Monday, April 6, 2009

Racism, Apartheid, T-Shirts and General Confusion

Remember those horrendous IDF T-Shirts? And it's common knowledge that Israel treats its Arab citizens abominably. So here's a story from Haaretz this morning that demonstrates it all. An Arab professor at Haifa University was thrown out of a restaurant when he complained that a bartender was wearing a shirt encouraging the killing of Palestinian children. Ha! Gotcha.

Though if Israeli Jim Crow is that bad, how is he a professor at Haifa University? No matter.

Until you read beyond the headline, where all the damage is, into the article itself. The proprietor of the restaurant is himself an Arab, and he was the one arguing with the client. He insists he threw no-one out, rather the professor stalked out. The (Arab) restaurateur may have said to the (Arab) professor "IF you're a Palestinian, go to Palestine", implying that he, the (Arab) restaurateur prefers to remain an Israeli. And then there's this:
Hajaj said the bartender had never served in the army and was unaware of the message his shirt conveyed. As a result of the incident, the bartender is no longer working at the restaurant.
Now I'm really confused. If the bartender never served in the IDF, where did he get the T shirt? If he can't read its message, who is he? A Phillipino, perhaps? And if he's blameless, why has he been fired? Could it be that Hajaj, the restaurateur, didn't want the attention of the authorities to his practice of employing illegal residents?

I'm speculating, of course. But that's the issue. Something happened at Hajaj's restaurant over the weekend, but what it was we don't know. Haaretz has cherry-picked enough of the facts to make Israel look bad, put them in its headline, added a partial description in the item itself, and demonstrated that it cares not at all about its level of journalism.

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