish “chutzpah” against a supposed arab immunity that made one lady incensed.
Her background is particularly significant: israeli citizen, she works on behalf of an arab NGO that enjoys a lots of financial support from jewish organisations. Considering these premises, one would have expected a serious grasping of human rights- that implies, incidentally, respect for the others’ ones- by this activist. Instead, what followed proved me once again how a mixture of ideological fanatism and leftist antizionism has morally corrupted an entire generation of israeli arab elite. The lady’s point was hardly unknown for whomever is barely aware of the arab narrative: instead of copying with the substantial critics moved against her community, she launched into an invective against the racism she has supposedly been facing during these days at her college campus. She claimed to have been harrassed by extremist jews, who had dealt out anti arabs leaflets against arab students. No doubt that this episode, if true, needs to be correctly addressed and their authors punished. Yet, that doesn’t surely legitimate her reprimand of a legitimate critic against her community’s behavior, as my friend rightly retorted. But she didn’t stop there: she kept on proudly asserting that the anti arab wave of racism stemmed from the death of the three “settlers”.Let’s be clear: in this deluded lady’s mind, Gil’ad, Eyal and Naftali, whose tragic fate commoved even many Israeli arabs, and two of whom lived behind the Green Line, are nothing except “settlers”, dehumanized aliens whose same existence was simply unworthy of any compassion.
I confess to have been sharp. I rebuffed her, observing that her attitude justified the same racism she had claimed to endure. I highlighted her filthy hypocrisy, considering the wide coverage given in the israeli media to the guys’ homes, and I invited her to avoid a so deeply offensive term, but to no avail. She simply derided me, refusing even to discuss the point, supported by her boyfriend, a supposed palestinian pacifist. But what stunned me was the complete lack of reaction from the other commenters, all of whom were jews. None of them felt the need to rebuff this blatant racism against their same people. Many chose actually to like her comments, as if her arab ethnicity gave her a free pass to slur against jews.
So, which is the lesson to learn from this episode? Basically that there are people willing to legitimize arab racism in the name of the fight against racism. Surely, dignifying the oppressed, and building bridges toward the “other” is a paramount imperative, but it can’t justify a keen blindness before others’ sins. And when people are going to hallow the dehumanization of three innocent guys on the altar of democracy and of respect for ethnic diversity, they cross a red line, beyond which every sense of morality blows up. That is, because blessing a kind of racism implies to justify all the other kinds of racism. If we have to condone the right of an Israeli arab activist to consider three guys unworthy of dignity, how can we deny the right of her supposed jewish persecutors to harrass and demonise her? After all, if the possibility to express ethnic hatred needs to be recognised, it has to be for everyone. And following this path, the paradoxical consequence is that those same anti arab feelings she alleges to endure end up for being legitimised among the jewish public. To be clear. None needs to be upset by this lady’s expressions. She is the clear product of a culture that aims to exploit democracy for destroying Israel jewish character. What is ominous is rather the support that many seem willing to give people like her. No doubt that sometimes the hardness of being a minority can elicit a feeling of guilt among jews, whose people has burdened more than anyone else the tragedy of being dependant from the majority’s goodwill. And in fact what makes highly moral Israeli society is the ongoing strive for preserving coexistence, even in difficult times. But absolving the arab elite from its antisemitism won’t amelior relations between the groups in the country. Rather, it risks to lead them toward irreparable fractures.