Arab MKs: Israeli Jews' Support of Apartheid Is Not Surprising

Arab lawmaker Jamal Zahalka says the survey symbolizes 'the end of hypocrisy' and that the 'Israeli regime isn't a carbon copy of South Africa's apartheid, but it is certainly from the same family.'

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Arab Knesset members and organizations operating in Israel's Arab community were not surprised by the survey results showing that most Israeli Jews favor denying Palestinians the right to vote if Israel were to annex the West Bank, or by the backing for discrimination against Israel's Arab citizens.

They said that the survey, published on Monday in Haaretz, only verifies their sense of increasing radicalization of Israelis and the marginalization of Arab citizens to the fringes of Israeli society.

At the Mossawa Center in Haifa, which bills itself as the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, they said that “the survey's results indicate of the future to come. There is a feeling that those racist positions will also be expressed in party propaganda for the upcoming elections, as it has in past campaigns.” Nidal Othman, the center's legal adviser and projects coordinator, said: “In our view, the Central Elections Committee and the attorney general have an important, central role in steps against certain parties that turn their election propaganda into racism. To do this, they must sharpen the regulations and take action against all those who incite to violence and racism.”

The Abraham Fund, which works toward Jewish-Arab coexistence and equality, said that “there has been a deterioration in the way Jews relate to the Arab minority, both as individuals and as a group, which is fueling the alienation of the state from its Arab citizens. The major factor is the absence of a clear national policy promoting coexistence and equality between Jews and Arabs and the failure to carry out a comprehensive educational policy for life together.”

“Racism has became long ago the mainstream in Israeli society and Israel has long since become a democratic state for Jews, and Jewish for Arabs,” said MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List- Ta'al). “The data is an ugly mirror image, but an accurate one, of Israel.”

Hadash chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh said that the fact that the majority of respondents supported an apartheid regime “is the fragrant fruit of the cumulative policies of Israeli governments, in particular the current government and the 18th Knesset.”

“The survey,” said MK Jamal Zahalka, the head of the Balad party, “symbolizes the end of the era of hypocrisy and the removal of all masks. We're talking about racism, pure and simple. The Israeli regime isn't a carbon copy of South Africa's apartheid, but it is certainly from the same family.”

Tzipi Livni, the former head of the Kadima, who is now considering a return to active politics, expressed shock at the results of the survey and called for an immediate revival of the two-states-for-two-peoples initiative.

Members of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi, left, Hanna Swaid, middle, and Jamal Zahalka, right during a hearing, Jerusalem, July 20, 2011.Credit: Emil Salman
Dialog poll
A right-wing demonstrator holding a sign that reads 'The Land of Israel for the People of Israel' during a protest in 2009.Credit: Emil Salman / Jini

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