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      Op-Ed: The 'Racism Report' in Israel

      Published: Friday, December 14, 2007 12:53 AM
      ACRI is not a reliable source about anything.


      The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is a far-leftist propaganda group, one that cares nothing about civil rights, especially about civil rights for Jews. Its president, the Marxist author Sami Michael, has endorsed Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jews.
      None of the questions supposedly indicating growing Jewish "racism" have anything at all to do with racism.
       
      When an anti-democratic left-winger in Israel filed a SLAPP harassment suit against me to suppress my freedom of speech, I asked ACRI to support me in fighting it off. It refused; it only believes in freedom of speech for leftists. (For more background on ACRI and its political bias, see the report in NGO Monitor here.)

      The president of ACRI is best known for romanticizing the Communist party in his native Iraq. He was cited in Haaretz (Oct 21, 2004) as justifying Arab terror attacks against Jewish Israelis. Here are his words, as quoted by Haaretz: "Michael understands the Hamas members who are fighting these Jews, who stuck a wedge down their throats. In an interview published in the latest issue of New Horizons, a monthly on society and the state published by the Berl Katznelson Foundation, Michael rejects the definition of Hamas fighters as 'terrorists.'

      "'Imagine the feeling if I woke up tomorrow and saw this neighborhood, which we inhabit, forcibly conquered by the Syrians, and they established settlements here, and in order to go to the bus station, I needed permission from the Syrian army. How would I feel?' the author from Haifa asked. 'If I fight them, I will be considered a terrorist. Why am I a terrorist? Why do we call Hizbullah or Hamasniks terrorists? Why? Because they fight for their own territory? Suddenly, aliens, occupiers, land on him and tell him: "Your house is ours." It's his land, he and his forefathers were born here, and the settlers say: "We will never leave...." How would you respond to this?'"

      Recently, the headlines in Israel and the world were filled with a news story that the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has discovered a skyrocketing rate of "racism" among Israeli Jews against Arabs, in addition to its discovering that Israel is a generally oppressive society.

      The first point is that nothing coming from ACRI is credible and everything from it should be dismissed as advocacy statistics. ACRI is not a reliable source about anything. The second point is that the same survey supposedly collected for ACRI asked no questions about Arab racism against Jews. How curious. The third point is that none of the questions supposedly indicating growing Jewish "racism" have anything at all to do with racism or bigotry.

      ACRI claims to discern an increase of 26% in anti-Arab "incidents" in Israel, although it offers no evidence that any of these "incidents" are really racist. It claims a 100% increase in anti-Arab "hatred" among Jews. It does not say how it measures this "hatred." From the media reports about the ACRI study, evidently ACRI measures this based upon the proportion of Jews who want to condition welfare benefits, social perqs (like tuition vouchers), and income subsidies upon army service. That is racist, insists ACRI.

      Never mind that every other nation on earth gives its army vets such benefits; no one is stopping any Arabs from serving in the Israeli army and getting vet benefits. In any case, it would "penalize" Orthodox yeshiva students no less than Arabs.
      The Left supports subsidizing Jews to move out of the West Bank, which is evidently not racist.

      How else is "racism" measured by ACRI? Maybe by asking Jews if they think most Israeli Arabs want to see them murdered? No, grasshopper. If that were the case, I would have been amazed that ACRI did not report universal 100% "anti-Arab" sentiments among Israeli Jews.

      Many of the ACRI indicators of "oppression" used in their study are meaningless, politically biased, and have even less to do with ethnic disparities. For example, the report bewails a drop in the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people in Israel (still among the world's highest rates), a drop having everything to do with fiscal cuts and budgetary constraints. Some oppressiveness. ACRI also finds evidence of "oppression" in the structural reforms that Israel's Minister of Justice is pursuing. It would be "repressive," believes ACRI, for an elected cabinet minister to prevent unelected judges from just making up laws and "rights" as they go along. The report cries crocodile tears about the employment of people in Israel via employment agencies, as outsourcing rather than as direct employees. But there is nothing at all "oppressive" in this and, in fact, it is downright beneficial for thousands of unemployed people finding jobs through the manpower agencies.

      The ACRI study finds that 50% of the Jewish public does not think there needs to be exact equality among Jews and Arabs. This is amusing, of course, because the Left, including ACRI, always opposes equality for Arabs - such as in their total opposition to conscription or national service for Arabs. In any case, the wording of the question does not mean legal equality or equality of opportunities, but could also be interpreted as speaking of equality of results (such as in income homogeneity), that beloved "cause" of the Left opposed by everyone else.

      Fifty-five percent of Jews endorse subsidizing Arabs who want to emigrate from Israel, finds the ACRI report, which it thinks is racist. Except that 100% of the Israeli Labor Party and the Left supports subsidizing Jews to move out of the West Bank, which is evidently not racist.

      The report is terribly upset that some public figures in Israel speak about a "demographic threat" from the Arab population, and about strategic threats from Israeli Arabs becoming engaged in terrorism. In other words, only Israelis who utter leftist NewSpeak and pretend that most Arabs are not pro-terror, hostile, belligerent anti-Semites can be tolerated by ACRI. Only those Israelis refusing to speak obvious truths can count themselves as non-racists in ACRI's eyes.

      In addition, ACRI found that 78% of Israeli Jews oppose the inclusion of the Arab anti-Semitic and fascist parties in the Knesset as government coalition partners, which ACRI thinks is racist. I personally happen to think that the remaining 22% who do not oppose such a coalition are racists, if not lemmings.

      Asking Arabs to pledge allegiance to a state with a Jewish majority is "racist," thinks ACRI. So is using Jewish National Fund lands, purchased with funds from the world's Jews, for the benefit of Jews.
      It turns out Arabs are searched for weapons and explosives at airports more so than Jews.

      Other evidence of Jewish anti-Arab racism in the ACRI report? It turns out Arabs are searched for weapons and explosives at airports more so than Jews. ACRI would prefer a "non-racist, non-discriminator" set of security procedures that result in terrorist atrocities.

      In short, the ACRI report is a very useful tool for identifying what is not racism; although it will be picked up by every anti-Semitic organization and web site on earth to prove that Israel is an "apartheid entity." Simply put, anything ACRI identifies as racist, is not. ACRI doubtless thinks it is "racist" for Jews to deny Arabs the right to murder Jewish children, or for Jews to insist on exercising their rights to self-defense.

      And what is not racism, may we ask the sages and Communists of ACRI?

      Answer: the recent call at the congress of the predominantly Arab Hadash Stalinist party, declaring that Israel's "Jewishness is like a sword upon the necks of Arabs." (Haaretz Dec 8, 07)