Wednesday, June 5

The end of the era of concealed racism,"When Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafsou says he wants to 'preserve the Jewish character of the city,' it's a sign that racist statements are no longer taboo!

I don't think that Israel has ever tried to conceal its racism...rather, the racism has just become more recognizable over the years.  Israel tried to preserve the character of the "Jewish" state by expelling most of the Palestinian population back in 1948.  I've heard that expresion so many times.  I think it was a few years ago when Israel was going to deport the children of migrant workers, it was on the basis, according to Netanyahu, to "ensure the Jewish character of the state of Israel."
Hitler also tried to preserve the character of the "Aryan" state. 
Marlene Newesri

Interesting opinion piece on racism against Arabs in Israel. Published in the Israeli daily Haaretz. Article does not deal with Arab Jews also known as Sephardic Jews or Jews from Middle Eastern countries. The racism described is against Christian and Muslim Palestinians. Arab Jews also face discrimination in the Jewish State where European Jews are the dominant social class.

Ed Corrigan

The end of the era of concealed racism

When Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafsou says he wants to 'preserve the Jewish character of the city,' it's a sign that racist statements are no longer taboo. Whoever provides a school for Moshe but denies it to Omar must suffer the consequences.

By Oudeh Basharat | 02:00 17.05.13 | 
All Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafsou wants to do is to “preserve the Jewish character of the city,” at least according to what he writes on the city’s website. What’s wrong with Jewish character? David Ben-Gurion, in his time, fought for Jewish character, and today Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so keen on this issue that he won’t even accept peace unless it comes well-wrapped in Jewish character.
The inherent problem with this is that Jewish character, in contrast to any other character, can only be obtained in two ways: by Jewish migration, or by diluting the Arab population. So in the absence of migration, what’s left is to focus on dilution. Therefore, instead of jumping on Gafsou for his statements and actions “better left unspoken,” then rolling our eyes as if the man fell from the sky, it would be better to courageously examine the degree to which stampeding after “Jewish character” has corrupted people and muddied the public mood. If we look carefully, we will find that the racist apple has fallen right beneath the tree.
Gafsou’s festive declarations mark the end of the era of concealed racism, the kind that slipped through one’s fingers, the kind that was once spoken only in private or in euphemisms. These were the type of racists who were proud that they had Arab friends, declaimed their undying love for hummus or who, believe it or not, relished the music of Um Kalthoum. The era of racism with an eastern flavor is over; It’s time for those who are racist and proud of it. Gafsou is like a child who announces in public the things his parents say in private. Yes, dear parents, this plant grew in your garden! On second thought, perhaps it’s good that racism has had its mask removed, because public opinion can distinguish how dismal it is compared to today’s universal values.
Meanwhile, the Arab residents of Upper Nazareth are suffering because they are being portrayed as parasites who have invaded a land that isn’t theirs. The truth is that Arabs build very densely in their own villages so as not to move elsewhere, and if they do move, it’s because they’ve been blocked from building on their land. After all, most of the land has been expropriated, inter alia, for the construction of Upper Nazareth. Now the Arabs have no land. No new Arab towns are being built – nor even Arab neighborhoods – and then people wonder why Arabs have been moving into a city that’s right nearby.
But life is stronger than any ideology. The fourth Arab Caliph, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, said, “Your children were born into different times than yours, so don’t impose your customs on them.” Today, if you visit the shopping centers in Upper Nazareth, you’ll see that a large percentage of the shoppers are Arab, and that in Nazareth and the area villages, lots of the shoppers are Jews. This development has brought economic benefits to Upper Nazareth, Nazareth and the Arab villages. It’s as if everything boomeranged, this time in a positive sense, and after 60 years the children and grandchildren of the Jewish residents, who were meant to preserve the Jewish character, are trying, together with the Arab residents, to achieve a better life despite unjust and discriminatory policies.
Every effort to undermine the texture of these relations between Jews and Arabs is a curse on both societies, because the future will be built on openness rather than on isolation, and certainly not on nationalist isolation. The end result is that Gafsou is just as bad for the Jews as he is for the Arabs. On a moral level, moreover, it would behoove the authorities to punish a mayor who abuses his residents that same way we punish a parent who abuses his child. Whoever provides a school for Moshe but denies it to Omar must suffer consequences.
And if everything is the result of “character,” then as one of the victims of that character, I demand that the circumstances be allowed to determine what kind of character suits them. Stop trying to force everything. Let life flow, and let the character we so adore settle, as elsewhere, for just being normal.

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