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An Experiment in Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Arab Racism


Imagine if an Arab spiritual leader referred to Jews as “foul”, a “disease” or as a “devil”. What if he called them “asses” and asked “why did God not create them walking on their fours?” In reply to his own rhetorical question, the imaginary Arab spiritual leader then coolly replies, “The answer is that they need to build and wash.” You would be right to be angry and disgusted by such vile racism. And you would be right to wonder what institutional and cultural influences help create, perpetuate and sustain such antisemitic garbage.

But would you feel and think the same way if it was a Jewish spiritual
leader targeting Arabs with this hateful, racist nonsense? We
certainly hear, see and read about claims of antisemitism almost daily
in radio, T.V. and newspaper reports. Why don’t we ever hear about anti-Arab
racism?

I opened this blog entry with “Imagine if an Arab spiritual
leader…”. There is in fact no real person as such. However, all the
insults and vitriol spewed in this hypothetical antisemitism are the
real words of a Jewish spiritual leader, Rabbi David Bazri,
directed at Palestinians. His racist attack comes in the wake of a very sane,
honorable and necessary proposal for the establishment of a mixed
Arab-Jewish school in Pat, Jerusalem. More, if the particular
hypothetical antisemitism used here were a real incident, you can be
sure it would receive wide spread attention and be used to justify Israel’s
illegal occupation, being used as more rational to reign
collective punishment down upon the Palestinians.

But the opposite is true, a particularly nasty anti-Arab racism was
expressed. Will we see newspaper, T.V. or radio reports covering these
extremely hysteric remarks? Why not? Do we even care? Can we even
begin to ask what institutional and cultural influences help create, perpetuate
and sustain such anti-Arab garbage?

Walla!News (Haaretz) reported on Jan. 10, in a news item appearing
only in Hebrew (see here for an unofficial English translation), that “Today
the school is running in a temporary building and is looking for a permanent
residence in the Pat neighborhood of Jerusalem. The municipality assigned
a territory for the school but because of repeating appeals to court the process is
delayed. Today [Jan 10.] the matter is scheduled for a debate in the
High Court.”

A Rabbi named Yehuda Der’i also participated in the conference against
the school and said that “this is a thing that the Jewish mind, logic
and soul cannot tolerate. We have to go from house to house and raise
supporters in the neighborhood to prevent this horrid punishment.”

More vacuous comments…

Here is Rabbi David Bazri’s words, in full, which I quoted above for the
hypothetical antisemitism, “The establishment of such a school is a
foul, disgraceful deed. You can’t mix pure and foul. They are a
disease, a disaster, a devil. The Arabs are asses, and the question
must be asked, why did God did not create them walking on their fours?
The answer is that they need to build and wash. They have no place in
our school”
.

This is the core of a gross kind of ignorance that enables the existance of
second class citizenship for Palestinians in Israel, identification cards for
Palestinians, checkpoints for Palestinians, systematic house
demolitions for Palestinians, extra judicial executions and
assassinations for Palestinians, an Apartheid Wall for Palestinians, a
brutal military occupation which has practiced ethnic cleansing and
denied Palestinians their Right of Return. It is a racism built on the
belief that there are “pure” and “foul” races, ethnic groups and
cultures; and in the particular case of Israel, that there can be a
“Jewish State”. It is a backward and insipid thinking that belongs to
the stone age.


Here is the whole news article, which is actually worse than I’ve let on, in it’s unofficial English translation:

Walla.co.il (“Haaretz”), 10/01/2006

http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//839989

A conference which took place yesterday against the establishment of a mixed Arab-Jewish school in Pat, Jerusalem saw harsh attacks made by well-known rabbis.

The (ha-mekubal) Rabbi David Bazri said: “The establishment of such a school is a foul, disgraceful deed. You can’t mix pure and foul. They are a disease, a disaster, a devil. The Arabs are asses, and the question must be asked, why did God did not create them walking on their fours? The answer is that they need to build and wash. They have no place in our school”.

His son, Rabbi Itzhak Bazri, also referred to the interpretation of Ishmaelites – people similar to donkeys, and said “the Arabs are inferior. What do they want? To take our daughters. They say we are racists. Well, they are the evil, they are the cruel, they have the foulness of snakes. There’s foul and there’s pure, and they are foul”.

In response to questions by “Walla!”, Rabbi Bazri said that he meant to “emphasize the difference between Arab and Jewish culture, and that there is no common denominator that can bring us together. Bazri went on to say that “our experience is to prevent situations in which our Jewish girls be hurt by Arabs and to prevent danger to Jewish lives. We intend to demonstrate in front of the City Hall and to do everything we can to prevent this initiative”.

Rabbi Yehuda Der’i, brother to Arie Deri and Chief Rabbi of Ber Sheva, also participated in the conference and said that “this is a thing that the Jewish mind, logic and soul cannot tolerate. We have to go from house to house and raise supporters in the neighborhood to prevent this horrid punishment.”

Today the school is running in a temporary building and is looking for a permanent residence in the Pat neighborhood of Jerusalem. The municipality assigned a territory for the school but because of repeating appeals to court the process is delayed. Today the matter is scheduled for a debate in the High Court.

Source: Walla!News (Haaretz), 10/01/2006
Translated by Dimi Reider

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