Sunday, January 30, 2011

Racism in Israel (Against Jews)

I don't have much to say at the moment on Egypt. Last night however there was a demonstration in Tel Aviv in which the demonstrators supported the Egyptian demonstrators, with a delicious twist to the story.

You no doubt remember how a while back some rabbis wrote an awful letter against Israeli Arabs moving into Jewish parts of Safed. Someone, I think it was Jeffrey Goldberg, wrote at the time that the subsequent events were proving to him that Israel's immune system was working quite well against this pernicious virus, as almost everyone, from left to right, from the prime minster to most rabbis, united in condemning the racist letter and its few supporters.

That was then. Now the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, as Arab activists in Jaffa demonstrate against Jews who are moving into their area. (Of course, Jews have been living in Jaffa, on and off, since before the days when Jonah shipped out on a whale). Last night about a thousand demonstrators, Arabs and Jews, marched in Jaffa against the racist Jews who wish to live there. They chanted their support for the Egyptians, and their detestation of Jews, or at any rate, religious Jews:

The demonstrators including Hadash Knesset Member Dov Khenin, who said: "We came to say no to racism and to settlement in a clear voice. Justice and equality will defeat racism and the settlers."
If that isn't delicious enough for you, reflect on the predicament of Joseph Dana, one of the most extreme voices in the Israeli democracy, a man who routinely demonstrates with Palestinians against the troops of his own army. I haven't found anything he wrote directly about the Safed rabbi, though he did link approvingly to some colleagues of his who wrote back then about how awful and racist Israeli society is. Last night he participated in the demonstration, yet his report is uncharacteristically terse, made up mostly of pictures and this short text:
As Egypt continued its revolution on the streets, the citizens of Jaffa held a passionate march thorough the city against racism and settlements. About 800 Palestinian and Israeli residents of the city marched through the streets chanting in Arabic and Hebrew against the wave of racism taking over Israeli society. “Jews and Arabs Against the Hate and Terror of Settlers’ and ‘From Jaffa to Cairo all people power is revolutionary.” Some protesters carried Egyptian flags and many seemed energized by the events unfolding in Egypt. Despite a heavy police presence and even police helicopters, no incidents of violence were reported from the nonviolent protest.
You see, Dana's got a problem: he's a Jew.... who lives in Jaffa.


NormanF said...

Nothing amuses me more than leftist Jewish anti-Semites shouting Jews have no right to live among Arabs - whether in Jaffa or Shimon HaTzaddik.

But its racism if Arabs are denied the right to live among Jews!

I love the logic of their position... we all know Arabs are progressives and Jews are reactionaries. There's a consistency to their madness that just shows out of touch they are with reality in Israel. Where to them, night is day and day is night!

The more things change...

Anonymous said...

Here is a paragraph from the Ynet article you linked to.

"Ofer Amram

Egyptian flags at Jaffa rally

Arabs, leftists protest 'Jewish settlement' in city; Protestors vow to 'liberate Jaffa with blood'

Yoav Zitun
Latest Update: 01.29.11, 19:56 / Israel News

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About 1,000 Jaffa residents hit the streets Saturday to protest the "phenomenon of Jewish settlement" in the mixed city located just south of Tel Aviv.

"Muslim and Christian residents, as well as Jewish left-wing activists, are charging that religious settlers who moved to Jaffa are abusing Arabs in town and stirring provocations."

1) Why does Ynet use the term "settlers" to describe Jews moving inside of Israel?

2) Why does the article not comment on the protester's claim of bullying?


Barry Meislin said...

Why does Ynet use the term "settlers" to describe Jews moving inside of Israel?

For many of Israel's Partners in Peace (R), the State of Israel is just one big settlement.

Get used to it.

(Alternatively, one could try to kill the messenger....)

zalman said...

Does this context make the "awful letter" less awful?

AKUS said...

So only the right kind of Jews - or, should I say, the loony left kind of Jews - have the right - or left - to live in Jaffa?

As far as I can tell, Jaffa ia part of Israel and anyone who wants to buy a house there and can afford to do so is allowed to.

Avigdor said...

Yaacov, what did you think of the movie Ajami, if you've seen it?

Y. Ben-David said...

It turns out that Joseph Dana's report was a lie. There was a lot of chanting of "kill the Jews". Even some of the "progressives" felt a little "uncomfortable".

Just like Berlin in the 1930's.

Isn't it nice having a "sovereign Jewish state"?

RK said...

Isn't the issue, at least with some of them, the new twenty-story complex for religious Jews, and not Jews in general living in Jaffa?

Yaacov said...

Victor -

I saw Agami, a while ago. I don't remember all the details. I do however remember the overall impression of an Arab society deeply imbued with violence. The Jews in the movie were plenty violent too, but the focus was mostly on the Arabs, and they were intolerant, violent, and frightening, even as some of them were poignant and tender.

RK - I don't know and don't care. Jews can "settle" in Jaffa, Arabs can live in Safed. It may be that communities may wish to have their own enclaves, to be "amongst their own", but if so, they all have the right or none do.

Fabián said...

I have left two comments in Dana's blog yesterday, and read other people's comments. He has deleted everything today. Doesn't like to be reminded that he is also a settler in Jaffa...
That is the tolerance expected of the Israeli far-left.

RK said...

Well, here's a piece about it by one of those Jews living in Jaffa, Lisa Goldman (whom you wrote about recently). In spite of her "radicalization," she takes care to contextualize what's going on, comparing it to 1990's Harlem and situating it within the broader context of gentrification and class divisions. But if she's accurately describing what she sees, from the uncouth yeshiva boys to the disparate treatment of Jews and Arabs by public officials, then she and the people who agree with her aren't being hypocritical or racist. They're just standing up for plain old decency.

Y. Ben-David said...

So the solution to the problems in Jaffa is to go to a demonstration with extremists Arabs screaming "death to the Jews"?

Silke said...

Why does everybody explore only the racism angle of a decision of renting or not renting to some people?

One family who I'd have loved to have as landlords and who had a very suitable apartment for rent was out of the question because they had a family of "Russians" living in there. Why? Their teenage son who was a very well kept and very well behaved youngster wore clothes which smelled of what they cooked in a way which wouldn't have been acceptable at my work place.

How could I have gone about making them install and use some ventilating equipment keeping in mind that their very tight budget would probably make them averse to letting any cold air enter their place, same problem with my standards for airing the stair case.

Was I racist to say to myself, sorry no, too many problems looming?

What about the apartment I looked at where the (southern mediterranean) neighbours played their music loudly through the open terrace door? I love that music but I want to chose my own and not embark on a life with Ohropax.

Was I racist to say to myself, sorry no, that is a problem I don't need?

Are landlords who know of their preferred groups preferences racist if they try to avoid mixes?

i.e. there are 1000s of reasons but there are people who focus racism so much that they detect it everywhere thereby oppressing legitimate consideration of how somebody wants to profit from his/her property.

cutman said...

"there are people who focus racism so much that they detect it everywhere thereby oppressing legitimate consideration of how somebody wants to profit from his/her property."

Oh man, I hadn't considered a group of Rabbis might sign a letter against renting to Arabs because they're concerned about the landlords' income. Maybe I will have to rethink the whole racism angle.

Silke said...

good try but badly executed

I was referring to Goldman's report of her conversation with her landlord and you know it

Yaacov said...


I read Goldman, and thought I might write about her column,but I'm too busy and focused elsewhere. Anyway, she's describing a slum which is edging towards gentrification, which is a universal story, but she'd have us believe it's an ugly ethnic story. I don't buy it. As for the unruly Jewish teenagers - this may be true, it may not, but in any case it proves nothing more than that are some unruly teenagers. The demonstration she participated in, on the other hand, had hundreds of people, many not teenagers, shouting antisemitic slogans.

I stand by my original point: For Israel's radical left, racism is when Jews dislike Arab newcomers, and it's also when the newcomers are Jews. The Arabs are always just, the Jews are always evil.