Breaking an iron rule
Every Jew, man or woman, citizen of any country in the world, has potentially more rights in Israel than any Arab native citizen in the state. Every foreign Jew has, de facto, more rights in the West Bank and Gaza (depending on what the Likud referendum decides) than Palestinians.
Every Jew, man or woman, citizen of any country in the world, has potentially more rights in Israel than any Arab native citizen in the state. The Jew will have more chances to find a job, respectable housing, financial aid for higher education, personal advancement. Every foreign Jew has, de facto, more rights in the West Bank and Gaza (depending on what the Likud referendum decides) than Palestinians.
It is doubtful these facts are clear to contemporary anti-Semites. And, even if so, there is no justification for a revival of the devilish prejudices against Jews as Jews, whether in desecrations of Jewish cemeteries, threats against Jews, beatings, or Der Sturmer-style cartoons; for regarding every Jew, as a Jew, to be representative of the Israeli occupation; and for condemning the Israeli occupation with expressions that prove it's not the injustices of the occupation that bother them but rather the fact that those committing the injustices call themselves Jews. That last fact, at least, apparently makes things easier for some members of Western Christian civilization, who want to relieve themselves of some of the burden of the memory of the German-European industry of murder that came from its midst.
Every Jew in the world, at any given moment, can move to Israel and win the full rights of a citizen of Tel Aviv or Haifa, and more than that if they choose to live in Ma'aleh Adumim, the Old City of Jerusalem or Hebron. But an Israeli citizen from Umm al-Fahm cannot move to Efrata, for example. If a man from Umm al-Fahm chooses to marry and live in Bethlehem, he could lose his Israeli civil rights. His spouse will not be allowed to live with him in Israel, and he will face difficulties registering his children as Israeli citizens.
A Palestinian from Hebron of the Deheisheh refugee camp cannot take the opposite route of a native of Ra'anana or Ramat Gan, and build a Palestinian neighborhood in the heart of a Jewish city on the coast. In fact, Arab citizens of Israel don't have the right to start such a new neighborhood, either. After all, some 80 percent of state lands - "national lands," a large portion of which were privately held by Palestinians in 1948 - are inaccessible to them, whether for leasing, farming or building.
Are these nuances of Israeli democracy familiar to Arabs and Muslims in Europe, whom Jewish community representatives blame for most contemporary anti-Semitic attacks? It's doubtful. And it doesn't matter. Those who shout "Death to Israel" or "Death to the Jews" aren't shouting "Death to Sudan" because the Arab ruler expels and slaughters non-Muslim blacks, or "Death to North Korea" because of the self-genocide there, or "Death to the Chinese" because of the Chinese repression of Tibet.
There's an iron rule in the struggle against oppression and racism: The standards and criteria for condemnation and demand for change must be universal, because how can one complain about discrimination and at the same time "discriminate in favor" of one repressive regime, and how can one complain about racism and at the same time link one national or religious group as absolutely, eternally responsible for the regimes that emerge from that group?
Philosophically, the axiom is true that racism and anti-Semitism first of all expose a problem of the society in which they are nurtured. Generally speaking, they expose ignorance and stupidity, the ability of power centers to manipulate in order to distract attention from their over-privileged luxuries, irrational atavistic fears, and a concentrated effort not to recognize social and global changes in order to protect the archaic status of a certain group. But, practically, racism first of all harms its direct targets.
European anti-Semitism nowadays is not institutional and does not endanger the civic, economic, political and professional status of the Jews overseas. Jews have better chances for advancement and self-development than a black or a Native American in the United States, or a North African in France. An African or Asian is more likely to be murdered in Germany than a Jewish immigrant from Russia. But that does not mean anyone should take lightly the reports of a rise in anti-Semitic feelings - and in some places, with the sense of physical danger for Jews.
These reports shouldn't be taken lightly, even though the Jewish and Israeli government institutions that diligently disseminate each day, use them to stain every criticism and condemnation of the Israeli occupation as "anti-Semitic." Don't scorn them, not even if those who spread these reports in Israel - including researchers from academia and other institutions - are breaking another iron rule of the campaign against racism: They don't make a sound of protest inside Israel, and perhaps don't have anything against the institutional discrimination against Israeli Arabs and the settlement regime's discriminatory logic, which imposes on both Palestinians and Israelis this cycle of bloodshed.
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