A response to Ariel Solomon

Note: Following is a response to Ariel Solomon’s criticism of an op-ed I published in Haaretz.

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Dear Ariel,

For someone who is identified as a former “assistant researcher at the Moshe Dayan Center,” you too should have done your homework in your response to my opinion piece about Daniel Pipes.

  1. I checked the various attacks by Arabs on Jews that you cited.  Let me preface by saying that I don’t justify any attacks on Jews (or Arabs) by anyone and attackers should be arrested and dealt with by the legal system. But the first two attacks you referenced were by East Jerusalem Palestinians who most certainly are not Arab citizens of Israel.  The third one (Police: Israeli Wounded in Stabbing Attack by Arab) led to a piece on the ABC News website, where I did not succeed in finding that headline. If you provide me with the text of the article I will be happy to comment on that as well.
  2. As a student of Israel and the Middle East, you should be aware of the fact that the Palestinians of East Jerusalem are not citizens of the state of Israel (except for a very few who chose to opt for full citizenship)  but rather permanent residents with “blue I.D. cards”. Both Pipes in his article and I in my criticism of Pipes specifically wrote about the Arab citizens of Israel.” 
  3. This is not just a matter of semantics. The vast majority of       Palestinians of East Jerusalem are not citizens of Israel, do not have Israeli passports, do not study in the Israeli school system, and are a subgroup of Palestinians who see themselves as living “under Israeli occupation.”
  4. The Arab citizens of Israel are the Arabs we live with and alongside all over Israel. They go to Israeli schools, graduate from Israeli universities, invite us into their towns and villages, vote in the elections, provide us with health care as doctors and nurses in Israeli hospitals, fill our prescriptions at Superpharm, etc., and yes – continue to have a beef with the way the state discriminates against them.
  5. “The Whopper”?  What exactly was my “whopper”?  Do you deny that the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel are “indigenous”? Did I write that Jews are not indigenous?  Certainly I didn’t.  You point out that Arabs have rights in Israel and take advantage of them.  Did I write that they do not?  Certainly they do. But does the fact that they have rights justify the ever increasing anti-Arab violence directed at them by Jews?
  6. And yes there is a disagreement between many Arab citizens of Israel and many Jewish citizens of Israel over whether Israel can indeed be both “a state of all of its citizens” and a “Jewish democratic state.”  Indeed there are many leading Jewish leaders (including a former president of Israel) who also claim that Israel is a “state of all of its citizens” (as well as a Jewish-Democratic state).  So, where exactly is the “whopper”
  7. As to the Malha attack on Arabs, I refer you to the “Sport5” article about what you labeled “the supposed incident.” The gist of the article is that 16 Betar Jerusalem fans who were suspected of participating in the “event” were arrested and, upon the recommendation of the police, were banned from attending games for two and a half years. They also had to post a monetary bond. Indeed, there may be criminal charges filed at some time in the future against the participants in this “supposed incident.”

With all due respect to your calling me “delusional” and “as if from another planet,” it is you who seems to have failed to do your homework along with Dr. Pipes.

But of greater concern to me is what you chose to ignore in my article; I won’t recap it all here but just a few salient points that you might want to look into and respond to in your response to my response to your response:

  • Quote from the former head of the Shabak stating that Arab citizens of Israel are not a “fifth column” and that involvement by Arab citizens (again, not East Jerusalem residents who are not citizens) is “not large.
  • ”Documented increase in Jewish anti-Arab attacks (not just random violence by Jews against Arabs) including the report by the “Coalition Against Racism.”
  • The leadership of the Arab citizens of Israel calls for discussion with the Jewish citizens based on peaceful, democratic principles.
  • Lethal force against violent demonstrators has never been used by the police/security forces against ultra-Orthodox or Settlers, while it has been employed many times against Arab citizens since the founding of the state.
  • The State Or Commission of Inquiry called upon the government of Israel to end “the stain of discrimination” against the Arab citizens and cited this discrimination as a key factor behind the violent demonstrations by Arab citizens in October 2000.

So, Ariel, rather than trying to score more points, I suggest you respond to the bigger picture as I have presented it both here and in my previous article. The fate of Israel may well depend on it.


“A guy named Carl Perkal”

About the Author
Carl Perkal is a documentary film producer and media consultant living in Israel